I am trying to imagine what early signs we might see if Google started to struggle with their search engine revenue.
1. People are using mobile devices more, and they are not clicking enough ads
2. People are going directly to sites like Amazon, Wikipedia, Facebook, and other big sites. They don't rely on search as much.
3. In additional to traditional competition like Bing and Yahoo, larger websites have solid search platforms of their own.
4. With other large properties, the advertising platforms are getting quite mature. There are increasingly more good platforms for display ads and PPC that are easy to use and less bloated than Adwords.
So then what might we start to see from Google...
1. Smaller payouts from Adsense to maximize PPC earnings
2. Use of auto searches to increase the impressions on search for investor data
3. There is an increase in so called "anti spam" measures, but the reality is this is an attempt to push traffic to more profitable clicks.
4. More real estate taken up on their results pages by ads, and other Google links to maximize the traffic/PPC they are getting.
5. Moving heavily into other areas like cloud storage, youtube syndication and cell phones in hopes they can find another revenue stream as good as PPC
6. Hide search queries from analytics data so it is more difficult discern the quality and quantity of Google traffic data.
On the investment side...
1. Another quarter is looming, and it is getting harder to show PPC is growing, and maybe even a pull back is happening
2. Co-Founder, Larry Page, still has powerful guidance of the corporation's future, but his future as the head of the company is at stake, as the Board of Directors could just vote him out.
3. Larry Page has already gone in and closed a number of programs, but the Board of Directors may next start talking about closing bigger parts of the company and laying off people so they can report a profit to shareholders