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    Surf wars


    AA10-Jun-Jul-2005-coverstory1The future of the information age is up for grabs and the darlings of the new, new economy are jostling for position. Since Google’s stunning IPO last year, its chief rivals — Yahoo and the ubiquitous Microsoft — have been playing catch up. But, as Paul D. Ryan reveals, the goal posts have not only moved, they’re multiplied.

    There is an interesting eight minute documentary currently streaming on the internet. Produced by the Florida-based Museum of Media History, the film charts the hypothetical evolution of media from 1984 to 2014.

    In 2008, the film postulates, Google and Amazon merge to form Googlezon, sidelining Microsoft within two years. In 2014, Googlezon unleashes EPIC (The Evolving Personalised Information Construct) — which filters and distributes all media, with authors paid according to the popularity of their contributions, costing a small fraction of Googlezon’s massive advertising revenues. Everyone mixes and matches the recommendations of a new generation of freelance editors. In this hypothetical scenario, The New York Times is reduced to “a print only newsletter for the elite and the elderly”.

    Sound far fetched? Perhaps. Then again, maybe not.
    The hottest trend in the online search world is personalisation, and it has guided the diversification currently being pursued with breathless alacrity by the major players. Once obscure legends in the lunchbox that was Silicon Valley, Google and Yahoo have emerged as genuine corporate titans, influencing everyone’s daily habits and creeping into the darkening dreams of a once untroubled Bill Gates…