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A Decade of Google Dominance

December 28, 2009 (CAP Newswire) – In Internet business — in business, period — there’s no questioning that 2000-2009 has been Google’s decade.

Since its start-up just over ten years ago (strange to think that it’s only been around since 1998, right?), Google has become a household word, a name that even the computer illiterate know. It’s become a powerful corporation and a computer essential, and its accomplished that in a completely different way than its main rival, Microsoft.

And for those who work on the Internet, Google’s dominance goes far beyond its search engine dominance. Google has set the standards for making money online. Its method of gaining revenue from advertising dollars means its expensive purchases of such “free” websites as Youtube might not be obvious money-makers, but Google may be uniquely positioned to make them so.

“Google CFO Patrick Pichette and other Google execs have promised YouTube is on the path to profitability thanks to improved display advertising with DoubleClick, etc,” writes Clint Boulton at eWeek’s GoogleWatch. “Google didn’t make money over night when it launched, but by 2004 AdWords was absolutely humming.” (Read the article here.)

And all throughout 2009, Google has made headlines with its updates, acquisitions, and changes to its advertising structure. At this point, the tiniest alteration to AdWords or its SEO algorithms means big headlines everywhere in the Internet marketing world.

So, as we end the decade, it’s not too surprising to see a growing criticism — even fear — of the Internet powerhouse manifesting in the mainstream media. Although most Internet industry observers still agree that Google is a force for good, there’s been less reluctance to criticize the company lately.

In an interesting piece, the Washington Post calls out Google’s hypocrisy on its call for more open-source technology, saying that the company would certainly never revel its own search engine algorithms, much less turn them over to the world of open-source programmers.

“But to be sure, the lofty associations of open technology practices and innovation and public good also benefit Google’s bottom line,” writes Cecilia Kang in the article. “The more information that is exchanged on the Web benefits Google, which gets a bump in users going through its search engine to help find and organize that information. The company’s main business — search advertising — isn’t open and the company doesn’t intend to open it.” (Read the article here.)

Meanwhile, the New York Times cautions that Google may be getting too powerful: “With 71 percent of the United States search market (and 90 percent in Britain), Google’s dominance of both search and search advertising gives it overwhelming control. Google’s revenues exceeded $21 billion last year, but this pales next to the hundreds of billions of dollars of other companies’ revenues that Google controls indirectly through its search results and sponsored links.” (Read that article here.) These are obvious and well-known facts; still, it’s a little surprising to see one of the United States’ biggest media voices express this concern.

Also, this writer summarizes Google’s intention to dominate mobile advertising as it does traditional search advertising, while this blogger warns of Google’s intentions in the affiliate marketing world

These criticisms make for interesting reading — because, even though we’re all living in Google’s world these days, it’s important to keep perspective on the costs. No doubt Google’s leadership is paying attention, as well; whatever else you say about it, you have to admit that Google manages its brand like no other company before or since.