Niall Kennedy argues that ‘search is not a zero switch cost’. Even if a strong competitor emerges for Google they will have to do quite a bit of work given the steps Google has taken to embed itself in various user flows:
Google is spending billions to integrate its search products into the Apple operating system, new Dell PCs, MySpace, Firefox, and more. Google commands about a 50% share of the U.S. toolbar search market according to comScore. Google powers search on sites with lots of pages such as newspaper, university, and personal websites. A developer platform further diversifies these sources of traffic, turning the long tail of search origination into site revenue. [Search is not a zero cost switch]
I think that this is an interesting observation in itself. It also makes me think about service categories. I have been writing about ‘getting into the flow’ and ‘disclosure’ from a library point of view for a while. Increasingly, I think that libraries will recognize that this is a category of service which needs to be resourced, in staff, systems and other ways.