The Next Google

If there is any doubt that 37signals, purveyors of fine application services such as Basecamp and Backpack, has jumped the shark, Information Week has sealed the deal with a recent fluff piece headline: “Is 37signals the new Google?”

Don’t get me wrong — I am a long-standing supporter of the 37signals crew since we first approached them to design a site back in 1999, and a true believer when it comes to their unwavering dedication to clarity in design, and “less is more” approach to business management. I also can’t help but be impressed with their evolution over the years, growing from a usability and user experience-oriented design shop to a blog-powered, seminar-driven marketing machine (in the best sense of the word). And, while I don’t “live” in their software as some of their biggest fans do, I would agree that they are among a handful of companies designing very good software today. I eagerly await their entry into the hosted CRM market. SalesForce could use a serious wake-up call.

But the next Google? Back to the headline.

Jason Fried, master of ceremonies at 37signals, shared news of the article with his Signal v Noise blog readers, generating a typically active discussion (41 comments as of this post).

Over at Del.icio.us, 76 people (and counting) also find it link-worthy. Tags include: 37signals, google, web2.0, and ideas.

Which got me thinking: what other companies have been suggested as the next big thing in the age of Google?

A Google search for the phrase “the next Google” produces 90,300 results (though Google cuts you off at 440 claiming the rest are similar). Among the top hits, you will find:

and . . . 

It will be interesting to see where these companies, Google included, rank a year from now, 5 years from now and beyond. I wish Jason and the 37signals team the best.