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December 19, 2005

Will Google fall in 2006?

David Kirkpatrick, senior editor at Fortune, says that Google will falter in 2006.

Yes, I love Google, but my first prediction is that a year from now we won't think that the search company is the invincible behemoth that we do now.

Take a new concept known as "community-powered search." Yahoo is forging an early lead over Google in this fast-evolving technology with its acquisition last week of for a rumored $35 million (the actual amount was undisclosed). operates on principles similar to the popular MySpace. But whereas that social network site helps members find dates, form groups, and share music picks, helps members find hot information--websites that others have found useful.

Soon we will see a new form of results, like "What Others Liked," on all search engines. It's how Amazon tells its customers what others have bought, except that these search results involve information. In many cases, community-powered searches will let members find what they're looking for more quickly than they would on a purely computerized type of web search, which Google does so superbly. Yahoo was already introducing community-based searches with >My Web 2.0. Of course, Google is surely working on its own alternatives.

Google's response to Yahoo's My Web is Personalized Search, but the current implementation makes it hard for a user to rate a website or to categorize it. The bookmarking system is quite feeble. Integration with Google Toolbar and creation of a community with trusting hierarchies will be next challenges for Google.