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Top Web destination Google will continue to be a success, but rivals MSN and Yahoo! won't be shut out by any means, Forrester predicts

The research firm says Google's dominance in the online search space will be diluted by Internet giants Microsoft and Yahoo! which will gain strength in the sector. Forrester's commentary comes as Google prepares for its much-anticipated IPO, which is viewed as a litmus test for the strength of the re-emerging tech industry.

"Google has seen tremendous growth, in terms of consumer use and paid search ad revenues. And, although it continues to be the most innovative search company out there," says Forrester analyst Charlene Li, "Google can't be everything to everyone."

The company argues that Google - a brand so strong it has become a verb - will lose ground to its main rivals, which will place their own search boxes near high traffic destinations like the MSN Hotmail and Yahoo! Web sites. Meanwhile, the technology that has earned Google such acclaim for fast and accurate searching - PageRank algorithms - will become less important as more Web sites emerge that include fewer hypertexts and more databases and executables, which require a different type of search.

Forrester argues that as time goes on, Google will continue to dominate as a general search utility and it will become the top pay-for-performance Internet ad network. But Microsoft will make its mark as the number one player in search technology that is integrated with desktop applications, with Web searching technology laced throughout Longhorn, the version of Windows due out in late 2005. Similarly, Yahoo! will capitalise on its strength as a Web portal, extending its enhanced search throughout its network.

© ENN

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