Google was the main topic of discussion on a recent episode of 60-Minutes’ that looked at how the company was able to grow so large, and how it got so much power and influence. In the segment, one person who was talked to said that Google grew so large by using illegal manipulation of their search results to help push their competitors out, and promote their own content.
Antitrust lawyer Gary Reback made the statement that he believes Google is a monopoly, and worries about the fact that they have a ‘mind-boggling degree of control over our entire society.’
Everyone knows that Google is a key to success for many companies, but many people suggest that Google is in a position to really pick winners and losers in many markets. When a company is seen either as a competitor of Google, or a potential future competitor, the search giant will simply penalize them in the search rankings so that they can’t succeed.
Jeremy Stoppelman from Yelp even said that it would be impossible to build a service like Yelp today because Google wouldn’t let it happen. Yelp is already established now so they can overcome the obstacles that Google puts in their way, but that wasn’t always the case.
Of course, Google claims that they don’t make changes to their algorithms to disadvantage customers, but there is supposedly a lot of evidence showing that this is not the case. Google even had to settle a case with the FTC/DOJ in recent years related to this type of thing. In that case, Google had to change some of their internal practices.
The entire 60-Minutes piece was negative about Google, and they didn’t feature anyone stepping in to defend the company. Most people would agree that Google has done more than almost any other company to make the web easier and more accessible to everyone.
Whether you’re a fan of Google or not, marketers need to be aware of the growing sentiment that Google is indeed a monopoly. At some point in the not too distant future, it seems likely that there will be a full antitrust lawsuit against them, which could have huge ramifications throughout the industry.
For those interested, the 60-minutes piece can be viewed HERE.