Is Google the New Microsoft?
Posted on Sep 9, 2008
The Justice Department could be gearing up for an antitrust case against the world’s leading search and online advertising provider because of a deal with Yahoo that puts Google in control of the vast majority of online ads. Despite a pledge to not do evil, Google’s image has been tarnished in recent years, mainly over privacy concerns.
For example, the terms of service for Google’s new Web browser originally gave the company rights to content “submitted, posted or displayed on or through” the browser. Google has since apologized for and revised the policy. Another bone of contention for privacy advocates is the personal data Google collects and stores. The company announced Monday that it would anonymize that data after nine months, half the previous period.
While it’s perhaps unfair to compare Google’s practices to the past transgressions of Microsoft, Google’s brand is increasingly everywhere, and not just in the form of ads. In fact, this post was written in Google Chrome and researched with Google News and Google Search, with periodic distractions from Google Mail and Google Talk. And let’s not forget the Google ads that were everywhere throughout that process.
The US justice department has hired a top Washington lawyer to head up a possible antitrust investigation into the activities of Google.
Sanford Litvack, the well-known litigator, will be advising the government as it prepares a case challenging a recent advertising deal between Google and its Silicon Valley rival, Yahoo.
The arrangement, which was made in June and lets Google sell advertising on Yahoo’s site in return for a share of profits, has been widely criticised for handing even more power to the dominant force in internet advertising. One analysis suggests that it could result in Google having control of more than 80% of the American online advertising market.
Flickr / Mykl Roventine