Where do we go from here?

Or, is Google going to rule the world or fall to the next big thing?

Of course, if I had any idea what the answer was to this question I’d be making my living as a fortune-teller and not an SEO/SEM professional. Yet, posing questions about the future of emerging technology is essential to keeping ahead of the trends. Today, the hot prospects are PPC, Web 2.0/interactive content, and internet video. But what will we be blogging about tomorrow?

The rise of Google has truly changed the playing field not just for web site builders, but for media advertisers everywhere. The “seek and ye shall find” aspect of the web is radically different from the traditional marketing/media buy platforms (though they struggle to catch up). And with Google experimenting with automated media buys for both radio and newspapers, what exactly will happen to commercial radio stations and print ad sales reps? The question goes two ways: is it inevitable that local control of these roles will become amalgamated with the internet, and is that a good thing?

While we can hope that Google’s technologies continue to make information easily and freely accessible, there’s no mistaking that Google is an advertising company with a vested interested in maintaining the integrity of its sales model. So when we see the Google Book Search project, we need to not delude ourselves by thinking that Google is a champion of freedom of thought and information rather than a platform to generate sales with Amazon.com and other partners. There’s nothing objectively wrong with this model, it’s just that Google is often either lauded as a savior or denounced as a villian without recognizing what they really are: a very successful tech company.

And while Microsoft struggles to market yet another operating system while experts struggle to find reasons to recommend it, Google continues to move bravely into the new world with projects that merge space technology, physical space, and the digital universe. Technology is colored as always by the lens of our society, and Google is no exception. Let’s laud their innovations, be cautious of their privacy breaches, and remember that at the end of the day, they’re still just a company.