May 27, 2010 Michael Bickerton
So, Google is a great company … it provides search services for free. Its shares have skyrocketed and now trade for over $500.00 each. The majority of Americans and Canadians use its search engine absolutely free, gratis, many use the email service, its video site, and a variety of analytic and other services. Googles fingerprints are visible on everything new on or in the internet.
In fact, Google has emerged, maybe rocketed, as the most innovative and dominant player in technology and global business. Google’s new business ventures are in telecommunications, video and now publishing of books (ebooks). Through this remarkable expansion Google has continued to have unprecedented growth in breath, size and revenue.
Google executives claim that there is a fundamental trust relationship between Google and its users. As my friend says, Google’s primary role has been to “provide what Sally wants when Sally wants it” and for the most part they are successful in this far-reaching goal. No matter how you look at Google, there is no denying that they are spinning a very large web in every area of our lives.
The ground is changing, lawmakers are beginning to take notice of this far-reaching web, Google has a policy stating that it promises to protect our (consumers) privacy, but doesn’t have a specific commitment and if they did, who would monitor it? Clearly, Google is collecting data, and lots of it, in fact all of it. Truthfully, Google can place or remove certain information from its powerful search engines, and not everyone is sure they can rely on Google to protect us. As a company are they really able to step outside the frailties of human nature?
Lawmakers are reviewing and contemplating changes in several areas, NET NEUTRALITY (are we sure that networks will not prioritize content), PRIVACY (legislation to regulate digital ads is being called for), MONOPOLIZATION (big antitrust issues with Google here), and COLLUSION (there are inquiries related to Google and Apple).
Google has grown to almost 24 Billion in sales (2009) and has almost 20,000 employees in its short history, an amazing story really. Now, it’s going to run into some very serious opposition from competitors and lawmakers, as not every believes that Google can, in fact, remain above the crowd and in the cloud. This change in thinking has introduced a perplexing situation for legislators and consumers … is Google a company or a think tank? Friend or foe? Free service provider or for profit monolith. The answer varies depending on who is asking the question.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5, May 2010