Should Google Be Regulated Like A Utility?

    July 14, 2014
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

The idea of tech giants like Google being regulated like utilities isn’t a new one, but the topic is back in the public conversation this week, as Germany is considering treating Google and others this way.

Should Google be regulated like a utility? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office has reportedly drafted a “secret” 30-page document outlining, among other things, how it would treat Google and other large tech companies – specifically American tech companies – like utilities. This is aimed at limiting how much power they have.

The Sunday Times reports:

Under one of the proposals, it could be treated as a utility, such as an energy or water provider, with the government strictly regulating charges for advertising on its search engine.

The secret briefing document underlines the growing fears across European capitals over the dominant position that Google and its US competitors have established on the Continent.

According to the report, the document would impact Google if Berlin judged that it has indeed become too influential. Based various government run-ins the company has had in Germany and the broader EU, that doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch.

The fun never stops for Google in Europe, where questions remain about whether its proposal in a years-long antitrust investigation will hold up (Yelp recently came forward as a new complainant). Meanwhile, the company is also dealing with the mess that is the “right to be forgotten” in the EU.

Let’s not forget that Germany is also where Google had to worry about ancillary copyright law, where it faced having to pay to license content from publishers in order to display headlines and snippets of text in search results. Ultimately, Google avoided having to pay German publishers by making Google News opt-in.

TechCrunch got this statement from the office on the matter:

“In the last weeks, Federal Minister Gabriel has repeatedly pointed out the changes by living in an increasingly digitalized world,” a spokesperson says. “The Minister has made clear that the technological changes not only affect the commercial field but more and more the private living conditions of citizens. Hence, the government and its institution ought to think about how to deal with such chances. This includes many aspects such as market power, regulation, data protection. It is the question of a new framework for the digital age.

“With respect to competition law, the respective authorities are in charge (Federal Cartel Office, Regional Cartel Offices, EU Commission). The competition control deals with potential risks resulting from a market dominating position. The Federal Ministry of Economics reviews whether a further regulation exceeding current competition law is necessary in case such risks cannot sufficiently be addressed by competition law.”

Last year, Amazon had to deal with the Cartel Office, which dropped an investigation into its pricing after it agreed to stop prohibiting third-party sellers from offering products for lower prices on competing sites. It may have dropped the investigation, but it had a direct, significant impact on Amazon’s business.

Google may be in for an even bigger disruption. Note that this is only one proposal from the long, secret document, and it makes you wonder what else is in it. The Cartel Office is not speaking specifically about the contents about the document, even now that word is out about it.

Google’s competitors have been calling on regulators to treat the search giant like a utility for some time. Last year, for example, complainants in the antitrust case met in Brussels, and called upon the EU to regulate Google like a telecommunications or electric company.

Does Google need to be further regulated? Tell us what you think.

Image via Google

  • Alex

    Someone definitely has to watch over Google…The beginning is usually the most difficult part. I totally agree with this initiative!

  • http://www.bloketoys.co.uk/ BlokeToys.co.uk

    It is absolutely INSANE that a private American Corporation has this much power and control, able to destroy the businesses and livelihoods of millions of people at the single press of a key.

    It’s utterly crazy that it’s taken THIS LONG for governments to realize that these massive US corporations cannot be trusted, cannot hold such power, and should be significantly restricted.

    I am all for freedom of the internet, but we do not have that with a handful of American corporations in control of everything, and their corporations under the control of unaccountable and lawless agencies like the NSA.

    Control Google now, create competition, open up the search market to new and interesting opportunities and tell Google and the NSA where to shove their stasi-like control of information.

    • A Nonny Moose

      Hate to break the news to you, Bloke, but there ARE plenty of other companies in the search business. Unfortunately, twats like you spend so much time worshipping Google and buying ads from them, then cry about how the company YOU DO BUSINESS WITH is ruining your life.

      Cut the cord! If you don’t USE them, they can’t hurt you. “millions of people” with their livelihoods destroyed. What a comical (as in comic book style) exaggeration.

  • Travis

    Absolutely! They have too much power. They’ve nearly crippled my business with their silly algorithm changes. Good companies that used to rank #1 for many search terms are suffering.

  • kredacter

    Google is a monopoly. That’s the long and short of it. It has the power to make or break Web sites with its secretive search algorithms and its search results are worse today than ever. If it wants to be the self-appointed policeman of the internet, then it needs to be regulated like a policeman.

    • A Nonny Moose

      So how is Google the “self-appointed policeman of the internet”? If your web site relies ONLY on Google to drive business, than it sure seems to me that you have other problems, like maybe a crappy site, or a product no one wants.

      I’m seeing a lot of whining and crying from people who somehow think Google needs to work for you, and make sure your business or web site succeeds. That’s WRONG. YOU need to make your site or business succeed, not anyone else.

      • Jack

        If you think Google does not have the power to destroy your company, then you are living in a fairy tale world. Yes, you can be on the top of Bing and Yahoo and Dog Pile and a few of the other small search engines, but Google is a big piece of the pie. So I believe that the average person does not need Google to control their site with such tight reins. The average person is just trying to make a living on the web. Yes, there are people who do underhanded things, but Google is way too strict with their algorithms.
        If you could cut your business by 70% and still be happy, then more power to you!

