"Will it succumb to hubris and flame out like so many of its predecessors? Or will it grow into an omnipresent, omnipotent force--not just on Wall Street or the Web, but in society? We put the question to scientists, consultants, former Google employees, and tech visionaries like Ray Kurzweil and Stephen Wolfram. They responded with well-argued, richly detailed, and sometimes scary visions of a Google future."
I've got a hunch that the company that can adequately protect and falsify data will eventually become more important than the company that shares knowledge with everyone.
Lets face it ... Brent's forum on Google cache being legal or not and the in's & out's of document ownership had everyone arguing passionately. That particular forum got terminated because order broke down completely.
If everything eventually is to be shared then data will just become the propoganda of the future. The data that people really want to see is hidden behind very large cast iron doors and located on inpregnable offshore defence facilities. This stuff will never make it into the public domain.
Maybe Google's profitable future is in their international influence ... China etc. A few tweaks here and there and our message gets through. A bit more high tech than dropping leaflets over paddy fields. My bet is that Google are lining themselves up for a big defence contract ;-)