It occurred to me that of all the different ways that Google makes money, none of them include charging us, the general public, for access to information. There is no “Google Premium”, no “walled gardens”, no subscription or pay-per-view service. All of their revenues come from selling inclusion within that information space, but not access to the information space.
If you think about it, this is pretty awesome. As more and more information becomes available on the Internet, Google (and of course, most other search engines) will apparently be there providing us with totally free access to that information. What’s more, they’ll be enabling us to cross-reference information in new and exciting ways.
The only barrier to this trend eventually covering all information is copyright — and even that is pretty easily thwarted in the free-for-all (no pun intended) of the current Internet information universe. For example, it is child’s play to find New York Times archived “Select” articles, which normally you’d have to pay for, for free using a web search engine, even within the New York Times web site. In short, if it’s out there, the search engines will find it and index it.
This is pretty exciting, especially when you think of all the new ways this stuff will be cross-referenced. Cross-referencing mapping with text-based information searching is just the beginning.