It wasn't publicized much outside of techie circles - at least, I didn't see much coverage of it - so I'm spreading the news.
Google turned 10 years old on Sunday, the 7th!
Talk about a meteoric rise to power and fortune, with 20,000 employees worldwide, and a $150 billion market capitalization (larger than stalwarts like Ford Motors, McDonald's, Coca Cola and PepsiCo - companies that have been around for decades... or as long as a century for both Ford and Coca Cola).
Both founders are multi-billionnaires, and it's certainly created a wealth of millionnaires.
It's given us the most popular search engine currently (which I use for 100% of my searches), one of the most popular email portals in GMail (I have an account), and most recently, they've presented us with their own take on the browser, called Chrome, which I'm actually using as I type up this post on another one of their offerings called Blogger!
So, it's obvious that I'm a slave to Google. God knows how much information they have about me stored on their data servers - after all, they know my browsing habits thanks to the searches I make with their search engine, they have all my GMail emails, and since I use Adsense, their web-based advertising program, they also have my social security number, full address, phone number, and even bank account information, amongst other things.
It's amazing how comfortable a lot of us have become with Google, a seemingly harmless, inventive, workman-like company with a kind of blue collar ethos, that we are willing to turn over our life specifics, even the most sensitive of data, to one company, allowing them to wield quite a bit of power over us. I'm certainly one of those people :o)
And later on this year, they'll be invading our cell phones too!
So, I guess it should come as no surprise that the Justice Department has its eye on Google, specifically its search deal with that other online behemoth, Yahoo. As we saw with the Justice Department's anti-trust case against Microsoft in the 90s, there's obviously some concern about Google's reach and power, and rightfully so, I suppose.
Google’s growing dominance is raising both privacy and anti-trust concerns. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the Department of Justice is considering taking antitrust action against Google in relation to its proposed search advertising deal with Yahoo, which could be the beginning of other similar inquiries into the company's practices, which I'm sure they'd happily avoid.
This is certainly something to keep an eye on, especially in light of the ongoing Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac intervention.
So, once again... Happy 10th Birthday Google! The above news of the Justice Department's potential actions hasn't been much of a birthday present, I'm sure. But somehow, I think they'll survive any attacks.