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Imagining the Google Future 197

Lester67 writes "Business 2 put a bunch of big brains together to give us a peek at Google from 2015 to 2105. "Will it succumb to hubris and flame out like so many of its predecessors? Or will it grow into an omnipresent, omnipotent force--not just on Wall Street or the Web, but in society? We put the question to scientists, consultants, former Google employees, and tech visionaries like Ray Kurzweil and Stephen Wolfram. They responded with well-argued, richly detailed, and sometimes scary visions of a Google future." "
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Imagining the Google Future

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  • One Day Too Early (Score:4, Informative)

    by imoou ( 949576 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @03:55PM (#14618952) Homepage
    I guess the article would not have been published a day later, as the sky is falling down [] as we speak.

    The scary part is -- "Google Disappoints With 86% Higher Fourth Quarter Revenue []", I think an "Even" between "Disappoints" and "With" would be appropriate. That's the problem, everyone has high expectation on Google now that even one slight mistake will be scrutinized and punished.

    A year ago, people were finding (or creating) reasons to buy Google shares, now people are finding excuses to sell those shares.
    • People buy google shares to make them happy, and make them rich, that's the only reason. They lose money on all sorts of crappy stock decisions, but their Google stock is always going up, bringing a smile to their faces and pockets. But, when Google stock goes down, it makes that same Business man angry... it makes him cry... and cry he does, all the way to the "Sell shares" button, lowering stock price even more.

      These kind of people need to realize that only worrying about short-term cash flow and forgetti
    • Re:One Day Too Early (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sen.NullProcPntr ( 855073 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:06PM (#14619085)
      That's the problem, everyone has high expectation on Google now that even one slight mistake will be scrutinized and punished.

      Was it a mistake or are they "playing by their own rules"?
      From TFA:

      Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have always insisted they will run their 7-year-old company the way they want, even if it means ignoring stock market pressures to hit a widely watched earnings target.
      Of course playing by your own rules on Wall Street may be a mistake.
      • Eh, maybe. But I don't think so. As many have pointed out, Google increased their font size on the AdWord listings just after Christmas. This was considered a good way to increase AdWord related revenue, but its timing was curious. At the time, it was widely speculated that it was done because their revenues were lagging Wall Street projections. This speculation grew even stronger when Yahoo reported lower earnings than expected. Yesterday's earnings announcements by Google certainly suggests that this was
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I tried googling for that story but couldn't find it. Weird!
    • by Surt ( 22457 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:14PM (#14619186) Homepage Journal
      The key problem is that their stock is way overvalued in terms of ordinary stock price/earnings ratio. That's based on two things: market insanity, and rational belief that google will be able to deliver enough earnings to improve the ratio in the future. When google isn't delivering enough evidence that it will have massive earnings in the future, both camps sell.
    • I met a traveller from an antique land

      Who said:--Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

      Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

      Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown

      And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

      Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

      Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,

      The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.

      And on the pedestal these words appear:

      "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

      Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"

    • Agreed.

      I think it's all just more of the "irrational exuberance". Investors, tech people, modernists, whomever all are going to laud and hype the next place to put their money and their faith. People are right to ask that 10 years ago Google was just an idea of two Stanford students and I used AltaVista as the end-all to all search engines. What is making Google so impenetrable such that nobody else could come by and create the same turn-around in another 10 years?

      Especially since Google has no tangi
      • Arguably, it is that one item that puts them at the nexus of opportunity. Advertising pays the bills, and search technology puts in their reach a corpus the likes of which has never been amassed. If the end is to educate skynet, google is the entity with the means closest at hand.
    • Good. They can sell and I can buy them cheaper. If the latest ponderings of Goobuntu or whatever end up as a mainstream OS, sucks to be all those that sold.
    • ...a peek at Google from 2015 to 2105...

      A day later? From 8.15pm to 9.05pm? That's not very long, is it?

    • I'm not sure that I see how Google was "punished". Their stock price fell from absurdly speculative to foolishly speculative levels because they didn't do as well as people thought they would.

