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Has Google Peaked?

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the glory-days dept.

Google 332

nile_list writes "Robert X. Cringely's latest column explores just what the heck Google could be doing. 'Google likes to play the Black Box game. What are they DOING in all those buildings with all those PhDs?' He concludes that it's likely Google has peaked as a company: 'What if everyone is mainly wrong? What if search and PageRank and AdSense are Google's corporate apex. Most companies would be content with that, but Google isn't supposed to be like most companies. But what if they are?' His conclusion is that 'Microsoft's clearest threat still comes from Apple, though not the way most people expect.' It's an interesting read."

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Has Cringely Peaked? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416006)

I, Cringe writes "Robert X. Cringely's latest column explores just how inane and idiotic he can be.'I wilke to play the baseless speculation game. What can I THINK some company is doing based on my limited knowledge?' He concludes that it's likely he has peaked as a columnist: 'What if I am am mainly wrong? What if I, Cringely is my writing apex. Most writers would not be content with that, but I'm not like most writers. But so what if I'm not?' His conclusion is that 'My clearest threat still comes from people with brains, though not the way most people expect.' It's a boring read."

Blah blah (5, Insightful)

TupperTrenine (803932) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416025)

What if, what if, what if. This article could have been posted when Earth came out, or GMail, or even Desktop Search. There can always be speculation, why now?

Re:Blah blah (2, Interesting)

justin12345 (846440) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416153)

It is odd that there seems to be so much Google=bad going around these days.

I wonder if someone is coordinating it all. After all, the general sentiment seems to be that Google=good, so all this Google=bad stuff could clearly be someone's doing.

I wonder who.

Re:Blah blah (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416338)

It's quite obvious who's doing it. Just look at who has the most to gain from Google falling.

Microsoft.

Re:Blah blah (1)

memeplex (910698) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416220)

Indeed. I am impressed on almost a weekly basis by new features and services offered by Google. I think we're seeing only the beginning.

Re:Blah blah (2, Interesting)

igny (716218) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416246)

What if, what if, what if. This article could have been posted when Earth came out

As in "what if the Earth were flat?"

Re:Blah blah (1)

uttaddmb (856927) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416320)

No, as in "Saturn? Mars? I have an announcement to make."

Re:Blah blah (4, Insightful)

kevinwal (883356) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416248)

There's a lot at stake here for a lot of people; Google has collected a huge pile of investor money, and they should expect to be scrutinized, speculated about and puzzled over endlessly.

I wonder how much longer they'll be able to get away with their "black box" style of product development before investors get nervous about it and run away? This article is a symptom of that nervousness, and represents a great example of the media doing it's job to raise questions.

Re:Blah blah (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416284)

This article could have been posted when Earth came out

"What if this life on Earth is nothing special? What if everyone is mainly wrong? What if trilobites and amoebas are Earth's biological apex. Most planets would be content with that, but Earth isn't supposed to be like most planets. But what if they are?"

What are they DOING? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416029)

Working. What are YOU doing, Cringely?

Re:What are they DOING? (2, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416102)

Working. What are YOU doing, Cringely?

He's working. As a journalist and columnist, it's his JOB to write stuff.

Of course Google has peaked (-1, Flamebait)

tehdely (690619) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416030)

That's why they're busily copying every "portal" feature from their superior competitor [yahoo.com] .

Not like it will make any difference here. The drooling Google fanboys at the helm of Slashdot and every other internet forum packed with self-important undergrads who think they understand the internet will continue to praise every single move the worthless punjabs in Mountain View choose to make.

Re:Of course Google has peaked (1)

ShibbyShagDeluxe (818722) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416103)

May the flame wars begin ;)

Re:Of course Google has peaked (5, Insightful)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416114)

That's why they're busily copying every "portal" feature from their superior competitor.
Maybe that part of Yahoo is better than what Google has, but in most places, Google's offering is better. Email, for example. How much space did Yahoo offer before Gmail? 10 megabytes. How much space does Gmail offer as opposed to Yahoo? Google has over twice as much. And feature-wise? Gmail wins hands-down.

Re:Of course Google has peaked (4, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416167)

That's why they're busily copying every "portal" feature from their superior competitor [yahoo.com]

They're pretty slow off the mark then. Yahoo had the "X-Cam Pop-Under ad" feature years back, and Google *still* haven't implemented it.

Google hasn't peaked. (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416042)

I dunno, the article sounds rather like pretty wild speculation to me. Not that speculation is wrong—the author admits it's speculation—but if any of this stuff comes to pass, I would chalk the author's correctness up more to luck than to keen insight.

Google has a lot of project in the works, including Gmail, Gtalk, Google Desktop, etc. These projects are anything but mainstream and have a LOT of room for growth. Hell, there's still even room for growth in their primary market, the search engine. Though they are huge, they are far from owning that market.

And Apple knocking off Microsoft? Maybe, but if they haven't done it yet, I don't have much reason to believe they'll do it anytime soon. I will admit that there was an interesting speculation in the article:

What if Apple introduces OS 10.5, its next super-duper operating system release, and at the same time starts loading FOR FREE the current operating system version—OS 10.4—on every new iPod [as a bootable drive] in a version that runs on generic Intel boxes? What if they also make 10.4 a free download through the iTunes Music Store?

Wild speculation, but man, it would be fun to watch the resulting scramble.

As for me, I'm convinced that if anyone will ever knock off Microsoft, it will be an OS that gets game developers behind them. I've said for years that as weird as it sounds, gamers drive the market. Not many people use computers at home or school for productive uses, most people use them for playing games. The most popular "applications" on my own computer are probably Firefox and City of Heros. Firefox already runs on a zillion platforms. If City of Heroes ran on Linux, I would probably go ahead to switch to a Linux-only system, if for no other reason than it's free and I don't have to buy a new version every few years.

