Eurydice - 11:20 pm on Jul 30, 2010 (gmt 0)
In Google-world, everything looks Googly. Time is also googlized: the future will be Google. The past has always been Google.
It's hard for many people to realize, but there was a time before Google. Actually, there was a time before search engines. The web wasn't always all about search.
From 1995-2001, the model of the web was portals. The big sites were portals: Yahoo, AOL, Go.com, Excite, @Home. Nobody cared about search. In 2001, Google's founders tried to sell their search engine for a mere one million dollars; nobody wanted it. They didn't see a use for it.
Around 2002-2003, the model of the web changed. Portals became irrelevant. Search engines became the main issue. It also took a few years for Google to become #1.
And now, again, in 2009-2010, the web is changing again. Search is no longer the focus. It's now social connections. Google isn't going to disappear, but it will become "just another site", in the same way Yahoo has become just another site. Yahoo has 500m users, billions in revenues... and who cares? The same is happening to Google. All the attention, development, and investments is in social, namely, Facebook.
Google can't change that, no more than the portals could force the attention to stay on portals.
Social won't be the final stage. Facebook will have its day in the sun. And in 5-7 years, the next phase will come along.
(And yes, there was a phase before portals. From the mid-80s to 1994, the web was centered around Usenet.)