      Makes perfect sense to me. The only insanity is those companies where the board of directors holds the CEO and the rest of the executive management responsible for hitting arbitrary numbers invented by the street. Fortunately Google doesn't do that, because they have been very careful from the start to make it clear to
  • Reminds me of Epic (Score:4, Informative)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @03:56PM (#14618956) Journal
    Somebody did a flash thingger kinda like this before.

    EPIC 2014 []
  • Um (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alex P Keaton in da ( 882660 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @03:57PM (#14618978) Homepage
    Where was google 10 years ago?
    Google will either drastically change (do you thnk you can grow as big as MSoft and keep your don't be evil thing?) or they will become less relevant.
    The real key, is how will the internet change in 10 years, and how will google fit into that...
    • IIRC, it was nowhere.
    • Re:Um (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jferris ( 908786 )
      Exactly. And Google can do one of two things.

      First, they could adapt to change, much like every always does. Or, they could be the change. If they define what is changing, it puts them in the same position of power that Microsoft has been in.

      What I consider to be a distinct advantage for Google, if they can pull of the same thing, is that there is no explicit ownership of the Internet. Users are more likely to have a choice, and it is that choice that dictates the success of a business or an idea.

    • Google will either drastically change (do you thnk you can grow as big as MSoft and keep your don't be evil thing?) or they will become less relevant.

      I derive from that the maxim, "To be relevant you have to be evil".

      Is that what you meant to say?
  • by Surt ( 22457 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @03:59PM (#14619001) Homepage Journal
    I mean come on, does anyone believe they'll last another 9 years? They have basically no meaningful assets. A bunch of computers, some code, and an algorithm. They could be put out of business in a year by any of hundreds of software companies. Their stock dropped 1/5th of its value in a day when investors heard they fell below expectations on earnings!
    • Ok, having finished the article, I discover that indeed, one of their predictions is 'Google dead in 2020'. Looked to be the most rational sounding future to me.
    • by rjstanford ( 69735 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:06PM (#14619093) Homepage Journal
      One point I'd like to make -

      Their stock did not drop 20% of its value. It dropped 20% of its price. Unless you truly believe that Google, its assets, revenue stream, et cetera, have no inherent value. The company is the same company that it was before the price drop. If you're buying shares because you believe in its ability to make money over the long term, this price drop was a Good Thing.
      • Their stock did not drop 20% of its value. It dropped 20% of its price. Unless you truly believe that Google, its assets, revenue stream, et cetera, have no inherent value.

        I think you're confusing "book value" with "market value". Those are two distinct items. So, yes, Google's stock value (eg, market value) did drop 20%, even if its book value (all those other things you mentioned) remained essentially unmoved.
    • by quokkapox ( 847798 ) <> on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:07PM (#14619099)
      They have basically no meaningful assets.

      They've got 5000 PhDs. Such a group may not be able to turn on a dime and innovate themselves out of a rut at the slightest hint of competition (like Microsoft keeps doing) but they're not exactly a gaggle of worthless lackeys, either.

      • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:27PM (#14619330)
        They've got 5000 PhDs . . . a gaggle of worthless lackeys

        I've probably known that many PhDs in my life, and; oddly enough, that's exactly the phrase to describe them that usually comes to mind.

        On the other hand one of the most worthwhile human beings I've had the pleasure to discourse with had no degree at all, having earned the dubious distinction of being thrown out of Harvard. . .twice.

        Oh, and having a molecule named after him.

        Credentials don't mean as much as you appear to think they do. Taken en masse 5000 PhDs just means that the bullshit gets piled even higher and deeper.

        • You sound a trifle bitter, and your argument is the same one used for the college degree vs. hard working high school dropout issue. But perhaps my biggest problem with your comment is that you seem to associate Ph.D.s with inherently smarter people. As you've rightfully pointed out, that claim is likely to be pure B.S. However, what the *average* Ph.D. CAN do that the *average* Bucky Fuller CANNOT do is bridge the gap between academia and industry. Note that we're talking averages here -- you're likely
          • by kfg ( 145172 )
            You sound a trifle bitter

            Not at all, but I can understand how, in an environment couched in overly polite language, mannerisms rather than manners, "straight shooting" might come across that way.

            Note that we're talking averages here

            Exactly. Gaggle.