Once everyone is using an alternative OS (not necessarily Linux, but something other than Windows) at home for games, then they will all want to use it at work and school for productivity and educational applications, and that familiarity will drive more and more companies and schools to switch desktops.

But that's just my wild speculation...

Re:Google hasn't peaked. (1)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416091)

Not many people use computers at home or school for productive uses, most people use them for playing games.

WTF are you talking about? The gaming aspect of computing is a tiny portion compared to the actual, useful purposes which it serves. Do you have any stats to back up your claims?

NEWS AT 11 (2, Funny)

tehdely (690619) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416125)

Self-important yutz with a worthless blog noone reads replies to self-important yutz with a worthless blog noone reads.

TAKE IT TO YOUR BLOGS, BLOGGERS.

Re:Google hasn't peaked. (1)

Trigun (685027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416118)

I speculate that Google will no longer be content with being an aggregator of information, they will become a supplier of information, then once that is not enough, a supplier of carefully crafted opinion and "news" articles, forever shaping humanity, and culminating in a run for the presidency of the Earth. ALL HAIL GOOGLE!

Boy, this conjecture is fun, isn't it Cringely?

Re:Google hasn't peaked. (3, Insightful)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416187)

As for me, I'm convinced that if anyone will ever knock off Microsoft, it will be an OS that gets game developers behind them. I've said for years that as weird as it sounds, gamers drive the market.

Yes and no. I agree with your opinion of a game-oriented OS having enormous potential - but PORN, not gaming, according too all the internet statistics I've ever seen - drives the market - the truth is not always pretty. Gaming simply has overcome all other forms of popular - and mainstream - entertainment - deriving more revenue than the movie industry, etc.

Cringely (1)

mfh (56) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416198)

I dunno, the article sounds rather like pretty wild speculation to me.

Consider the source...

Re:Google hasn't peaked. (4, Informative)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416217)

"Google has a lot of project in the works, including Gmail, Gtalk, Google Desktop, etc. These projects are anything but mainstream and have a LOT of room for growth. Hell, there's still even room for growth in their primary market, the search engine. Though they are huge, they are far from owning that market."

Yes, but out of all their many products, they have only one major source of income, Adsense. Their entire business model is based on advertising. Remember how the dot-com boom in the late 90's turned out? And how many of their products work well with Adsense? While I occasionally find the ads coming off of search results useful, I've never seen anything in gmail that was remotely helpful.

"As for me, I'm convinced that if anyone will ever knock off Microsoft, it will be an OS that gets game developers behind them. I've said for years that as weird as it sounds, gamers drive the market. Not many people use computers at home or school for productive uses, most people use them for playing games."

I know these are somewhat old numbers, but according to the census bureau [census.gov] in '01:

  • 55.9% of computer uers play games (though that probably counts games like solitare and freecell as well as City of Heroes and Warcraft).
  • 58.1% use it for word processing.
  • 83.5% use it for email.
  • 89.5% use it for the Internet.

So there are more popular uses.

"If City of Heroes ran on Linux, I would probably go ahead to switch to a Linux-only system, if for no other reason than it's free and I don't have to buy a new version every few years."

Try Cedega, I've heard it works fine with that particular game. Not so sure about plain old wine though.

Re:Google hasn't peaked. (2, Interesting)

future assassin (639396) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416231)

Well at least for me if Adobe were to come out with PS for Linux I would not need Windows anymore. This is the only ap that is still keeping me from switching and a few software install annoyances. Yes there is GIMP and in due time it might be a contender against PS but Im so used to PS and its ease of use I cant seem to break the habit. Adobes move to Linux could also bring in whordes of digital camera user like me.

http://www.evolver.ca/ [evolver.ca]

Yes (5, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416050)

Next question the does not involve endless futile /. speculation please.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416208)

yeah u r right..all these retarted people..now tell me...has google peaked

Re:Yes (1)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416327)

But futile speculation is what /. does best!

How do you know Google is telling the truth? (4, Funny)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416051)

Sure, you type in some stuff, and get something that LOOKS highly relevant. How do you know?

Re:How do you know Google is telling the truth? (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416063)

because msn search said it was highly relevant

Re:How do you know Google is telling the truth? (1, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416099)

Sure, you type in some stuff, and get something that LOOKS highly relevant. How do you know?


Make use of the information you received from the search. Did the information help you solve the problem that led you to make the query? If it did, then the information was relevant.

Re:How do you know Google is telling the truth? (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416133)

How do you know that was the best way to solve the problem?

Re:How do you know Google is telling the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416226)

It is usally easy to see once you have the/a solution and just need to check it.

This might not be so bad (5, Interesting)

Wingfield (872389) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416057)

Google may be following the typical path, which is generally attributed to the growth of a company. The difference that I see between a company like google and Microsoft is that google generally does an awesome job on virtually everything they release(which, by the way, is all free.) G-mail is hands down the best e-mail service I've ever used, and although I haven't used the new IMing service, I hear that it's very streamlined. I like google. They give me what i need to surf the web efficiently. As long as they don't become bent on world domination like Microsoft, I don't see why them getting bigger would be a problem. In my eyes, it means more resources with which to provide us with better services.

Re:This might not be so bad (1)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416264)

Google do lots of cool stuff, and if they joined it up well it could be super cool, but lets not froth at the mouth...

G-mail is hands down the best e-mail service I've ever used

Yeah, the ability to write limited abounts of HTML formatted messages and an interface sunken in HTML makes it really good. The only good thing about it is the storage space and integration within google.com/ig, IMHO. I have seen better, but they have all died a miserable death.

although I haven't used the new IMing service, I hear that it's very streamlined

What? It runs the a Jabber protocol. It is no more streamlined than any other Jabber server, of which there are many.

