Google has been expanding from its roots as a search engine company for some time now. But why is the competition now taking notice?
They seem to fear a monopoly.
Microsoft filed a formal complaint to the European Commission accusing Google of using illegal tactics to dominate the search market. Others accuse Google of not adhering to the free and fair competition rules due to their stronghold on the search market. Because Google owns 65 percent there is a growing fear that the companies associated with Google are getting preferential treatment.
Google is not the first company to hear this type of monopoly talk. MySpace was known as a “gatekeeper” to the social media world, having had no real competition until Facebook burst onto the scene. Social media introduced introduced online file storage, a concept that quickly grew traction. With the addition of Twitter and Google Plus to the social sphere, MySpace went from leading the market to struggling to find its niche and remain relevant in the social media world.
During the recently held congressional hearing, Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, faced questions regarding the direction the company is taking. He discussed a number of different topics including Google growth and Mobile Innovations.
Google has acquired dozens of internet related businesses across various fields such as health, finance, travel, and product comparison.
A few of the acquisitions:
• ITA Software: $700 million
• Admob Mobile Ad Platform: $750 million
• DoubleClick Online Advertising site: $3.1 billion
• Youtube: $1.65 billion
• Dodgeball, location-based social networking site: price N/A
• Android mobile operating system: $50 million
The argument made by Microsoft and companies in South Korea and France is Google would fix the search results in order to give the businesses they are connected with priority in SERPs. Google’s companies would have a huge advantage because those top search results get 95 percent of views.
Google makes over 500 changes to the search algorithms every year. Each one is made with the intention of enhancing the search results. Google understands the importance of rankings to the success of small businesses. That’s why they provide detailed statistics explaining the change in position and providing tips to improve results.
Google has also been accused of unfair trade in South Korea after preloading itself as the search option on Android phones, thus providing a tremendous boost in business for Google as users searched on their phones.
Google is facing further charges in France for providing free web mapping to some businesses while competitors are charging for the same feature. Businesses have naturally opted to go with Google for the service.
Eric Schmidt responded to these accusations by stating that the search results are ranked in a manner that gives users the best answers. That is, according to Schmidt, the only thing taken into consideration. He stated that no amount of advertising dollars can persuade Google to give businesses special preference, and no political views either.
Google addressed the South Korea accusations by saying they never forced Android users to use Google. They have access to the web and the ability to utilize whatever site they wish.
During the congressional meeting Schmidt noted that Android’s open-source operating system has sparked innovation and opened doors for developers across the market. The system allows programmers to be creative and use the Android system without having ties to the Android. Companies have flourished from the success of apps created for this system. Google’s position is that it’s not looking to create a monopoly but to expand and maximize profit.