The great thing about technology is that nothing stays still for long.
The business world is all agog over Google’s proposed $1 billion investment in the AOL unit of Times Warner. Press reports, such as this one from the New York Times, note that a novel part of this pending deal is AOL’s ability to put graphical images on Google search results (both its own and those of other interested advertisers).
I’ll leave it for tech and finance experts to explain this deal. I initially thought it was intended to get Carl Icahn off the back of Times Warner CEO Richard Parsons. Apparently not. John Battelle thinks this deal may be a precursor to an AOL IPO.
If I was at eBay and in the process of digesting Skype, I might pay a bit of attention to Google/AOL. Why not integrate Google Talk with AOL’s IM application for a fast ramp up of a rival to Skype? Google has just opened up Talk to third party developers.
But heading back to the law, it would seem that a deal with AOL is all about the business-to-consumer market, and Google home page search results may get clogged up more with ads, sponsors and graphics. Which is why I see Google/AOL as a further sign that over time that Google will “go vertical” and expand into discrete markets such as the law.
This development may provide an opportunity for West or Lexis/Nexis to sharpen their legal search market positioning while Google is focused on AOL. If I were them I’d do at least three things right now. Like today.
What are they? I ain’t tellin’. Yet.
P.S. Happy Birthday to The Wired GC. One year ago today, a launch to no fanfare and 3 hits. Now I have about 13.
What was interesting as I looked back on this first post, is that it included “offshoring” and “disintermediation.” Foreshadowing?