Simsi - 11:08 pm on Jan 6, 2013 (gmt 0) [edited by: Simsi at 11:12 pm (utc) on Jan 6, 2013]
Google is moving to 'the one right answer'
While this "knowledge engine" dream is a stated goal of Google, all that will do in my opinion is to suplement their service because, quite simply, there isn't always a right answer, yet alone one.
What is the best car?
Depends who you are, where you live, what you do, what your circumstances are, how much money you have etc, etc.
And if Google isn't prepared to show me somewhere that will help me decide what car is right for me, another search engine surely will. In my opinion, the day they stop being the mechanism to find anything you need quickly and efficiently (which personally, I think they do very well right now), they leave themselves vulnerable.
Thus, I don't expect to see the ability to search for, find and visit websites disappear in my lifetime. Whether anything remains "free" on the Internet is debateable mind.
Also, recent investigations (while somewhat muted in outcome thus far) suggest that Google won't be allowed to simply ride roughshod over other people's intellectual property.
It's fun to speculate and it's undeniably important for any serious business to diversify traffic sources but there is a tendency sometimes to read a bit too much into patents, PR and statements of intent. Lest we forget, they are answerable to shareholders who demand talk of progress, innovation and ultimately, new revenue streams. In that position, you are obligated to talk the talk but it doesn't mean you will be able to walk the walk.
[edited by: Simsi at 11:12 pm (utc) on Jan 6, 2013]