      • shopify

        with 80% market share, there isn’t many other places to go, you moron!… Bing, brings in hardly any visitors, yahoo even less…. unless your a social marketing expert or a PPC specialist your fubarred! Im an entrepreneur…a business man! Not a PPC expert, and SEO Expert, a Copywriter, a Social Media expert! Do you really think as and entrepreneur I need, want or should be forced to either learn SEO, PPC, Copywriting, Webmaster Guidelines, Social Media, Marketplaces etc etc????

        My expertise is in running a business day do day – and not the marketing of it! So I pay for the pleasure – and who takes the most of my cash – Google! why? because they have over 80% market share you cretin! Google blead you dry – Bing and Yahoo send almost no business to us, because there market share is crap. Amazon have a nice slice of the pie… until they realize that they can make/get the product themselves, undercut you and put you out of business!…….

        You really need to think before you write a comment.

        Google owns the market. its where 80% of the market go to search for products! and Google manipulates everything it does for its own gain!

        Amazon own the marketplace

        Stick your comment of whining and crying up your arse! your comments are pointless, worthless and stupid.

        Entrepreneurs can not only do what they are good at anymore….. we have to learn the complexities of Adwords, SEO and more to stand any chance! – – is that fair play? NO

        • A Nonny Moost

          My business does just fine and I have NEVER used AdWords, AdSense, OR relied on Google for ANYTHING. Guess you think Google should give you business, and you deserve that, right? WRONG. I do just fine with no outside advertising AND I’m in a niche market.

          I still maintain that if you rely on Google to give you business, then I guess you’re just not smart enough to be able to run a business without their “help”. There are literally thousands, if not millions (or more) who manage to do just fine without having to beg Google for things.

          Shopify, your problem (and that of Jack, as well) is you spend too much time relying on Google and “hav[ing] to learn the complexities of Adwords, SEO and more”, rather than worry about building a good business. You do know Adwords shows SIMILAR results to you, so if you sell cat food, AdWords displays your ad on similar sites.

          You also should learn to spell properly. It’s a thing people look at, more than you think. Of course, that’s likely another reason you’re failing.

          Bottom line: Every single person that relies exclusively on a search engine for their business should immediately go back to work at McDonald’s. You’re entirely too dumb to make it in business.

          You really should try working at your business, as opposed to crying about how “unfair” it is that Amazon exists, and Google exists, and they should all be regulated, because you’re too dumb to make it on your own.

          I don’t list my product on Amazon (A), and most of the time, third party sellers are CHEAPER than Amazon proper (B). If anyone is “undercutting” you, it’s your competition. My prices are typically VASTLY higher than most, and I still sell. Guess I just pay attention to what I’m good at, instead of trying to figure out how to use “teh Goggle” and pay them for things, and then cry how they should be regulated.

          Devil’s Advocate. Let’s say we regulate Google. We go and interview you and every other twat to make sure that your demands are met. Then, you STILL fail. Is it still Google’s fault, or is it some other excuse now? Anyone who places their own failure on anyone other than themselves is deluding themselves. Period.

          The reason you can’t succeed in your “business” (hereinafter referred to as your hobby, since it’s not a real business) is because you spend all your time crying how everyone is so unfair to you, like Amazon and Google, instead of building a brand all your own, and attracting people to it. I couldn’t tell you where I place in Google, but I’m sure it’s not near the top. Yet, I manage. AMAZING! What’s my secret? I don’t blame others for my failures. I learn from them and move on to build a better product.

          • Dave

            You hero. Now sod off & run your marvellous business that makes you so much money.


            There’s only one twat on here as you put it & that’s you.

            What a vile POS you are.

          • Dave

            “You also should learn to spell properly. It’s a thing people look at, more than you think. Of course, that’s likely another reason you’re failing.”

            “instead of trying to figure out how to use “teh Goggle” and pay them for things, and then cry how they should be regulated.”

            Comedy gold, yank prick.

          • shopify

            wow, I cant believe you are still typing. You opinions are worthless and boring. Get in the real world keyboard warrior

          • shopify

            Oh and ill add – what a utter dick

        • A Nonny Moose

          By the way, if you truly ARE an entrepreneur, then you SHOULD be well-versed in social media, advertising and other outlets to publicise your business. You don’t think the CEO of Coke only knows one thing, and that’s the cola business. That’s foolishness, and one of many reasons WHY you are failing. You blame Google for your failures.

          Not everyone is going to be a success. People like me are, because we work hard to build a brand, and don’t rely on Google to hand me out anything. People like you fail because you expect Google to drop people, wallet in hand, ready to buy, right on your front door.

          I shouldn’t bother, because people like you will curse me, and swear it has nothing to do with you, and how it’s all Google’s fault that your business failed, but seriously. Look in the mirror. How many outlets do you use to promote your company? Is it unique? Something people want or need? How do you serve the product to people? Do you have your own site, or do you rely on someone else like Google, Amazon, et al.?

