Google has permeated this generations Zeitgeist, in ways previously unimaginable. The company’s name has become a verb. Google’s current holdings are over 36 billion dollars, and they rake in over $23 billion annually. They own two of the three top sites on the web, Google Search and YouTube. In 2010 alone they have already purchased 25 companies.
Google currently produces smartphones, runs a burgeoning Internet-based mail service, acquired several advertising services, released their own browser, and are poised to release their own operating system based on cloud computing.
Cloud computing, according to Wiki (one media brand actually not owned by Google), is “Internet-based computing whereby shared servers provide resources, software, and data to computers and other devices on demand.” Meaning Google would run our OS remotely from their data centers.
If Google’s Chrome OS and Chrome browser are successful, and their Internet-based mail surpasses Hotmail, and Google and YouTube continue to reign as the biggest sites on the Internet (after Facebook), we will be looking at an international conglomerate the likes of which the world has ever seen. This conglomerate would be in control of our computers, news (as most of our news comes from online sources now), Internet searches, Internet mail, and advertising. But, is it a smart idea to have one company own so much?
Currently Google is having problems in Europe with antitrust allegations reports the NY Times. Stateside the company is having more governmental issues according to the HuffingtonPost, “Connecticut’s attorney general says Google is refusing to give him access to data it collected about state residents from public Wi-Fi networks. In May, Google announced that it had inadvertently collected information from people’s online activities from unsecured networks in more than 30 countries.”
According to Wikipedia, Antitrust is based on the pillars that no organization should restrict free trade through the use of cartels, that no company makes anti-competitive practices (including predatory pricing, tying, price gouging, refusal to deal), and that mergers and acquisitions should be supervised.
Google is quickly becoming the largest cartel… oops — conglomerate, on the planet. Google has made (supervised?) 25 acquisitions just this year alone.
There are those dismissing Google’s antitrust charges as petty and unfounded; citing claims that the giant is merely capitalizing on successful marketing campaigns, but, when does branding end and a zeitgeist begin?