The era of dominance is shrinking. IBM dominated tech longer than Microsoft did, and Google's period of dominance will be even shorter. As with IBM and Microsoft, a great and wealthy company will remain (after a painful period of post-dominance restructuring). But during the period of dominance, it is hard to imagine anything else. Vast fortunes are lost in attempting a head-on challenge (whether they are search engine challengers to Google, operating system challengers to Microsoft, etc.), and disruption never happens that way. Google has no problem adding enough semantic smarts to see any challenger off. It's the Real-Time Web that will unseat Google. This idea has been percolating for a while, but it took a plane landing in the Hudson River to make it obvious.
Event-Streaming Mashup of the Plane Crash
In case you missed it, this live streaming mashup of the plane that crashed in the Hudson River yesterday did what no media company could do. It is the future of media -- crude, simple, and missing loads of things we would want, yes, but new media always show up that way.
Last month, I saw the power of Twitter's real-time search when I needed to find out about Gmail outages. That was hardly a fascinating topic, not prime-time worthy. But many other people pointed out other simple yet valuable usage cases.
But that was only Twitter, and not prime-time news. The mashup yesterday was fascinating because it drew on all the real-time sources, including video, to create a compelling story. The tool used to do it, Storytlr (our review), bills itself as "Your life online"; in other words, lifestreaming, which has tended to get a big ho-hum from me. I mean, who is really in interested in my daily blah-blah-blah. There are 6 billion souls on this planet; get over yourself, please. Following this story, though, maybe it could become an event-streaming mashup platform for media.
And in Other News: Yahoo Boss + Twitter = Real-Time Search
This BOSS developer understands that real-time needs context and that that comes from archives, and you need search for that. BOSS and Twitter make an awesome combo. Both are API-driven and enable tons of creativity and value creation from the community.
Why Real-Time Is Google's Achilles Heel
Google cannot be real-time. It indexes the historical web, and it does it better and faster than anyone else. It finds me after-the-fact reporting on major stories from major media companies. But it misses the real-time story. And that matters today.
Sure, Google can play in the real-time web. It can buy Twitter and anything else it fancies. It will always be a big and powerful company and will make money from search just as IBM made money from PCs and Microsoft makes money online. But IBM did not dominate the PC business, and Microsoft does not dominate the online business. Likewise, Google will not dominate the real-time web.