2.06.2007

2010, SEARCH is the Internet OS ... what if ...

[I wrote this note in 2004, still about right, probably not happening that fast, though].

It’s 2004; Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, AOL, IAC, Amazon, eBay … are competing for eye-balls. That’s how the Internet business model was setup. Personal technology categories, from desktop operating systems to browsers and productivity applications have traditionally had enough room for two leaders and a third rotating player. Google and Microsoft are very focused on technical innovations and speed-to-market. They have not yet invented the time machine, but use your imagination. It’s 2010 …

Search is the Internet OS

In 2010, Search is the OS enabling content applications to deliver media and information-related consumer experiences. Search is the Internet OS providing core services upon which content applications run and communicate with underlying infrastructure services through APIs. Think of the search ecosystem as a 3-layer value chain:
1. Media: everything content related, wherever it is.
2. Content applications: Web browsers, media players, communication applications, ...
3. Search as the information OS: crawling, indexing, computational linguistic, device access management...

Google and Microsoft think of Search as the Internet OS, a platform built on proprietary and open standards, very much focused on developing, surfacing, and documenting APIs, inviting developers to contribute value-add services legitimizing and extending their reach, usage, and business longevity.

Google and Microsoft own the Search OS layer

Today, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, IAC/Ask… are stretching to cover the broad Search spectrum from exposing APIs to delivering the content experience. That might not prevail in the future, though. Google’s 10K filing with the SEC back in 2004 or so says “We began as a technology company and have evolved into a software, technology, Internet, advertising and media company all rolled into one". I don't subscribe so much with some analysts' belief that Google will remain a Media company, which does not mean Google doesn't need to get closer to media companies like AOL/Time Warner. Google’s capital expenditures to develop the biggest data center on earth puts them on a collision course with Microsoft, not with Yahoo! Google’s top management layer is made up of technologists, not media folks as is the case at Yahoo! I am not making this up, read it from smarter people who know how to count. The Search Appliance - potential Network OS - is still a priority at Google, actually slashing prices to increase market penetration and own more beach-heads.

Here is the “if ...”, and if I am wrong, please forget I ever posted this entry.

Google could very well only be in consumer traffic and advertising businesses because of short term necessities until a viable grid computing business model emerges. Now, if Google pulls back to focus on Search as the OS and grid computing services to become the “Intel Inside” brand not actually directly facing consumers nor advertisers, you can bet Microsoft will be tempted to do the same. Remember the browser race? Once the Netscape threat was put out, Microsoft pretty much stopped developing IE, focusing more at enabling third party developers to integrate.
It’s 2010, Google and Microsoft are leveraging large investments in research & development and own Search the OS and touch on content applications mostly to enable the underlying search technology infrastructure, APIs and such.

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