Friday, May 23, 2008

Is open-source the future?

Umair talks a lot about how Google is showing the world that in the future, Good will be more profitable than Evil to corporations. This is certainly a departure from the 20th century, where vertically integrated monopolies and false advertising (think cigarettes) were par for the course.

It would undoubtedly be "good" for consumers if this were the case. It's nice to have Google Docs for free, and it's nice to think that they are making products like Google Health. The only problem is... they aren't making any money off of these services.

Google's search is an amazing product, built on mathematically complex algorithms that represent a lot of technical and entrepreneurial work. Due to their search and their text ads, they are able to make enough money to support the rest of these currently non-monetized products.

I guess my question is, will Google's pro-consumer be the model in the future, or is it only possible today because Google has such a strong base (their incredible search and text ads) to fall back upon? I hope it's the former, but I suspect that it is the latter. We will see.