Here’s why Google and Facebook might completely disappear in the next 5 years

“We think of Google and Facebook as Web gorillas. They’ll be around forever. Yet, with the rate that the tech world is moving these days, there are good reasons to think both might be gone completely in 5 – 8 years,” Eric Jackson writes for Forbes. “Not bankrupt gone, but MySpace gone. And there’s some academic theory to back up that view, along with casual observations from recent history.”

“More and more in tech, it seems that your long-term viability as a company is dependent on when you were born,” Jackson writes. “Think of the differences between generations and when we talk about how the Baby Boomers behave differently from Gen X’ers and additional differences with the Millennials. Each generation is perceived to see the world in a very unique way that translates into their buying decisions and countless other habits.”

Jackson writes, “With each new paradigm shift (first to social, now to mobile, and next to whatever else), the older generations get increasingly out of touch and likely closer to their significant decline. What’s more, the tech world in which we live in seems to be speeding up… Yahoo is already a shell of its 2000 self. There is increasing chatter (including from me) about how Google’s facing a painful multiple contraction, once its desktop search business (still accounting for the vast majority of its revenues and profits) starts to fall off a cliff as users dramatically drop traditional search for new ways of getting information they want in a mobile world… Facebook is also probably facing a tough road ahead as this shift to mobile happens.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Piero” for the heads up.]

29 Comments

  1. If Facebook dies it’ll be due to a user backlash. I don’t see that happening, but anything’s possible.

    If Google dies, it’ll be because of poor business decisions, like paying $12 Billion for Motorola. Facebook might have a hand in it as well, being that they’re one of the few companies capable of competing with Google in ad revenue.

    1. Google could have sealed its doom by changing their reliable search model to Google in your face search that is less consistent and more “personal” ie more of an invasion of privacy and less trustworthy.

      I have already moved away from Google and plan to stay away. I have lost faith and trust in the company, but I am only one person. However if a significant number of people lose faith in Google it could be catastrophic.

          1. *LIKE* 😉

            Oddly, I read a shootout between Bing, that M$ search thing, and Google. What’s odd is why they bothered, seeing as Bing was found a year ago to be highjacking search results from Google’s search engine to supplement it’s own. 😯

            Meanwhile, Google recently wiped the Scroogle search engine off the Internet for doing essentially the same thing but without the tracking cookies. Um, huh?

            I still keep a link handy for good old Metacrawler, (used under various other names, such as Dogpile), which samples a variety of search engines. It provides a nice supplement to never perfect Google results.

  2. “More and more in tech, it seems that your long-term viability as a company is dependent on when you were born,” Jackson writes. “Think of the differences between generations and when we talk about how the Baby Boomers behave differently from Gen X’ers and additional differences with the Millennials. Each generation is perceived to see the world in a very unique way that translates into their buying decisions and countless other habits.”

    This paragraph… So true in so many areas, not just tech.

  3. I can see Facebook being dead in 5 years because there is no utility that can be extracted from using Facebook such that advertisers will pay for it. Facebook’s user base has reached 910 million, with growth mostly coming from third world countries. In fact FB is seeing declines in user numbers in first world developed countries which doesn’t bode well for the future. FB is as dispensable as a used tampon.

    Google, on the other hand, I can see surviving beyond the next 5 years as they have a proven revenue model generating $10 billion per quarter. Search is ubiquitous – you can’t run away from it. I likely perform 15-20 searches per day on Google looking for places to go, places to eat, things to buy, knowledge base items like how to troubleshoot iCloud if a problem crops up, and other relevant features directly connected with my everyday life. Even on mobile devices like iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, my default search engine is Google. This isn’t surprising as Google derives 75% of its mobile search revenues from iOS devices. I don’t see Google collapsing any time soon.

    1. Switched to Yahoo search on all devices merely because of the dislike for Google ad tracking analytics. I prefer not having Flash and prefer ad-less pages… hope Apple remains strong with that direction – if not then please add the, “Don’t advertise to me setting in iOS”, Thanks.

    2. I use Google less and less all the time. It started when I realized how often I would better go straight to Wikipedia, and that inspired me to question if there was a better search option on other things. Now, with more new search engines than ever, including Siri/WolframAlpha, I can see google disappearing and that would be just fine. I would like to see them forced to discontinue money losing projects like android, chrome, etc.

    3. Really? Nearly a billion people posting their personal BS and you don’t think that’s valuable? I’m not saying its good, but they know more and will be more valuable than anyone. Even Apple. It’s legalized big brother.

  4. Friendster -> MySpace -> Facebook -> ?

    Once a social networking site becomes too “mainstream” a small group of people will flock to a lesser known one to escape the crowds. Once that site grows large enough to attract the attention of everyone else, the rest of the horde will follow.

    It’s happened multiple times already and I don’t see any reason why it won’t happen again.

    1. “Friendster -> MySpace -> Facebook ->?”

      It goes further back than that. There was a time when kids were making their own websites, and before that using online Chat Rooms. IE:

      email>listserve>IM>Chat Rooms>FrontPage>Blogging>Flickr>YouTube>FriendSter>MySpace>FaceBook>Twitter>?

