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As at May 29, 2005, Google last traded price was $266 – an increase over its opening price of $100 on August 19, 2004. It is easy to be caught up by the outburst of irrational exuberance over this spectacular performance. Instead, this article tries to present a contrarian’s view
The objective of all search engine providers is epitomized by the ideal search often portrayed in the popular television and movie series “Star Trek”. When the captain issues a request for all information on a Klingon spaceship, the search engine intuitively understands that he wants military information. It does not provide information on how much the spaceship costs in the commercial market and where it can be obtained, nor the scientific details that would interest an engineering student.
Search engines are similar to rating agencies like Moody and Standard & Poor’s (S&P). These engines rate web pages similar to the way Moody would rate a company credit rating by giving it a rank. Google’s latest patent application are similar to the methods used by stock charting (technical analysis) – using the same ideas such as Rate-of-Change, Momentum and so forth. It is comparable to Moody apply a patent for some of the methods use for ranking and henceforth, restraining S&P from employing similar algorithms.
The upcoming Sony Playstation 3 will have 1% the processing power of a human brain. Given that most people uses 10% of their brainpower, it is years away, not decades, that machines will have equivalent brainpower.
The respective percentages of all searches done in February 2005 are 36% for Google, 31% for Yahoo, 16% for MSN and the rest shared by the smaller providers. As evident by these numbers, market share can fluctuate significantly over a few months.
Microsoft is numero uno when it comes to desktops and internet browsers although it is facing challenges from Mozilla (internet browsers). Sony (the leader in game consoles), Linux (desktop). Given its large base of customers, this dogged competitor is flexing its muscles against Yahoo and Google. It is foolhardy to write-off Microsoft, given its resilience, market-savvy, financial resources and history of handling challenges from upstarts. MSN spiders are faster in indexing web pages than its two main rivals.
Yahoo is the perennial internet competitor. It has more than 100 million customers and has a presence in every piece of the internet pie. Its search engine revenues rose and it is closing the gap to Google’s dominance.
Some possible dark horses in the race may include Clusty and Accoona. Clusty has some nifty clustering technology that can provide different categories while Accoona has search abilities based on artificial intelligence. Accoona also has a large customer base in China where the internet population is the biggest in the world surpassing that of U.S.
This author’s take:
Despite its pronouncements, Google will need a large customer base to be able to provide “more personalized searches”. Providing 2GB free email is the first step, from which it can harvest a lot of raw data which many privacy advocates are strongly oppose to.
Google’s plan to digitize all the books in the major libraries may lead the company into a legal quagmire of copyright issues involving publishers and authors.
Maybe, the emergence of some “intelligent” browsers with in-built artificial intelligence capabilities which can bypass search engine servers altogether – instead these agents would apply filters or weights according to the wishes of the individual searcher.
Google typifies the successful upstart – self-assured, confident and secretive, causing dismay to analysts and fund managers. During its recent IPO (Initial Public Offering), Google bypassed the traditional route via underwriters and brokers thus denying them a share of the spoils. This slap on the wrist would not go down too well with these lords of the financial world. Should Google face some difficulties or stumbles, this publicly traded company may give new meaning to the expression “When it rains, it pours”.
Expect mergers, takeovers to be the norm. The real leader of the internet would evolve from the diverse parties and it would include the Ebay-Paypal component. We live in interesting times.
Stan Seecrets’ Postulate: “The imminent war for world domination will be fought between the gods of the internet and the gods of finance.”
About the author:
The author, Stan Seecrets, is a veteran software developer with 25+ years experience at (http://www.seecrets.biz) which specializes in digital asset protection. You can email him with comments and criticism via Stan at Seecrets dot biz. © Copyright 2005, Stan Seecrets. All rights reserved.
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