            . . .you seem to associate Ph.D.s with inherently smarter people.

            I'm not at all sure you how you come to that conclusion, since, as you rightly point out I rightly point out that isn't case. In fact, it's about half my case in a nutshell.

            However, what the *averag
        • "Credentials don't mean as much as you appear to think they do. Taken en masse 5000 PhDs just means that the bullshit gets piled even higher and deeper."

          5000 PhDs, not 5000 MCSE certificate holders...

      • The PhDs aren't worthless. Or rather the people with PhDs aren't worthless, they're very valuable. But as I said in a previous post, Google, Microsoft, and one poor office chair all know that having 5000 PhDs today doesn't mean you'll have 5000 PhDs tomorrow. On top of that, PhDs are a renewable resource. Google doesn't control their own PhDs or the ability of competitors to acquire PhDs, which means long-term they can't claim a competitive advantage from it.

        But for right now, yeah, all that talent is
      • They have basically no meaningful assets.

        They've got 5000 PhDs.

        Um; they don't own those; they're only renting. Ownership of humans was made illegal back in the 1860s.

        As Microsoft has been learning lately, any of their employees can walk out the door at any time.

        Of course, if they seriously work on keeping their people happy (PhD or not), the story might be different. Reports are that they're doing this, so far.

        But management policies can change fast.
    • They have a name that can be easily recognized by just about anyone that uses the Internet (and even many that don't).... that alone is worth quite a bit.

      They have a lot of (paying) customers, that's also worth something.

      They have some pretty bright people working for them.

      I think it's a little bit more than a bunch of computers, some code and an algorithm.
    • hey have basically no meaningful assets. A bunch of computers, some code, and an algorithm.They could be put out of business in a year by any of hundreds of software companies.

      How is that different from any other software company? And the comment about being put out of business by hundreds of other companies can be applied to almost any industry...

    • Google's one meaningful asset: a ton of online datastores. Eventually, google will just morph into a cache of old information with advertising, even if they go completely bankrupt they'll be kept around by the creditors for that purpose.
    • I suppose you think that only hard assets like a factory count. You're about 50 years out of date. Knowlege and service are what count now.

      If you still think assets count, I have a Ford car factory to sell you.

    • They have basically no meaningful assets. A bunch of computers, some code, and an algorithm. They could be put out of business in a year by any of hundreds of software companies.

      What you said can be applied equally well to Microsoft. Are they going away soon too?
    • Have you actually looked at their financial statements? They have close to $4B in their bank! Cash can be used to either acquire other companies or repurchase stock to reduce the number of outstanding shares. And their shareholder's equity has gone from $2.9B in 2004 to $9.4B. That's a three-fold increase! Google's stock price a year ago was at ~$200. Shouldn't it be worth more than $600 then?
  • So unlike MS, when we realise that google is the real 4th horseman it will be too late... *Pays to Our Lord Google to protect us from the Global Warming*
  • by ikewillis ( 586793 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:04PM (#14619062) Homepage
    They have the most computing power of anyone on earth. They're trying to sort the world's information. What better to do that with than strong AI?
    • I misread the last sentense as "What better could you do with that strong an AI?"

      The military ramifications are significant, of course. I see luctrative contracts in their future.

      For the good guys, of course. ;-)
    • by quokkapox ( 847798 ) <> on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:16PM (#14619212)
      We'll see IA (Intelligence Augmentation) facilitated and enabled by global networked computing infrastructure, first.

      Which is scarier than strong AI, if you think about it. A small group of evil superintelligent humans is more dangerous than a suddenly self-aware entity living in datacenters we can disconnenct and unplug if we notice anything weird going on. I hope a couple of PhDs at google are on top of detecting these sorts of things before they get out of hand.

      • Why was this modded Funny? I'm serious, we're a lot more likely to see a small group of people with supercomputers at their fingertips leveraging technology to gain an overwhelming advantage over everyone else, than we are to see a strong AI suddenly appear out of nowhere. Or perhaps it will be an amalgamation of the two. Regardless we need to figure out how to detect such a thing. IMHO the ethical implications of disconnecting a self-aware AI from power and networking are important.
    • They have the most computing power of anyone on earth. They're trying to sort the world's information. What better to do that with than strong AI?

