Sunday, May 23, 2010

Reigning in Google

I've had a couple of blog post about Google and by now, you probably think I have a love/hate relationship with the Internet giant. You are right! They provide a lot of great services to the Internet community but it seems that the US government is taking notice of what appears to be Google trying to take over the Internet (Web Giant Google: Is so big so bad?). Back in the 90's when Microsoft was the dominant force in the computing world, many people tried to stop their monopoly.  One of these ways was to stop Microsoft' from automatically installing their browser during the installation of their operating system. Looks like the same people who were successful in that endeavor are trying to take on Google. 

Google is huge and getting bigger every day. I heard a statistic that said that one third of all pages browsed on the Internet start off as a Google search. Look what they have announced just in the past couple of days:
  1. US Approves Google's AdMob Purchase ($750 million for a mobile ad service)
  2. Google unveils Web-ready TVs
  3. Google buys Norwegian audio-provider ($68 million - 27.5% higher that closing price)
The fear is that Google will let you see what it wants to you see on the Internet, slowing down or putting blinders on the competition. If you think this statement is fear-mongering, here's a statement Google has made in it's own defense- Google's mission is to give users the information they’re looking for even if that means giving Google's own content priority and de-emphasizing sites Google believes offer poor experiences. So what they are saying is that they are the arbitrators of what's good on the Web - their stuff - and they keep people away from bad Web experiences - not their stuff.

Google has certainly weaved itself into all things Internet. I'm not sure who the US government plans to stop them  I think one way is to educate students and the general public about other ways to find things on the Internet. Just like you cannot get an objective view from reading one news sources, Internet users must remember that they should search for topics using other tools. Here are a few resources that I use:
  1. Mashpedia
  2. iCurrent
  3. Bing
  4. Yahoo (remember them?)
  5. AltaVista
  6. Internet Portals
Remember - Google is primarily an advertising company. The search results you see as a result of a Google search may not be a list of the most reliable sources or the most popular sources - it may be a list of sources of the people who paid Google the most. 

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