It takes a special kind of internet monolith, one totally aware of its own influence, to adopt the official motto “Don’t be evil.” In 11 short years, Google has gone from a little venture with a quirky name, operating out of a Menlo Park garage, to the resident master of the medium. Here are some of Google activities you should be aware of.
No. 10 Google is buying black fiber
Though the mysterious name makes it sound like some kind of serpentine spy network, “dark fibre” is just unused fibre-optic cable that’s been lying dormant since tech boom companies failed to make any use of it. However, before you say “Oh, well that’s OK,” consider that Google could be planning on creating its own IP network or maybe offering nationwide free Wi-Fi as it does in its hometown of Mountain View. On one hand, hooray, free Wi-Fi! On the other hand, what kind of catastrophic effects would it have on the economy if Google single-handedly leveled the telecom industry?
No.9 – Google destroys libraries
Geoff Nunberg labeled Google Books “The Last Library,” a pretty dire term for Google’s massive project to scan and index the contents of millions of books. The company had to pay a $125 million (USA) settlement in 2008, after a lawsuit accused it of infringing on authors’ and publishers’ copyrights. The Department of Justice is investigating exactly how legal the settlement was, and whether or not it violates the Sherman Antitrust Act, given that it grants Google (and nobody else) an eternal license to sell books whose authors can’t be located.