Where's the hype? The drive to be the next Google seems to be always upon us. The power of the Internet to drive change more quickly than at any time in the past is seen in the extraordinary success that is Google. Yet it is only 13 years since two students started the research which led to Google being set up. Yet now Google is so ever-present that is already been accepted as a verb; the most popular search engine is the world's leading brand, valued at more than $100m, a third more than Microsoft; anyone who has ever searched for anything on the Internet cannot imagine a life without Google. It is a dream company for a PR.
So what is the next big thing on the Internet? Well, if I knew the answer then I would taking home some of the Google billions. This week the BBC reports that the latest search tool, Wolfram Alpha, "could be as important as Google". By searching within sites it brings answer to your webpage, rather than a series of sites as in a Google search. The first thing I notice is the caution in the BBC's "could", which always makes the cynical journalist in me equate to could not.
However, what Google has also shown to all web companies is the power to innovate to remain ahead of the competition. Google has never been content to just rake in the cash; part of its huge success has been its ability to add value every time your blink. Google News, Mail, Tools, Blogger, Analytics ... the list is almost endless. If I had to put money on where the next big search engine development will be, then I would back it being led by Google. If, as in the past they have missed a trick, then they have just moved in and bought up the latest technology. So perhaps Stephen Wolfram can look forward to a bumper payday from Google.