The Price of Not Being Evil

BusinessWeek asks... Is Google Too Powerful?

The demonization of Google is tracking very much like the assault on Microsoft in the late 1990's. Before Gates & Co. learned how to play the DC shuffle (ie fill the pockets of the right people), the Clinton Justice Department and the Washington press had Microsoft on the front pages everyday.

Today Google is being drawn into this arena. Washington lawyers won't ignore all the money being made out there in Silicon Vally. They are being pushed by powerful benefactors on Madison Avenue who are increasingly frightened that Google products like AdSense may soon marginalize the mass media advertising business. As BusinessWeek notes:

What really raises Madison Avenue's hackles is the potential for Google to become Universal Advertising Inc.: a sprawling presence that brokers highly targeted ads across all media. By reading the intentions of hundreds of millions of consumers—not just from its search engine but from, say, cable set-top boxes that can gather similar data—Google could become the most efficient aggregator of ad dollars. The fear is that in the end, a Procter & Gamble Co. will simply turn over its annual ad budget to Google, which will dole it out to wherever the most lucrative consumers are. Essentially, Google becomes the nexus of all advertising and media.

It will be interesting to see how the demonization of Google progresses. My bet is that they have learned something from Microsoft's experience. The "Do No Evil" shtick suggests as much. But as they gain traction in the advertising game, we will certainly see more of push back from the powers that be.