While at Wired, we used to joke that we’d know our time was up with Time Magazine did a major feature on us (they did, and it was, sort of – it marked a passing of our hype-driven era). Louis used to say he knew the hippy movement was through when it made the cover of Time.
Well Saddam made sure that Google wouldn’t make the cover this week, but the magazine nonetheless managed a pretty comprehensive piece of its own. While much of it is retread, I have to give the author credit – it’s one of the first, besides a nice piece in Wired last Feb, which gets to some of the JAM (joints after midnight) issues surrounding search. To wit:
“But for a minute forget about the big numbers, the millions of customers and the billions of dollars. Think about what’s at stake culturally and socially in the search wars, and all those zeros start looking pretty paltry by comparison. The Internet is swiftly becoming the primary repository of the bulk of human information. Search is the way we get at that information, and companies like Google wield enormous power. They reflect our common interests and shape how we learn about the world with their rapid-fire search results. This isn’t just about dotcom juggernauts duking it out for stock options and bragging rights. Whoever wins the search wars owns the keys to the kingdom of knowledge. That’s a big responsibility. Are search engines up to it?
This is one of the bigger questions of my book (not only specific to Google, but to the database of intentions…).
Nonetheless, the media virus that has consumed nearly every outlet w/r/t Google may be played out, now that Time has had its say. Until the IPO, of course….