Google is one of the biggest forces on the Internet. When we want to look something up, we Google it. When we want a decent browser, we download Chrome. We check emails on Gmail, watch videos on YouTube, write self-promoting bull on Blogger, and read list-based websites on our Android devices. When you think about it, it’s incredible that a company whose motto is “Don’t be evil” has come to be so utterly, ruthlessly dominant.
There’s a simple reason for that. Google gave up not being evil a long time ago. Take a good, hard look at the company in 2017, and it’s clear they’ve swapped being the good guys for being utter buttheads.
10. Monopolistic Practices
In summer 2017, the European Union handed Google a record-breaking $2.7 billion fine. Their reason? Google had abused its position of EU market dominance to shut competitors out of its search listings. And you better believe Google is dominant. In places like Germany, some 97 percent of Internet searching is estimated to go via Google. In other words, the company had created a monopoly on Europe’s online spaces.
The actual ins and outs of the fine are nuanced, involving how Google lists its search results. Google prioritizes Google. If people want to buy stuff, they get links to Google shops. If they want reviews, they get links to Google’s review service. Competitors like Yelp, who don’t have their own search engine, get stuck on page four of a search or later. And who bothers going all the way to page four?
The EU argued that Google was stifling competition and staying at the top of the food chain not because their products were the best but because they sneakily blocked consumers from better alternatives. In an ironic twist, Wired argues it was only thanks to the US breaking up Microsoft’s monopoly in 2000 that Google was able to build their own.