Is Google in for Regulatory Trouble?

Lora Bentley

A few years ago, the joke around the office here at IT Business Edge (and probably other offices, too) was that Google aimed to take over the world. At the time, it seemed as if every other story we covered had something to do with Google, and often stories that weren't really news were touted as news in the media just because they involved Google. (IT Business Edge VP Ken-Hardin took issue with that at least once that I know of.)

 

After a while, the joke got old, and though we haven't decreaased our Google coverage, we haven't been quite as vocal with each other about the fact that the search giant seems to have its fingers everywhere. Nonetheless, I was reminded of it Wednesday when I saw GigaOM's Liz Gannes pointing out that Google's litany of new product announcements certainly doesn't please the companies that are already established in the affected markets. And as eWEEK's Clint Boulton notes, domain name systems, global positioning systems and online dictionaries are only some of the markets Google is quietly invading.

 

Google might not be aiming for the world literally, but it sure looks as if the entire Internet experience is within its reach. But as Boulton suggests, the more control the company exerts over the Internet, the more it risks increased scrutiny from regulators. He writes:

This brazen unwillingness to leave any Web niche alone to others is bound to foster fear and mistrust among startups in the space. This mass mistrust sets it up to be targeted by the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission... Even if government groups don't take action on Google at every step, they are collecting evidence of Google's greed and [will] use it as ammunition for any future transgressions the company may make.

The day might not come soon, but if Google continues on its current path with regard to every aspect of the Web, the day will come.



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