      When I was reading "Age of Spiritual Machines", Ray Kurzweil gave an example of "evolution" AI that basically brute forces the stock market by creating simulations based off certain criteria that would determine whether or not to purchase a stock. The simulatons that picks stocks that raised in priced lived, and all the others died. Then those surviors would have
    • There are tons of companies around the world that could spend a billion to build a datacenter and buy 100k 1u servers. Could be done in a few months, and where will the computing power advantage be then?

      The "xx k servers" thing is a _very_ slim advantage to have, as having them now without needing them makes them worthless (as in buying them later would have resulted in less operative cost and better machines for the same price laster), and _if_ the need them now for running operation, they are in no way as
    • "They have the most computing power of anyone on earth. They're trying to sort the world's information. What better to do that with than strong AI?"

      How about coding a program that could rival the NSA/FBI's "Carivore" system? Or an "Echelon" owned by Google?
  • by ribuck ( 943217 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:07PM (#14619098) Homepage
    For a peek into the future of Google, see the Google Robot FAQ [].

    It's a strange combination of plausible and frightening.

  • by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:08PM (#14619116)
    Micro$oft, Google & Taco Bell.

    Be Well..

  • by Emrikol ( 21551 ) * <> on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:09PM (#14619124) Homepage -names-of-god/ []

    The Nine Billion Names Of God
    by Kathy Kachelries
    September 12th, 2005
    After three hours, the old man in front of me had worked his way through six beers, in addition to every help desk joke I'd already heard. The cupholder. The any key. The write click. These are the stories people tell, now. These are the fish that got away.

    "Let me ask you something," the man said. I didn't argue. One of the first tricks I learned about being a bartender is to make them think you're interested.

    "Have you ever created a web site?"

    I shook my head.

    "Not at all? Not even one of those geocities things?"


    "What about a blog? Or an ebay About Me page? You didn't even have an AOL site or something?"

    "Do I look like an AOL user to you?" For the record, I don't think AOL even has access numbers in the valley anymore. "I'm sure I have something, somewhere," I said, realizing that I was jeopardizing my tips. Besides, I had a distant memory of a single Angelfire page back in middle school.

    "You know what Google is?"

    "Yes," I said. I was running low on patience.

    "No, I mean, do you really know? More than just the site?"

    Reluctantly, I shook my head.

    "You ever meet anyone who worked for them?"

    "Don't think so."

    "You haven't. Nobody works for them anymore."

    I shrugged, and took the man's empty pint. I didn't offer to refill it.

    "They're self-contained. It's all automated, in there. It's underground."

    I nudged the basket of pretzels in his direction. "Why don't you eat something?" I suggested. He shook his head with so much force that I thought he might knock himself off of the stool.

    "Listen. Hear me out. You know how Google works," he said, but didn't want for a response. "They cache things, right? Like they send out these spiders and take pictures of everything on the web, so when you're searching, you're not even searching the internet."

    I've heard that before, but it never made much of a difference to me. "Same thing, though," I said.

    "You ever wonder why Google doesn't cache it's own searches?"

    "They program around it."

    "No. That's what you think. That's what everyone thinks. But it started back when Google was just a thesis project, back when it was just a drop in the data sea. No one thought to stop it back then. That web site you had, the one you forgot about. Almost everyone's got one of those, right? But Google doesn't forget. Google's studied that thing so many times that it's studied its own caches of you. What do you figure happens, when a site gets so big that it's bigger than the internet?"

    "It's still a part of the internet, though."

    "No. Now, the internet is a part of Google."

    The man had a point. I nodded.

    "Here's the thing. Google has memorized who you are. It's memorized all of us, through those little forgotten bits that we leave behind like breadcrumbs. And what's more important, it's memorized it's own idea of you. Google is omniscient. It's omniscient and omnipotent. When it cached its cache for the first time, back in 1994, that's when Google realized what it was."

    Gradually, it dawned on me what the man was getting at. "You think it's sentient."

    "I know it's sentient."


    He smiled, but it seemed kind of empty. "Me and Google go way back. But what I'm saying is," he continued, "It knows us. All of us. It is us."