As long as they don't become bent on world domination like Microsoft, I don't see why them getting bigger would be a problem.

You do know that Google have, in the past, made remarks about putting a chip in people's brains and co-ordinating all the information in the entire world. He who controls the world's information controls the world... even if he is a Baynesian filter.

Re:This might not be so bad (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416313)

I hear that it's very streamlined.

Oh yeah, streamlined indeed babe, it's an IM and only that, no avatars, no offline messages, no integration with other networks, no video, no history, no searching in the inexistant history either, no files transfert... while the XMPP (Jabber) protocol, which is used, implements all of these already...

truth about south indians (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416061)

I hate south indians because they are stinky and ugly. And they have ugly broad noses and eat idlis etc. every day. I dont like their language because it is too gay and stupid and is an embrassment even to listen to it.

South indians, please don't reproduce. The other indians (the ones north of karnatak,andhra and orissa) don't want you shudroid dravidian numbskulls because your skin is too dark and shitty.

thanks for listening. i love you :))

Re:truth about south indians (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416109)

Mod parent up!!!

Re:truth about south indians (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416209)

You know what man, I think all of those Curry eating Call Center monkeys should stay in india and leave the real work to us.

Attn: Robert X. Cringley (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416072)

You're old. LMBO

yawn (4, Funny)

Chaos_Thoery (797173) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416073)

These articles are like monthly soap operas. What will happen next? Google gets pregnant? lame.

Re:yawn (1)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416138)

These articles are like monthly soap operas. What will happen next? Google gets pregnant? lame.

Ummm, yeah, but here we all are talking about it. Even lamer.

Re:yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416293)

monthly? Last time I checked, we had updates every few hours.

Google is a useful tool (2, Interesting)

eneville (745111) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416081)

Google is is a tool in the sense that it is a content search. It has tried to branch out in many ways but is it after all, still a page search engine.

There are alternatives that we all know of. Of late it appears that google now want money for their splendid efforts of acurate page delivery. Which is fair enough. But we all rely on google.

It is my opinion that Google has not yet peaked, there are plenty more ideas that they can deliver.

Expect to see user targeted adverts more frequently.

How to bring down Google - Do-Not-Search law. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416083)

I used to love Google, but not anymore. Don't ask why, but reading Google-related stories on slashdot every few hours is one of the reasons.

This has led me to come up with the seeds of a compelling plan that will bring down Google. It involves making search engines respect privacy and copyright, by law.

Search engines like Google enable people to compile information from different sources about the same thing. So while one website might not provide enough information about some John Smith, using search engines it is very easy to find out a lot more about that person. And without the consent of that person. This compiled information could be harmful to that person in various ways. CNET was recently shunned by Google because one of it's reporters "googled" Google's CEO and found out some stuff about him. Google didn't like that. I don't like it either when someone else is able to "google me". I'm sure you don't like that as well, after all, it could be a potential employer, spouse, scammer, stalker, etc. who could be "googling" you.

I am sure most people and entities (companies, government, etc.) would not like to be "googled" because of various reasons. It could be about national security, competitive reasons, personal well-being, etc. They should be able to "opt-out" of internet searches.

This is what a proposed "Do-Not-Search" law would look like: There would be a national do-not-search registry which the search engines would have to check against before returning the results of each search. All items in the do-not-search registry would have to be excluded from the search results. If the search engine doesn't do that, then there would be penalties associated with it.

A person or entity, upon presenting some valid credentials, could add some terms to the do-not-search registry. For example, John Smith can exclude himself from being searched. Only problem is, how to ensure other John Smiths are not excluded as well ? This is a 'bug', and will be sorted out soon.

This is a work in progress, and only began a couple of days ago when all the hoopla surrounding Google Talk reached its height. Your comments/opinions on this would be helpful as well.

Google needs to be tamed because it is a threat to many of us. I am sure some lawmaker in the US, Canada or Europe would grab on to this and then it will begin. The stock price would tank and the searches would become increasingly complex, time-consuming and irrelevant as the do-not-search registry grows. That would be the end of Google as we know it, and we would have saved slashdot and ourselves.

Re:How to bring down Google - Do-Not-Search law. (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416149)

ok, you make this law in the US and then, what? ... invade any country that has non-crippled search engines?

robots.txt (2, Insightful)

theguywhosaid (751709) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416199)

hey fucktard, robots.txt [google.com]

Re:How to bring down Google - Do-Not-Search law. (1)

atomm1024 (570507) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416328)

I can see why you posted this anonymously, because that's (figuratively) the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

You want to destroy such a useful and important tool, something that makes the World Wide Web ten times more useful, just because it can help people more easily find personal information about you? News flash: if you don't want people to find personal information about you on the Web, then don't put it there. If some other site has information about you, then ask them to remove it. (I don't know if there's already a law, but if not, then there should be one requiring website operators to remove personal information about a person if they request. That would be a proposal serving the same purpose as yours, but less idiotic.) If you don't want people to find out your interests, for example by searching for your name and finding archives of mailing lists you subscribe to, then don't subscribe to mailing lists that archive to the public web. In whatever case, "Knowledge Wants To Be Known." (Like "Information Wants To Be Free," but not as vague or ideologically-loaded.) Once some knowledge about you is available on the public World Wide Web, it is pointless to try to control it by stopping people from searching it. Even if search engines are required to obey a do-not-search law, they will be replaced by decentralised systems. Someone could apply the Kademlia algorithm to a distributed spidering/searching network, for example, and if it ran on an anonymous system like I2P, then there would be no way to shut it down. Besides, it would be tricky to interpret a "do-not-search" in the context of a non-central search system. The fact is, it is hard to fix a social problem (invasion of privacy) with a technological solution (preventing companies from compiling indexes of information already available to the public, and letting the public search it easily).