          I have a friend who swears up and down she can’t survive without ebay, she can’t build her own site, ebay won’t allow it. I tell her, “build the site, plug the site (even if just in words, not the URL), start building the brand, and slowly start bringing your people to your own site, not someone else’s.”

          • Dave

            Yeah go you. Such a success yet busy posting on this yet you don’t care about google. What a bell end you are. Assume we are failing because we want regulation? You couldn’t be more wrong if you tried.

          • A Nonny Moose

            I don’t NEED to work 24/7 anymore to succeed, Davey Boy. See, that’s part of success. Enjoying things. Like my enjoyment of taunting small minds like yours.

            I saw the article in my inbox, thought it sounded interesting, and got a little curious. “How would you regulate a search engine? It’s not a public utility…”, I said. So, I came to scope it out, and then found immense joy in taunting all the crybabies who think that Google, or the law, or the world, owes them some kind of favour, that you somehow DESERVE success, and how you would be if not for someone else “holding you back”, and how you only have so much knowledge, and can’t succeed in your limited job field.

            That’s why successful people are successful. We realise what we don’t know, and then bring in other people that can help us out. I had a site design in mind, and while I get decent hits (even while my site is still in the initial design stage!), I know I can get more. So, I brought aboard a professional web designer, and had her take my backup files, and re-code them, working behind me. I finish a page, she goes back and keeps the look and feel, while at the same time, making it better behind the scenes.

            I think this whole thing is fascinating. I never knew how many people blamed Google for all their troubles in life (and their hobbies). I get Google ad emails and postcards and phone calls all the time asking me to sign up, but, like Coca-Cola Classic, why ruin a good thing? I’m already pretty much the only one that does all the things I do, so why advertise, when people find me all by their lonesome? I don’t NEED to spend money on ads.

            People like you want to blame others for your failures, but fail to see that YOU are the failure. You pay Google for ads, then cry that Google isn’t bringing you business. You paid for an AD. An AD does NOT guarantee business. All you little amateur hobbyists seem to miss that fact, which, again, is why your little hobbies won’t ever get very far.

            I have to amuse myself somehow. As much as I love my work, I like to go and play with people, and you guys have brought me GREAT amusement, and played along PERFECTLY! It is WONDERFUL!

            Just like Net Neutrality, or the regulation of Amazon or Google, or the Internet Tax, I’m all FOR it. I’m for the most regulation humanly possible. I can’t wait! I’ll be laughing my arse off. I think it’s funny as hell. People want a Nanny State, then they’ll cry they’re over-regulated and now it’s government that is the reason why they have failed.

            It’s truly a blast to blow off steam with people who are so clueless. You guys are a great way to get me ramped up for my workout of the day, because ignorant people who get hyper when their limited wordview is challenged amuse me no end.

          • Dave

            Oh dear. What a strange little (or most probably FAT) person you are.

  • A Nonny Moose

    BlokeToys, how is it that Google “has this much power and control, able to destroy the businesses and
    livelihoods of millions of people at the single press of a key”? Seriously, how? Also, Google has plenty of competition, on all fronts. Just because they have a better product than their competition is hardly not having any competition.

    Also, Travis, if your business is “crippled” solely because you can’t rank #1 in Google, it’s time to find a new line of work. Seems like you rely on Google for business, as opposed to, oh, say, CUSTOMERS. There’s plenty of businesses that have NEVER ranked #1 that do just fine. Seems like you blame Google when you should be blaming yourself for being a crappy businessman.

    • MasonicTraveler

      The fact that they control the ad sale market, the ad distribution market and how the pages get seen is itself a monopoly on the web.

      • A Nonny Moose

        They don’t control anything like that, Traveller. There’s plenty of agencies you can go to and post online ads. Just because Google is the first name (“household word”) doesn’t mean it’s a monopoly.

        Is McDonald’s a monopoly in fast food because it’s the biggest or because they have the largest market share? Is KMart a monopoly on cheap stores because it’s the first name thought of? Of course not.

        The YELLOW PAGES, for cryin’ out loud does ALL the above, online. Yelp is virtually the same thing, just including reviews, to boot. There is no such thing as a “monopoly on the web”. That’s not possible given the size and scope of the web.

        However, to be fair, Brother, I challenge you to present me with sources for these facts. If they truly “control the ad sale market, the ad distribution market and how the pages get seen”, and all of those allegations are factual, then you can surely cite sources (and reputable ones) that confirm those allegations as fact. Otherwise, you simply present an Argumentum ad populum.

        • MasonicTraveler

          When you’re the dominant player in the market with (44% according to Search Engine Land –
          and you control the both the supply and the distribution side, you’re monopolizing the playing field. So, to your examples, no McDonald’s isn’t a food Monopoly, but the manufacturers probably are. KMart, no, Wal*Mart, probably a better example.

          However, the merger of Sysco and US Foods, probably getting close to being a Monopoly owning 25% of the market.

