Will Search Become a Public Utility?

    July 12, 2010

When you think of public utilities, you think of things such as water, electricity, and telecommunications, right? Well, what if search were added to that list? How would you feel about that?



It’s an interesting thought and one that, according to Kevin Ryan of Motivity Marketing, is not too far out in left field. He did not mince words when he told WebProNews, "Search is going to be considered a public utility."

If you look at various definitions of the term "public utility," you can see that they often explain it as a monopoly on the services it provides. Since Google is clearly the leader in search, with comScore’s most recent report showing that the search company occupies 63.7 percent of the market, is it a monopoly?

Although many rumors have indicated as much, no one has ever challenged the idea until last week. The New York Times reports that France did, in fact, call the search giant a monopoly in regards to advertising in online searches.

Not only is Google a leader in search and advertising, but it is also quickly gaining ground in the mobile industry. It has and is continuing to receive its fair share of antitrust concerns from both the U.S. and abroad in all these areas.

Incidentally, Ryan also points out in the above video that Google obtained a license to buy and sell electricity earlier this year.

Based upon this information, the idea of search as a public utility doesn’t really seem too far off after all.

"It’s going to get really, really interesting really fast," said Ryan.

How do you see this playing out?