Wired had an interesting article recently, titled "Who's Afraid of Google. Everyone." They describe how lots of companies, both tech and non-tech, fear Google. This parallels a phenomenon I've seen at Microsoft where each team is concerned about Google for different reasons. Certainly, the rumors of a "Gbrowser" got our attention in IE; similarly other teams throughout the company considered what it might mean for Google to get into their spaces.
I've begun to view Google as a boggart from the Harry Potter world. As defined by Wikipedia: "A boggart in the Harry Potter fictional books is a shape-shifter that takes on the form of its intended victim's worst fear." Similarly, Google can take the shape of whatever a team or company most fears. For the IE team, it's a browser maker and so on.
I find it interested that Google has been assigned the role of the heavy in the industry; this was the role Microsoft played for many years (and maybe still does). I heard stories that every high tech business plan had to include how the company would compete, partner, and/or co-exist with Microsoft. Now, it looks everyone has Google on their radar. Maybe that will take some of the boogey man pressure off of us.
(As a side note, I'm amazed that there's an entry in Wikipedia for boggart. Definitely useful for me, but not your traditional reference topic.)