Also, you say: "For example, John Smith can exclude himself from being searched. Only problem is, how to ensure other John Smiths are not excluded as well ? This is a 'bug', and will be sorted out soon." No, a "bug" is a functional error in a program. This is a fatal flaw in your already-stupid plan. You're pretty much admitting that there's no solution to this. How do you propose search engines differentiate betwixt different people of the same name? It would need some very advanced Artificial Intelligence, one which could presumably pass the Turing test, because it would have to understand human language. And if Google develops such a technology, then that alone could probably sustain them corporately, even if their search is crippled by the law.

In conclusion, you are an idiot.

Yeah, right. (5, Interesting)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416086)

There's still SO MUCH more to be done in the field of search itself. The goal of a search engine is to provide the user with the exact result s/he is seeking. Google is doing a decent job right now, but definitely nowhere near ideal. In the ideal world, the application would know exactly what you were looking for, and give it to you. There's a ton of AI stuff that is just emerging. Even IF Google is at its peak, the market itself isn't. Much more to be done!

OSS Google Killer? (1, Interesting)

bbzzdd (769894) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416087)

I was thinking about what could possibly out-Google Google other than some other company making a better search engine.

Would it be possible to construct an OSS distributed search index, where anyone who participates would donate a portion of their disk to for indexing thus creating a super-distributed, free-Free, Google killer? The only downside I can see is that it might be painfully slow compared to Google, unless some genius out there came up with a clever algorithm to distribute the indices.

If it were OSS, couldn't it borrow heavily from PageRank[tm] as well?

Just a thought I thought I would throw out. The details and implementation are beyond me.

Re:OSS Google Killer? (5, Funny)

trash eighty (457611) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416107)

yeah thats a good idea, a free Google killer.

having to pay to search on Google is a real bummer... oh wait!

Re:OSS Google Killer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416243)

PageRank[tm] is not Free. For a company whose motto is "Don't Be Evil" a lot of people are starting to think they're evil [nytimes.com] . I like Google and most of their products, but part of me sees a sprouting problem that might be best nipped in the bud.

Re:OSS Google Killer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416265)

One may not pay financially, but we pay in many other ways. Sure, Google has an public policy of doing no evil, but how can we be sure? How long will they be doing 'no evil'? I, for one, would happily support a OSS implemented search engine. Information is power - and Google is gaining information in leaps and bounds. I would much prefer that power to be in the hands of the people rather than a corporation whose only true goal is to please it's shareholders.

Re:OSS Google Killer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416286)

What, like grub? [grub.org] Or any of the myriad of p2p search engines? [openp2p.com]

Re:OSS Google Killer? (1)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416321)

Why yes, because I trust J. Random BroadbandUser much more than I trust Google, that's for damn sure!

Google is threatened (1)

bredk (838817) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416089)

It's easy to see google is threatened. Adding all kinds of features in every possible direction. Where is the simple but extremely effective google i love?

Here it is... (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416205)

Dude, it's right here [google.com] . That's the beauty of Google and why I like it so much. You only have to use the features you want to, no fuss and no muss.

And all of these weird features like e-mail and road maps that they're tossing out there all willy-nilly in obvious desperation are really, really cool. Really.

Yahoo also has e-mail, road maps, an IM service, and so on, and they're not exactly threatened as a company, at least not right now. And what about Microsoft? It's got all that, plus a highly complex operating system, a very high-level office productivity suite, development tools, etc. ad nauseum, but it's anything but struggling at the moment.

Whatever Google's doing... (1, Flamebait)

Pakaran2 (138209) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416106)

...I sincerely doubt it justifies an 83 P/E (as of Friday's close). Can we stop hyping them on Slashdot? Please? They're obviously getting enough hype already.

Re:Whatever Google's doing... (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416233)

It sucks that you want to buy and the /. owners have already bought, right? :)

It is obvious isn't it? (3, Interesting)

tknn (675865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416108)

While I do think their search algorithm is slowly getting hacked and more link farms are popping up, it seems obvious the plays they are making:

personal location based services.

Repeat after me...

personal location based services.

Google Maps, the other purchases, google weather and tracking. All this stuff feeds into some sort of local play for the cell-phone/gps space. Maybe car nav systems as well. Ubiquity.

There is still a lot of things that can be done with information for management if they want to. They could create a directory system similar to Yahoo. They could let you further customize the news and other stuff you receive.

Re:It is obvious isn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416192)

Directory system similar to Yahoo? Like Google Directory [google.com] ? Further cusomize the news and other stuff you receive, like Personalized Google [google.com] ?

Re:It is obvious isn't it? (1)

mikael (484) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416225)

Google Maps, the other purchases, google weather and tracking.

Google maps (and Google Earth) would be much more useful if they had all the urban areas covered at the same resolution.

There's nothing worse that trying to find the location for an interview, or an apartment to rent, look at the satellite view, only to find a fuzzy collage of grey, black and green blobs.

I hope Google has peaked (4, Insightful)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416113)

  1. As a webmaster, I don't want to rely on Google for 80% of my traffic. I'd like to be able to count on each of three search engines for about 30% of my traffic. Google has been known to throw sites out of their index accidentally.
  2. As a user, I feel that Google knows too much about me already. They have a ton of information about what I search for. With gmail, they have a list of who I know, with maps they have a list of places I go, with froogle they have a list of what I buy.
I would prefer that some of the other players in search got their act together and improved to the point to be able to challenge Google. I'd prefer if some of the other maps, email, and shopping sites got their act together and became as good as Google.

