The looming Google threat

Microsoft used to be the big threat, but it’s fading as the importance of the platform erodes. I’ve been saying for years that Google will be an even bigger public-policy problem than Microsoft ever was. Jeff Jarvis seems to agree and explains why:

Consumers, as we used to be called, won’t support media and journalism with their money. Advertising will. We will become entirely dependent on advertising. And what happens when Google controls the majority of online ad revenue in this country? They’re headed there, for as a TechCrunch commenter points out, Google’s online ad revenue and share of revenue are growing faster than online advertising as a whole.

On the one hand, we should be grateful to Google for enabling the support of much new media. On the other hand, we should fear teh the vice in which Google holds our privates. That’s where media power is consolidating — not in old conglomerates (some of which now depend for a good bit of revenue on who? — on Google.)

I’m not blaming Google for getting to this point. Big, old media handed them this opportunity on a platter. Google was the one company that truly understood the economics of the open network. It understood that it could grow much bigger enabling than controlling. We in media should have followed that model. We should have asked WWGD. What would Google do?

So what do we do now? We need new networks that identify and create new marketplaces for new value — greater value than the coincidence of words on a page, which Google sells. We need to create our own high-value networks (e.g., hyperlocal news). We need open networks that compete with the closed aspects of Google; openness is water to the witch of an opaque network like Google’s.

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