Google Acquires Companies–And Lots Of Power

This article in the San Francisco Chronicle examines Google’s ever-increasing power, particularly in light of the company’s planned acquisition of banner-ad and cookie monster DoubleClick:

On Monday, Google said the Federal Trade Commission wanted more information about its planned $3.1 billion acquisition of online advertising company DoubleClick as part of an antitrust review.
A few days earlier, a European Union committee started an inquiry into Google’s routine of collecting vast amounts of personal data about its users and whether that practice complies with European law.
So how much does Google really know about its users? And how powerful has it become in the marketplace?
Google collects a variety of information about its users, including search terms and the Internet address of the computer from which they originated; e-mail histories; instant-messaging chats; address information requested on maps; and schedules posted on the online calendar.
With the acquisition of DoubleClick, Google will get access to even more information, privacy groups complain. DoubleClick places ads on other Web sites and tracks users who visit those sites using cookies, bits of data that help track an individual’s online behavior.

I think Google may be at a tipping point in which folks may decide they’re wielding too much power, but the US government doesn’t step in to stop mergers much anymore. Other countries may have a different take on it.
Did you know that Google keeps a list of every search query you do, unless you go in and change your preferences? I do a ton of Google searches for all sorts of things, many times when I post things here on AdPulp. No wonder I’m getting spam from the Scott Baio Fan Club.

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About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.

  • Carl LaFong

    Could be worse, Danny G. You could be getting spam from the Charles Nelson Reilly Fan Club.

  • http://www.adcolumnist.com Danny G

    You say that in jest, Carl, but I’m a huge Match Game fan. Seriously.
    And all the good panelists are gone. McLean Stevenson, Brett Somers, and now CNR. Gene Rayburn’s gone too. And did you know Donny Deutsch was on Match Game? He won $5,000. I’ve been wanting to find a clip of that.

  • yikes

    Um, how can I set my preferences so it doesn’t remember? Please?

  • http://www.adcolumnist.com Dan

    Presuming you have a Google account, log in and click on “web history.” You can adjust it from there.
    Now I’m not sure what happens if you don’t actually have an account, if it traces your IP address or something.