How Google May Change Our Digital World

A few years ago your loyal scribe found himself at a Busta Rhymes concert.  Ok, everybody get up from the floor.  This is how Busta is described on this own web site.  “He is the most idiosyncratic personality in rap and possessor its most recognizable delivery, a halting, raga-inspired style with incredible complexity, inventiveness, and humour.  That’s my man Busta.

Fast-forward several years to the Thamesville United Church.  That’s where I was last Saturday night at the “Rockin and Reading” concert put on by our editor John Gardiner and his sidekick Richard Knechtel.  Mid way thru the show, my editor and friend for almost 30 years John Gardiner broke into a rap about Valentine’s Day.  John Diefenbaker turned in his grave.  Being in a church, I thought the Lord might appear.  That didn’t happen, but the whole church erupted in hilarity.  My man Busta had some competition.

Something tells me Busta doesn’t have too much to worry about on the Rap scene.  Yes, John was good, but I don’t even think he has any pretense to take the rap market by storm.  Surely his “rockin and reading” are here to stay.  It just goes to show you how here at cktimes.ca we continue to push the envelope.

I can see it now, some poor soul in Jamaica will “Goggle” Busta and up will come John and I.  That’s how the Internet works.  Google, which at one time was another niche search engine, has been acting more like Microsoft lately.  That is before Microsoft got fat and lazy.

For some of you, this might be like another day at the park.  Being “Googled” is very common these days.  However, I remember a time when it was so new I was showing the world.  I showed my East West sidekick Dr. Enamul Haque Google for the first time and he was amazed at how good it was.

Since then it has taken off, stepping out from search into maps, digital imaging, e-commerce, ads and everything else under the sun.  Its initial public offering was widely anticipated.  The sky it seemed was unlimited.  And that search algorithm, the secret behind the “Google” name has become a closely guided secret.

As the Google revolution has evolved so has its footprint.  At one point I thought Microsoft would never be pushed off its perch in the software industry.  However, with Google offering free services over the Internet with their photo editing and global earth Internet based applications, I began to see cracks in Microsoft’s dominance.  I could see the day coming when Google would free the world from Microsoft’s clutches.

How did I see that happening?  What I envisioned has partly come true.  I saw a computer world where “Google” would create web based applications and eventually an operating system for the masses.  Ad sales would push their revenue streams.  If these applications were good on their own merit, Microsoft would have real problems.

It has started to happen.  Microsoft no longer considers “Google” to be some start up search centric Internet company.  They now look at them as potentially the fox, which might raid the henhouse.  However, with zillions of dollars in the bank and millions of nameless drones still willing to work with the Windows OS, Google has a steep hill to climb.

Just last Monday Google shares fell almost 5% after Barron’s financial magazine raked them over the coals.  Barron’s cited increased competition, ad pressure from other search portals and that old bugaboo, “click fraud.”  That’s where one company clicks on sites to drive up prices for competitors.  This essentially clouds the search-advertising horizon turning potential investors away.

It almost makes you think about the “pieinthesky.com” craze of the last 1990’s.  That 5% drop in Google last Monday translated into $5 billion drop in Google’s market capitalization.  Shares were trading at $346 last Monday down from the $475.11 all time share price reached last January 11th.

Now $5 billion dollars down the drain would make me wake up from a deep sleep.  If you go back to that January high share price I don’t even want to count the billions of dollars Google has lost.  However, as we say on the farm, are those real dollars or are they imaginary dollars?

Who knows?  It’s pretty obvious, even with the stock gyrations of the last week Google still has traction.  The future will tell, just how much.