Search engines control access to the world’s most valuable commodity: information. So with potential for abuse by companies like Google, is government regulation necessary?
Scholar Frank Pasquale recently put forth the question: Should search engines be subject to the types of regulation now applied to personal data collectors, cable networks, or phone books? He answered it with a 60-page article in favour of search engine regulation.
However, one needs to consider Internet users can choose to use any one of countless search engines. It’s no stroke of luck Google owns more than 50 per cent of the search engine market (Nielsen//NetRatings). Google produces relevant results, and that’s why it’s the king of the hill.
But if Internet users feel Google is manipulating its algorithm and results, or determine there are better search engine results available through different service providers, Google will quickly become today’s Yahoo, which dominated the market just a few short years ago.
Whatever your view, this shouldn’t be taken lightly considering the search engine industry’s influence on our economy, politics and culture could one day exceed all traditional media combined.