The impact of Google shedding its stand-alone search approach reaches beyond the Web search industry.

Retail giant Wal-Mart is said to be tracking Google's new Google Base, an online listings service that's supposedly a precursor to an eBay Inc.-like online retailing operation. Computing giant Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, Wash., usually reacts to every Google move.

"Google originally had a laser-like focus on search; now that laser's definitely changed, and entire industries change as a result," said Gary Price, editor of the Searchenginewatch.com Web site.

While history is replete with very influential companies that push their markets in just such a way (eBay, of San Jose, Calif., is one prime example), Google stands out because of its enormous success in a short period of time.

There aren't a lot of companies whose products are so ubiquitous that the company name becomes a verb (to "google" is now recognized as meaning to search the Web). Google has managed to achieve this status, and in a lightning-like five years.

But maybe the lexicography's off?

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