A timely Google reality check
In other words, the wizards of Mountain View can't flick other companies off the map with their fingertips. What they can do is leap far enough ahead of competitors in a single product launch to shock them into attention. When those firms draw the appropriate "get better or get lost" conclusion and redouble their efforts, customers should benefit.
This effect may break down when Google steps into markets dominated by firms selling devices instead of software. In the time it takes a manufacturer to usher an improved gadget from whiteboard to circuit board, Google can push out three or four rounds of updates to a Web application.
You shouldn't feel obliged to avoid Google altogether because of this power to upend markets. But you should remind yourself not to discount worthy alternatives just because they're Not Google. There's also much to be said for keeping a part of your online identity -- maybe your photos, maybe your e-mail -- outside of Google. Spread your business around, and one company can't get too comfortable with it.
Rob Pegoraro - New Google Maps GPS for smartphones spooks competitors - washingtonpost.com
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