Anti-Google-Trust? / by Nate Westheimer

With Google's YouTube acquisition still fresh on the deal platter, their search, adwords and adsense products dominating the market causing some people to say "game over", Google Checkout in full swing, and Docs & Spreadsheets promising (not yet threatening) to take a chunk of MSFT's Office business, is the Goliath of Mountain View, CA asking to have anti-trust suits brought against them in the future? More and more we are entrusting "the Googster" with our online lives -- both business and personal lives -- much like we became dependent on Microsoft for our Personal Computing lives in the 90s. We know how the MSFT story is going, so here are four of the factors to watch out for in the Google anti-trust forecasting game.

  • Search & Barriers to entry. Google is search. Now that Google handles over two thirds of all internet searches, can this be considered nearing a monopoly? As long as Internet applications remain known for its low barrier to entry, owning 70%, 85%, or 100% of any market on the net won't matter
  • Open-source. Google embraces -- neigh, evangelises -- open source culture. If they get close to trouble, they'll just open up their book-of-secrets a tad more.
  • Open-platform. It's been reported that Google Homepage is the fastest growing Google product. If so, and if the internet is really headed to a "web as a platform" state (read: Web 2.0), then Google as your OS online means that Google will need to keep their Homepage feature and widgets that can work with it as open as possible. Google won't be able to enjoy 70% market share of online search or online Homepage if they cut people out of using their platform.
  • Privacy. Google's power will be most questioned the first time an AOL-like gaffe is made. (Does the recent contact list snafu count?) If something worse than the AOL scandal occurs, expect a tsunami effect.

Must read for this post: Winner-Take-All: Google and the Third Age of Computing - Skrentablog Google Under Fire; May Rein Forever - PaidContent.org