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Saturday, September 11, 2004Esther Dyson writes,"As for Google's own future: I don't think Microsoft or Yahoo will beat it at its own game, but I do think that this game (like operating systems, browsers and other things) will turn into a commodity battle. Google needs to keep on pioneering. If you look at where things stand now, it has acquired Picasa (photos) and Blogger (guess what?). And it has built Orkut and Gmail. Clearly, more user content--from shared photos and blogging to personalized search--is in order". Esther Dyson says that google's offerings may be the best but overtime shall be commoditised and that Google should leverage the trust that users have and start such services for users to post and manage their own health records – with very strong privacy protections.
Google got where it is by serving individuals. That’s its technology and its ethos. One of the biggest unserved needs (as opposed to a served need such as various online financial services) is user-centric, secure health records. The obvious provider is your doctor or your health insurance company or your employer…. except they all have their own agendas. (Ever try moving records from one doctor to another? Or ever want to release only some information to a particular provider or employer?)It’s a matter of trust. Google may not be the most trusted institution around, but it’s pretty good on that scale. And you don’t have to trust it the way you have to trust your health-care provider or employer, because it has no vested interest in knowing about you other than to sell ads for medications. (Yes, there will likely be the free ad-supported service and paid ad-free one.) And it has a long-term interest in earning and keeping your trust. It could act on your behalf to release information selectively to third parties that you specify - either specifically or on the basis of clear, intelligible policies. Last week,I was telling a colleague that Google's future is not so attractive enough to maintain its current marketcap. One look at the way other search engines have fallen by the wayside should give pointers to the future of search engines, unless they differentiate ,innovate and grow.Google definitely needs to keep innovating and building the trust it has to keep up the expectations of internet success posterboy.
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