[This is Part One of a 4-part series of articles about how tech giant Google rose to power and is using it to suppress customers and content it deems “unfriendly,” “hateful,” and even “editorial.”]
First, in 1998, then-newbie search engine company Google took out full-page ads to announce its birth to the world. Within two weeks – after a massive marketing campaign – the corporate name morphed into a verb meaning “to perform an online search,” as is “Need answers? Just Google it.”
This remarkable corporate launch escaped public concern, comment or criticism. It takes a lot of money to do what Google did in such a short time. A lot of money. And influence.
Understanding that Google is about more than mere profits (something it is very good at, by the way) is key to interpreting recent events making news headlines both in the mainstream and alternative media.
Google has always been about power – power over public communication.
From their free and effective web-based search engine – which really was unique, revolutionary, and helpful for extracting meaningful query results – the online service provider expanded into other software and hardware products.
Today, Google is everywhere, integrated into cell phone service, web browsers, and social networking platforms. The corporate giant has partnered with major technological and social influencers, including NASA, AOL, Sun Microsystems, News Corporation, and Sky UK.
Many people would find it extremely difficult, perhaps even impossible, to extract Google products and services from their daily lives.
Google has an effective monopoly on several key niches of online communication. For this reason, the company has faced three antitrust litigations brought by the European Union since 2010:
“…for violating the EU’s competition laws due to its dominant position in the market. These cases have resulted in formal charges against Google related to Google Shopping, Google AdSense and the Android operating system. To date, Google has been found guilty of antitrust behavior in the cases related to Google Shopping and Android, and has been fined over €8 billion.”
Eight billion Euros (€) amounts to just shy of $9 billion U.S. dollars, as of this writing on June 15, 2019.
Numerous complaints from smaller online companies alleged that Google was “downgrading their placement in results returned in Google’s search results” and promoted their own proprietary products instead.
These competitor complaints charged that Google “ranked shopping-comparison sites in search results, [imposed] requirements for how customers use its display ads network, and [required] phone makers that used its Android software to pre-load those phones with other Google apps” and triggered three EU lawsuits.
While being a corporate monopoly, in and of itself, is not illegal, it is a violation of antitrust laws “to achieve or maintain a monopoly through anticompetitive practices.”
The best lawyers that Google’s money could buy could not defeat the EU’s top attorneys. In 2017, the EU fined Google €2.4 billion (US$2.7 billion) for violating antitrust laws, more than 2.5% of the tech giant’s revenue from the previous year.
In 2018, the EU fined Google €4.3 billion (US$4.8 billion) which prompted an appeal from the corporate defendant.
In 2019, the European Commission once again found Google guilty of anti-competitive sales practices which cost the American corporation another €1.49 billion (US$1.67 billion) in fines for “abusive practices in online advertising.”
On June 4, 2019, Google lawyers filed an appeal against the most recent EU antitrust fine regarding AdSense, Google’s ad sales platform.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., Google has fared much better. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began a two-year inquiry in 2011 into Google’s noncompetitive practices and policies. In January 2013, the U.S. government ruled against filing an antitrust lawsuit against Google due to a lack of evidence and reached a settlement that included Google’s agreement to change some of its business practices:
“…to allow competitors access – on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms – to patents on critical standardized technologies needed to make popular devices such as smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, and gaming consoles.”
On June 14, 2019, Google is once again facing the prospect of a federal antitrust investigation and possible lawsuits over unfair marketing practices. The issue of Google’s online dominance through illegal means is bipartisan:
“Politicians on both sides of the aisle have made breaking up tech giants a key part of their platforms. Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have advocated for a breakup. Meanwhile, Republicans (including President Donald Trump) have maintained that Google’s algorithmic search results are biased against right-leaning content.” [emphasis added]
Because Google products and services underlie most online users’ activities, the company has gone forward with its far-reaching plan to shape public opinion by suppressing opposing informational content to suit its owners’ biased purposes.
Google’s totalitarian grip on social discourse is very dangerous to free speech, independent thought, and questioning authority.
[Part Two of this 4-part series will examine Google’s increasing bias against and suppression of all views contrary to their own right here on TheDailyConspiracy.com.]