Two (huge) challenges for Google in the next decade

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Google / Trends

There has been much chatter in the blogosphere on rise of facebook, and what it means for the next ten years.  Whether you agree with the fb era or not, its hard not to see how social the web has become – and how this is changing the web forever.

Google largely prospered in Web 1.0, and preformed well through 2.0 to date.   However I believe it will face challenges in the next decade, particularly around the discoverability and curation of this new stream of social information.  It also lacks a killer social app.

1, Discoverability and curation of real-time and social information.

With so much real-time and social information pumping through the web, one should wonder whether a search-engine based on static back-linking is really poised to dominant search in this ever increasing uber-social web.  Google has been trying to incorporate social and real-time information in its results.  While Google news results is fine, I don’t find Google’s integration of Twitter feed’s all that useful. Information from crowd-sourced and curated sources such as the like button prove to be more potent in surfacing the most interesting and relevant (based on my friend graph) information. Some just needs to layer search over these principles.  In doing so, I believe someone could challenge Google’s search dominance if they embrace this new perspective on information discoverability and curation.

2, Lacking a killer social app

Save YouTube, and Orkut in Brazil and India, Google lacks a killer social app.  Buzz is not panning out quite as planned, and ultimately I don’t believe Buzz will ever be a dominant social app. Buzz works great for work email and networks, but its awkward for real-time information sharing.  It blurs personal with work connections, and requires too much editing.

Lacking a killer social app will be a huge problem for Google in the next decade.  It needs a meaningful foothold of the user experience in the social web. If Buzz doesn’t turn-around in a big way sometime soon, I think they are going to have their M&A cross-hairs set on a little blue bird.

The Author

Early stage investor at Index Ventures

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