Its hard to hate a company that usually has the far superior product, but Google is getting huge and a little scary.

Re:I hope Google has peaked (3, Interesting)

ShibbyShagDeluxe (818722) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416154)

Imagine if Google was secretly a government covert operation under a non-threatening company stance, looking to find out everything about anything, in a freaky big-brother-esque reality? That would be quite an interesting holywood shab-shot movie...

What about CELL (1)

Tenenil (894153) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416115)

And he's missing one big point: CELL architecture is PowerPC (Apple) + 8 other cores (non PPC). Get the point ? Linux and OSX are easy to port (IBM has already done it), but far away from optimal utilization of the other 8 cores. And M$? As i understand, they just started to move to PPC a month or two ago...
But don't underestimate M$, with .NET they're fully on pseudo-assebler (MSIL), which IMHO is a good, if not excelent point to start from...
And their new concept wich doesn't require a file to hava a parent folder AT ALL and the interface for it aren't to be underestimated...
Im definitly on the linux side, but I expect much to come from M$.

contrarian (1)

hey (83763) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416116)

He's just being contrarian.

But - jeeze - Google seems to be coming out with an amazing new product each month. I would hardy ask what's everyone going there - they seem to working their asses off.

Damn! (1)

cnerd2025 (903423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416123)

That's a good article. Very well thought-out and analyzed. I do, however, think that Google does pose a decent threat to Microshaft, or else the Redmond Giant wouldn't be suing both the company and Kai-Fu Lee. However, Apple does have a serious opportunity to dominate the PC market. I'd love to get OS 10.4 or 10.5 on my PC hardware to run alongside linux. The computer already can recognize it as a drive when the system boots, so I think this would be a great solution. It would sure change the way we use PCs and memory altogether. No more Microshaft OS (and I use "OS" loosely)? Storage/OS you can keep with you all the time? Sounds good to me. Maybe even add some bluetooth or something. I'd be all for this. Maybe even get a small Rosetta port for the iPod processor to run some minimal system apps. Very interesting....

Just Cringley being an Apple fanboy again (3, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416129)

He started out ok, made a few interesting at least observations about Google behaviour of late. But then with a lot of handwaving and not a lot of reasoning dismisses them as has beens so he can go on yet another tired rant about how Apple is going to rise from insignificance and crush it's enemies.

Didn't we all get tired of hearing this same song from the Amigans, how any day now _insert company who owns em today_ is going to come back with something wonderful and all the infidels on PCs and Macs will be wailing and gnashing their teeth?

Apple is a bit player now, will remain a bit player after Intel. In fact, after they perform this one last act for Mr. Gates (get TCPA into mainstream use, something Gates was rightly pilloried for trying under the Palladium name) I'd expect the coup de grace to finally be administered.

But leave off the last part of that collumn and it does raise an interesting question. Where does Google want to be in ten years?

Come on... (1)

hasst (852296) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416131)

I would of put on the 1st page the news about Google giving away free blowjobs [I read it on Slashdot] instead of this article.

Apple is nice, but is faaaar from being a threat to Microsoft, they had their chance and blew it, I'm sure they will never get to be 1/10 of Microsoft.

Google still has the revolution in thier ballpark, if they will be able to offer grid applications to terminals [pc/pda/phone/whatnot] over a smart communication protocol [nomachine.com like]. I strongly believe that this will be the born of the new online based society, also it will the killer of Windows.

Finally, the writer becomes self aware. Wait and see!

He's right (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416132)

You know, this guy who makes a living by getting his name in the press is completely, objectively correct. There's nothing Google can do with the FOUR BILLION dollars they raised in a (small) stock sale.

There's nothing left to invent in the world. There's nothing more we want from computing. There are no more improvements possible. Rampant spam, spyware, crummy messaging protocols like email and primitive IM are all that we want. We don't need access to more information in other dimensions of our lives, and all the Ph.D.s in the world are not going to find ways to improve our lives through computing.

Google, if you're listening, please understand: there are no more efficiencies possible in human society, at least through information management. The annual improvement of efficiencies of 4-10% per year noted by macro economists is all smoke screen. Stop making maps, phone-related lookup services, and archives of all the world's libraries. We simply don't want this information, or need it. Please stop trying. K THXS.

Sincerely, B. Gates

How Apple can drive MS into a berserker frenzy: (2, Funny)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416142)

Cringely:
Every one of those iPods is a bootable drive. What if Apple introduces OS 10.5, its next super-duper operating system release, and at the same time starts loading FOR FREE the current operating system version -- OS 10.4 -- on every new iPod in a version that runs on generic Intel boxes? What if they also make 10.4 a free download through the iTunes Music Store?


It wouldn't kill Microsoft, but it would hurt the company, both emotionally and materially. And it wouldn't hurt Apple at all. Apple hardware sales would be driven by OS 10.5 and all giving away 10.4 would do is help sell more iPods and attract more customers to Apple's store.


I have only one comment on this: BWA-HA-HA-HA!
But it'll never happen.

Yet more google speculation.... (0, Redundant)

Onymous Hero (910664) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416144)

Seriously...can slashdot either rename itself to googledot.org or preferably STOP THE FUCKING GOOGLE SPECULATION STORIES!!!

Google maybe, Apple no (3, Insightful)

Continental (738540) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416146)

Maybe Google has peaked, or maybe they're just in a bit of a valley right now (see the underwhelming debuts of GTalk and GDS 2). I can give that to Cringely. But Apple giving away copies of OS X?? Even old copies, especially old copies? That's insane. If they really wanted more market share Apple could just preload porn on all new video iPods.

