The European Parliament made an announcement recently that has some laughing and others wondering. The Parliament announced that it supports the breaking up of companies like Google. While the Parliament didn’t directly name Google, the implication is certainly present. European lawmakers stressed the net neutrality issue stating that a company providing one of the biggest search engines should not also force people to use that company’s other products. Here’s the complete story.
The Problem the Parliament Has With Google
In order to use Android, you have to have a Google account. In order to have a Gmail account, you have to have a Google Plus account. Google also has various enterprise services, mapping services, and many other segments of the larger company. The problem with this is that Google also controls nearly 90% of search within Europe, and the European Parliament doesn’t see it as fair that Google can control search (the “gateway” to the Internet), and also control nearly everything else.
In some cases, users are forced to use other Google tools and services in order to use Google search, and that means no real separation between search and other services that Google owns - it’s a kind of monopoly that the EU wants to break apart.
But the European Parliament can’t actually enforce the rule, and the vote that went through on Thursday was simply a statement. What it can do, though, is give the European Commission permission to question companies like Google, and to create investigations into actions that companies like Google make.
While some people agree that there should be a separate between search engines and the other services that those companies offer, some believe that a company like Google is really the only option. Further, most of Google’s services are free, and many people wouldn’t know where else to turn were Google’s options not a possibility. So, there are definitely two sides to this equation, and it’s hard to figure out which side is the right one - it really depends on where you stand on the issue.
Will the European Parliament’s stance force Google to split up? Not right now, but it does open the airways for other European lawmakers to question some of Google’s tactics. Additionally, that line of questioning could lead to problems for companies like Google, but, again, there aren’t many alternatives to the services that Google offers, so it’s hard to imagine the complete breaking up of Google over this vote.
Opening the Gates
The European Parliament’s statement did open up a lot of questions about companies like Google across the globe. Today, a lot of people are talking about the many things that Google creates and controls, and this could lead to further questioning for the company. For now, though, Google remains intact with all services up and running without being separated by any country or governing body.
What do you think about this vote? Should there be a separate in what Google offers? Or, is Google well within its rights as a private company?