Steve Rubel always has some interesting information and arguments to share. Recently, he opined in this post that the big portals – Yahoo, Google, AOL and such – would come out ahead in the long-run despite the blaring hype about social networks and cool websites. Anecdotally, based on my own use I would have to agree. Even as I enter into new networks or add new websites as favorites, I seem to put more importance on portals like Google. For me, Google helps me in many ways – as an aggregator (Google Reader), a centralized search tool, a free email system to complement my home one and a source of countless applications – such as Picasa, Google Earth and Google Docs. As the Web becomes more crowded and complicated, any system (or portal) that can help us to organize and streamline our activities will be relevant and popular.

The larger question in all this is at what point the system will become overloaded. How many new applications, networks or websites can be added to the mix before traffic (and revenue) start to contract and we have more losers than winners? Whatever happens, the winners will be determined by the online community, and that’s the way it should be.