SAN FRANCISCO: Twenty years after Larry Page and Sergey Brin set out to organise all of the internet’s information, the search engine they named Google has morphed into a dominating force in smartphones, online video, email, maps and much more.
That resounding success now has regulators and lawmakers around the world questioning whether the company has become too powerful as its ubiquitous services vacuum up sensitive information about billions of people hooked on its products.
Google’s search engine remains entrenched as the internet’s main gateway, and its digital advertising business is on pace to generate about USD 110 billion in revenue this year.
Much of that revenue now flows through Google’s Android operating system, which powers 80 percent of the world’s smartphones. Google also runs the biggest video site in YouTube, the most popular web browser in Chrome, the top email service in Gmail and the maps that most people use to get around.
Not bad for a company that started 20 years ago on Friday with an initial investment of USD 100,000. Google and its sibling companies operating under the umbrella of Alphabet Inc. are now worth USD 800 billion. Although Google wouldn’t comment for this story, the company has repeatedly pointed out that its mostly free products are so widely used because people like them.
Google’s success often draws comparisons with Microsoft.