Google's rivals
Search under 'Google, competitor.' The list of prospective rivals grows longer every day. How these various clashes play out will have major consequences for small businesses.

(FSB Magazine) -- Microsoft

Google's free productivity applications (Gmail, Writely, and Google Spreadsheets) will offer ad-supported alternatives to Outlook, Word, and Excel. Can a free Google version of PowerPoint be far behind? Compelling scenario: Small businesses get free software. Google gets a fresh source of revenues. Microsoft's Live programs are reduced to also-rans in the brave new world of software as a service.

Yahoo

This is a Coke-Pepsi rivalry. Google currently dominates the $9.5 billion search-term ad market, with a 60% share to Yahoo's 30%. But the two giants are duking it out in the ad-supported free software market, with competing e-mail, instant-messaging, blogging, and mapping services. Good news for small business: The rivalry should keep service quality up and prices down.

Craigslist and EBAY

Many small Internet vendors would welcome a viable alternative to eBay. Hence the buzz over Google's new online payment program called Checkout. Meanwhile, Google's new Base service is user friendly and appears well suited for posting classified ads. Look out, Craigslist!

Everyone else

Google's experiments in Internet telephony threaten Vonage, Verizon, and Skype. Its acquisition of dMark Broadcasting, an online broker of advertising airtime, threatens traditional ad agencies. Last year Google's hometown of Mountain View, Calif., accepted the company's offer to wire the entire town for Wi-Fi, an obvious boon for local businesses. Expect communities nationwide to follow suit. Main Street will be the clear winner as these various skirmishes result in better and cheaper services.

Get right with Google.

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.