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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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Google's knowledge about you is fearsome
By thesafetyisoff on 4/22/2010 5:41:00 PM , Rating: 2
For more and more of us, Google knows everything about us. How easy would it be for Google to destroy your life through identity fraud or data manipulation? Or even just disclosure of private information?

Google knows your browsing history (Web History)
Google reads your email. (Gmail)
Google knows your friends, family, and business contacts (Contacts).
Google knows your credit card numbers, and what you buy online. (Google shopping)
Google knows what you look like (Picasa tagging), and can find you in other people's photos (Picasa facial recognition). It therefore knows who your friends are and what do together.
Google knows your voice. (Google voice)
Google knows your address and what your house looks like. (Maps Street View)
Google tells the world about you (Google search).
Google can hear your phone calls, read your text messages, and track your location in realtime (Android phone with GPS).
Google knows your favorite passwords. It knows your security questions.

And whatever Google doesn't know about you directly, it can probably get by data mining information about you that is uploaded by other people and businesses.

The Consitution protects us from the federal government. But who will protect you if Google goes after you?

By lightfoot on 4/22/2010 7:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
The Consitution protects us from the federal government. But who will protect you if Google goes after you?

Your logic is horribly flawed. Just because you are protected from abuses of the federal government does not mean that the federal government is not still required to protect you.

The Constitution protects us from the federal government. But who will protect you if China goes after you?

Simply: the government. That is its purpose. It doesn't matter if the threat is from China or Google. The government represents the people and is tasked with defending the people.

By kmmatney on 4/22/2010 7:15:26 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a good movie plot.

By Lazarus Dark on 4/22/2010 7:38:54 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but all government is evil. That's WHY they made the Constitution.

Google is love.

By Reclaimer77 on 4/22/2010 7:50:12 PM , Rating: 2
How easy would it be for Google to destroy your life through identity fraud or data manipulation? Or even just disclosure of private information?

Because if they did they would be sued, fined, federally prosecuted etc etc ?? They are a business, and businesses don't get as big as Google is by doing this crap that you listed. Think about it.

By callmeroy on 4/23/2010 10:37:47 AM , Rating: 2
DUN DUN DUN....(theme music)....

Seriously dude...paranoid much?

First , waaaaaaay before Google was a house hold name, companies ALREADY had very "powerful" information about us....have you heard of credit bureaus by chance?

They know your salary, your home address, your SSN, they know anything you've ever bought on credit, they know any loan you have ever made, they know your employment history (this is more recent but in the last 10 years companies are more frequently using credit screening as a pre-req to hiring, when this is done its recorded on your credit file)


Guess what its shared with companies all across the nation and the world (sometimes).....

Its recording in many databases in many firms.

And all this has been going on since before Google even existed.

Want more paranoia w/o google involved......I give you mailing lists.

There are companies that PROFIT from buying and selling our information....that's all they do...sell people's demographics -- names, addresses, phone numbers, often credit ratings, etc. to other companies.

In fact its going on right NOW as you read this very post! :)

Also, for your example -- what if people don't use Google?

How do they know my email -- if I don't use gmail?

How do they know my friends and family if I don't use their contacts?


Paranoia is no way to live...but if I was a paranoid type...I'd worry far more about what other companies do with my info than Google.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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