No, this is not an alarmist reaction to Google+ or anything like that. Instead, it's an incredibly innovative person who understands there are future generations who could very well create something that succeeds Google's position in the Internet industry.
What we have is a Vint Cerf situation. That is, when he speaks, especially about the Internet, we listen, and listen closely. And when Cerf says he firmly believes there's nothing to prevent the development of technology that could unseat Google, it's worth noting.
That's what being one of the "Fathers of the Internet" brings you.
While speaking at the Life Online exhibition, Cerf offered his view of a potential future Google faces, via Pocket-Lint.com:
"There's nothing to stop someone from developing better technology than we have and to invent something even more powerful and efficient and effective. Which, of course, scares us. And that's good because it means we run as fast as we can to develop better tools for search in order to try to stay ahead of the game... We absolutely know that there could be somebody just like Larry and Sergey on some university campus with an idea we don't have that could explode on the scene and take the business away."
Is that how Google will fall? Not from failed ventures into social media or anything Microsoft does, but from a younger generation of web developers who have the kind of vision required to develop something better than Google, while building it into the worldwide powerhouse? While it's likely there are many who are hoping for Google's demise sooner rather than later, especially in the wake of the Panda updates, is that a reasonable expectation to have?
Even when Google fails--and there have been many--it still doesn't impact their position as the lead search engine in the world. With that in mind, it's pretty clear Cerf has mapped out the best way to topple Google: make something better than what they already offer. Are you up to the challenge?