For $5 Million You Can Buy Enough Storage to Compete with Google

Kevin Burton calculates that Blekko, one of the barbarian hoard storming Google's search fortress, would need to spend $5 million just to buy enough weapons, er storage.

Kevin estimates storing a deep crawl of the internet would take about 5 petabytes. At a projected $1 million per petabyte that's a paltry $5 million. Less than expected. Imagine in days of old an ambitious noble itching to raise an army to conquer a land and become its new prince. For a fine land, and the search market is one of the richest, that would be a smart investment for a VC to make.

In these situations I always ask: What would Machiavelli do?

Machiavelli taught some lands are hard to conquer and easy to keep and some are easy to conquer and hard to keep. A land like France was easy to conquer because it was filled with nobles. You can turn nobles on each other because they always hate each other for some reason or another. But it's hard to keep a land of nobles because they all think they are as good as you are and will continually plot your downfall. The Ottoman empire was hard to conquer because it's led by a single ruler. Everyone owes their wealth and prosperity to that ruler so subjects, assuming the prince has not turned the people against him, will fight to death for the existing structure because their future depends on it. To conquer takes an all out war. But once victorious the Ottomon empire would be easy to rule because there are no loyalties to drive resistance. It was always a marriage of convenience.

Google is the Ottomon empire. Allegiance is given to Google because people are getting paid. Defeating Google will take total war, assuming the prince has not turned the people against him, but once defeated ruling will be easy.

How might Google keep strengthening the ties that bind to make it harder for a prospective prince? One way might be to prevent subjects from cavorting with potentially corrupting influences outside the land. What if Google were to give greater rewards to websites that changed their robots.txt to reject all other search engines? That would deny all routes into the principality and strengethen ties considerably. A new prince would find it very difficult to break in.

Machiavelli might like that.