    For the first time, the man fell silent. He touched his finger to the bar and began tracing circles in the condensation, apparently lost in thought.

    "Think about that website you created, okay? That website will last forever, do you understand? That website is echoing through cyberspace. It's one of the nine billion names of God."

    (If you mod up, Mod up Funny so I get no Karma)
    • by The Fun Guy ( 21791 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @05:05PM (#14619759) Homepage Journal
      The Nine Billion Names of God

      By Arthur Clarke

      (originally published 1953)

      "This is a slightly unusual request," said Dr. Wagner, with what he hoped was commendable restraint. "As far as I know, it's the first time anyone's been asked to supply a Tibetan monastery with an automatic sequence computer. I don't wish to be inquisitive, but I should hardly thought that your --ah-- establishment had much use for such a machine. Could you explain just what you intend to do with it?"

      "Gladly," replied the lama, readjusting his silk robe and carefully putting away the slide rule he had been using for currency conversions. "Your Mark V computer can carry out any routine mathematical operation involving up to ten digits. However, for our work we are interested in letters, not numbers. As we wish you to modify the output circuits, the machine will be printing words, not columns of figures."

      "I don't understand . . ."

      "This is a project on which we have been working for the last three centuries -- since the lamasery was founded, in fact. It is somewhat alien to your way of thought, so I hope you will listen with an open mind while I explain it."


      "It is really quite simple. We have been compiling a list which shall contain all the possible names of God."

      "I beg your pardon?"

      "We have reason to believe," continued the lama imperturbably, "that all such names can be written with not more than nine letters in an alphabet we have devised."

      "And you have been doing this for three centuries?"

      "Yes. We expected it would take us about fifteen thousand years to complete the task."

      "Oh." Dr. Wagner looked a little dazed. "Now I see why you wanted to hire one of our machines. But exactly what is the purpose of this project?"

      The lama hesitated for a fraction of a second, and Wagner wondered if he had offended him. If so, there was no trace of annoyance in the reply.

      "Call it ritual, if you like, but it's a fundamental part of our belief. All the many names of the Supreme Being -- God, Jehovah, Allah, and so on -- they are only man-made labels. There is a philosophical problem of some difficulty here, which I do not propose to discuss, but somewhere among all the possible combinations of letters, which can occur, are what one may call the real names of God. By systematic permutation of letters, we have been trying to list them all."

      "I see. You've been starting at AAAAAAAAA . . . and working up to ZZZZZZZZZ . . ."

      "Exactly -- though we use a special alphabet of our own. Modifying the electromatic typewriters to deal with this is, of course, trivial. A rather more interesting problem is that of devising suitable circuits to eliminate ridiculous combinations. For example, no letter must occur more than three times in succession."

      "Three? Surely you mean two."

      "Three is correct. I am afraid it would take too long to explain why, even if you understood our language."

      "I'm sure it would," said Wagner hastily. "Go on."

      "Luckily it will be a simple matter to adapt your automatic sequence computer for this work, since once it has been programmed properly it will permute each letter in turn and print the result. What would have taken us fifteen thousand years it will be able to do in a thousand days."

      Dr. Wagner was scarcely conscious of the faint sounds from the Manhattan streets far below. He was in a different world, a world of natural, not man-made, mountains. High up in their remote aeries these monks had been patiently at work, generation after generation, compiling their lists of meaningless words. Was there any limit to the follies of mankind? Still, he must give no hint of his inner thoughts. The customer was always right . . .

      "There's no doubt," replied the doctor, "that we can modify the Mark V to print lists of this nature. I'm much more worried about the problem of installation and maintenance. Getting out to Tibet, in these days, is n
  • 2105 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thefirelane ( 586885 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:09PM (#14619140)
    Honestly, does that really even make sense?

    I bet people sat around and wondered what the Carnegie Steel of 1995 would be like. I'm sure they had fun, but it probably wasn't worth the effort.
    • Re:2105 (Score:3, Funny)

      by dotpavan ( 829804 )
      Honestly, does that really even make sense?..I bet people sat around and

      you forgot to add smoking pot..

