After the dot-com bubble burst in spring 2000 it was Google that saved the Web. By making searches available that were unbelievably fast and returned relevant links, Google made it possible for users to find what they were looking for, and for businesses (online & offline) to get their wares in front of consumers.
With the advent of AdWords and AdSense, Google sustained businesses large and small, and made viable their main search product… and gave them the cash required to set themselves up as one of the few major players in the coming cloud computing revolution (which is, of course, on-going).
But… in the past decade it’s become apparent that as Google as launched new products (Google Maps, Google News, Google Docs, Chrome, etc., etc.) it has also let slip it’s primary interest — it’s search engine. And slipping with it is the Open Web and the long-tail of businesses that need fast, relevant and filterable searches to survive.
Google would be best served today to split into two companies — Google Search and Google Everything Else. It’s time for Google to re-invent Web searching, and for Google Everything Else (or GEE, to coin a term) to stand on its own revenues.
With that move, searchers (and the businesses that thrive on them) will have their open and available Web… and those of us who love GEE will benefit from newly focused business model.
We’ll see what 2011 brings — either a re-energized Google, or a brash young upstart that within several years will make Google Search as good a stock pick as MySpace.