We all know Google is certainly not a small company, for many people it is so big they consider it a public service rather than a private enterprise. This often leads to dismay when Google change something, even cries of “they can’t do that!” Well, as we know, they can do whatever they like, just the same as McDonald’s could start charging £100 for one fry or launch a swan burger.
It seems recently though Google’s magnitude has been causing some concern in political circles too, the search giant have been accused of favouring their own services and companies in search results over that of possibly more suitable offerings from unrelated companies. Clearly as a private concern Google is entitled to offer up whatever results it feels correct, after all, its existence is down to it offering good results. If it stops doing that it won’t be popular and so won’t continue to be the most successful search engine.
Taking into account the companies rights to act as they so please there is still some worth in the Euro MPs suggesting Google should be broken up. As I mentioned, the brand has become so big that users sometimes fail to recognise it’s commercial position and as such don’t take the results in a commercial context. This does give some credence to the claim then, that by prioritising its own services Google is actually not acting responsibly.
The European parliament has voted for the break up, much to the dismay of various US trade bodies, but as it stands the final decision lies with the EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
This all stems from a case brought in 2012 by Google competitors taking issue with how, among other things, Google displays its vertical search engine services, uses content from across the web in their own services like reviews, and how Google sells its ads around search terms. Initially there were a number of concessions put to Google that they turned down, and so the case rumbled on. The recent revival and vote is suggesting the only way to resolve the issue is to simply break up the company thus dividing the search business from advertising and other commercial services. The aim, or at least the suggestion here is that it would allow room for other businesses to move in and offer similar services.
Whatever happens, and the likleyhood is that not much will for some time, Google will continue to innovate and dominate search and its ancillary services for the forseable future. But nothing is forever, and the digital world has shown us time and time again that new comers can change the world, remember Yahoo?… only just!