…and routes around it

Burningbird makes some good points about the Tyranny of the Commons, where she’s talking about webloggers who don’t acknowledge the rest of the weblogging community, and she quotes Mark Pilgrim opining on the tendency for communities to create celebrities (although I think that there’s a tendency for some people to want to become celebrities, which contributes; some strive hard for world fame and become film stars, while others are happy being a big fish in a fairly small pond).

She goes on, though, to talk about over-reliance on Google:

Oh sure I’m advocating that we burn down the house that Google built, but that’s because our increasing dependence on this service puts us at some risk … (Ask yourselves something — what happens if Google decides to charge for searching?)

What happens is that everyone starts using AllTheWeb. Jakob Nielsen has been banging on about micropayments for years now, and I’m sure he’d love the idea of Google charging a tenth of a penny for each search that happens, but for this kind of basic structural function, the net treats payment as corporate bad news and routes around it. Note that I’m not talking about Google being a basic structure, but the idea of search engines. I admit that Google has, in a few short years, become the name in searching, but that’s because they’re technically excellent. Possibly their domination of the search space is something to be concerned about (and has been commented on lucidly in Google vs. Evil), but it’s not something that I think is a major concern.

I’ve also actually got around to adding Burningbird to my blogroll, since every time I see a link to her weblog I go over, read it, am interested, and then forget. :) Two seconds at blo.gs and it’s done.


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