Is Google Going The Way of The Dinosaurs?

I just saw an article on the Silicon Alley Insider that caught my attention. It is titled Google Next Victim of Creative Destruction? (GOOG) by John Borthwick.

When I see article like this my hat goes off to the author. He talks about the potential downfalls of a billion dollar gorilla. This article goes way beyond the typical recall of event that happens to putting some thought into what might or could happen.

Think it cannot happen think again. For over a hundred years the Swiss dominated the watch building industry. They invented the Quartz watch movement. Decided it was a technology of no interest. Today the majority of the watches built use the quartz watch movement. Remember the slide rule or even the horse and buggy. In there use at their time in history they were dominant.

When I think about the Database industry and how relational databases changed it all. That was over 20 years ago. What new Database technology will overtake the state of the art today?











Google Next Victim Of Creative Destruction? (GOOG)


The web has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to evolve and leave embedded franchises struggling or in the dirt.    Prodigy, AOL were early candidates.   Today Yahoo and Ebay are struggling, and I think Google is tipping down the same path.    This cycle of creative destruction ? more recently framed as the innovators dilemma ? is both fascinating and hugely dislocating for businesses.    To see this immense franchises melt before your very eyes ? is hard to say the least.  

I saw it up close at AOL.    I remember back in 2000, just after the new organizational structure for AOL / Time Warner was announced there was a three day HBS training program for 80 or so of us at AOL.   I loath these HR programs ? but this one was amazing.   I remember Kotter as great (fascinating set of videos on leadership, wish I had them recorded), Colin Powell was amazing and then on the second morning Clay Christensen spoke to the group.   

He is an imposing figure, tall as heck, and a great speaker ? he walked through his theory of the innovators dilemma, illustrated it with supporting case studies and then asked us where disruption was going to come from for AOL?    Barry Schuler ? who was taking over from Pittman as CEO of AOL jumped to answer.   He explained that AOL was a disruptive company by its nature.    That AOL had disruption in its DNA and so AOL would continue to disrupt other businesses and as the disruptor its fate would be different.     It was an interesting argument ? heart felt and in the early days of the Internet cycle it seemed credible.   The Internet leaders would have the creative DNA and organizational fortitude to withstand further cycles of disruption.   

Christensen didn?t buy it.     He said time and time again disruptive business confuse adjacent innovation for disruptive innovation.   They think they are still disrupting when they are just innovating on the same theme that they began with.   As a consequence they miss the grass roots challenger ? the real disruptor to their business.   The company who is disrupting their business doesn?t look relevant to the billion dollar franchise, its often scrappy and unpolished, it looks like a sideline business, and often its business model is TBD.    With the AOL story now unraveled ? I now see search as fragmenting and Twitter search doing to Google what broadband did to AOL.

Video First

Search is fragmenting into verticals.  In the past year two meaningful verticals have emerged ? one is video ? the other is real time search.  

Let me play out what happened in video since its indicative of what is happening in the now web. is now the second largest search site online ? YouTube generates domestically close to 3BN searches per month ? it?s a bigger search destination than Yahoo.     The Google team nailed this one.    Lucky or smart ? they got it dead right.    When they bought YouTube the conventional thinking was they are moving into media.  In hindsight ? it’s media but more importantly to Google ? YouTube is search.     They figured out that video search was both hard and different and that owing the asset would give them both a media destination (browse, watch, share) and a search destination (find, watch, share).  Video search is different because it alters the line or distinction between search, browse and navigation.     

I remember when Jon Miller and I were in the meetings with Brin and Page back in November of 2006, I tried to convince them that video was primarily a browse experience and that a partnership with AOL should include a video JV around YouTube.     Today this blurring of the line between searching, browsing and navigation is becoming more complex as distribution and access of YouTube grows outside of    44% of YouTube views happen in the embedded YouTube player (ie off and late last year they added search into the embedded experience.    YouTube is clearly a very different search experience to      

A last point here before I move to real time search.    Look at the speed at which YouTube picked up market share.  YouTube searches grew 114% year over year from Nov 2007 to Nov 2008!?!     This is amazing ? for years the web search shares numbers have inched up in Google favor ? as AOL, Yahoo and others inch down, one percentage point here or there.    But this YouTube share shift blows away the more gradual shifts taking place in the established search market.     Video search now represents 26% of Google?s total search volume.

To read the remainder of the article….

Google Next Victim of Creative Destruction? (GOOG) by John Borthwick.

Posted Michael Corey,

Founder & CEO, Ntirety

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