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FUDBusters: Google's GMail

FUDBust: Once upon a time, there was a Web search engine called Yahoo. It was the best, and it seemed invincible. But then it went public, became a portal, got profit-hungry, wrote its own TV jingle and forgot to be a good search engine. Results weren't as accurate, and the site wasn't as responsive. Today, many users say Google is the best search engine. But will the Gmail service distract it from its core competence?

Two red flags were raised in the Google announcement: First, a top executive said that Google is now a "competitor in the portal war." Second, Google wants to go public. Sounds eerily similar to Yahoo, doesn't it? Google already is experiencing problems with its PageRank algorithm--some spammers and commerce sites have figured out ways to trick PageRank into placing them higher in the search results. With e-mail and other new efforts, will the company find time to fix those problems? Google is king for now, but remember that victory is often fleeting.