Mr Varian’s bias is more obvious in claiming Google’s control of data “does not preclude” other companies from having the same data, but the reality is that they don’t. When a 30-year old man in downtown London searches for the words “new car”, it is likely to be Google and only Google that will be in a position to put an ad from a local auto franchise in front of that user. Google’s spread into additional sectors just increases the data on video viewing, email use and other data on users that no other rival will end up having access to.
But Mr Morozov, even as he argues for a more public alternative to Google, sees the purpose of Google’s data collection as primarily improving its services’ “accuracy and relevance”. However, Google’s data collection mostly serves the interests of its advertising clients, not its users, and in fact a relatively small percentage of the revenue generated from search users goes back to improving those services, instead being diverted to Google’s cash horde and extending its reach into non-search ventures.
Taking antitrust action against Google is critical for the most basic reasons the competition laws were established — to ensure users are
not given a lower quality product than they would have received if there was more robust competition in the market.