extremely important to acknowledge that Mozilla gets almost 90% of it’s revenue from Google search support. This power dynamic effectively hands control of Mozilla over gives a lot of leverage to Google and positions Firefox as a potential Google proxy. I can’t help but think that Chrome may be little more than a dev sandbox and a foil to distract attention from the concerted effort between both parties to rewrite the web in their favor.
Perhaps more importantly to Adobe, the assumed competition between Chrome & Firefox obfuscates the very real & present strategy to get web video out of Flash and to further de-legitimize Flash and all “closed” 3rd party plugins against the rising value of HTML5. Both Google and Mozilla (Googlezilla!) are working to build canvas support into all browsers and to enhance the HTML5 spec to support rich media rendering. Likewise, the communications and positioning coming from both continue to stress the value of the “open web”, “interoperability”, and the danger of closed, 3rd-party plugins (ie Flash). Adobe will still claim a reasonable chunk of the rich web but if HTML5 (or whatever subset implementation Googlezilla gets into Firefox, IE, & Safari) allows easy rendering of HD video to any screen, they can say goodbye to Flash as a video solution.
Meanwhile, Google itself may find unexpected competition from an unlikely challenger. Erick Shonfeld at TechCrunch has posted a brilliant insight into the deep value of Twitter… and what it may mean for Google. It’s kinda mind-blowing to think that a hot-topic upstart like Twitter could pose a threat to the Googleplex, but Shonfeld nails it with his article, Mining the Thought Stream:
What if you could peer into the thoughts of millions of people..? And what if all of these thoughts were immediately available in a database that could be mined easily to tell you what people both individually and in aggregate are thinking right now..? Well, then you’d have a different kind of search engine altogether. A real-time search engine.
…In fact, the crude beginnings of this “now” search engine already exists. It is called Twitter…
He continues to note that search engines like Google capture people’s intent (what they are looking for), while Twitter captures their thoughts, and feelings, and what they’re doing. This is a new type of search model more closely joined to the real-time global mind. It’s much closer to people than Google search can get. Twitter is clearly already tremendously disruptive, even without any revenues. Imagine building search and analytics on top of it….
And yeah, everybody wants to know what Twitter’s business model is. Keep in mind that Twitter’s #1, Evan Williams, sold his earlier company, Blogger, to Google so he’s already got that channel open. If the model is to sell to Google and turn the world’s most successful web search engine into the world’s most powerful human thought & behavior probe, then yeah, you wanna keep that under wraps. Twitter will stay the same but Google search will suddenly get *a lot* smarter. If, on the other hand, Twitter seeks to challenge Google in search and analytics, then, oh damn you wanna play those cards as close to your chest as you can possibly keep them.