Remember when everyone was scared of Google?


A decade ago, it seemed like everyone in the technology world was afraid of Google. Flush with cash from its 2004 IPO, and looking for new sources of revenue beyond search, Google was engaging in or preparing for a host of new initiatives that had incumbents worried.

Back then, Google was experimenting with free WiFi and VoIP, putting telecom incumbents on alert. It launched Google Video, a threat to Yahoo and one that became real when Google bought YouTube in 2006. It was setting up an online-shopping service, moving into Amazon’s and eBay’s turf. Orkut looked for a while like a challenger to MySpace and Facebook. Google scanned books into searchable web pages and freaked out publishers. Its plans to develop an OS and productivity apps prompted Steve Ballmer to throw a chair across the room. 

Back then, Google seemed like such a formidable company that it didn’t even have to launch something new to make other companies nervous. A mere news report that it might enter a new market was enough to make entire industries nervous…

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