Today, the Guardian reports, the EU will, via the French body responsible for data protection, CNIL, address Google’s disregard for Europe’s data protection laws and authorities in respect of its decision to press ahead with unifying its privacy policies. However, the real problem with Google will not be solved properly until its market dominance is addressed. If Google didn’t have 92% of the UK search market (with Microsoft on less than 3% and Yahoo on less than 2% the two next biggest players), Google would have to compete on user experience, respect for privacy, corporate responsibility and relationships with regulators, as well as compete on price. Instead, Google believes that by spending millions on lobbying and because of its virtual monopoly in search, it can do whatever it want. Thank God for CNIL because our own ICO would have given Google a slap on the wrist and then allowed Google to buy lunch.
Users think Google is great (Google+ apart) because they think it is free. But advertisers already know that Adwords is so opaque in its pricing, and so dominant, that consumers already pay a massive Google tax via advertisers. Google pays hardly any UK tax itself, as the money spent by UK advertisers to attract UK consumers disappears out of the EU via Ireland and the Netherlands. Google needs to be broken into at least three, so we all get a choice and genuine innovation, rather than monopoly pricing, contempt for our legislation, tax avoidance and risible attempts at diversification like Buzz and Google+.