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Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin  (Source: a beautiful gift/WordPress)
Odds of Google being split up are very slim

Google is an American company that started as a simple search engine and grew to a massive corporation with tentacles reaching all across the technology arena into other unrelated fields. The size of the company and money generated by Google and its advertising programs today make it a clear target for watchdog groups that maintain Google is a monopoly.

One watchdog group called Consumer Watchdog has asked the DOJ this week to break Google into smaller companies to prevent a monopoly situation along the lines of Microsoft. John M. Simpson from Consumer Watchdog is the person who made the request to the DOJ and he argues that the DOJ's actions against Google's attempts at buying other advertising firms and scanning books isn't enough to ensure the search giant doesn't turn into a monopoly.

Simpson wrote in a letter to the DOJ, "Google exerts monopoly power over Internet searches, controlling 70 percent of the U.S. market. For most Americans – indeed, for most people in the world – Google is the gateway to the Internet. How it tweaks its proprietary search algorithms can ensure a business's success or doom it to failure."

The fact that search rankings on Google can make or break a company is no theory. Each time Google algorithms change retailers around the world moan over last rankings. Once a retailer is off the first page of results the chances of searchers clicking becomes much smaller.

EWeek rightfully points out that the major flaw with Simpson's argument is that Google doesn't force anyone to use its services; it just happens to be the most popular service around. Google also lets users leave anytime they want and take their data with them when they go. Another factor that hurts Simpson's idea of a split up Google is the fact the DOJ didn’t split up Microsoft when asked by advocates, and Microsoft has been convicted of anti-competitive practices in the past. Google has so far never been formally accused of anti-competitive practices, though some major companies like AT&T have accused Google of being anti-competitive.

Simpson also alleges that Google purposefully tweaks its algorithms to keep other businesses down and serve its own interests. Google has long maintained that algorithm changes are nothing more than an attempt to give users more accurate and useful search results.

Simpson outlined his plans for breaking Google up in the letter sent to the DOJ, "Gmail and its new social networking service, Buzz, could be spun off as a separate entity as could YouTube, a Google acquisition that we believe should have been denied at the time of merger. Enterprise applications could be another separate business."

A Google spokesperson told 
eWeek, "We totally understand that with size and success comes scrutiny. Although given their track record, even if we broke Google in half tomorrow, Consumer Watchdog would probably insist that we split halves into quarters."

Google is a huge company, but if the company was broken up as suggested by Simpson many of the services simply don’t generate the revenue needed to continue operating. Google's massively successful advertising program underwrites most of the free services like Gmail and Buzz.



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RE: Why?
By Bateluer on 4/22/2010 11:08:45 AM , Rating: 5
Wait . . . you want Google to make everyone's search data public? That's a major privacy issue that you'll face an uphill battle on.

I don't see this going anywhere, the DOJ didn't break up Microsoft and there was a much stronger case for a monopoly there. And the last time they broke up a major company, Ma Bell, it sat idly by while all the smaller firms bought each other up and re-assembled into the original company again.


RE: Why?
By superPC on 4/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: Why?
By robert5c on 4/22/2010 12:21:20 PM , Rating: 3
your argument of government vs private company is silly, google doesn't use your tax dollars, why "should" they do anything we ask

and what is with all this talk of should, why "should" any private company do anything that would cost them without gain,

giving up their algorithms will just allow competitors to copy them, good luck with that. the average consumer has no knowledge therefor use of interpreting the algorithm or stored data, however there is a lot of use for negative or criminal activity, so i rather they keep all there stuff private.

back to the topic of should, you should find another search company if google doesn't fit your specifications.


RE: Why?
By ninjaquick on 4/23/2010 2:55:10 AM , Rating: 2
Firstly, it only tracks systems with an attached google account, and you can clear all search data from the account settings page. No information is actually permanently stored. You can also opt to not have any data storage.
Once you leave the google site all they do not have access to any information, the only thing they know is what you search and what you click. That is all.
This is a matter of you using an open to the public yet privately owned and managed service. You have no obligation to use Google at all, ever. A monopoly is at its root: single seller. Google is one of many advertising firms and search engines.
People need to remember that just because the company is big doesn't mean it is a monopoly. A monopoly requires it to be the one and only seller of a service or product. An example true monopoly is Apple, for reasons obvious.
Also, google is not anti competitive. Search yahoo!. Search for products and look at the page results. You can use gmail with pretty much any software out there and even forward/recieve mail from other accounts.
Basically, it is bull to call google a monopoly. They are a big business but they by no means are anything bad. Google is one of the most important things that has ever happened to the internet, and has massive global market penetration but all that considered it doesn't pull in more than 7B (compare to ExxonMobile at 20B or Wal-Mart at 13B).
As far as search shaping, Google is actually pretty transparent. There are ways to engineer (on an independent non google related way) a page to be first, and they also use popularity and relevance algorithms for general searches.
And no search algorithms shouldnt be public. That would be like saying microsoft should hand out the source code for windows or banks give out their security methodology white papers.

This is basically a response to everyone that thinks google is in the wrong. If you don't like them making money then go and make a search engine that does the job better.


"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA














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