Reason to Worry?

Battelle had a small little item the other day that caught my attention: Google, breaking what seems to be a pretty cardinal rule, intruding on the pristine white space of the home page, to promote their search toolbar.

Since that item the other day, I have seen the promotion not only on the Google home page, but at the bottom of various search results pages. If they’re intruding on the pristine white space, and breaking cardinal rules, I can think of just three explanations:

1. That the distribution costs have gotten too high at the margins to make it economical to rely mainly on third parties for distribution.

2. That they feel like there are no longer any viable, high volume third party software makers with whom they can ally themselves, and are taking matters into their own hands to guarantee distribution. Maybe related to this.

3. They’re plotting trendlines out two to three quarters, see trouble, and are getting a little panicked.

Probably #1, maybe #2, and only time will tell if number 3 is a factor.