Exploring the world of social media

WEEKLY #5: Scared of the Google Empire?

At a recent dinner party, where conversation had turned to current events, one person at the table made a comment that in today’s world, there are two things to fear. The first is Google, because of the amount of information they control, and the second is Oprah, because that lady gets presidents elected.

Google’s dominance in the digital world is pretty undeniable. It’s impressive to see how many Google products exist and to see how people use the company’s name as a synonym for the verb “search.” It seems as though this dominance has quite a few people nervous about what the company is capable of — and even fearing that all of this power could be used in manipulative and controlling ways.

According to December 2009 data, Google controls 66 percent of search market share. (Imagine if that figure was 66.6 percent…then we’d really know Google was evil). Clearly Google’s competitors have quite an uphill battle in trying to eat away at Google’s goliath share. And so from a market competition/anti-trust perspective, perhaps we need to be concerned about Google.  But otherwise, I say Google should keep the super algorithm going.

In fact, I already professed my love for Google in a previous post. And that’s because, like so many other people, I really find tremendous value in the things Google creates and facilitates. It’s Google’s effectiveness that has made the search engine so popular. And it’s also been their ability to understand, and even anticipate, the needs of users. In my mind, one of the best examples of their innovative nature is the company’s use of Google Labs.

I won’t deny the natural fear that arises from knowing that Google possesses so much information. However, much of this data is only used in the form of aggregated, non-personal information (Greg Housh). There are also examples of how our information has been used to create better products. As these better products become available, I can’t help but to like Google even more.


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