After the Alexa announcement today (comments here), I am more or less convinced that it's going to be very very hard for companies to have a monopoly or even a dominant market share position in the Internet era. AOL dominated the Web and as an ISP for about five years (1994-1999), Yahoo dominated as a portal for about the same time – although, during that time Excite and Lycos were also dominant. And Google has had a significant presence in the search business for couple of years now. But with players like www.A9.com, www.alexa.com, www.ask.com, www.snap.com and www.clusty.com, Google could soon see its market share being chipped away. Amazon, which probably no one would have imagined as playing any role in the search business, has now emerged as the dark horse that could shake the industry. Time magazine named A9 as one of the 50 coolest Web sites in 2005 – Google didn't make it. What's even more interesting is that Google Maps, which revolutionized mapping, even didn't make it – Yahoo did. Yahoo's new beta Map is worth checking out. Yahoo has also improved its search functionality quite a lot and is probably today at par with Google or even better. They recently launched siteexplorer function which is neat. Won't be surprised if Google shows a drop in market share in search this quarter or next.
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