Google turns the Big 10 years old on Sept. 7 and there are no shortage of stories about what the company has achieved in a decade, as well as comparisons to how Google fared compared to Microsoft’s first 10 years.
As the leading search engine and the best executor of search advertising on the Web, Google earns about $16.5 billion in annual sales, its stock sells at $450 and the company boasts a market cap of $142 billion.
Not bad, right? Fine, but we at eWEEK are more interested in what Google will do in the next 10 years. Come along for the ride…
The Chrome Wars
The most obvious place to start is with Google’s Chrome Web browser, which took 1 percent of the browser market within its first day of release.
What will happen if more and more people choose Chrome over IE? There is no easy answer to that question. Media and bloggers like to say Chrome will break Windows but the fact is that you can’t get to the browser without having Windows or Linux boot up your machine.
Here’s what I believe. Instead of going to Microsoft Office for word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, users will increasingly go first to Chrome on Windows, Linux and Mac machines, and then to Gmail, and other Google Apps, such as Docs.
This will happen in the consumer sector, but thanks to new apps such as Google Video for businesses and increased reliability from Google’s cloud infrastructure, businesses will begin to live on the Web, too.
This is already starting in small businesses but medium and large enterprises will start to adopt Google within 10 years. Internet Explorer will be rendered irrelevant as Chrome becomes the new IE and Google Apps becomes the new Office.
What will happen to Microsoft? Microsoft will revitalize Windows by battling back with Live Mesh and will look to pursue the mobile space, but as Microsoft Watch’s Joe Wilcox noted, the software giant is well behind in this area.
Chrome Comes to Android
Chrome is a hit, but Google co-founder Sergey Brin has also said Chrome will slip into Android.
In the next few years, Google will successfully map the Chrome desktop experience to Android phones, which start to challenge Apple’s iPhone for quality user experience and mobile market share. A two-horse race for mobile Web consumption ensues between Google and Apple.
Nokia and other phone makers will continue to make phones but their software will be supplanted by Chrome and other Google Web apps.
Microsoft Windows Mobile market share begins to decline. Users will continue to access Chrome and Google Search and Apps from Android phones.
The conversation around Google’s search ad business on the desktop remains strong, but Google begins to look less like a one-trick pony as Chrome and Android open up more mobile ad opportunities for Google.
Google Grabs the Web App Mantle
OpenSocial becomes more prevalent on the Web, with programmers using the APIs to build applications that users can take with them to multiple Web sites.
As an open-source project ceded to the greater Web community, this is not a key financial play for Google, but ties in to the company’s push to get more users online.
More users online, as Google likes to say, is good for Google because that means more people will be seeing Google advertisements.
Unfortunately, at 100 million-plus users and counting, Facebook is and will be viewed as the premier social network. Facebook will benefit from advertising on its network.
Just as Google has shut Microsoft and others out of search advertising, Facebook will shut Google and others out of the majority of social ad market share. Microsoft, by virtue of its relationship with Facebook, may have an in here.
Google, meanwhile, will ratchet up its display advertising focus by selling millions of ads on YouTube, the premier video-sharing site. Google begins to eat share from Yahoo’s display ad business. Or will it be Microhoo’s display ad business?
After laying the foundation for Chrome, Android and Google Apps with a vibrant search ad business, Google becomes the dominant Web applications company, powering both consumer and businesses, thanks to great strides in cloud computing reliability and security.
Rumors of Microsoft’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Microsoft’s Web presence remains relatively small compared to that of Google. Windows continues to improve, and despite Google’s and the media’s attempts to lay it to rest, the OS remains the dominant desktop operating system.
Microsoft finds traction with Live Mesh among consumers, most of whom are leveraging it through their mobile computing devices. It’s on-premise desktop software business declines thanks to Google Apps, but shops continue to use both Web apps for productivity and traditional Microsoft Apps.
If Microsoft has 85 to 95 percent of that desktop software today, it will be more like 60 percent in 10 years.
However, this might not mean much. By 2018, BlackBerrys, iPhones and Android smart phones will have gotten so advanced that they replace PCs and laptops both in the consumer sector and in some businesses. Windows Mobile fades, while PC sales shrink.
Ultimately, we will look back on 2008 as the year Google began to seriously derail Microsoft’s attempts to create a major Internet presence. Meanwhile, Facebook and other sites will begin to challenge Google in ways we can’t even begin to imagine yet.
One thing’s for sure; our world will be a mobile one for work and play.