Google is throwing itself a hell of a 20th birthday party. And everyone is bringing the gifts.
While the dot com giant puts up celebratory doodles and shows off its original garage headquarters, Attorney General Sessions had already convened 14 state attorney generals to discuss censorship, privacy issues and antitrust issues involving, among other tech monopolies, the cutesy corporation.
Few meetings between Sessions and AGs well to the left, like California’s Xavier Becerra, would have gone as well as this, but big tech monopolies were already controversial on the left, now they’re also being unfriended by Republicans. There’s a growing consensus that they’re just too big and powerful.
Google’s August search market share in America stood at 84%. That means it defines the internet.
Its secretive algorithms determine what people see when they search. It can unilaterally redefine an issue, such as when it shifted the search results for “Jihad” away from counterterrorist sites to favor Islamist and pro-Islamist media sites. It shapes how political leaders, including President Trump, are seen, and manufactures an ongoing consensus by simply choosing one set of results over another.
(During the election, its search engine provided more positive results for Democrats than Republicans.)
And then there are the constant privacy scandals.
Even as Google is trying to celebrate its anniversary, it’s under fire for automatically signing Gmail users into its Chrome browser (which is a key link in its chain of monopolies meant to lock users into its search engine). After the outcry, Google, as usual, offered a partial retreat.
The scandal is fairly typical of Google which runs on privacy violations and monopolistic abuses. Before Google was rigging search results for political reasons, it was rigging them to favor its products. Search for “mail” and the first result won’t be the post office, it won’t even be mail.com which actually predated Google by a few years, it will be Google’s own Gmail. And that’s how it always works.
Google searches drive users to Google products. And Google products drive users to Google Search.
Its monopolistic vision of the future is of an Internet of Things, a smart home run on Google with eternally watchful smart speakers in every room of your house, processing your questions through Google, and sending every conversation in your house back along its servers to be analyzed by machine learning to better target you with ads on your smart fridge. And then it really will be Google’s world.
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