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by Ben Norman on 5th February 2010
Some call Google a monopoly, others one of the most innovative companies in the online technologies sector pushing forward the progress of the Internet. The one thing that can’t be argued though is that it is the most popular website in the world, and with it, the most used search engine. So is their dominance having a negative effect on the Internet?
Google as a company and an entity has grown so rapidly in such a (relatively) short period of time. Today, as it has been for some years in truth, the company name is the byword for online search. We don’t simply look for information, products and services any more, we ‘Google them’.
Their encroachment into the day-to-day language has helped the brand grow and the search engine develop. With an 80% share of the lucrative search market, as well as developing their own operating system, Internet browser and mobile phone amongst many other things, Google have gradually expanded their influence and gone far beyond the parameters of their original business. So the big question is, has this growth had a positive or negative effect on the Internet?
We want your opinions on this, so let us know what you think using the comments below. Here are a few things though that you might consider:
Google have access to a wealth of information right throughout the world. Their continuous indexing of websites and monitoring of their signed in user base makes them privy to some very personal and potentially valuable data. Is this too much power for one company to wield? Of course, in China they recently threatened to walk away from the market after some accounts were hacked [see: Google Threatens China Walkout], but is this only the tip of the iceberg?
The Competition Commission must be fed up of anti-trust suits against Google; but has their dominant position as the number one search engine and website gone too far? Yahoo have been forced to give up their pursuit and Bing has made only fractional gains since being launched in the middle part of last year [see: Search Engine Market Share Statistics – February 2010]; does this give Google too much clout to dictate search rankings and other related issues?
Conversely, Google’s size and wealth gives them a fantastic opportunity to research and develop new technologies. Not all of these developments have been universally welcomed, Street View and Google Books might be two decent examples; but does the breadth of their developments, and the wider improvements that have been achieved elsewhere as a result, justify their size and continued growth?
We don’t want to be too leading, so if you have some thoughts (good, bad or indifferent) on Google and their continued dominance online and within the field of search particularly, please let us know.