Google’s worl… web domination

Posted by Flo in Websites on November 12th, 2008.
Tags: , , ,

With the coming of Google Chrome, Google’s brand new browser, you can let your digital life (and parts of your life outside it) be fully controlled by Google. If you need a map because you don’t know the way: Google Maps, if you want to view some videos: Youtube or Google Video, your e-mail? Gmail of course… your pictures? Picasa… chatting? With Google Talk… Only information on sites like Wikipedia seemed to be free from Google’s supervision (unless you search for it with Google’s famous search engine), but with Chrome, you can even view that with the help of Google software…

Is web domination dangerous?

I guess it is… First of all, it can become impossible for other companies to start services where Google is already a major player. Especially if you want to create a new search engine. If I may believe the stats of this site (although I don’t think these are totally representative), 99% of the searches are made in the Google search engine, so Google really has a monopoly on that one already. And you can imagine that it is hard for a new search engine to compete with this, because people are used to Google, and this will stop letting your company grow and getting money to invest in making your search engine better.

If a lot of companies fail to compete with large companies like Google, this can have an effect on the amount of choices you can make as an internet user. Of course, choosing can be difficult, but it can also have positive effects on the products that are available. The more products that compete against each other, the bigger is the drive to improve the products (at least, that’s what the theory says).

This monopoly also means that google can decide which websites we are going to see and which ones we are not going to see, and as far as I know, this is already happening in China and Germany. If the same happens for all services Google is running or starting, this means that Google will have more control over the information that is accessible through the internet. And you wouldn’t even notice that it’s happening, because you can’t compare it to something else… woooooh CONSPIRACY THEOREM! 

Something that is not a conspiracy theorem at all (if you want to believe is that your privacy is at risk when using the Google search engine. If you want to search the web without letting other people know what you’ve searched, you can use their Google scraper. This will let you search with Google without losing your privacy. For the people who really think that they’re being watched, there’s the ssl scroogle search. That way nobody will know what you’ve searched except for you.

Will Google ever fully dominate the web?

The answer depends on how negatively you think. I personally think that it will be impossible for one company to dominate EVERY web service available. Nevertheless, it can be able to totally control some of them (in Google’s case: web searching). But of course, there IS a (in my opinion very, very, VERY small) chance that Google will be able to create applications for every service that become so popular that nearly everyone will use them. Not especially popular because they work so well, but popular because they’re hyped all around the web. This did happen with Firefox (no, I don’t think it’s the best browser), and it did happen with Youtube. 

You can see that Google is trying to do this with their new Chrome browser. It’s largely announced on Youtube. It also shows another problem: if more popular websites fall in the hands of Google, the easier it will be for Google to hype their own software and services, so Google will get more popular websites, making it again easier to hype… you see where this is going?

As I’ve already said, I don’t think that it will ever come this far, but we need to stay focussed on new sites and services that compete with large companies. Don’t choose products because it’s the first option you see, or because everyone else has it. but choose the best service and convince other people to do the same. In other words: stay objective so companies will need to improve their products to stay in the market. This seems like some time investment, but in the end it will pay off with different high quality services so that everyone can choose the product that will fullfill his or her personal needs.

Some fun links (searching with the google search engine in privacy) (the same, but encrypted) (conspiracy website or just founded criticism…?)

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