Within the next five years, Google will not be your number one search engine, it will be your number one platform. The change will sneak up on you gradually, with the birth of a platform that looks like a huge multi-user blog. One by one, features and tools will be added to provide forum-like groups, ad-hoc video conferences, local reviews of restaurants and all kinds of businesses. There will be no advertisements interspersed in the user-generated content, except in the video repository, where ads will run before and during each video. Ad revenue will be shared with the content posters, some of whom will earn significant sums of money. Channels will be set up and eventually compete with cable TV offerings.
The social networks we currently use will still be there, but the Google social offering will be a part of something much larger, a kind of Googleverse, the social glue that binds at least 10 other services together: email, chat, video conference, groups and mailing lists, maps and navigation, books, telephone, Internet access, media such as music and cinema, and a host of other things so advanced they can not be foreseen, given that five years on the Internet is an eternity.
We may see the tip of this iceberg in as little as three years, but whenever it happens, it will be greeted with skepticism and mockery before commanding the respect that will come with the realisation that the future is truly “now”.