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Is Google-Youtube a politically "neutral" gateway to Internet content and videos?
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2007-01-26 15:49
An article about Google's top lobbyist in the The Politico.com, a new media outlet that is dedicated to Politics, got me thinking about connecting-the-dots for Washington folks about the lack of Google-YouTube political "neutrality."
There is an increasing body of evidence that Google may be less concerned about promoting a free, open and "democratic" Internet, and more concerned with promoting a regulated Internet for the benefit of "Democrats."
The Politico article noted:
The article also noted how Google's search is increasingly being manipulated politically:
"Political operatives of all sorts try to manipulate Google technology to influence political outcomes through the use of viral videos and "Google bombs" which are attempts to manipulate the site's search functions to highlight negative information about a candidate."
"In a speech at the Republican Governors Association meeting in November, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the company would take steps to stop the practice of Google bombing, although he did not give details."
The reason Google's CEO is saying that to Republican Governors is that the most notorious abuses of Google searches have been to the detriment of Republicans:
Currently MyDD, a liberal blogging site and big proponent of net neutrality along with Moveon.org, are unabashedly using Google bombs to put Republican Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain in a negative light. See this link for more details
Republicans also were livid when Google bombs by liberal bloggers manipulated searches on George Bush so that they could only find results that said "miserable failure"
Also interesting is that former Democratic Presidential candidate, and former Vice President Al Gore is called "an unofficial senior advisor to Google senior management" according to the Gore bio on Wikipedia. The buzz, which I have not been able to confirm, is that Mr. Gore has done very very well with his Google options.
So why is Google's overt lack of "political neutrality" important and significant?
- Google has 47% market share of the search business and is the dominant gatekeeper for finding all content on the net: news from newspapers, TV, radio, magazines, blogs, online news, and all other sources, etc. That share has been rapidly rising.
- With the acquisition of Youtube, Google-Youtube has 57.7% of the video sharing market segment per Hitwise, as reported by Investors Business Daily today.
- Moreover, Google just announced that it was adding videos from its YouTube company to its search results as reported by USA Today.
- This will further reinforce Google's dominant gatekeeper control of all information "political' whether it be text, audio or video.
Never before has one company concentrated more real control over any mass medium as much as Google has cornered in being the increasingly dominant gatekeeper to all Internet content.
It seems to me one of the biggest untold story in politics and technology, is how much concentrated power Google has over new nedia and the Internet, and that noone seems to be connecting the dots in the blogsphere or in the mainstream media.
My question to Democrats is, do you oppose media concentration on principle?
Or do you only oppose media concentration when it might favor Republicans?
It must be awfully intoxicating to Democrats to think that the dominant gateway to the Internet may be a not-so-neutral Internet gatekeeper interested in tilting the playing field to Democrats?