GOOGLE'S FAMOUS MANTRA of 'Don't be evil' is becoming increasingly examined, with good reason.
Not content with handling around 90 per cent of UK search requests and about 70 per cent in the US, Google also dominates online advertising with a massive 75-80 per cent market share.
Considering its market share in search and advertising, how and why Google is able to avoid more severe antitrust scrutiny, considering IBM's and Microsoft's run-ins with anti-monopoly commissions around the world, is unknown.
However, despite these all-conquering statistics, Google is now rushing into the mobile advertising arena, having recently purchasing Admob for $750 million and aiming for dominance in yet another market.
Analysts and forward-thinking companies like Google all see mobile devices as the clients of the future, and Google wants to ensure that it's at the forefront of providing services, and it doesn't see this happening by just providing the advertising.
Google has seen Apple's vice-like grip on the smartphone market and is now ploughing forward with Android. Google has obviously not been satisfied with its partners efforts with the first generation of Andriod-based phones, having released its own phone in the guise of the Nexus One.
This comes shortly after Google's attempts to break into the browser market with Chrome, now advertised on the usually naked Google home page, and into the operating system space via the Linux based Chrome OS. By owning the software client, Google can ensure its products are running highly optimised on Google supplied software, and can ensure full compatibility with the underlying web browser.
By delivering open source languages and software, Google is seen to embrace the movement to openness and shared development - the antithesis of Microsoft's closed-source ideology - making it appear more attractive and more open, subsequently attracting developers and development for its key technology stack. However, though it's seen as less evil, it's inherently self-serving.
The search and advertising behemoth is also not satisfied with producing and owning some of the web's best applications, including Google Apps, Google Mail, Google Analytics and Google Maps - it also wants to host everyone else's.
Google wants to be at the forefront of Cloud computing and is pioneering its own efforts in the shape of the Google App Engine - Google's application development and hosting platform synonymous with all things Cloud based.
By owning the framework in which future applications are delivered, Google can ultimately ensure its languages, APIs, and services are utilised by the development community, further tying the network to Google's array of products.
As you can see, Google wants to own everything in the chain. It wants to own and produce the client, in the shape of a Google engineered mobile device with Android or a netbook using the Chrome web browser and the Chrome OS. It wants to own the programs you use with the range of Google applications. It wants to own the infrastructure for any other applications you use or intend to create via the Google App Engine cloud. It wants to control how you search for your data, and index the plethora of Internet based data in the ether with the Google search engine. It wants to simultaneously handle all the advertising infrastructure, and receive the subsequent commissions.
By controlling the complete user experience, development community, and underlying architecture, Google will also control a vast catalogue of personal data on your interests, search history and Internet presence - not to mention your underlying documents, images and other information in its data centres. The amount of personal user and usage information it is and will be able to store will be mind-numbing, and this alone has produced many discussions.
If Google is able to gain a foothold with the same level of market share it enjoys in its primary areas of search and advertising, in every market it's currently targeting, the company's virtual and real-world presence will be staggering - far in advance of what Microsoft had its heyday or what IBM had in its wonder years.
Google wants to own everything, and it's on track to doing just that. How that will square with its own corporate mantra is anyone's guess. µ
This column could make you very poor
Firm beats out rival bids from Motorola and Sepura
Battery will help stock blackouts in South Australia
The early bird catches the spud. Perhaps she was a potato clock?