Google losing search?

September 4, 2007

I have been thinking about Web 2.0 lately and its impact on search and the startling thing I have come up with is that the successor to Google may already be amongst us. Let me illustrate my point. Today on AVC there was a post titled Rick Rubin and the Future of the Music Business. In that post is a reference to an article about Rick Rubin that says the following:

This summer, Columbia Records began a program called Big Red. The company invited 20 college students from Harvard, Penn State and the University of Miami to work on various music projects… At the end of their paid internships, the students took part in focus groups … The Big Red focus groups were both depressing and informative, and they confirmed what I — and Rick — already knew,” DiDia told me afterward. “The kids all said that a) no one listens to the radio anymore, b) they mostly steal music, but they don’t consider it stealing, and c) they get most of their music from iTunes on their iPod. They told us that MySpace is over, it’s just not cool anymore; Facebook is still cool, but that might not last much longer; and the biggest thing in their life is word of mouth. That’s how they hear about music, bands, everything.”

While Fred Wilson looked at this from the point of view of the music business, I looked at it thinking about search and the way that young people communicate. This sentence is the most telling:

‘They told us that MySpace is over, it’s just not cool anymore; Facebook is still cool, but that might not last much longer; and the biggest thing in their life is word of mouth.’

Where is Google in this statement? It’s not there. It looks as if MySpace was the search mechanism of choice for youth and now Facebook holds that role. That ‘word of mouth’ has replaced the role of the centralized authority of Google. Sure, Google will continue to be the place to go for search by a large number of people but the future of search may lie with the social networks that allow youth to communicate with each other, to find what they want through ‘word of mouth’. I can see many ways that Google can change to take advantage of this phenomenon…but will they? I think not. I think that they are already caught up in the ‘Innovator’s Dilemma’ on this one.

In the end I can say that this trend makes me very happy because PodGlo allows people to communicate through ‘word of mouth’. How much better can you be positioned for the future then with a product like that?

– Doug K.

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