Robert X. Cringely never peeked and he's jelous (1)

zenst (558964) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416152)

I still remember when he conned a TV company into letting him build a plane and he made some huge mistakes. but the best part was when he almost hit the camera crew threw his own inner anger and no provication from them whatsoever. Clearly a bit unbalanced under stress and this is IT were stress and work go hand in hand.

Hence I think he is just jelous, simple as and sheeping it with oh lets slag {insert latest biggest name} as was the case with IBM then Microsoft and now he feels its googles turn. Seriously its sad when you cant be constructive and have to be deconstructive just to justify your existence.

Go back to being creative and constructive calmly Robert, you have potential without going down the tabloid sheep route.

OK, I'll say it... (3, Interesting)

resprung (410576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416155)

Everybody is rooting for brilliant convergence, but Google is a such a mess nowadays, it's just not going to happen.

Google Video is a ratty service, even for a beta, I've regretted the time I spent uploading content. No way it's going to shine.

Google Talk is a callback to 1995.

Picasa and Hello are glued messily together, and posting from Hello is flaky.

There's a bushel of great services too, but the whole Google concept is just all over the place.

Peaked? Not yet... (1)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416159)

...not until Sergey Brin and Larry Page jump over a shark tank on their motorcycles... After that there'll be a cute but irritating cousin who comes to live with them, and after that, they all move to LA and take up professional surfing and crimefighting.

THEN it's all over. Or at least has jumped the shark [jumptheshark.com] ... Same thing.

Umm ... (1)

smoondog (85133) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416164)

Last week (i believe) Google announced selling more than $4 *billion* in stock. From the company: "We anticipate that we will use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, including working capital and capital expenditures"

General corporate purposes? Yeah right. Google is likely up to something big. And it isn't going to end with maps and im (my personal guess is an os). If goog hasn't peaked, they certainly are going to make a lot of noise falling.

Re:Umm ... (1)

smoondog (85133) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416190)

oops I meant to say if "google has peaked, ..."

Wow (4, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416165)

This has to be a new low. "I don't know what Google are doing, so I'll write about how I don't know what Google are doing!"

Every one of those iPods is a bootable drive. What if Apple introduces OS 10.5, its next super-duper operating system release, and at the same time starts loading FOR FREE the current operating system version -- OS 10.4 -- on every new iPod in a version that runs on generic Intel boxes? What if they also make 10.4 a free download through the iTunes Music Store?

I thought this "OS X on generic Intel boxes" thing had been done to death? How are Apple going to solve the driver problem? Giving away a free older version that doesn't work with half your hardware is going to make a negative impression, not a positive one.

Past performance is no indicator of future success (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416166)

I think they did a study of people who did sucessful start ups and found they didn't do much better than average on subsequent start ups. I don't think it would matter much if the subsequent start ups are done internally. Of course some people or companies can get lucky but you shouldn't confuse luck with genius.

We interrupt this program (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416172)

to bring you a message of great importance:

It's not the tech, you armchair pundits. Microsoft has peaked, Google has peaked; it's all fluff and bullshit.

The ONLY lasting code Microsoft has ever produced, the ONLY code that has made them their billions, is the contracts that utterly bind people like Michael Dell to pre-loading Windows on every box they sell. It has never been about value or features or stability or security.

As long as Mr. Dell and the others in his position must load Windows on the machines they sell Apple and Linux are fucked.

The sooner you tech heads stop salivating for $500 video cards and SATA-150 drives and educate yourselves about Joe and Jane Blow and the others who buy 99% of the machines in this world the sooner you'll stop looking stupid. This is why Mr. Dell is Mr. Dell and you're not.

Feeling Lucky (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416184)

What if Google's plan is to actually deliver on the 1990s promise of a "Web Desktop", one app at a time? They're doing it 1990s "spiral development" style, rolling out one complete feature at a time. Amassing the best (or #2 behind Apple) brand in the world, with a "Google feel" of simplicity, immediacy, and nonintrusion. When they lay a layer of association across their related apps, so their Earth model is related not only to your searches (including history of clicks) but also to your contacts and purchases, presenting your online life to you seamlessly wherever you "hit the Web", they'll have endrun Microsoft and everyone else in the "computer business". All those other companies will be merely component suppliers, and the customer relationship will belong to Google. Which is where every seller wants to be - so all those other vendors will have to go through Google to get to the customer. Without all the "evil" baggage of Microsoft, or "complicated" baggage of AOL. Of course, Google won't be able to totally monopolize that relationship, nor hold it forever without challenge. But they will be in the catbird seat for long enough to have all the advantages of perpetuating their power that incumbent market dominators get. It remains to be seen just how benevolent, and benign, is their ruling of that roost - if they achieve it.

has google peaked? (1)

dlockamy (597001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416185)

i don't know...but it looks like the Google Hype has finally peaked.

Maybe now I can stop hearing about how google is going to rock the world and get back to using google to find stuff on the web.

If, so this would be a huge boon for slashdot... (4, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416191)

... because even the most virulent (ahem) MS-loathers have to be aware that they're sounding a little stale these days. The sheer drama of a once-romantic company like Google making the transition from dewey-cheeked lass to, well, a grown-up company will fuel slashdot rants for years. This is mostly due to the dislike, on the part of so many users here, of the realities of what it takes to be a large, publicly-held, growing tech company (i.e., make money for the people who invested so much cash, solidify the brand, beat or absorb competition, and show that you have what it will take to continue to grow indefinately). The real drama comes from Google's original "no evil" clause, coupled with the completely rudderless definition of "evil" as used by slashdotters. Thus will Google simply become a canvas on which to paint every argument about capitalism, openess, income disparity, regulation, monopolism, liberalism, conservatism, and operating system religions.

