A conspiracist rant about Google

monopoly.jpgMonopolies are scary. I often wonder what would happen if Google broke. No more instant search results, Google Alerts, Gmail or Google Docs. Google is more than a search facility. It's a filing system, archive, mail manager and news clipping service, and that's just the start.

Naturally I love them all. Sure, I try to resist using every new toy they produce, but I have finally succumbed to Google Docs. On many occasions I land up with numerous versions of the same spreadsheet. Google Docs is so cool, so simple, so desirable. You can upload a spreadsheet (or create it on the spot) and nominate who can edit that same spreadsheet, that very spreadsheet, and not whatever version-of-the-day you received by email.

Even so, I'll resist using Google Docs for major or confidential documents. Recently I noticed one where a diverse panel was evaluating candidates. You can imagine this was sensitive material. We quickly changed it, of course. But Google is as vulnerable to hacking as FaceBook, which looked pretty darn sturdy until a few months ago. Hear the voice of doom: it's only a matter of time before an evil force cracks Google Docs and gets access to your business data.

Now Microsoft has announced it intends to commandeer Yahoo!, hoping their combined forces will suffice to compete with Google.

Each company has persistently tried to best Google but failed. “No one can compete with Google on their own anymore,” said Jon Miller, the former chairman and chief executive of AOL, which itself is struggling to compete in online advertising. “There has to be consolidation among the major players. It has been a long time coming, and now it is here.”

If consummated, the deal would instantly redraw the competitive landscape on the Internet. And it would escalate the rivalry between Microsoft and Google, already the most intense high-stakes battle in the technology world, over who will dominate the booming online advertising business.

Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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