Google's days are numbered, or are they?

Some of the brightest venture capitalist minds in Silicon Valley seem to agree with our own Kaila Colbin. When it comes to search, Google is so last year and newer, more interesting search technologies are poised to overshadow it in the very near future. At least that was CNET's Rafe Needleman's takeway from the recent Churchill Club Top Tech Trends event in San Jose, Calif.

According to venture capitalist Steve Jurveston, who spoke at the event, Google is passe and will soon be toppled by newer, as-yet-uninvented technologies that promise even better relevance and immediacy. Needleman explains the concept this way:

[Jurvetson's] main point was that Google, and other search engines that analyze the Web and links, are much less useful than a (theoretical) search engine that knows not what people have linked to (as Google does), but rather what pages are open on people's browsers at the moment that people are searching. "All the problems of search would be solved if search relevance was ranked by what browsers were displaying," he said. Jurvetson believes that the future is "federated search," in which the Web's users don't just execute search queries, they participate in building the index by the very act of searching, immediately and directly.

As Needleman says, we've already seen something akin to this with Twitter, which takes what people are talking about in the moment to produce a truly real-time search engine. But something on the order of Jurvetson's vision may be a bit too far-fetched. Imagine the hoopla engendered by privacy advocates once some search engine starts crawling everything open on your computer as you do a search. Google's current privacy woes would pale in comparison.

While most pundits tend to agree that search is on the brink of morphing into something completely different--far beyond the current list of "10 blue links" when it comes to usefulness--dismissing Google's participation in such a change is probably not the wisest course. Each time a small idea-rich yet cash-poor start-up delivers an interesting new twist on search, Google's competitive streak goes into overdrive to not only match the capability but usually surpass it entirely. Just look at latest round of updates Google announced at Searchology, which took straight aim at search wannabes like Twitter and Wolfram Alpha.

Yes, search is poised to change into something completely un-Google-like. But don't count Google out in the process. It may just end up leading the charge.

* * *

Like this post? Visit the Google Subnet home page for more news, blogs and podcasts.

More blog posts from Google Subnet:

Sign up for the weekly Google newsletter. (Click on News/Google News Alert.)

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

IT Salary Survey 2021: The results are in