          I don’t disagree that Google has competition but Google has solidified the marketplace in the way Standard Oil did back in the day. You want to rank, you better not offend Google.

          If you do, you’re screwed. Unless you’re in that minority of users who search on Yahoo, Bing, or Duck Duck Go.

          And, your reference to yellow pages… I worked in that industry and the web (and now Google Places, and Business Pages) wrecked that industry.

          Bits on Yellow Pages:




          Its change, it happens. I feel like it’s bad when one
          corporate entity owns or controls nearly all of operating space.

          I can’t give you take-it-to the bank examples, I can tell
          you from experience as both a publisher and advertiser what I’ve seen and experienced with traffic spikes and drops and revenue spikes and drops.

          But, sources… I’m sure you’ll scoff, but this isn’t some
          out-of-the-blue notion. A few players are dominating the field – Facebook and Google.


          (Who report Google owns 46% of the mobile ad market in 2014)

          Bloomberg, from 2013

          (Who said then “…56 percent of the worldwide

          The problem, as I see it, is that small publishers have no
          solid footing in an environment that gets dominated by a few big players who can control the marketplace.

          So, unless you have upwards of 100,000 daily views, you’re getting pennies in advertising revenue because there is virtually NO marketplace for the traffic or the ads – they come from the same source. It feels like it’s a Monopoly that’s rigged – populist idea or otherwise, I can
          see it in my own analytics.

          (And, nice to meet on the lvl br.)

          • BROTHER A Nonny Moose, 3.

            Y’See, I admit to not having looked at your stats, but I WILL admit that Google DOES own a large market share.

            All that said, I will still maintain that if a business ADVERTISES on Google, and then complains about the way those ads are delivered, then that is straight hypocrisy.

            I know I rank nowhere near 100K daily. HOWEVER, I am not advertising on Google. Never have. The scariest thoughts are:

            1) “Do you really think as and entrepreneur I need, want or should be forced
            to either learn SEO, PPC, Copywriting, Webmaster Guidelines, Social
            Media, Marketplaces etc etc????” (from Dave)

            If you are trying to run a business, and are NOT well-versed in these things, you’re going to fail. PERIOD. If you do not know, hire someone who does. First off, SEO simply means using common sense and putting in appropriate keywords. It’s not hard. Anyone that tells you SEO is difficult is BS’ing you. PPC, why should anyone even be bothered by this?? Seriously?? IF you are throwing all your eggs into the basket of online advertising, then again, you will fail. Most of what Dave is saying reflects a lack of knowledge of business, overall. You absolutely NEED to know something else other than your field of expertise, and that’s for an OFFLINE business, too. If you run (for example), a coffee shop on the corner, is it good enough to just know how to make good coffee? Of course not! To think otherwise is just stupid. Seriously. You HAVE to expand your knowledge. Putting your business online only just makes things tougher. Webmaster guidelines just means making your site clean and easy for (any) search engine to index. Lastly, if you live in the modern world, and don’t know social media, you’re an idiot, and WILL fail. Knowledge is power. If you don’t think you need to learn things, you will fail, 100% of the time.

            2) The second scariest thing is how many people are FOR regulation. Not just Google, but in general. As if the solution to all of life’s problems lie in making new laws or regulations. In an era where we have laws dictating what our freedom of choice regarding personal insurance is mandated by the government (Obamacare), it is astounding that people say, “YES!!! I want MORE regulation!!”, as if further governmental regulation would someone solve all of life’s little problems. If regulation is the answer, that is seriously the most frightening thing I have seen. We should be demanding LESS government interference in our lives, not more!

            Not only that, but if you seriously think that government regulation will somehow help your business, then again, you are horribly naive.

            HOWEVER, let’s just say that our wonderful government, which can’t even help our veterans, or balance a budget, decides it is in their best interests to regulate a search engine (aka a private corporation). So, if you still fail, then what is to blame then? The government? Who do you blame then? I’m no Warren Buffet or Rupert Murdoch, or Bill Gates, financially, but I LEARNED what I needed to learn to survive online, and did not think I was “above” learning things, and when I messed up, I said, “OK, how to I fix this?”, and went about that. If I didn’t know, I found someone who could.

            I put my focus on building the best site I could, with the best, most appropriate keywords, using every chance I could to mention my site, and didn’t stress where I ranked, nor did I buy ads. I let things happen natural. Guess what? I get (in my opinion) damn decent hits for an unfinished site.

            People stress way too much about how they are “ruined” because of how Google ranks them, and I think they spend too much time trying to please Google, and less time trying to build a quality site, with a product people want, and learning social media and marketing, which are absolutely ESSENTIAL in the modern marketplace, and anyone that tells you otherwise, is delusional and will fail. Bottom line. Dave, who thinks he “only” needs to know how to run a business day to day, strikes me as someone who never HAS run a business, since NO ONE (and I mean NO ONE) would EVER say that they do not “need” to learn how to build a good site, or learn social media, etc. Dave lives in the fantasy world of “hey, I know “x”, so I would be a good business owner!”, and thinks that his knowledge of his product is enough. It isn’t.