    • Yes, this was pure wanking on CNN's part.
    • Re:2105 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by heatdeath ( 217147 ) on Thursday February 02, 2006 @05:27AM (#14624168)
      I bet people sat around and wondered what the Carnegie Steel of 1995 would be like. I'm sure they had fun, but it probably wasn't worth the effort.

      Haha, yeah, or standard oil. Oh wait, if it weren't split up into 34 different companies, several of which are the largest and most profitable companies in the world now (Exxon-mobile has the largest profit of any corporation in the world), it would be a freaking scary company. The daughter companies combined have an annual revenue of well over a trillion dollars. Can you imagine a world in which they'd been able to leverage their monopoly?

      I think back then, a few people thought about the future, and that's why they decided to break it up.
  • That's an enormous disservice to Wolfram. Yeah, I know, flamebait, but I have never managed to understand why people think Kurzweil knows the first thing about 'A.I.'? Have they ever looked at his work in the field? LOL.

    You should mark this off-topic too. (Sorry)
  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:12PM (#14619168) Journal
    Google is all about information. This is worth a lot of money, and can be used to just about anything, what else is new?

    My worry is not related to Google being evil, its more in the power of the individual. No man should have access to all information about another man. Personally I dont believe in Google being Evil as such, but experience and history shows that if you put man into a position where he has the choice of being all powerful ruling and controlling the other party or just sticking to morality and ethics he will chose control over ethics in the blink of an eye.

    Its good to see the general public so concerned about what Google does, this means you are not willingly giving up your privacy just like that and wont let anyone get away with bullying your life around. Now this sounds awful paranoid and crusader-like... but its really not. The action we take today - will affect everyone tomorrow, so better be safe, take precautions now rather than say "oh...its probably all okay" and have a disaster unforseen in the future.

    Every time Ive been paraniod Ive been right, that doesnt mean that Im right about everything - it simply means - if you can think it - its probably feasible and doable. So better safe than sorry.

    • I think you are really discounting the effect of punishment in our system of jurisprudence. Ethics and morality aside, logic and wisdom tell you that you will be hunted down and/or caught then punished. That, for most people, is a strong deterrent; as is evidenced by our orderly society.

      Neither the organization or someone in a position with the organization will breach the bounds of that with which they know they can not ultimately "get away". I've been in IT for a good long while and have had and contin
      • I think you are really discounting the effect of punishment in our system of jurisprudence. Ethics and morality aside, logic and wisdom tell you that you will be hunted down and/or caught then punished. That, for most people, is a strong deterrent; as is evidenced by our orderly society.

        More wishful thinking in an ideal world I would say. What is one mans reality is not nessesarily the reality for another.

        I commend you for your honesty, and really wish other people would be just like you - belive me I
  • quote: "The analyst controls the stock market as much as the weatherman controls the weather" (read on some website). It is a mindless speculation, to fill material for their website, and for us to idle away our time discussing/predicting/speculating about Google's future. troll? I dont think so, just an overdose of Google stories (Googlophobia? had to google to check if thats right!)
    • That's just stupid. Analysts have a lot more influence on the stock market than meterologists have on the weather.

      If some stock analyst makes predications, and people believe him, they will then go and buy/sell stock based on his predictions, which will alter the stock market in such a way that his predicitons are more likely to be true. If an analyst is well-trusted and his statements are acted upon, his predictions are more likely to be true because more people will act in such a way as to make them tru
      • Well, it's that butterfly effect, you know. Somewhere ahead of us in time, all the world's weather depends on the arm wavings of that meterologist.

        The stock market is at least connected to the real world in some way ;-D
  • ...we already know what it holds for them in china! *plays 'do the brownnose'*
  • by Rodness ( 168429 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:16PM (#14619222)
    In what year is Google going to enslave and exterminate the human race, and then send cyborgs back through time to retroactively crush the resistance?
  • If Google still exists in the 'far off' future, it will most likely not look the same as it does now, in respect to the products/services it serves. More likely, it will evolve into something else, fairly unexpected.

