back to article If Android’s wings are clipped, other Google platforms may gain

If Google's Android wings are clipped in the mobile market by European Union judgments, other elements of its portfolio may gain heavier strategic weight as it pushes to create a dominant platform that looks well beyond PCs and mobile devices, and into every object which will have a web connection in future. Like Facebook, the …

  1. oiseau Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Far too much

    Google has become far too powerful and in it's encompassing of almost every aspect of the "web experience chain" it will eventually encompass every aspect of human activity known to us today.

    And we know where that will take us.

    I know it will probably sound far fetched to some of the readers, but did anyone anywhere ever think Google would get to where it is now say, 10 or even 5 years ago?

    Indeed, I think we are approaching (very) interesting times and no one seems to notice neither the direction this is taking nor the speed it is all happening at, much less it's deep and significant implicancies in how we live today, shaping how we and our children will live tomorrow.

    Just my $0.02

    1. Arctic fox

      @oiseau Re: ".......every aspect of human activity known to us today."

      Indeed, there is much that should concern us. We are in the middle of a paradigm shift without parallel in human history with regard to way in which we communicate with, and relate to, one another as a species. That one or two privately owned corporations may end up in control of a structure the outlines of which we can only now begin to see with such profound effects on human social evolution is frankly terrifying, regardless of which companies we are talking about. We are stumbling as a species into a massive change in our social, political and economic relationships without a clue about the outcome or how to control it and that, bluntly put, scares the shit out of me.

      1. SkippyBing

        Re: @oiseau ".......every aspect of human activity known to us today."

        'That one or two privately owned corporations may end up in control of a structure the outlines of which we can only now begin to see with such profound effects on human social evolution is frankly terrifying'

        While I agree with your point, I’m not sure I’d find it any less terrifying if it was politicians in control of the structure. Which raises the question, what is the best way to control these critical structures without giving any group a monopoly of power?

        1. Arctic fox

          @SkippyBing Re: "if it was politicians in control of the structure."

          Whilst I would agree that it is not the most comforting picture I would however say that at least, in theoretical principal at any rate, the politicians are supposed to be answerable to us in a way that "BigCorp" is not, judicially or in practice. Simply giving up on democratic control because it is most often honoured in the breach rather than the observance is, IMHO, not an option - it is the council of despair. Though I will freely admit that I am not one of nature's optimists in the current climate.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Far too much

      > but did anyone anywhere ever think Google would get to where it is now say, 10 or even 5 years ago?

      I did, but nobody believed me. 2004. Firefox had just begun to free the web from Microsoft. Google had been on the scene 5 years, everyone loved them, they'd just launched GMail, and then they went IPO. It was obvious to me: you cannot "not be evil" when you're a ruled by moneygrubbers and speculators.

      Maybe Page and Brin thought they needed a huge cash infusion to go head-to-head with Microsoft and Apple in the OS arena, amongst other audacious plans. But that's no way to create a competitive landscape.

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Least likely

    All of these activities will create foundations which Google can control, and which will support the continuous expansion of its plat-form, the element of all this which actually delivers revenues via services, applications, content and advertising.

    Nope. It will not. In order to do these, it will leverage its "significant market power" (as defined in Eu competition law) in other areas. Trying to do this is a nearly automatic 10% of Google's worldwide turnover into the Greece rescue benevolent fund combined with regulatory intervention.

    This is an essential difference between USA and Eu law:

    1. Eu does not require a monopoly to intervene, having a sufficient market share to bend the market conditions is sufficient intervention grounds. Google has that in services, mobile OS, search and advertising - every single area mentioned in this write up.

    2. Trying to leverage an area where you have a significant market power to "invade" another one is an automatic intervention. It may not happen today, it may not happen tomorrow, but it is guaranteed to happen and may be backdated by more than a decade for fine purposes if need be.

    So yeah, sure, Google can try to strong arm its way into _ANY_ area it likes using existing assets. It is guaranteed to get whacked. Even the astronomical amount of money it has used to sponsor TTIP and friends will not help it here, because it is an _EXISTING_ legislation - so TTIP arbitrage rules do not apply.

    It is one of the interesting aspects of Eu market - a player which has reached the "significant market power" criteria in one market is actually disadvantaged in entering new markets or expanding in markets where it is not in a pole position as it cannot leverage most of its existing assets. Compared to that a minor player can cross-bundle and leverage as much as they like - until they reach the "power" criteria in one of them.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      Re: Least likely

      You want to clip Google... just stop using Google Analytics on your web sites and then go after them when it's lack of use drops your page rankings.

      As its pointed out, Google will morph to another platform. It will take years and cost millions in lawyers to get this settled and in the end, Google will wear down the EU until it gets something it can stomach and the EU gets a token win. Google has very deep pockets, more so than what the EU can afford to spend.

      But if you want to stop Google, remove its roots. Google's analytics was their way in to get all of the stats and information on your page hits. They don't need cookies anymore because they retain the cookies on their infrastructure and know who you are.

      I wonder why El Reg doesn't report on how Google uses the data they capture from their 'free' analytics and what happens if you suddenly remove them from your site.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Least likely

        "I wonder why El Reg doesn't report on how Google uses the data they capture from their 'free' analytics and what happens if you suddenly remove them from your site."

        And it's not as if google analytics isn't the only option either. Just look at the blocked scripts and blocked tracking cookies when you visit a news site, especially those of newspapers.

  3. Mikel

    Poor timing

    ChromeOS just got Google Play, and millions of Android apps.


  4. msknight

    They're spread too thinly

    This is being typed on a Chrome browser, oddly enough, but I also have Firefox, where I do my, "secure," browsing because I can control cookies much more closely.