    • Dave

      A Nonny Moose- Plenty of sound businesses have suffered since their bullshit
      “quality updates”. Who is this competition you speak of? Their results are full
      of who these days? Oh yes, AMAZON & EBAY, AMERICAN CORPS! Guess what? When
      Google Shopping was free that was full of small businesses. Then Google made out
      they went paid to make it better quality, now it’s full of EBAY. Quality my

      As above well done to Germany & lets hope others follow this
      lead and make this companies act in a fair manner. You never know, they may then
      start paying tax!!

      Don’t blame Google you are a crappy businessman? You
      talk crap like all the other Google fan boys. Google greed is where we are now.
      They took away keyword data in the name of privacy-this from a company that
      snooped wifi. They tell webmasters not to advertise “above the fold”, this from
      a company who’s SERP’s are now nothing other than adverts above the fold! They
      now moan they are crippled under the new euro law take down requests. Well
      boohoo Google, you are a MASSIVE corporation, think of all the small webmasters
      that now spend most of their day writing disavow files due to you crappy engine.
      Negative SEO??

      At least we don’t have to hear any more crap from Matt
      Cutt’s (Matt Clutz), he’s on holiday until October though seems to be spending
      his time on twitter moaning about the FCC.

      • A Nonny Moose

        Actually, Dave, I have little interest in Google. I’ve never used Google shopping, don’t stress keywords except within the context of my site that is relevant, and don’t rely on search engine traffic.

        As I said above, if you are doing so poorly, you should look in the mirror a bit. Maybe you will see that you spend more time worrying about a Google ranking (and giving them the power you say you don’t want them to have), and not enough worrying about your brand.

        I see you as a crybaby who wants everything handed to him. “Wah, wah, wah!! Regulate Google!! I can’t get anyone to look at me unless I pay someone!! WAH!! It’s not my fault!! It’s all Google’s fault!! WAH!!”

        Cry me a river, Davey Boy. If you spent time working on your brand, rather than crying how we need more laws to regulate someone, then you might have a brand. Read my post reply above. No one holds power but YOU. YOU let Google run your business for you. They should own it, not you, since you rely on them so much. Your offhand dismissal of my valid comment that you need to learn to run a business all by yourself, and not put all your metaphorical eggs in one metaphorical basket proves that you want everything handed to you by “Teh Goggle”, instead of WORKING for it.

        WORK for what you want, don’t be asking the government for a handout “Regulate them!” (Kinda reminds me of “crucify him!” from the Romans). You want to have the government make new laws so you don’t have to work. Google and Amazon built their brands to be household words. YOU can’t even build your own brand without someone to help make it EASY for you.

        I HATE people like you that insist everything be handed to you, and insist new laws be made that favour just you. You’re pathetic. You and everyone like you. Buncha crybabies.

        • Dave

          Take your vile comments elsewhere Google fan boy.

          • A Nonny Moose

            So let me get this straight.

            Your business is a failure, and it’s Google’s fault.

            Take a look in the mirror, Davey Boy. I’d put money on the FACT that it’s that cat in the mirror that is the reason your little hobby is a failure, and not Google.

          • Dave

            You seem to have an odd assumption that everyones business is a failure. There is only one failure on here and that is you.

          • Dave

            Oh. And grow a pair a post under a profile so we can see your super business website. Yank prick.

          • A Nonny Moose

            Davey Boy,

            I’ll halve it with you, and show you my hits. I don’t like my customers thinking I associate with losers like yourself. See, when you’re successful, you don’t blame others for problems. You wouldn’t know about that, since you blame Google for everything, and think the world (specifically Google) owes you something. You think more laws are going to help you. So sad your world view is so limited that you actually believe that the company you support is there to help you out.

          • Dave

            Pmsl. Pr I ck. I’m on my yacht soaking up the sun. Sad world? Coming from a prick who resides in the dumb ass country that doesn’t know anything about the world? A country who has world league champions with no other countries entering? A Country who’s thick as fuck and didn’t even know where other countries are? ? Haha you yank cunt. No wonder most countries want to kill and bomb your dumb yank ass. Back to the grind stone dipshit. I have a boat to steer :) Now get back to being successful you Google bitch. I bet you drive some yank pos like a Ford too. Hahaha Yank cunt.

          • Dave

            Oh. And if you have nothing better to reply with than spelling im sorry. I’m so oooooo successful I’m pissed. Unlike you yank fat smelly cunt who is so ooooooo successful had no interest in Google but posts on here . So yes. Thanks for the fun you gay Lord yank cunt. Hahaha. Go bitch. What did you make today sucking matt cunt s off??? It’s been a blast yanky voy 😉

          • The GREAT A Nonny Moose

            So, you are saying you really are a failure, and have nothing of note to say, right, Davey Boy?

            Thanks for confirming my belief that you have indeed failed 100% in your business. You confirm all of my theories while at the same time, amuse me with your random misspellings and your complete lack of any comeback that would demonstrate that you are capable of running a kilometre, much less a business.