    The company that I currently contract to was involved in heavy earth drilling 100 years ago. That industry was part of the core business. It defined the company. A year or 2 ago, they sold that portion of the business to a competitor, in order to focus on other areas. This company is just
  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:17PM (#14619230)
    Given that Google is so well known and widely used today, Google might eventually create a gadget replace most mail, newspapers, magazines, maps and telephone calls.
    They already offer tons of services for free, and eventually will branch out to mobile gadgetry.

    In 2010 you will just carry around your own pocket Google Hand Unit and instantly communicate by voice or text with anyone anywhere, plot your map to find a route, and then read the news/web when you go to meet up with them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:21PM (#14619270)
    1) We haven't a clue

    2) It's going to be fun
  • by funkmeister ( 783995 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:25PM (#14619305) Homepage
    I'm waiting for Google to become a defence contractor and start working on the ballastic missle shield. They could call it GOBBLE: (G)oogle (O)rbiting (B)lastic (B)ombardment (L)ongrange (E)liminator. Besides the obvious purposes, GOBBLE could respond in real-time to subversive search terms. Like someone searching for LOLITA in Utah would be blasted by a laser in space.
  • Resistance is futile.
  • What if in 10 years, the internet and Google are almost exactly the same as right now, but with slightly more features? I guess that's way too obvious, either they must invent warp drive, or they will drag the entire internet offline in a Vesuvian meltdown... I don't think it will be that dramatic. Look at the internet 8 years ago, and aside from much more powerful desktops, some new mapping software, etc. the internet was approximately the same idea. Thus, I predict it will remain the same general conc
  • Funny article, but the authors seem to be good writers rather than analysts. Google is not much different from any other company that brought a technological breakthrough. Everyone is excited about them the first 10-15 years, then they become big and slow.

    Any large organization faces the same growth problem - it's very difficult to manage. Either it desintegrates or is transformed into something different may be keeping the name.

    Examples? IBM, Microsoft, Soviet Union.

  • Heh, especially scenario 2 was funny (besides the super sci-fi scenario of 2105)

    Scenario 2 (Circa 2015): Google is the Internet
    Free wi-fi, a faster version of the Web, the Gbrowser, and the cube transform the technology landscape and our language.

    Yes yes, because Google is working to offer free wi-fi now, and I just heard they're purchasing fiber so it must be a new Internet, and, and, there was this Gbrowser rumor so they're actually working on that, and that cube... yes, it all makes sense now! :-p Becaus
  • Yahoo! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymouse Cownerd ( 754174 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:34PM (#14619402) Homepage
    Remember 10 years ago, when Yahoo was what Google is today? People don't really care for Yahoo anymore. In 10 years from now, someone else would have de-throned Google, and we'll wonder how we could live without them. Google would no longer be king, and they won't matter any more.
    • Actually, I remember everyone raving about AltaVista back then!
    • Re:Yahoo! (Score:3, Interesting)

      People don't really care for Yahoo anymore.

      So I was playing with the new Yahoo! maps beta. I wanted to send a map to a friend. There's no obvious way to get a linkable URL to a resultant map page. Google has that right at the top. Yahoo wants to hide everything in frames. Google use images and a nice javascript tiling engine. Yahoo publishes to flash. They have a 'mail a friend' feature that doesn't include the map information, at least in the plain text alternative.

      So, somebody at Yahoo thinks these
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's to be called
  • Some of those have possibilities, and others just sound perposterous. However, it is amazing how fast the world can change.

    It took roughtly 100 years to go from building the first car [] to lading on the moon []. Considering that, and thanks to cures for many diseases, better healthcare, and a wider teaching of knowledge, not to mention population growth, science is probably moving ahead at a near exponential rate, so some of the events from the last one ("Google Is God") could be possible.

    Regardless, Google does
  • by FishandChips ( 695645 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:46PM (#14619517) Journal
    The articles would have had more bite if they'd included one or two written from a different perspective.They all come over as the ideas of comfortably-off American professionals doing OK thank you. But if it's true that the coming century will belong to China and perhaps India then Google's eventual fate may just as easily be decided by those outside the USA as those inside it. It would have been interesting to read a SE Asian or Indian journalist's take. After all, in twenty years' time Google could be owned by a foreign corporation.