    Google have fluffed everything up. Their UK spell checker on Docs is a joke and despite showing this to one of their engineers last year, it remains critically broken. They keep faffing around with the YouTube communities and their push to Red has effectively ripped the "you" out of YouTube. They show no sign of slowing this down, or actually like, listening to the community itself.

    When given the choice, people are preferring to work in MS Office and, "upload," to Docs spaces rather than edit in docs itself. I can't reveal how I have come to this conclusion, for obvious reasons. Their Chromebooks lack key navigation buttons which makes them awkward to use, and rely on internet connections which is still a case of, "dream on," in the UK. Even the local synch is stuffed, especially with cached docs which are also collaborated on.

    ChromeOS and Chrome appears to be a shifting tide and a perplexing combination of banning adverts while still managing to milk money from the advertisers. This appears to be a gravy train that isn't going to last forever. From where I'm sitting, there is a light at the end of the Google Tunnel.... but it's the light of a nuclear explosion which isn't far off hitting.

    Oh, and apps can't be passed between accounts, so if you change e-mail address, then you've got a problem. I landed that one at Google's door a few months ago and have heard nothing.

    There's also the issue that if you link your hangout to the wrong Google account, (because they usually all have the same icon, unless you've been smart beforehand and used different avatars for personal and work Google accounts) then you can't undo it. And good luck getting help from Google with that one.

    I could go on... but Google services are an almighty mess from the consumer angle. I have a Chromecast as well.... it's sitting in a drawer, never to be used again.

  5. Buzzword

    Split the company

    The obvious solution to the anti-trust issue is to force Google (Alphabet) to sell off ChromeOS and/or Android as separate, stand-alone companies. That has been done before in telecoms, e.g. when Ma Bell was split into the Baby Bells in the early '80s.

    In fact they could go further and force Google to split off e.g. its Gmail, Search, Cloud, and all the rest. Not sure how much consumers would really benefit though.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Split the company

      The ONLY thing that makes money significantly is Advertising. Everything else is worthless to a 3rd party, unless they are doing the exact same thing.

  6. LDS Silver badge

    people shown they like app(lication)s, not browsers

    The overwhelming preference for applications instead pure browser based services on phones and tablets shown people prefer ways to perform a task quickly and proficiently instead of having to mess with a Jack-of-all-trades application still rooted in a 'page' display and hyperlink metaphor and which requires to download the whole app every time you use it, with severe data cap and security implications also.

    Also, people may like to synch with a remote storage, but wish to have a copy locally also. You may not want to re-download the images you're going to show, or the music you want to play, every time.

    That's why Android was better received than ChromeOS,

    And news like companies cutting your 'free' space or changing other conditions of your remote services won't increase trust of relying too much on anything you can't control well enough.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: people shown they like app(lication)s, not browsers

      Yeah, the "web OS" is conceptually a neat idea, but the WWW is a terrible platform. It has some good parts but it cannot be salvaged. Linux, too, is convenient but far from ideal. So that makes ChromeOS a half-baked hybrid of two rough prototypes from the nineties. Add Wordpress to the mix and you have a perfect unholy trinity.

      If this was hardware it'd be a warehouse-sized rat's nest of breadboards and wires. I don't know why we settle for shitty prototypes when it comes to software.

      Apps are better in terms of performance and developer choices. However, the walled gardens, weak security, and utter lack of integration make it impossible to take them seriously.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        the "web OS" is conceptually a neat idea

        Just, actually, it also means the death of *personal* computing...

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: people shown they like app(lication)s, not browsers

      *cough* phonegap (cordova) *cough*

      Also embedding native webviews.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: people shown they like app(lication)s, not browsers

        Yes, you can spot them easily. They are the ones that took more than others to start, and don't have a native UI. The Vodafone app I use is one those, but being one I use seldom, I may not care.

        A web application can be great for simpler interactions you don't use often. It could be a curse for more complex interactions you need often.

        1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          Re: people shown they like app(lication)s, not browsers

          "They are the ones that took more than others to start, and don't have a native UI."

          A blank web page starts quicker than any other app I've got on my phone. I agree start up time is a huge problem, but that's true of native apps as well: they've got to load quickly because it happens so often, whereas a desktop app can take minutes and nobody cares. That's one of the adjustments you have to make when coming from the desktop.

          And, as for UI, none of the apps I have here seem to use a native UI; they all seem to invent their own. And none of them appear to be web apps.

          What we have is a network operator writing a crud app shocker. If they'd written it as a native app, it would still be crap. But I wrote my first commercial app in 8086 assembler. I've written apps in C++. And I've not felt more limited by web apps than by native ones; so far, everything I've needed is there.

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "good luck getting help from Google with that one"

    Has Google EVER provided ANY customer support to ANYONE?

    I know everyone dropped Google Checkout because there was no way to get a live body to look at issues with your site's storefront. Since this killed sales because you can't make any if your store is broken, even Paypal looked better.

    I also know I've submitted changes to Maps (like incorrect street names, incorrect one-way directions, closed businesses, etc) with photo and other evidence, and been basically ignored.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: "good luck getting help from Google with that one"

      They listen to their customers.

      You are the product, advertisers are the real customers.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: "good luck getting help from Google with that one" / You are the product

        And that's what Google is all about, Charlie Brown...

  8. Captain DaFt

    Wait, wait a minute...

    Governments trying to gather data on citizens because "terrorists", a major company specializing in data gathering getting out of government control because of its myriad branches...

    I think I saw that documentary!

    Hail Hy... er, Alphabet!

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