Many news sites are highly dependent on ad revenue from Google. Yet Google’s Borg-like control over search, video, email, and mobile, as well as advertising is making media giants nervous.
The chief executive of Axel Springer, one of Europe’s largest media publishers, has said that his company is afraid of the power that Google has accumulated, and worries that the search giant is becoming a “superstate” immune from regulation.
There are real conflict of interest questions when Google also competes against such a company.
He refers to a case where a change to Google’s algorithm led to a drop in traffic to an Axel Springer subsidiary of 70 percent: “This is a real case. And that subsidiary is a competitor of Google… I am sure it is a coincidence.”
“We are afraid of Google,” he added.
Google routinely lists its own products first in searches, even if other search results should clearly be first. And despite it’s by-now tired proclamation that it Does No Evil, Google would do serious evil if it only could.
“Google know more about every digital citizen than George Orwell dared to imagine in his wildest visions of 1984,” he says. Döpfner is particularly concerned about comments made by founder Larry Page, who said that there are lots of things the company would like to do but can’t do because they are illegal — pesky antitrust and privacy laws get in the way.