Is Google Stretching Its Monopoly’s Muscles?

Perhaps all that’s missing from the Larry Page photo you see below really is an old-fashioned top hat, a curlicue moustache, and some coattails before the familiar figure of Rich Uncle Pennybags emerges. Since Google’s announcement earlier this week that material posted on its new social network, Google+, will be given a prominent position in the results of its more-than-iconic search engine, peers, observers, and rivals (understandably) have been crying foul.

Critics of Google’s latest move to “socialize” company products have decried what they perceive to be Google’s flexing of its monopoly muscles. That’s because the company has what some term a “natural monopoly” in the area of Web search — its dominance is beyond dispute. Google’s derided and “risky” move is being attributed to company brass becoming nervous on account of the heat it’s currently feeling from Facebook and Twitter — the giants of the new Social Web. Either to thwart its rivals, or because it really doesn’t feel capable of successfully embedding the social material of other networks at the moment, Google will not be “surfacing” social postings from Facebook or Twitter in the same way as it will being doing with Google+’s.

In a statement, Google defended its actions by saying:

“Google does not currently have access to fully crawl the content on some sites, so it’s not possible for us to surface all that information. Ushering in the new era of social and private data search will take close cooperation, and we hope other sites participate.”

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