I promised a post on this piece. Here goes. He writes,
GOOG’s goal is to gather as much rich data as possible, and build AI. Their mission is to have an AI provide timely and personalized information to us, not specifically to have websites provide information. Any GOOG concerted efforts are aligned to the AI mission.
Try a search for mortgage calculator. Once you scroll past the ads, what you get is. . .a mortgage calculator! It used to be that all you got were links to web sites. The new approach is very convenient if you want to figure out a monthly payment, but not so nice for all those web sites that put up mortgage calculators to try to attract visitors.
This suggests that Google has reached the cannibalization phase of the O’Reilly cycle. Staltz seems to think that it has. But if Google eats all of the revenue without sending you to anyone’s web site, then I presume people will stop putting up web sites. And in that case Google is going to have less new data to mine to produce answers to queries.
There would be no more economical incentive for smaller businesses to have independent websites, and a gradual migration towards Facebook Pages would make more sense.
There is a tendency at GOOG-FB-AMZN to bypass the Web which is motivated by user experience and efficient communication, not by an agenda to avoid browsers. In the knowledge internet and the commerce internet, being efficient to provide what users want is the goal. In the social internet, the goal is to provide an efficient channel for communication between people. … Already today, most people on the internet communicate with other people via a mobile app, not via a browser.
Some random thoughts:
1. For me, it’s starting to sink in that this is not 1997 any more. Smart phones are more closed and proprietary than was the Web. At this point, artificial intelligence and machine learning seem to be mainframe-like, favoring established giants, rather than PC-like or Web-like, favoring upstarts.
2. Google, Amazon, and Facebook may already have entered the cannibalization phase.
3. Content creators have always whined that they deserve more income. But the idea that “content is king” was baloney sandwich from the get-go. I can remember almost twenty years ago hearing Ted Leonsis (AOL) say that “convenience is king.” And now Staltz is telling us that the Web is just not convenient enough to cut it these days. Facebook is going to help us connect over mobile devices. Google is going to give us information directly. Amazon is going to enable us to order stuff without using a personal computer.
4. My counter to Staltz’s dystopian forecast is to suggest that effervescence is king. Effervescence in tech means that lots of talented people are working on stuff. Personal computers were effervescent in the 1980s. The Web was effervescent in the 1990s and early 2000s. The smart phone became effervescent when Apple encouraged app development. Cannibalization and walled-garden strategies kill off effervescence, and when you kill off effervescence, that leaves talented, driven people with a need to find an outlet. At some point, they will succeed, and then today’s giants will be cut down to size.