            With regard to your yacht, your mommy is calling, and bath time is over. Time to put away your “yacht”.

            You really are as dumb as I pegged you as being.

      • http://gastricbandfrance.co.uk/ geofflord

        So Matt Cutt’s on Holiday is he !! wondered why I was going up in the search engine ranking again !! Message to Matt:- get lost and don’t come back, everything is fine and running well without you…..take a much Longer vacation….like several years !!

    • shopify

      still typing!! oh dear

  • Jay

    Google is a mere software/hardware communications company with tiny robots and a bunch of puny digital mechanizations lol of course their gonna be watched.

  • MasonicTraveler

    I’m not terribly opposed to this idea. The volume and amount of information they control is monumental and with the whim of changing an algorithm they can change whole swaths of what gets seen or indexed. Some kind of regulations should be in place.

  • kev

    Wow – Fantastic Hats Off To Germany – 100% full support for this. And yes US tech giants are too damn powerful in the EU I support any initiative to bring them down to size and also to support competition, its getting to the stage where the US is involved in every damn transaction around the world, the US skims 5% here and 10% there – why should the US always take a percentage everywhere around the world?

    My high street is infested with US franchises ( like food ) which only makes people fat and displaces the fine food culture we have in Europe – we need to return to diversity and buy local.

    When I use Google I do not click on adwords, instead I tap in the URL and so save the advertiser a payment to Google.

    On Ebay I use any clues in the sellers ID to try and find them independently so that Ebay doesnt take a percentage same with Amazon re-sellers.

    I use Google and Amazon to research the books I want to buy but then I always then search for a independent local retailer to actually buy the books from.

    Needless to say I dont drink the brown gunk from the big red either – positively boycott those guys.

    I am so damn impressed with this initiative from Germany, I hope the other EU countries sign up behind Germany, hopefully the Brazil led South American block will follow suit, they are already considering a private data high way after their annoyance with the NSA its time the US finger was pulled out of every pie before we are all merely satellite states of uncle sam.

  • Sofakingdabest

    Uh, Google is like God. They know everything about everything. Google akbar.

  • Jonathan Parker

    While I agree with everything that has been said so far I believe that there is a far more important issue that tends to be overlooked: POLITICAL INFLUENCE. Here in the UK as in many other countries owners of newspapers have held politicians to ransom, influenced government decisions and even influenced which political party will get into power. We do not often hear about it, but you would be crazy not to think that Google does exactly the same (behind closed doors) with governments all over the world, including China. I believe that this is where the real danger with Google lies.

  • qqq

    google need to be regulated, but not by governtment. It just need to be open source, and discuss all changes with internet community.

    • A Nonny Moose

      “discuss all changes with internet community”??? That’s a guarantee nothing would ever get done with the literal BILLIONS of internet users.

      Firefox is open source, too, but they don’t “discuss all changes with internet community”.

      All I see is a bunch of people insisting that we have MORE regulation, MORE Big Brother, MORE changes to favour them, MORE laws.

      The more regulation you have, the more ANY kind of growth or innovation is stunted.

      • Dave

        You really are a clutz if you think Google is innovative.

        • A Nonny Moose

          Google is what??

          No WONDER your hobby is a failure, Davey Boy. You can’t even spell right!

          Besides that, the point (not the one on your head) was completely missed. However, I don’t expect intellectualism from someone who cries that he’s a failure and it’s all the fault of someone else.

          • Dave

            You really do need to learn to read. Where have I said I AM failing? The comment was plenty of good businesses have failed since Google’s updates. Afraid to inform you mine is not one of them. So A Nonse Moose post up your website so we can all wonder how you became the online king without Google.

            Oh, & it’s not a hobby, when you run a business online/offline it’s anything but.

            What’s your hobby? Sucking off Cutt’s?


          • A Nonny Moose

            You really don’t know how to spell, do ya? Show me your site, I’d love to see the spelling errors there. I DID love the one, I think it was “innonovative”…Does Google rank spelling errors? Maybe it’s why they can’t find YOUR site…

            You are by far the best, Davey boy. You amuse me like no other. Your crazy misspellings, your implication that Google is the only way to run a business, the notion that you can only do one single thing, and fail because you can’t grasp networking online…you’re a riot, myte. Truly, a hoot. You’re the most fun to dick with, because you react the best. I’m havin’ fun, Davey boy. Keep it up!

          • Dave

            Still posting Mr success? We’re still waiting for the link to this site that has made you Mr rich. Ta ta fat yank.

          • The BEST in the WORLD

            By the way, Davey Boy, I am capable of making a point WITHOUT resorting to vulgarities.

            Just one more reason why I am better than you.

            (Of course, you already know this; your jealousy shows).

  • Bothknees

    Google is a global monopoly by any definition. It should not be regulated, it should be broken up.

  • PG

    I completely agree with all the responders for Google regulation!

    The modern world has known few mega-monopolies as big and TOTALLY unregulated as Google. As an attorney, the closest I can think of — Ma Bell, back in the day — only controlled a SINGLE industry. Google, on the other hand, with a search market share around 80%, literally controls ALL or most modern industries – directly or indirectly. (Maybe the oil industry was close early on, but they ultimately met regulation and anti-trust restrictions!)

