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.