Opinion: Why Google now needs to be broken up

Platform Industry: Google News

Since it’s inception some 22 years ago out of a garage in Menlo Park, Google has been on an unparalleled journey towards multi-sector dominance.

Today, with its suite of products, both internally developed and externally acquired the company wields far too much power. It’s power lies not just commercially across the internet, but (importantly) politically.

The company allegedly penalises and/or outright bans organisations and individuals it deems problematic. It has effectively declared itself Judge, Jury and Executioner.

However, the key driver is the near monopoly the business has garnered in the method of discovering content; delivery of advertising; method of counting audience; and delivery of content.

The warped economic reality is unhealthy and unbalancing not just for those creating content, but the wider digital economy.

Over the last few months we have covered the commercial and political flexing of platforms such as Google. The Australian government and a myriad of local publishers are unhappy at how search has warped the news industry. Googles response has been to double down and now effectively threaten to pull its search results from Australia entirely. The news was greeted with dismay from those with a vested interest in Google keeping its omnipotent position within search.

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However, the highly unlikely scenario made some of us ask a serious question. Would Google pulling out of Australia really be a bad thing for the digital economy?

Those of us in our mid-forties remember a time before Google when AltaVista, Excite, Lycos, Yahoo, Inktomi, Goto and MSN were viable players. This drive innovation, a healthy content discovery ecosystem with reduced risk to businesses and more opportunity.

So far as I can tell, Google pulling its search engine from Australia would only be catastrophic for those SEO/SEM agencies collecting money from naïve SME’s and doing little tangible in return. Even within that sector, the best in class would diversify in line with the new market and thrive.

With that being the case, wouldn’t the search landscape be better and more innovative if other players were present?

With its near total market dominance it is unlikely a new player could ever emerge. It is for this reason a new approach to Alphabet’s Google is required.

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The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Commentary by Rob Phillips.

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