19 October 2006

That giant sucking sound is Google

OK so we cannot possibly let the new atronomical number from Google pass without a comment. It is now clear that the number is fueled in significant part by the Travel Industry. So all that keyword bidding for Hawaii (especially Europe and Asia as they come on line) ... yes thanks to all of the meta search engines... yes its all that cash being sucked up by the Google Vacuum cleaner.

I remember a time when we used to laugh that there was never going to be a problem with the internet as the real estate was limitless. Wrong picture. The directory proved to be the choke point.

Not that I begrudge them the business model. Far from it. Google has proved itself a worthy successor to the Microsoft mantle. The gotta have it and cant live without it stuff of the 80s and 90s is now Google space.

But it is now time to develop an alternative. As we reach maturity in the market for online travel - where the channel is no longer the relevant issue - it takes smarts to find better ways to mine and nurture customers.

So for disruption we can only look in 2 places - innovation and the government. Will the Government launch a probe into monopoly practices at Google. It you think that there was a case for the Microsoft and AT&T probes then surely there is one for Google. But - well the Bush Administration is a little preoccupied with another matter so they wont do it. On the other hand Mr Spitzer in NYC might be very tempted to take a look. Especially given his aspirations for 2008.

In the mean time lets just keep shovelling the cash into the Google machine. Sergey and his partner can then fix the old Qantas 767 up nicely and maybe even invest in Space Wire. Or perhaps do some good with the cash.



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