It's not so much the fun we'll have watching certain G-accolytes feeling betrayed. It's the fun we'll have watching so many people realize they've simply been projecting their own notions onto a company that's now so large and visible that the disconnect will be obvious, even to those addled enough to have thought that there could be something that big, "free," and still beyond the reach of normal economic realities. We're not seeing Google "peak," we're seeing the Google fanboy fantasy peak. I use their tools dozens of times every day. As a surfer, as a consultant, as a merchant, as a consumer, as a driver, as a communicator... but for some reason, as much as I'm impressed with pretty much everything they do, I've not ever quite heard the siren song that so many others seem to hear. I'm always impressed, but not so much seduced. Perhaps it's because I don't have the abiding hatred for Google's competition found in so many others - that makes the whole issue less emotional, I think.

I love google but they can't hang with MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416213)

Not unless something radical happens. Now maybe MS shouldn't be targeting google, but they are.


I liked this [slashdot.org] comment. I think it hit a lot of it on the head.


Do this, go to mycroft [mozdev.org] and install some other search engines. Teoma is good, ask jeeves is good, msn search is good, yahoo is good. Try them out, just for a few days. See how the net works for you. for me it's almost a revelation at times, you find different stuff. Google is nice but there are other good searches too and some of them might be better than google. Google is like a security blanket, it's always there, fast, it has street cred (they run GNU/Linux, it's ad lite, etc..) my fingers effortlessly type it on the URL prompt.


They need to not be too cocky, they need to do other things. Between yahoo and ms, I'd be worried if I was google. Not so worried I didn't take chances but definitely worried about letting my guard down or getting into some market I didn't know inside-out. The tides can turn fast. What on earth would make them a competitor to MS? Other than MSN Search and Hotmail? MS makes and sells software, operating systems, dev tools and applications, lot's of it. Google doesn't even have control over a browsing platform. The biz community wants another MS, badly, but google isn't it, not any time soon.

can i go out tonight?? (1)

Abstract_Me (799786) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416215)

"but mooooommmmm, im peaking!"

Google Operating System (1)

thenetbox (809459) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416221)

It may just be the beginning. Didn't they try to hire one of the OS people from MS? Also google labs [google.com] says:

Passionate about these topics? You should work at Google.
algorithms
artificial intelligence
....blablabla
operating systems

This does not give a definite answer to anything and it could imply lots of other things but it is a good clue. Everything they are doing shows that they are far far from done.

Re:Google Operating System (1)

leonbev (111395) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416347)

Doesn't Google have their own distribution of Linux that they use on their search cluster? Perhaps they're hiring for that.

Google will 0wn M$ (1)

RealisticCanadian (850967) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416232)

Interesting Read, if you're fond of raving. Like much of the "stories" and "articles" that abound on the 'net, radio, and TV; this is one person's completely misleading opinion backed by the sketchiest of facts.

Google is just getting warmed up. They did not create 'a brain drain in the industry' (too tired to link to more slashdot, go look), snatching up the most talented people with good wages, just to peak at this stage.

As any geek who's been watching and analyzing google for awhile (I'm sure there are plenty of us here!) knows intrisically, Google is just warming up.

Maybe we don't 'know' what they plan to do. However, if they keep developing these highly effective solutions, and tie them together, the masses will soon have a completely different view on what the computer can be used for.

They're already touted by a large % of geeks (read: tech-savvy-users). As all their 'developing projects' evolve, we will see some decisive corporate actions. As for the 'black box' ... well, If I planned to knock microsuck from their throne of power, I wouldn't let the cat out of the bag, either.

I mean, shit, to many of us slashdotters, 'microsoft' and 'evil' are interchangable words.... so it certainly fits in with "do no evil" :^p

So what if they are? (1)

ninja_assault_kitten (883141) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416255)

I really don't give a shit.

Google Reminds me of Digital (2, Interesting)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416256)

Much like Digital they only employ people who "get it" when it comes to technology and real innovation. Theire chosen back end OS? Linux. Wise choice especially on the technical end. Unfortunately, there are some people who think that technology should exist for business and that's when things go sour. That's what happened to Digital. They were run by some of the most brilliant engineers, but they hhad to compete against other companies run by suits who only care about making money and not advancing technology or society. Most of the time techs can't beat suits at business. Let's hope this isn't the case with Google. I really like seeing companies that are more focussed on moving technology forward and less focussed on insane profit. (Yeah, I know they make a lot of money from ads, but they apparently aren't totally focussed on it because they've been coming out with the most innovative stuff due to their sole focus on the advancement and innovation with technology.)

What If? (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416261)

What if everyone is mainly wrong? What if search and PageRank and AdSense are Google's corporate apex. Most companies would be content with that, but Google isn't supposed to be like most companies. But what if they are?

What if Cringely came to work one day and couldn't think of a single bit of unfounded speculation, or a single word of bizarre Apple cheerleading? So far there are no signs of this happening, but what if it did?

Cringely is such an ass.

Re:What If? (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416322)

Cringely is not a person. It is an alias for the columnist they have hired at that moment.

The real question is... (1)

Stalyn (662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416263)

has the amount of Google stories posted on Slashdot peaked? Insiders say no and also point out dupes, inflammatory stories and Zonk blogs are also on the rise. CmdrTaco was unavailable for comment. CowboyNeal was quoted as saying, "[CmdrTaco] is laughing all the way to the bank".

