When you read about the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of Google, you may think this is just another example of Google’s getting away with it through crony capitalism. You may think that it only involves maps, yelps, finance, and other products by companies that Google is ripping off and then jamming down in search.
Does this directly involve music and movies? Yes, because Google is extending its search monopoly to video search by subsidizing YouTube with Google’s monopoly profits. I’ve written about why Google should be forced to divest YouTube for this reason alone, and I still think that is a solid issue.
But think about all the problems that we have with Google search. We have had these problems for years now and for years Google has either stonewalled us entirely or hidden behind the design defect they have built into search that perpetuates the theft of our music and movies on the one hand, and allows Google to drive the price down on the identical goods in the legitimate side of their business.
But what is most striking about the way Google continually fails to live up to even their own promises is the arrogance of the monopolist. Think about the most recent promise to push illegal results down in search. Fail. Remember the many promises that Google’s General Counsel made to the House Judiciary Committee after COICA? Fail.
Why does Google continue to float these sanctimonious plans for how they will do better this time? Because it allows them to squirt out a smokescreen that so far has been effective. Why do they continue to fail to live up to any of these announced plans?
Because they can.
This is the kind of abuse of their dominant positions that the FTC and the European Commission need to know about. Because Google is doing everything they can to get out of being sued by the FTC and also having to live under a consent decree.
In other words–get out of any liability.
And as we all know, nothing says Internet Freedom like getting away with it.