Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

‘60 Minutes’ Reports on Google’s Dominance

This isn’t a terrific report. It is pretty light on details, skimming over more technical aspects of Google’s dominance: Google Chrome isn’t mentioned even once, despite being the world’s most popular web browser, and neither was the company’s mischievous bypassing of iPhone users’ privacy settings. While that may be a function of its allotted running time, Google’s behaviours deserves a much deeper dive.

Nevertheless, I think this exchange is worth paying attention to:

Gary Reback: Google makes the internet work. The internet would not be accessible to us without a search engine

Steve Kroft: And they control it.

Gary Reback: They control access to it. That’s the important part. Google is the gatekeeper for— for the World Wide Web, for the internet as we know it. It is every bit as important today as petroleum was when John D. Rockefeller was monopolizing that.

If this argument sounds familiar to you, it’s because Reback was extensively interviewed for a New York Times Magazine piece in February. However, it does raise two good questions:

  1. How fair and accurate is this comparison?

  2. While European antitrust regulators have reached to Google’s dominance, American regulators have been reluctant to do so while, even after Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick. What are they waiting for?