Cameron's bet against Google. In the long term, he's right. Google depends on the web staying as broken as it is, with no semantics assigned to content, and no site-to-site communication possible. The trends go against them long term. But I think six months is far too short a time for the changes he's anticipating.
It would take, in my estimation, three things for Google to crumble:
- A significant competitor, designed to anticipate the Semantic Web that's finally subtly growing beneath us all.
- A significant mistake on Google's part regarding commericialism. (Not the Dilbert logo thing, I mean some concession to either graphics or favoring paying customers.)
- Terrific luck on the part of a challenger. It'd be damned near impossible to displace Google in the mainstream audience it's (finally!) gained.
That last point bears exploring. Most of us in the tech side of things are so enamored with Google that we forget that it's only in the past year that most people online have even heard of Google. Keep in mind, they do no advertising (aside from their business-oriented Appliance) and a lot of people on AOL don't really participate in online communities where Internet "word of mouth" would reach them.
That millions of those people have finally found Google is an inertial force far greater than most estimate.
It makes me wonder what the numbers are for the various installed bases of the AOL client and the MSN client are, compared to the Google Toolbar client. It's no coincidence that Google's desktop software is exactly the opposite of AOL's in almost every way.
On a semi-related AOL client software note, why is it okay for AOL to just plain lie about their intentions in order to proceed with their Time Warner merger? If this is one of the conditions, and it hasn't been complied with, what are the penalties? Not that we could punish them any worse than letting them continue on their current downward spiral...