Fast forward 6 years. Things have changed so drastically. Someone from that time period, placed in today's date in front of a computer with internet access will feel so lost. Every homepage, default search, advertisement has the word Google in it. Surely they won't remember a small startup company that promised the world, well... to the world! And yet, in some short 5-6 years, they have made it big as one of the few companies which has given the big M the jitters, even if slightly.
Google has slowly and steadily cranked out services and applications for people, trying to make life simpler for them. There motto of 'Don't be evil' (or something like that) really did stick with the general crowd. All it took was one alternative to start the alternative wars. Every company which was not Microsoft, and offered the same functionality (sometimes better) that MS applications did, rose up like fiery dragons to fight the holy war! To dethrone the king, and spread an insurgency that would revolutionise the world!
Unfortunately, it didn't work.
Only Google remained on the tips of people tongues. Companies such as Lycos, which where big in their time, are nowhere these days. But now, it seems like Google is too feeling the pinch from Microsoft's lingering monopoly. It was evident at their latest Press Day that they are trying to so hard to return to their roots. Their post over at their blog We are still about search so clearly states that Google wants to remain in people's memory as a search engine. And their core competence is visible in every application that they've developed, where search plays a major part. Their two most successful services apart from search, have been GMail, that revolutionised the way we think of web mail, and Blogger, the runaway success that did everything different than other personal publishing services available... except the publishing part ofcourse! But their market share percentage lies in single digits still (I dont' quote statistical numbers, so don't ask me for 'em), and hence, I think Google is feeling the heat.
Microsoft is surely fighting back with integrating search with everything in their own way. Vista is practically a search engine based OS, where everything is indexed for search. Google is crying fowl, but let's see how that goes. Once again it seems Google is trying to fight the good fight, but I'm not hopeful this time. Which is also why, I think Google should really work towards innovating (once again) in their search. Probably something no-one has thought of yet. I had shown concerns over Google's foray into too many fields at one go (Google too big for Google?), and I think they see that too now.
After all, its not easy to put your hand in too many sugar jars and keep them there.
[Link]: Om Malik seems to be in doubt, and almost seems to agree with me here (Google wasting its genius cycles?)