The Good, the Bad and the Ugly About Google’s $5 Billion Antitrust Fine

To summarize, the $5 Billion Antitrust Fine on Google is due to the following issues:

  • Google has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google’s app store (the Play Store);
  • Google made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and
  • Google has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called “Android forks”) source: European Commission

Data & the $5 Billion Antitrust Fine: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good: Search Doesn’t Need Data; Gmail, Chrome and Google Maps Have User Consent

Quite a few of Google’s data-driven applications and services such as Gmail, Chrome and Google Maps can easily obtain user permission in exchange for the services these applications and browser provides. In addition, Google AdWords, which is based off search intent, will provide a safe haven for Google’s advertising revenue as this does not require the company to harvest private data. However, even search is not immune as it’s been enriched with data such as location to enhance search results.

The Bad: Android OS Collects Surveillance-Level Data without User Consent through pre-installed applications

While pre-installed applications help cement Google’s search dominance, there is much more going on behind the motivation for risking antitrust violations. It’s hard to know where to start when looking at Google’s sprawl of potential data regulation and antitrust issues. We could start with the fact they have a deal with data brokers that gives them access to 70% of our purchases made with credit cards and debit cards (without consent). The company is literally in your bank account. This is for the purpose of letting advertisers know if you completed a sale following an ad seen on one of Google’s properties. Another place to start is implicit data for advertising purposes, which uses your search history to target ads to you outside of Google search. This is why when you privately email your friend about a trip to Rome, you mysteriously get advertisements for flights to Rome on other websites. In one study of 850,000 internet users last year, mainly in the U.S. and Europe, Google tracked 64% of all pages loaded by mobile and web browsers.

The Ugly: Walking the Razor’s Edge Between Data Violations and Non-Personalized Ads

Data collected from the Android OS augments and enriches data science modeling for Alphabet to monetize the data elsewhere. That “elsewhere” is Adsense, AdX and AdMob. Google’s AdSense and AdX Networks enable non-Google websites to incorporate Google display advertising, and this is what current publishers are in an uproar about.

Bottom Line:

While Search is intact, there are many layers to data collection and ad targeting which will lower ROI campaign performance as the data Alphabet is allowed to collect continues to wane. In this article, we’ve discussed that the Android OS is leaky and the most likely part of Alphabet’s business to be fined. As far as revenue is concerned, non-personalized ads is the potential weakness especially on network sites as $17.59 billion was earned from network sites annually in 2017.

Senior Product Evangelist in data and security. All things #startups #mobile, #data #security and #IoT. Snowboarder, book worm.

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