    If Google decides to ban a company from advertising – for whatever reason – be it, against Google policies, or just “maybe” against policy, or “arguably” against policy – there is NO real remedy. Your business is immediately destroyed. No way to argue, no legal recourse, as they are a private company who can basically dictate their own internal policies. No need for fairness or transparency.

    Or maybe something that last year was considered “good practice” Google arbitrarily decides is no longer (e.g., back links). Result: Your search ranking tanks overnight.

    When we’re all at the whim of “a guy named Matt at Google” – whose periodic press releases must be scrutinized for hidden messages about how their latest secret algorithms will impact your livelihood, it’s a scary way to plan business strategies.

    Once upon a time, we’d NEVER allow such a business to have such unregulated power.

    Unfortunately, don’t expect regulation from Congress anytime soon as (a) they don’t pass ANY laws nowadays, (b) they are clueless as to how omnipotent Google has become, and (c) they will stay clear of any such mega-company with the power and money to keep them at bay.

    But maybe discussions such as this might at least be a starting point.

    • A Nonny Moost

      In the corporate world, even WITH de-regulation, you STILL have an oligopoly (maybe not a legitimate MONOPOLY anymore, but really, with only one or two big companies that influence, it’s awful close. Big Oil, Big Telecom. So what has deregulation done for Big Oil? It sure didn’t hurt Microsoft to split their company when they were forced; it hasn’t hurt BP or any Big Oil company; and it hasn’t hurt the cable monopoly that is Comcast.

      Yeah, that deregulation is doing wonders.

    • Jonathan Parker

      I second your comment + Google if it decides your web site is not to it’s liking will destroy your on-line business profile, but if you pay Google (PPC) then like magic your web site appears again at the top of page 1. Just goes to show how bad the web site must have been.

  • Jenny

    No corporate should have this much power. There seems to be no part of my life that Google does not have it’s claws into. We should be able to buy a Smartphone or any other piece of computer based hardware without being told which operating system we have to use. Google is the worst, but not the only one we need to watch.
    Every app we install demands access to our contacts, GPS, and more and more to our microphones and cameras.
    The only possible reason that makes sense as to why so many governments are doing nothing about it is that they have something to gain. How much data is shared between the likes of Google and GCHQ? According to Mr Snowden, quite a lot.
    I am impressed, and somewhat surprised, that a government which seems so committed to federalist control should be the one to make a stand. Well done Germany for doing so.
    Now, as well as complaining on line, how many of us here will go to our local MP’s and get them involved in doing something about it?

  • Mark Lamendola

    No, it should be eradicated as a disease. That would be a much more accurate analog to its behavior than is a utility. If Google ever decides to adopt some ethics, then maybe it could come back as a regulated entity. But to what end? Most members of CONgress are on the payrolls of major corporations and decidedly do NOT represent the people. I prefer to call them our misrepresentatives, for that reason. The real solution here is not to trust a bunch of crooks to oversee a bunch of psychopaths. The real solution is to convince Google users to use their brains and thus become ex-Google users.

  • Robert Fair Sr

    UK what about free enterprise do you not like ???? Yes Google is big oh HUGE but then let’s think a minute—-Who made them so huge====was it small business people ? Was it a search engine that has the largest search base ?
    Hey people if you can’t run a business like a business without Google then I don’t have much sympathy for you, you liked it when it was small but now it is huge and get off the bandwagon about an American corporation killing you business. Do some research and find out who is actually running the world – WORLD BANK !!!!!!

    • Jonathan Parker

      Free enterprise in one thing, but operating without morality in the single pursuit of money is something totally different. I understand that in the USA it’s probably the norm, but in the real world things are somewhat different.

  • http://sjovt-latterkursus.dk Ejvind Jacobsen

    It’s about time someone starts watching the watchers. Google knows so much about us that is being used, not only to serve us personalized commercials, but also to snoop in our personal affairs – NSA is receiving all search information about us all! http://hjertebegravelse.dk

  • http://azblog.me/ AzMandius

    As soon as Google started being something bigger than search, it was supposed to start being watched over.

    One more thing, people, admit it, in the term of internet popularity we are all now Google slaves, because we all depend on it, its us who made it god, its our fault, we gave birth to this giant monster that no one can beat now, live with it.

  • Brian Bayley

    It’s not about limiting it’s power. It’s about shifting that power to the government. You think Google is doing a bad job regulating itself? Wait until the government takes over, say goodbye to freedom on the internet. Wake up sheeple.

    • Dave

      The sheep are the ones that lap up everything Cutt’s says as gospel. The results were much better prior to Panda & Penguin. All those updates have done is force the smaller players out in favour of Amazon & eBay. Although eBay are now out of flavour in organic too. Government regulation may not be the best answer but leaving Google to self regulate isn’t either. A private share driven american company should not be in charge of the worlds online economy. We all know what happened to the american economy-driven by greed as usual. That is what is happening online now, it’s like the high street all over again that is now dominated by american companies that pay no tax.