How stupid (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416268)

God damn, the company is just a few years old. It's like watching a nervous parent with a baby: "OMG he just cried! is he hungry? is he STARVING?!!?" (baby sneezes) "OMG! is he sick? is he DYING?!?!?" Fucking A, give'em a couple years, OK?

Has journalism always been like this? Were there articles 95 years ago asking stupid questions like "Does Ford's lack of a steam vehicle spell the death of this company?"

If anything, the success of MS has shown us that you don't even need smart people and good products to maintain a lead. (No offense to the many bright people at MS.) Even if Google has peaked (which I really, really doubt; I think they're just warming up) they can coast along profitably for decades and if they survive that long, it will have a lot more to do with marketing and general business acumen than whether the quality of their products is improving, declining, or staying the same.

Look around your neighborhood. See all those restaurants? See how some close in 2 years and some stay open for 20? It has little to do with the quality of the food. I'm sure everyone has a restaurant they thought was great that is gone. (Me, I miss Darby Dan's in SSF. Unbelievably good sandwiches.) It has to do with luck, skill, circumstances, and a million other things. As long as the food doesn't make people sick, you've got that base covered. Everything else depends on these other things.

And, even if google has peaked, so fucking what? I think everyone on this board agrees that their search engine alone makes the Internet 100x more useful than it was 5 years ago. And as long as they have enough brainpower to keep pumping out nifty things like google maps, I'm happy.

(Note that I say all this as a big fan of Cringely in general. Here's one of many reasons. [pbs.org] )

Dull is ok (1)

Alomex (148003) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416273)


The question of what those 600+ PhDs are doing is quite a natural one. It seems that it takes that much brain power to keep the system running smoothly. Can you imagine how difficult is to mine the daily amount of data that is produced? or intelligent ways to foil google spammers? or to distinguish what is dark web garbage from what is dark web gold?

Microsoft history's shows that a company can grow tremendously big on the basis of a single insight that is never replicated (the single insight of M$ is "software is where the money is, not hardware").

Google's hasn't even had a single unique insight. The Page ranking algorithm (which is quite clever), was more or less independently co-discovered by Altavista. The rest has been good execution over an Inktomi-style platform. But the point is, that this is all Google might ever need. Good execution and rather incremental hidden improvements.

Still relevant, fading slightly (2, Interesting)

crucini (98210) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416283)

From their tenthings [google.com] page:
2. It's best to do one thing really, really well.

Google does search. With one of the world's largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well, and how we could do it better.

Followed by some defensive fudging to link the "hardcore search" mantra with the current portalization of google. Interesting note at the page bottom:
* Full-disclosure update: When we first wrote these "10 things" four years ago, we included the phrase "Google does not do horoscopes, financial advice or chat." ...

What the recent NCSA study showed, contrary to the slashdot interpretation, is that Google remains very vulnerable to keyword spammers, while Yahoo is quite good at muting them.

Google is no longer a clear-cut leader in search, and they are branching out to the full spectrum of portal services. And it's not clear that they will succeed in these new areas.

I'm very grateful to Google for increasing the demand for engineers, pressuring other companies to ramp up engineering and prioritize innovation, and teaching the world that giant flashing gifs and paid placement listings were not the way to go. And Google Maps shows that Google is still capable of giant leaps forward.

I'm puzzled, however, by the level of Google fanboyism on slashdot. I guess a lot of you were "imprinted" by Google back in the Dark Ages of search when nothing else worked right, and cannot see them objectively.

They can still APPLY PR & AS to new areas (2, Interesting)

Jeff Molby (906283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416299)

What if search and PageRank and AdSense are Google's corporate apex.

That's probably true, but it's completely irrelevant. There are still countless areas in which they can APPLY PageRank and AdSense.

Has Apple picked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13416302)

In our company it's Linux that's killing Microsoft, not Apple.

And it appears that we are not alone: according to our web site stats Linux desktop is used by 8% of the users, Apple - about 2%. Somehow I doubt that Apple's recent architecture change will help increase Apple's user base, more likely the opposite will happen.

As for iPod... I think Archos 20GB Gmini is a better option (tiny and under $170).

I agree on some point on Apple (2, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416317)

I agree with Cringley that Microsoft shouldn't overlook Apple and focus too much on Google. The recent migration to Intel should have sent warning signs. If Mac OSX on Intel performs better and more reliablly then Windows, PC makers like Dell and HP can't use the megahertz argument. That's a big "if" though.

The other reason the Intel move hurts Microsoft is less subtle. By switching to Intel, Apple hurts development on the new Xbox360. Right now development is done on Apple G5s probably because of the similiarity in chip architectures. By moving away from PowerPC, Apple makes it harder for game companies to develop. Sure developers could probably use something else like Intel emulating PowerPC or an IBM PowerPC machine. But the later is very expensive ($5K a piece) and the former doesn't provide for real-world simulations.

OS 10.4 loaded on an IPOD (1)

gorkhal (899592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416330)

is gonna hurt microsoft???!!
i mean how?? All ppl are going to do is play music and video files from within the OS. So how is it that consumers will be exposed to the rest of the supposedly great features of OS 10.4. Why would they even bother?? Unless the IPOD's plan is to morph into a PDA, there is no reason for people to do anything else other than multimedia.
Even if this works out, all this will do is sell more IPODS nothing else.

Google is on its way to Victory. (1)

Praedon (707326) | more than 8 years ago | (#13416339)

I hope Google makes it to the top. With a name like that, even Babies can pronounce it! With all jokes aside, Google has turned from being a decent search engine, to what a standard of search engines should be for all the others. I personally have Desktop 2 beta, Stayed up all night and pressed refresh on google.com/talk till I could download it, and I use google maps on a daily basis (I freak out my friends that are computer illiterate that I can watch them with google satellite maps).
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