1. A New Search Engine
The best ideas are just on the right side of impossible. I don't know if this one is possible, but there are signs it might be. Making a new search engine means competing with Google, and recently I've noticed some cracks in their fortress.
The point when it became clear to me that Microsoft had lost their way was when they decided to get into the search business. That was not a natural move for Microsoft. They did it because they were afraid of Google, and Google was in the search business. But this meant (a) Google was now setting Microsoft's agenda, and (b) Microsoft's agenda consisted of stuff they weren't good at.
Microsoft : Google :: Google : Facebook.
That does not by itself mean there's room for a new search engine, but lately when using Google search I've found myself nostalgic for the old days, when Google was true to its own slightly aspy self. Google used to give me a page of the right answers, fast, with no clutter. Now the results seem inspired by the Scientologist principle that what's true is what's true for you. And the pages don't have the clean, sparse feel they used to. Google search results used to look like the output of a Unix utility. Now if I accidentally put the cursor in the wrong place, anything might happen.
The way to win here is to build the search engine all the hackers use. A search engine whose users consisted of the top…