January 19, 2007

Google Planning Ahead for the Next Web Frontier

One of the reasons I believe companies like Microsoft, AT&T and Time Warner have been relegated to lesser roles on the Internet, while more nimble companies like Google, YouTube, Apple and Six Apart have led the way, is because they are fighting the battles of yesterday, guaranteeing them a lifetime of looking to steal market share away from an established leader, and never quite catching up.

If you look at Microsoft today, they are still trying to get their hands around a serious Web portal and search engine. Meanwhile Google is increasing share. Microsoft is looking to promote its Live.com blogs network, yet MySpace, Six Apart, WordPress and Google's Blogger platform reign in leadership positions. Microsoft launched Zune to go after Apple's iPod, and it doesn't look like it's gaining any market traction.

But this, really, truly, honestly, wasn't aimed to slam Microsoft too much.

Industry pundit Robert Cringely notes that Google is snapping up scads of dark fibre and is establishing massive data centers around the country, anticipating a time when the demand for rich media will outstrip the available bandwidth to the home. When the collective masses may respond with a shrieking cyber bloodbath, Google is seen as having the only real alternative. Whether his guess is 100% accurate or not, it is another proofpoint showing that when the big companies zig, Google is zagging, using the collective brainpower from its hundreds of Ph.D's to lead the way in innovation.

As I commented to Don Dodge on his excellent blog around "The Next Big Thing", we used to blanche when downloading a 4 megabyte Netscape 1.0 browser download. Now we're all too eager to take on 1.3 gigabytes of leaked 24 episodes.

While today we may be on the cutting edge, it won't be too long before the masses are given the tools to similarly demand gigabytes and gigabytes of data to the home almost instantaneously. When that massive demand for services comes, some companies will be ready, and some won't. My bet is that Google and Apple will be there.

Listening to ''01_nu_train'', by Underworld(Play Count: 5)