Google is making too much money from search advertising – about $50 per user per year. So the laws of supply and demand will kick in: additional providers will join in causing a price drop. This leaves Google with no alternative but to start offering additional features, or simply start paying its users for using its search engine.
That is in summary what Bill Gates is saying in this interview.
Don't dismiss his claims just yet. Remember the internet boom with its pay to surf schemes? Several providers started offering web users money if they would watch their banner ads. As the internet bubble burst, the providers too all went bust.
There is however a major difference. Google has the network effect going for it: it has a large group of regular users that a new provider will have trouble building. And the service is already adding services at an astounding pace that seem to be targeted at locking in users more than generating additional revenues.
I doubt that Google would start paying its users, but a new startup might very well take this approach. Hell, if the search results are any good, wouldn’t you switch search engines if there's a check involved?
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