I don't have much to say. (nice preface to a post, huh?). I guess one of the things I was thinking about the other day is about search, and internet sites, and what are they. So let's see if this makes sense.
What is Google? It's an internet site (located at google.com) which gives you access to an algorithm tied to a large database composed of internet sites and their content. If you type some keywords, it returns the sites that most closely are related to those keywords.
Some interesting things about it. There is no user generated content. All the content is composed of crawled content readily available on the internet (and collected by the googlebots). The algorithm is very fast given the size of the database (a flavour of the entire internet). It has no network effects (you find a better search algorithm and nothing forces you to stick to the old one... except for familiarity with the interface).
Now for fun, let's contrast it to another site, MySpace. This is also an internet site (located at myspace.com), which gives you access to a large number of personal blogs. You can search through these blogs by attribute, but typically people make their own and visit their friends blogs.
Some interestings about this other site. It is ALL user generated content. There is no crawled content. There is little engineering. There is a somewhat meaningful network effect (if you are on it, you want your friends to be on it). It is easily replicable (remember geocities? how hard is it to make free webspace?). The activity on it is mostly like being in a beach or a bar, whereby young guys and gals want to attract each other's attention. Clearly of value to a particular age group, for a particular need.
Let's see, why not think about Yahoo. This site is very mixed. Hard to pin down (is this good?). Some areas are about user generated content (Yahoo 360), while others are about engineering (Yahoo Search). A number of areas are about commoditized services packaged for a semi-captive audience (email, news, etc.). So I think the best description would be that this site is about delivering to an audience the most used types of applications on the internet.
The internet is an interesting place. There are a couple of trends in opposite directions. One trend is the webification of everything, from photos (flickr) to video (youtube) to socializing (myspace). The other trend is its opposite, the non-webification to deliver innovative experiences (slingbox for tv/video), podcasts to deliver videos & audio programs to devices. Let's not forget the internet is not just about the web.
I guess I'll stop rambling now.