by Jake Espinoza
Google is getting a lot of negative attention right now for advertising its own products. The recent public launch of Google +, which previously required an invitation, came along with the addition of a convenient ad for the social site on the top left side of the page. An ad that is near impossible to miss.
Many online companies are becoming nervous about Google promoting its own products because of the large amount of influence the search engine has over online shoppers and browsers. Jeff Katz, CEO of Nextag, said in front of the US Senate tonight that having the top of Google’s home page secured for their own products gives them an unfair advantage over the competition. He pointed out that the ads spaces are not even available for outside companies to compete for—they are for Google services exclusively.
There is also a present fear that Google could eventually eliminate their competition from their search engine’s results. This is an especially large threat for companies like Yelp, who offer services with a similar Google counterpart.
To Google’s defense, their search engine has become the standard because of how efficient it works. They update the algorithm over 500 times a year. If they limited their search results, consumers would likely begin migrating to a more efficient search engine. With 99% of Google’s current revenue comes from advertising, they would be in a way cutting their own throats.
Google is also noted supporter of network neutrality. According to Google’s Guide to Net Neutrality:
Network neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet. The Internet has operated according to this neutrality principle since its earliest days… Fundamentally, net neutrality is about equal access to the Internet. In our view, the broadband carriers should not be permitted to use their market power to discriminate against competing applications or content. Just as telephone companies are not permitted to tell consumers who they can call or what they can say, broadband carriers should not be allowed to use their market power to control activity online.
Even with this considered, their hold on the world’s mobile market is pretty intense. Their Android operating system conquered 48% of the world’s smartphone market, and they are the default search engine on iPhones—which covers another 19%.
Their applications are also in high demand. Google Maps, Google Translate, Google Chrome and Google News are just a few examples in their vast catalog. This year they announced they planned on releasing Google Wallet, a mobile application for wireless payment.
Is the question where to draw the line or should we draw a line?
Not existing on Google would literally destroy a company’s online presence.
Thy have so many great products to offer that it is hard to fight against them. I used Google Search multiple times while doing research for this article. We Out Here uses Google Calendar and Google Documents as a way to keep everyone on the same page since our contributors are scattered across the great northwest. We also rely on Google search results for a large percentage of our site’s traffic.
The problem seems to be that Google is TOO effective in helping businesses succeed. The companies most scared of how Google could eventually hurt them, are the same companies who have Google to thank for a large part of the success.
Is fear enough of an incentive to thwart a company that is helping the world run more efficiently?
Imagine trying to run a campaign fighting Google that people couldn’t find on Google…