Is Google Big Brother?
Posted by shadmia on June 4, 2007
For a company that didn’t exist 10 years ago Google has come a long way. It is the most pervasive entity on the Internet. If you have ever used a computer, Google knows something about you. It has even coined a phrase that everyone understands: “To google”. If you want to find out something about a particular topic, all you have to do is google it, meaning of course to search for it online. Google is a search engine, Google provides a host of services including email, video sharing, book searching, mapping and many business and consumer tools but most importantly Google is an advertising company. Advertising is how Google makes its money. Google has perfected the art of delivering the right ads to the right people at the right time. That is the power of Google.
Birth of a Giant
Google was co-founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were students at Stanford University, and the company was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 7, 1998. Google’s initial public offering (IPO) took place on August 19, 2004, raising $1.67 billion, making it worth $23 billion. At that time each share was worth $85. Today each share is worth about $500. Both Larry Page and Sergey Brin are worth more than $16 billion each. On March 30, 2006, less than two years after its IPO Google was added to the S&P 500 index.
Growth by Acquisition
Google now employs more than 12,000 people with an annual revenue in 2006 of more than $10 billion. For more financial information and statistics click here. Since Sept 2001 it has acquired more than 40 companies, most of them for undisclosed sums. There are however some notable purchases on record.
- April 2003 – Applied Semantics – Advertising technology – $102 million
- Jan. 2006 – dMarc Broadcasting – Radio advertising – $102 million
- Nov. 2006 – uTube – Video sharing – $1.65 billion
- Dec. 2006 – Endoxon – Mapping technology – $28 million
- Feb 2007 – Adscape – Video game advertising – $23 million
The proposed purchase of DoubleClick an online advertising company for $3.1 billion has not yet been approved. The recent acquisition of FeedBurner for an estimated $100 million also puts Google in the RSS feed business.
Is Google Big Brother?
“Big Brother” — any omnipresent, seemingly benevolent figure representing oppressive control over individual(s) exerted by an authoritarian power……. from wikipedia
Google’s motto is “Don’t be Evil” but its ubiquitous presence on the Internet is near monopolistic and history has shown that monopolies, whether government-sponsored or private enterprise do not have a good track record. The fact of the matter is that we “trust” Google and Google knows an awful lot about us. It has just recently offered a new service that brings this into focus called “Web History”. Below is part of the promo for this new service.
- Follow interesting trends in your web activity.
Which sites do you visit frequently? How many searches did you do between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.? Web History can tell you about these and other interesting trends on your web activity. Want to learn more? Try the Web History Help page.
This proves, and Google readily admits, that your every search and web page visit has been recorded and stored on their system for future use. As of December 2006, Google is the most used search engine on the web with a 50.8% market share, ahead of Yahoo! (23.6%) and Windows Live Search (8.4%). Google indexes billions of Web pages, so that users can search for the information they desire, through the use of keywords and operators.