A few interesting posts recently that emphasize the danger that Google's size poses to innovation in the web/digital publishing environment:
Nick Carr makes the case that the massive amount of data Google is accumulating will give it a huge competitive advantage over other firms. Tim O'Reilly, points out that Google is hosting more and more of the content that it indexes, rather than indexing others' content for them. The Knol, is a move in this direction. This is akin to a financial firm trading for its own benefit rather than for its client's benefit. Peter Brantley discusses the issue in the context of research libraries.
In the late 1990s I was very anti-Microsoft and avidly favored the anti-trust litigation against them. For some reason, I just don't see Google in the same "Evil Empire" light. I guess I appreciate Google as an innovator. They have done a lot for search and the general move towards cloud computing. Their library project is bold in scale as well as legal approach in a way that never would have happened in the non-profit sector. Google's products are actually really good and cutting edge, whereas Microsoft's, by my experience, were always behind the curve and sort of sucked. (Microsoft, on the other hand, is a company to "admire" from a business perspective, not so much a technology perspective, because they've been able to rake so much money in for their mediocre products. )
Like Microsoft, Google will be unseated in due course. Skrenta is working on it. I do appreciate the skeptics out there keeping an eye on Google.