Friday, December 14, 2007

Is Google going Microsoft’s way?

Through two almost successive product announcements, Google has started to convince me that it may be going Microsoft’s way. Microsoft used its dominance in the Desktop OS and Office business to clone existing successful programs with great success in the 90s, destroying many startups in the process.

Google is doing the same things but I suspect Google’s ability to defeat the incumbents with two upcoming services.

First, Google announces a Wikipedia-type system called “Knol” where people can write encyclopedia type pieces and share ad revenues with Google, benefiting from Google’s easy indexing promise.

About.com, ehow.com, wikihow.com, squidoo.com, hubpages, mahalo.com, howstuffworks.com…these are some of the heavy weights that Google aims to defeat just because it enjoys 70% dominance in the search business.

Earlier Google launched base.google.com to challenge Craigslist, pages.google.com to challenge easy web page creators. What happened to all these?

Then there is the trust thing. Will Google go Yahoo’s way and show links from only its properties as top results. That is easiest way to lose credibility in the market.

Coming on to the second announcement of Google introducing a redesigned version of the long dead Google Answers, where it will most probably show results from Google search. If this is the case, the new service can be as vague as some Yahoo Answers replies can be. At least the original Google answers had people who gave detailed, researched replies for a fee.

Suggestion for Google:
Combine the above two services and create an army of 10000 people (when it died, Google Answers only had 800 people answering questions) who are willing to search on demand and try to create a better service than existing human-powered search services, including chacha.com.

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