Dear regulator, is Google taking over the world?

Google's purchase of DoubleClick takes it one step closer to being an online-advertising monopoly

The Googleites seems to just love watching Microsoft twitch. It's as though Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt are Linux-loving geeks who grew up on the milk of Bait-Gates and now seek every opportunity to get in a dig.

You can just imagine Sergey telling Larry 'n' Eric, "Hey guys, I just read that Microsoft's about to buy some banners company that it really needs for $2 million," so Larry and Eric immediately vote to buy the thing for more, just for kicks. And so DoubleClick wound up in the Googlers' hands for US$3 billion.

It may seem that way but this last step by Google is no giggle by a few geeks who adore Internet and content.

DoubleClick is an advertising platform through which pass almost all the e-commerce sites unhappy with their income from Google. For Google to buy DoubleClick is to declare that it's crossed the street.

From now on, Sergey and Larry are no longer the kickiest geeks in town. They are distinguished businessmen in the school of Gates. Geeks they may be, but they have become the cold-eyed sort that rule the world and have to prove, morning in and morning out, that they still are Not Evil.

That old and somewhat notorious DoubleClick ads system, that Google has now bought, is not another freebie Internet toy with free storage like Gmail, or some cute images-library with free storage like Picasa. It isn't even an intimidating acquisition of some media hub like YouTube, or the release of endless closed-code applications (which Google manages to conceal by providing significant amounts of support to the open-code community).

Buying DoubleClick is a major move. If there were a world Internet regulator, the regulator would be wondering what to do.

Google decided that it wants to benefit from each ad campaign that drives Internet, and it promises that its marriage with money won't ruin it. Our imaginary regulator would have to decide whether Google is actually a belligerent online-advertising monopoly, if it's about to become one, or if its real aim is to seize control over most Internet content and most of the revenues that online content could generate.

Suddenly, Google feels that understated text ads aren't enough. It wants banners, bells and whistles and all.

Maybe I'm paranoid, but suddenly, I too wonder if we really can continue blindly trusting these guys and their search results.

I loved them in 1999, when they had this clean, pristine white search engine.

But can I continue to trust people who put a fortune into indexing site types that don't belong to their advertising network? Or that may decide to direct most of their search-engineering staff's energy to areas of Internet where Google salespeople closed the most deals, and now await the clicks?

Experience tells me that advertising and content are different worlds. Even arrogant Google will suddenly discover that it's devoting much more attention to advertising issues, at the expense of the reliability and uniqueness of search results and Internet applications.

When our virtual regulator, whom I contacted for help, starts discussing the question of whether the formerly super-cool search giant is a monopoly - he won't be able to settle for dry figures on market share of online advertising. He won't be able to just ask what its (tiny) share of the total (vast) world advertising is.

The virtual regulator will have to relate to all the data that Google has accrued about our surfing habits, our searches, maps, and images of the inhabitants of Planet Earth.

To all that, the regulator must add Google's sales on each text ad, with the data on clicks, and consider scenarios in which a commercial body has access to all that information.

We must not forget that Google has a platform, sells the ads, and also tells us where to surf, how to reach the Web sites and ads of its clients.

After considering what power Google could wield with its control over that much information, revenues from Internet, developments on Internet, and direction of surfer traffic, then the virtual regulator could rule -should a commercial company like Google have such a terrific advantage over us. Could we reach a situation in which the entire Internet depends on a monthly payment from Google, turning us all into clicker-ants in the empire of Sergey and Larry?

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Raphael Fogel

TheMarker.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?