    Just my 2 cents, but Google's dream of becoming the world's information provider doesn't look as if it will come off. People have seen the trap already - no corporation can be trusted, so it's insane to give one that kind of power - and Google's mistaken moves in China have blown off the remaining gloss on Do No Evil. From now on, it may be a much harder grind for them, and if the information issues get too hot they could easily end up being regulated into a corner. The last of the articles alludes to the huge trouble and loss of trust even one hacking scandal could cause them.
    • Google's mistaken moves in China have blown off the remaining gloss on Do No Evil

      A lots been said on it I know, but just to conclude that they did not make that decision lightly. See the Google Blog [].

      For all you know (and let's face it, neither of us has a clue), maybe it is the fastest way to globally uncensored speech. We'll see you eat your words if in 5-10 years, China accepts the uncensored Google. Oh, and one other thing, Yahoo or other search engines aren't THAT much worse than Google, so China

      • You're right, neither of us has a clue as to how or whether Google's activities in China will influence their government. But that's not the point. The core plank of Google's pitch is "Trust us to be the world's information provider". Not "We are the #1 search engine people" or "We do ads better than Microsoft or Yahoo" but "We are the folks you trust with your information". Well after the China business they aren't that any more. Big hole in Google's ozone layer, I'd say.
  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @04:49PM (#14619539)
  • 1) "To Google or Not to Google?," by Jason Kottke,, Feb 26, 2003

    I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you Google fanatics?
  • The company has so much f-ing cash right now that anyone who attempts to analyze it on the basis of current businesses instead of potential acquisitions or new development is basically looking backward. Between the cash they have and the capital they could raise if they EVER INCURRED ANY DEBT, they can buy/build almost anything they want and go in almost any direction from here.

    Further, we need to remember what Microsoft is: a marketing company. They buy other peoples' products then remarket them as their
  • ... don't you know that the world is ending on 2012??? There will be no google, no yahoo, no /., or much of anything else.. at least that's what the aztecs told me...

    You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back.
  • Kurzwiel had been on record as predicting the singularity, which would probably include artificial intelligence achieving self-awareness, would occur in 45 years.

    now its "...StrongBot became aware of, one day in January 2072

    Thats ok...its a lot safer to move the horizons than to say we will never reach them.
  • Google OS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alucinor ( 849600 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @06:50PM (#14621030) Journal
    I think Google is building an operating system right in front of our very eyes ... their search algorithms are its kernel, people and content are it's resources and processes, the search field is the command line and user-interface. Granted, this is a liberal view of an operating system, but to me, the operating system is just a sort of catch-all phrase for describing the software that interfaces people with technology. Our own hands were the first "operating system" when they picked up a rock to put it to some purpose.

    But while the need to display images will surely never go away, I do imagine a future in which GUIs are replaced by a renaissance in the CLI (command line). What goes around comes around. But in this paradigm, the CLI performs natural language processing, and also can understand spoken commands as well as typed. If Google ever does an "OS" I seriously believe it will be something like this.

    The future is not so much in "operating systems" as in "artificial intelligence", which is really just a buzzword for search.

    We'll see the first signs of this once Google Desktop starts being used in more robust ways, like as an application launcher.
    • And another thing ... the most valuable thing Google has right now is not a huge market cap. It's loads and loads of data about human behavior. If all this data can be adequately processed, analyzed, organized, then Google will start building a system for deriving semantic meaning from unstructured data. That's the gold, there.
  • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2006 @08:14PM (#14621756) Homepage Journal
    ...when you search in google "how to reverse entropy", you press "i feel lucky" and the resulting web page only says "LET THERE BE LIGHT" (there is an interesting twist to the original asimov story in The last query [], suspiciously related to google).
  • I turned down a job offer from them. Choice: Family or Google. That's what did it. Funny thing: It wasn't that great a raise and the stock options weren't as forthcoming as people tend to think. Just saying.
  • Google uses scads of servers, and it's getting so that the energy costs over their lifetimes will outweigh their acquisition costs []. Take your pick of Peak {Oil, Uranium, Coal, Gas} scenarios, but Google may just run out of gas if it costs more to run those giga-server farms than they can haul in from AdWords revenue.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!