If content is king, content brands are emperors. Zagat is the inventor of content crowdsourcing (in 1979!) and the emperor of crowdsourced (and edited!) local reviews. For Google, this is yet another step in expanding its content ownership and the creation of “Google Channels,” as I predicted last month in my post on Google Plus Plus Plus. “Could [Google] be much further away from buying a news or media service that gathers original content?” asks Barbara Hernandez and Jeff Jarvis warns about “channel conflict” and putting Google “in the content-creation instead of the content-linking business, competing with the other side of links and raising conflict-of-interest questions.”
“Order is what Google is about, not creating and owning content,” says Jarvis. “Order” is what Google was about when it launched this month thirteen years ago. Or in the terms of my 7Cs taxonomy, it started in the “Curate” space. Regardless of “channel conflict” and potential lawsuits, it now must expand into all the other spaces in the new information landscape. That includes content ownership. Forget (Web) links; Google’s future is in linking all the 7Cs on one platform. If they don’t do it, Amazon or Apple or Facebook or some other company will do it.
This is, of course, just one possible scenario. The main obstacle for this scenario to become our Web reality in about ten years (i.e., one company dominates what we call today “the Web”), other than government intervention, is that lots of Web innovation over the next few years will create a new “Google” and a new “Amazon,” will maintain the fragmentation and openness of the Web, and will create a completely new information landscape.