Others claim that the "Big 5" or "Frightful 5" of the Internet will control things from now on.
But what about their "core competency" - and what exactly is it? It is advertising, plain and simple. They put up content (such as this blog) and sell adspace and demographic information (all those search terms you use). And recently, this model has come under a lot of attack. Advertisers thought they were getting lots of eyeballs and promoting their brand name. But many are realizing that the clicks may be from bots, that people block the ads with ad-blockers. And worst of all, the company ads may appear on a right-wing Nazi site like Fox News - sullying the reputation of the company. Do you want your product advertised on Hannity? Only Amazon seems to think so, these days.
And is there a barrier to entry in this field? To be sure, Google is embedded into our brains at this point. Attempts at competing search engines has largely failed as it requires a LOT of capital to develop one and set up the servers needed. And then getting people to actually use it is the hard part - this is why Internet companies chase market share, hoping later for profits. But it is conceivable that a competitor could take away market share from Google - perhaps even a competitor among the "Big 5" - although Bing seems to be yet another example of Microsoft's list of failures outside of the O/S "space".
So that leaves Facebook. Surely they are unstoppable! You can't even go on the Internet without going on Facebook, right? Well, not exactly. I have been Facebook-free for over five years now, despite Facebook's attempt to drag me back in. Yes, you can live without Facebook, and in fact, live better as a result. People are discovering that Facebook is indeed addictive and can in fact, be very, very evil. Whether it is your teen daughter being bullied into suicide, or your best friend losing a job and career because of an ill-considered "joke" they posted, or some dude brainwashed into joining a terrorist group like ISIS or the Republican Party, there never seems to be much "good" that comes out of Facebook - or any social media for that matter.
And Facebook is desperately trying to fix this, just as Reddit is trying to toss out the "Donald" supporters - or so they claim. The problem is, once you try to suppress certain groups on a social media type site, you may start to lose users as well. That is the two-faced nature of social media. It represents the worst in human nature, and guess what? We are all pretty much horrible people. Yup, each one of us is a selfish bastard prone to acting, well, human. You try to police this, and people will flee in droves.
So I am not too worried about the future of the Internet or the Planet or whatever. The worst things to happen in this world last for only a few years, maybe a couple of decades at most. The 1,000-year Reich lasted maybe ten years. IBM's rule maybe four times that. The Soviet Union, not even a Century. Communism in China? Melted down in 30 years or so. This, too, shall pass.
Just as in four years, we'll likely have a new President. Maybe sooner.