Web by Google
So Google controls the Web’s search and video infrastructure. It can and does dictate standards and media formats. It also controls a huge chunk of the revenues available when publishing and selling on the Web. It even controls the operating system and browser through which most people interact with it.
Google’s capture of the Web is a fait accompli. Only legislation will keep the World Wide Web from finally becoming Web by Google (TM).
The article cites two big causes for Google’s dominance on the web: poor native search and payments support. I had never really considered it, but it does seem a little surprising that there is no native way to search the world wide web. There’s no API for querying the web, you need to use a website like Google to find anything. When the web was smaller there were home pages created by your internet provider, and some early search engines were literally just indexing every page out there, but Google made a product so much better than everything else out there that it became the defacto way to find anything. Ask a marketer how their site ranks with Google and they’ll tell you, but ask them how they rank on Bing or DuckDuckGo and I would bet they have no idea.
A lack of a safe, trusted way to make payments is also an interesting problem, and one that certainly helped lead to “you are the product” business models that gave users things for free, while selling their data to advertisers. Considering how many App Store reviews skewer developers for daring to ask for 99¢ for an app you use everyday, I think the problem is more with people feeling like they should pay for bits than with trusting their payment data will be secure.
I don’t know what the solution is here, but there certainly is a problem when we have a company that controls part of, if not all, of how almost all people access the internet. Obviously, someone needs to make something even better, but how do you do that with Google taking up so much of the market?