Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 21st Feb 2018 23:06 UTC
In the News

In other words, it's very likely you love Google, or are at least fond of Google, or hardly think about Google, the same way you hardly think about water systems or traffic lights or any of the other things you rely on every day. Therefore you might have been surprised when headlines began appearing last year suggesting that Google and its fellow tech giants were threatening everything from our economy to democracy itself. Lawmakers have accused Google of creating an automated advertising system so vast and subtle that hardly anyone noticed when Russian saboteurs co-opted it in the last election. Critics say Facebook exploits our addictive impulses and silos us in ideological echo chambers. Amazon’s reach is blamed for spurring a retail meltdown; Apple's economic impact is so profound it can cause market-wide gyrations. These controversies point to the growing anxiety that a small number of technology companies are now such powerful entities that they can destroy entire industries or social norms with just a few lines of computer code. Those four companies, plus Microsoft, make up America's largest sources of aggregated news, advertising, online shopping, digital entertainment and the tools of business and communication. They're also among the world's most valuable firms, with combined annual revenues of more than half a trillion dollars.

The recent focus on technology companies when it comes to corporate power is definitely warranted, but I do find it a little peculiar that it, at the same time, draws attention away from other sectors where giant corporations are possibly doing even more damage to society, like large oil companies and the environment, or the concentration of media companies.

One has to wonder if the recent aggressive focus on tech companies isn't entirely natural.

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Google is not a monpoly
by jonsmirl on Thu 22nd Feb 2018 01:12 UTC
jonsmirl
Member since:
2005-07-06

Microsoft was a monopoly when it used its Windows licensing power to prevent every OEM in the world from installing any OS besides Microsoft Windows. That was 100% restraint of trade and they deserved to be broken up for doing it.

I just can't see how Google is a monopoly. There is nothing stopping anyone from setting up a competitor to Google. Of course it may be hard to get people to pay attention to you, but that is a marketing problem not a legal one. There are no 'licenses' in place stopping people from using a competing search engine. There were licenses restricting Microsoft's OEMs.

Another point for the people complaining about what Google does with the info on their websites. You are 100% in control of what Google indexes on your site. If you don't like what Google is indexing, set a robots.txt to stop them. I get annoyed when Getty thinks it has a 'right' to piles of free traffic from Google and then they go even further and try and to dictate how Google should collect that free traffic for them. You are a fool if you build a business around Google giving you free traffic.

You can try arguing monopoly extension against Google when it enters the verticals, but again I don't see it. Monopoly extension is where the ownership of one monopoly is used to force people into another one. But no one is forced into using a Google vertical, Google may make it very easy for you but that is not the same as forcing you to do it.

I also believe the huge EU fine against Google over this is ridiculous. The owners of Foundem seem to think that they have a 'right' to pile of free referral traffic from Google and no such right exists. I suspect the EU's actions will simply destroy all third party shopping engines and basically guarantee that Amazon will own the EU shopping market. It is pretty much already that way in the USA.

So what do the anti-trust lovers want to do to Google? Prevent them from building any kind of vertical search engines? What would be the legal grounds for making a ruling like that?

BTW, I think the technology that will displace Google in search is already under development. It is AI processing of the web to extract the concepts contained in a web page instead of just keywords. Once something like that works well, the whole category of vertical search will likely disappear. Maybe Google will win two generations in a row (like Microsoft did - command line, GUI) but that is a rare occurrence. More likely some new startup will figure it out, then we'll see if they sell out or stay independent.

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