A New Internet Boom Epitomized by Google Is Dawning

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A New Internet Boom Epitomized by Google Is Dawning

Very few companies get to a point where their names become both a noun and a verb in everyday parlance. In the 1960s, Xerox achieved that feat. But, the only company to come close to that achievement in recent times is Google.

To Google something, of course, means to perform a search of the Internet for that item. And, the incredible popularity of this activity has made Google, the noun, twice as big as its nearest competitor, Yahoo.

An article in BusinessWeek likens Google to “a new financial planetary system” with “the gravitational pull to draw in a host of institutions.” As such, Google is on the leading edge of the build-out phase of the information revolution. This technology revolution began in the late 1970s with the introduction of personal computers and is now entering its most economically important phase.

Google, Yahoo, and Alta Vista were launched during the “Internet boom” of the 1990s to address the information overload created by the World Wide Web. Google clearly won, with Yahoo! taking second place. Alta Vista is still around as a distant also-ran.

And while hundreds of other Internet business models crashed and burned, Google’s growth and success have been astounding. Its secondary stock offering, introduced September 16th, has raised not only another $4.2 billion but also the curiosity, greed, and fear of a whole host of competitors, potential investors, and companies that would like to be acquired by the giant. And just as Microsoft and Intel created a business eco-system called WinTel, Google appears to be creating its own business eco-system.

This, among other factors, sets the stage for the next major phase of the information age. Let’s review a few of its opportunities and the ways that other players might benefit.

The original dream of Google’s ambitious founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, was to organize all the information in the world. According to a recent article in Wired Magazine, the company may be on the verge of doing that and much more.

The key to Google’s competitive advantage is its success-to-date in becoming the preferred pathway from most users to the resources of the Internet. With the world shifting from bricks to clicks, this is an enormously attractive position. Because of this favored position in the minds of consumers and businesses, Google appears to be positioned to compete in some way with nearly every company — from Amazon to Comcast, and from eBay to Microsoft.

Comcast and Yahoo! are worried, because Google has been compiling a vast database of network television programming...

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