My dad emailed me a link to search upstart Cuil, which I had come across before but never adopted. It got me thinking about the Obama administration's antitrust hounds barking at GOOG, and now maybe a credible competitor might be important. But the standard- for being a credible competitor- is really high, I think.
Google's dominance stops when it's not useful, or as fast, as competitors. I think it's doubtful they will lose on speed, but utility is a maybe. Whether the Wolfram Alpha product solves the same problems, or solves some other ones may also affect this determination.
In the long run, I think Google knows that it's don't be Evil motto really translates into "Don't be useless."
- it wouldn't be useful to force users to download Chrome in order to search Google or check their gmail
- it wouldn't be useful to prevent people from embedding Vimeo videos in their blogspot blogs
- Google Docs kills Microsoft Office by being Useful for group collaboration
- Even if Google buys twitter, if they make it less useful, they'll have a problem
If they stick to that, they're probably in good shape. The DOJ may wonder: is Google's ubiquity anticompetitive? I think for the bulk of its interaction with the world, Google is just a bunch of nice guys who offer a free utility, or maybe a phone. For those few (relatively speaking) individuals on this Earth who do some form of business with Google, it can seem like a monolithic, and scary, creature. It's the latter group who want antitrust scrutiny of Google, not the former.