So it's a done deal. Yahoo! acknowledges that one of the original search engines can't figure out how to do search well enough to compete in the 21st century. Which basically leaves Bing with almost double the search market share that it had last week and leaves Yahoo! as a content portal. The entire idea of a content portal seems like an anachronism of AOL proportions to me, but maybe the good folks at Yahoo know something I don't. Whatever. What intrigues me is how this will impact Google which still has roughly twice the search market share of Microsoft and Yahoo combined.
However, today's announcements of Google Voice integration with Gmail and even their quieter announcement of new features in Google Apps suggests that Google is far from resting on its search laurels.
Google makes its money on search. Everything else is gravy for the company and, in many cases, its non-search products lose money for Google. Threats to the company's fledgling search in China, competition from social media sites, and now the combined strength of Yahoo! and Bing mean that Google is no longer able to assume that it will be the dominant player in search (and therefore, search-driven advertising revenue) and will need to convince advertisers that it has other ways of attracting user eyeballs to those ads.
So to answer my original question, what's the impact on Google? The impact on Google, in fact, may not be that substantial, at least in the short term. However, neither Yahoo nor Microsoft have any significant mobile presence, making Android even more important to the company's long-term prospects and providing a major competitive advantage. Similarly, Google SaaS offerings will continue to mature. While Google Apps is hardly a cash cow, anything that can make users more vested in Google's ecosystem achieves the goal of driving eyes to Google's monetized properties.
Finally, whether it's through voice, games, or some evolution of Google Wave, Google will make the jump into social in a big way. Nobody outside of the Googleplex is entirely sure how this will take shape, but if we view Google's core business as advertising and we look at threats to its core search business, then social will necessarily be a major driver for its core business going forward.
Will Google still dominate search in 10 years? Maybe, maybe not. I doubt, though, that search will remain its primary source of revenue when there are so many pieces of Internet communication and collaboration into which the company continues to insert itself at ever-increasing rates.