      The latest fad always sees the mainstream swarming like a flock of birds to the next cool trend. There has been a rush for kids to network online and get into the public eye, but now there’s a trend toward wanting selective online privacy (groups) as these kids grow up and become aware of how badly public image can affect the rest of their lives.

      As you point out, it will change. FB is morphing as we speak, now allowing users to cocoon within their own circles and remain unseen by the rest of the world, which is somewhat counter to the original concept of being a place to collate and broadcast all your stuff. It’s getting old.
      As for Google, there was a time when users consciously used many search engines (DogPile, HotBot, Lycos), some which were far better than others. Today, they are largely invisible behind the toolbar of your browser and return similar results. Yahoo, Bing, Google … who cares, they all work well.

    1. Absolutely spot on! I checked into FB a few years ago simply to notify a member that they were violating a copyright on a work of mine. Problem got resolved, I deleted (not abandoned) my FB account. While there I kept getting multiple “friend” requests per day from former colleagues (many of whom remain in touch via email or personal visits), former students (I can’t remember one from the other), and high school classmates (I had no friends in that school, why should we be friends now?). These requests were ignored as I didn’t have time to read Twitter-like “I’m off to Safeway,” “Betsy-poo called and I have to meet with the principal,” and other inanities. Then there was the constant barrage of invites to special interest groups or forums or whatever they’re called (Equality for Lab Rats). Admittedly I’m what was called a “War Baby,” the generation just prior to the Baby Boomers, so my perspective is definitely skewed. My “social” is usually heading over to a locally-owned coffee house to meet up with others of all ages who like to shoot the breeze. Cells must be turned off and no WiFi. Plus the coffee and food is excellent. Then the evening comes and we have to return to reality!

      I’ll just sign off as “the Dinosaur!”

  5. Correct!

    “Google’s facing a painful multiple contraction, once its desktop search business starts to fall off a cliff as users dramatically drop traditional search for new ways of getting information they want in a mobile world …” This is going to hit them very soon. Siri and other apps do not need Google to get information and Apple can make sure no iOS device ever does including the NEW AppleTV coming later this year.

  6. Jeff II, it must be really nice to have all your friends in a small enought area to be able to meet up at the coffee shop.
    In the real world that most of us inhabit, friends are often spread over large distances and are very inconvenient to visit. My G/F is an hour’s drive from me, I have other friends who are a four hour drive away, or more. Fb is an incredibly convenient way to keep in touch quickly, I have conversations between myself and a couple of friends, one of whom is in Germany, which would not otherwise be possible, or at least convenient; plus many bands are using it because it’s UI doesn’t suck like MySpace, and doesn’t need Flash, so it’s perfect for all the mobile devices people use.

    1. Please understand that I’m not suggesting that FB is a bad thing; just giving my own opinion. It works great for many people and more power to it.

      My circle of friends isn’t that small but at my age I dread opening Mail for fear of yet another person’s name on the subject line who has passed or is ill. I treasure each and every one and stay in contact with many via email, which is a a godsend.

      Be good, Rorschach! Enjoy life and your friends, wherever they are. 🙂

    2. Lots of people are using Facebook a half-dozen times a day or more. It’s hard to replicate (look at Google and Apple — all the money in the world won’t get people to switch), because you’d have to convince us all to switch at once. The product is your friends.

      And it is valuable to advertisers. In some ways more than Google.

      Google is great if you’re looking for what I’m buying. Then Google AdWords can’t be beat as a medium.

      But if I’m selling something you don’t know exists. Or you know exists, but you ‘re not activly looking for it. Facebook (sponsored stories and ads) is a great platform.

  7. The source article is great reading, despite it’s limited perspective to recent times. One conclusion I picked up is that as companies age, they usually lose their entrepreneurial perspective. I often go into a rant about the inevitable decline and fall of corporate management into the depths of Marketing-As-Managment. Witness Kodak, Sony, Microsoft….

    I also was energized to realize that the software entrepreneurial fire still burns on the mobile platforms. The number of interactive/web-active apps that are constantly appearing is beyond comprehension. Of course most of them will drop dead in a hurry. But there will be great survivors that may well become the next dominators in that market.

    One thing I found disagreeable was the article’s statement We will never have Web 3.0, because the Web’s dead. Semantically, perhaps. But I can just as easily point out that Instagram et al. IS Web 3.0.

    In any case, for a futurist tech addict like myself, these are great times to be living. PoliTardiness these days is shockingly retrograde, heading us back into a feudal dark age. 😯 But Tech progress still shines on! 😀

  8. Well, Google bought Motorola to stay in touch with the shift to the mobile world. 12 billion was worth it, but they will loose the battle against apple because they are no manufacturers, they are way too virtual ! Android is the only ace they got !

    facebook bought instagram to stay in touch with the mobile shift, but users are leaving because its an ad platform and the hype is already gone.

    yep, I agree, 5 years from now both companies might be as poor as myspace is right now.

    You better prepare and stay away from false investments !

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.