In all this talk of Google becoming 'evil', the larger point's been missed: Google has become the web. The web was supposed to be a viral infrastructure for instantaneous comunication; instead, Google's become most people's infrastructure for the web itself. In effect, Google's become a monopolist and
monopsonist - of links. But here's a problem I've been thinking about recently:
Google made headlines when it exposed APIs. But they're seriously crippled, and are largely irrelevant for almost anything serious - because it wants to keep control of it's most critical resource: ownership of the web itself. And there are no real competitors with decent APIs exposed - here's a stab at a list.
That's fine, but if there are some smart techies out there, they'll take aim directly at this massive strategic gap. Anybody that builds a halfway decent search engine with exposed APIs is going to have a huge impact - because they'll open up ownership of the web itself.
Can it be done? I never saw what was revolutionary about PageRank, and I don't see what's so tough about this. Yeah, it could be costly, etc, etc - but I think it's worth a shot.