diberry - 9:09 pm on Jun 12, 2013 (gmt 0)
What I think we need is an alternative to Google, and soon - as in, the next 5 years.
I agree, except I think Google is wanting to become that alternative.
I don't think of Google as primarily a search engine. Remember they've already said they're not committed to being a search engine, and that would be an absurd statement if they're all about search. I think fundamentally they are a company that does amazing things with math, and there's plenty of room for them in the new global economy.
But only if they make the right adaptations at the right times. That may be where they're trying to get feedback from us. I don't think they're just looking to improve search; I think they're trying to figure out where they should go as a company from here. They must be asking themselves some huge questions, like will search as we know it even exist in a few years? What new innovation is out there that will guide people to websites in a whole new way? Is "helping people find websites while serving ads" going to continue to be a good business model, or do they need something else entirely?
When Google began, it was webmasters who made them huge. They might be trying to rekindle that fire and get some buy-in on any potential new direction they take as a company. After all, the most brilliant idea can fail just because the public wasn't ready to hear it from you at the moment you chose.