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Google-Yelp: Google's Monopolization Strategy is Coming into Clearer Focus

Google's reported likely acquisition of Yelp, a popular review site for local businesses in major cities, does a lot to bring Google's broader monopolization strategy into clearer focus.

  • Yelp is potentially just the latest in a slew of strategic information-related acquisitions that Google has made, that when looked at individually -- look small and innocuous, but when looked at together and as a cumulative pattern, appear eerily reminsicent of the classic monopolization tactics of Standard Oil's monopolization of the oil industry via acquisition of oil producing/distributing networks in the late 1800s and those of pre-1911 AT&T in rolling up most of the nation's telephone networks via acquisition.
  • Google is simply replicating the same type of monopolization strategy for the 21st century by acquiring key strategic information producing/distributing networks.

The following list of strategically important Google acquisitions belies the conventional wisdom that Google's scale and scope have been grown organically and as a result of Google in-house innovation.

  • Blogger (2/03) for blogging, Measure Map (2/06) for blog-tracking software, and Feedburner (5/07) for RSS feed and blog advertising network;
  • Picassa (7/04) and Panoramio (8/07) for digital photo management -- Google Images;
  • Urchin Software (3/05) and Trendanalyzer (3/07) for web traffic analysis i.e. Google Trends;
  • Keyhole (10/4) and Image America (7-07) for digital mapping and aerial imaging, i.e. Google Earth and Google Maps;
  • Dodgeball (5/05) and GrandCentral Communications (7/07) for text messaging and phone integration, i.e. Google Voice;
  • YouTube (10/06) On2 (8/09) for Internet broadcasting and video compression;
  • GreenBorder (5/07) and Postini (7/07) for web browsing and application security, ostensibly for online tracking;
  • DoubleClick (12/07) for display-ad-serving/analytics and Google's behavioral advertising/"interest-based advertising.
  • And proposed AdMob (11-09), Gizmo5 (11-09) and maybe Yelp (?)

Google has obviously concluded that it is a lot more efficient to achieve its monopolistic public mission "to organize the world's information," if Google actually owns or controls most of the world's most strategic information, and most all the strategic derivative private information associated with it, so competitors and others can't get access to it.

The proof of Google's monopolistic intentions is that the second part of their mission, "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," is simply not true, because Google routinely and non-neutrally blocks competitors' access to information that Google owns and controls, (and which, given Google's exceptional scale and scope, is increasingly necessary for search advertisng competitors and others -- in order to compete with GooglesNet.)

  • YouTube is the second largest generator of searches in the world, and has ~fifteen times the online video share of its closest rival.
    • Google excludes search advertising competitors from crawling Google's world-leading video archive called YouTube.
  • In the Google Book settlement, the DOJ in a statement of interest letter to the court, argued it was anti-competitive for Google to exclude search advertising competitors from crawling the several million book archive of digital orphan works that Google illegally copied.  

In sum, Google is not merely a search engine company, but a highly diversified digital information production/distribution and content-owning conglomerate.

  • Not only has Google amassed its monopoly scale and scope in good part via acquisition, but it also has strategically targeted the means of controlling the world's information, by dominating the monetization of digital information via their:
    • search advertising monopoly; 
    • search and display advertising integrated platform (via their acqusition of DoubleClick;) and 
    • proposed acquisition of AdMob (to dominate mobile advertising.)
  • On top of the scale/scope and domination of monetization achieved in part through acquisition, Google also excludes competitors from strategic information they require in order to compete.

There are more than enough correlated dots to connect here.

  • The increasingly clear Google monopolization picture that emerges from the connected dots is alarming to say the least.