  • http://www.stephenshostek.com Stephen Shostek

    We live in the information age where information is power and those who control the information control the power. Google (and other businesses like them) should be regulated to ensure that they serve the public good. I place the public good over and above serving Google’s corporate and profit intentions.

  • Scales

    Maybe as a Domestic Spy.

  • Mark Lund

    The issue isn’t limiting the power of Google, but increasing the power of government. Originally, regulated utilities came about because someone had the lame idea that it is expensive to duplicate infrastructure. It turns out that duplicating infrastructure is much cheaper for the consumer than having a government-industry monopoly with no incentive for efficiency.

    The idea that government regulation makes it more fair for the consumer has been shown to be bogus every time it has been tried.

    There is no barrier to entry for new search engines, keep government out.

  • Tiffany

    I don’t know about Google, but Yelp sure needs to be regulated! They only post bad reviews and remove the good ones. It’s nothing short of extortion! Why can’t someone do something about them?

  • Eko

    Google must be 100% regulated and carefully watched. They are dominating the search industry but easily and meaninlesly changing the rules whenever they want. They always say that updates are for search quality, this is a big lie. After Panda and Penguin updates, we lost 70% revenue in our company. Do they have right to this? Their head Matt Cutts is a popstar, he is busy with destroying small business on web.Thanks God that he is fired now. After downing all rankings, has search quality raised? No, only raising is Google`s PPC income. What was our mistake as a businessman? We trusted SEO company and accepted their work. How can we know that Matt Cutss accept it as low quality content or link. If Google is really caring about search quality, they may train SEO companies and certificate them as Google Qualified SEO so nobody hurts.

    I have complained Matt Cutts silly updates to Mr Page and Mr Schmidt. Nobody can damage my business with unreal reasons.Google must be very strongly regulated because they are using their power in negative on web business.

    • Dave

      It’s not about search quality it’s about profits. It’s really not hard, if it were about quality they could be 100% open & tell us what they want (& no, it ISN’T what Cutt’s spouts in his videos, some of the best ranking sites these days are utter shit! Why? So you DON’T find what you want & click back to Google, ADS!!!). They won’t do this of course because organic would be full of quality (in their eyes) leaving ads where exactly?! Their answer is to claim people would “game the system”! How? By making quality sites that people want?

      Tell me this, how does Google make their money?

      Tip, it ISN’T from serving up results to websites that have nothing to do with them, it’s the adverts they serve EVERYWHERE!

      What happened to YouTube when Greedy took over? ADS

      They now scrape content from third party sites & post it at the top AKA “Knowledge Graph”, anything to keep you on that page with ADS.

      If you want to make a difference then using another search engine isn’t the answer. Quit using ads if you do, we stopped YEARS ago & saw ZERO difference in profits.

      When you see Ads CLICK ON AS MANY AS YOU CAN. One day that business owner may wake up & see all the ad spend does is like Google’s pockets further.

  • CCVirginia`

    The only thing more frightening than this article are the responses
    supporting the idea of government regulated internet content. Am I concerned about the pervasive google presence, yes. Have I started to “do-google”, yes. Is the answer to empower politicians and bureaucrats to decide what I see on the
    internet – absolutely NOT. I DECIDE! The power of the internet has been and will be in its openness – that is what has empower people to understand and impact their world in a way that frightens oppressive governments and global corporations with hidden agenda. Try and take that away and all that will be accomplished will be to move the influence from google to whatever would come up to replace it outside of government control. If you don’t like google, stop using it and get all your friends to stop – there are SO MANY alternatives (don’t be fooled by what is popular today). And if you want to support a government controlled search engine, go for it – but let the rest of us use what we want. Trying to control and censor internet content would have disastrous consequences.

    • A Nonny Moose

      FINALLY, someone who “gets it”!

  • http://gastricbandfrance.co.uk/ geofflord

    Google rules the World !! who the hell do the Germans think they are trying to control a company bigger than they (the German Government) are !! 😉

  • Dandik

    They must be definetly ruled and controlled. I have lost 70% of my revenue after Panda and Penguin. WHY? Because there were multilanguages version without canonical tag, what will be next? What will clown Matt Cutts bring tomorrow?

    Sorry but somebody must pay the bill. Google is using their power in negative so EU will stop this game. I also complained to German Anticartel Department.

    You can not play with people`s life this much easy, you must pay this Web Clown Matt Cutts.

  • Jim Brown

    Yes they should be definitely be regulated. When you are in any business related to the internet there is a saying “Google is God”.

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  • Brother Moose
  • tmaster

    as far as search no but for hosting companies like facebook and youtube I say yes to many people are being banned for posting legal material that is just politicaly incorrect.

    As long as content is legal hosting sites like facebook should not be allowed to delete it.

    We need a new law with rules telling social media and hosting sites that they may not remove material because it doesn’t fit political views.

    Removing illegal material is one thing but erasing photos of a woman’s hunting trip because they don’t women to own guns is something else.