The European Union (EU) decided the time has come to break up Google – Why?

Because Google has more than 90% of market share in Europe and the EU does not like the fact that the internet giant is trying to offer the best user experience and capture the majority of the advertising euros. To the EU, Google is for lack of a better word, a monopoly.

Let’s consider for a moment the possibility that Google would be broken up. What would a post-break up Google look like?

Would search engine be one company and the ad division another? What about Gmail and GoogleDocs? Is YouTube part of any of those or would that be a separate company as well? Would the EU commission separate Google maps from Google Street View?

It all sounds idiotic. And it is.

Some people have compared this to the situation Microsoft has faced, but it is not the same. Do you remember that the EU wanted to break up Microsoft over its monopoly within the Windows operating system using the built-in Internet Explorer browser? The difference is that today, it doesn’t matter what operating system or browser you are using. Your applications are moving to the cloud and you have a choice. Through the applications, Microsoft was able to tie you to an operating system, which in return was supported by application vendors it controlled. In today’s world this sort of advantage is disappearing fast. That’s why Microsoft built it’s Office software for every competing platform so you keep creating your data with its applications. That’s why you will never leave. It is about your data and the applications accessing it.

The EU should be asking the question ‘How come there are no competing search engines built by European companies?’ Actually, there is. It is called “Quaero” and it has been a spectacular disaster. A government-funded project, which appears to be going nowhere. It was started by France and Germany with the help of a dozen or so companies. They couldn’t agree what they will search for.

I guess, building a search engine isn’t as easy as it looks. They should ask Microsoft about their experience in creating a search engine.

Now back to the EU and Google. What the EU is missing (and here the other side of Atlantic ocean as well) is the complete lack of transparency into the results served by Google. Since Google is creating a unique, personalized search experience for everyone, we no longer access to the same set of information provided by our queries that begin to form our opinions. As we all marvel at the ‘innovation’ of Google’s ability to predict what we are looking for, at the same time we are presented only with information which Google considers important.

You may recall news about the recent test in which Facebook was running on its customer base, when it was filtering various types messages to see how people would emotionally react? That was just 5 months ago and it involved ‘only’ 700,000 users. Now, consider if there was to be an election and it could be in Google’s best interest if certain party wins. Wouldn’t that be convenient? Remember, Google has 90% market share in Europe. With knowledge comes power.

I think the EU should stop focussing on trivial issues and focus on what’s really important or the next time, we might not even find the term “EU” in our search results. And for the rest of you, remember this the next time you “Google” something.

Trending this week…

This week brought us some interesting, note-worthy articles and news:

  • Sony Pictures computers were hacked. The suspicion is that it was done by North Korea. Apparently North Korea is not in favour of releasing comedy about assassination of their Dear Leader. –>
  • New virus named Regin found. Security identified as highly targeted, difficult to identified and very few machines infected. This is an example highly focused spying. Lesson for everybody. If somebody wants to get into your computer, they will. –>
  • Check out even more trending topics here –>

The past future is here…

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