- Jay Friedman is president of Goodway Group.
- In this op-ed, he explains why a self-regulated Google — rather than government intervention — is better for both business and consumers.
- Government regulation meant to deflate the monopoly could have the unintended consequence of derailing future innovations, meaning everyone loses.
It’s been suggested plenty of times, but Elizabeth Warren officially fired the first shot in what looks to be a sure path toward anti-trust proceedings against America’s largest tech companies, Amazon, Facebook, and Google. I’m sure there were plenty of cheers for Warren’s position, but a self-regulated Google is better for business and consumers.
Consumers have benefitted greatly from Google’s many innovations in mapping, communications, and discovery. But Google has work to do to convince businesses and consumers that its innovations will be used within the guardrails of anti-trust without government intervention. Here are four ways I believe Google can self-regulate their business that will ultimately provide a better benefit to businesses and consumers alike than if the government stepped in.
Create hard walls to limit data sharing
Google’s big advantage is the ability to amass data from such a wide range of products – Google Search, Google Maps, Android, Nest, Google Home, and many more. But as privacy concerns grow stronger, Google should eliminate data sharing between these businesses. This self-imposed hard wall would renew trust among consumers and allow Google to own all its entities.
A government breakup of Google would open the doors for more competition in the space, but at what cost to innovation? Google has built amazing technology in Google Assistant, Google Translate, and many more, which are valuable advancements to the tech industry and our society. The innovation isn’t slowing down, either, as Google has announced one innovation after another. None of this would be possible without revenue from its highly profitable search business.
Make all products available in all channels
Google largely does a good job of this. Many Google apps are available on Apple, for example. But Google would do well to set a permanent policy of “no retaliation” when blocked by competitors. YouTube is better when it can be enjoyed by consumers on all devices, including Alexa, even if Amazon is blocking Google in other areas.
Enable Google ad product availability across all platforms
A marketer who wants to buy ads on Business Insider can do so through several software platforms. YouTube, however, can only be bought through Google’s DV360. Google’s entertainment division, if separate, would want to sell its ads on as many platforms as possible. The entertainment division doesn’t need to be separate for businesses to benefit, though. By making Google’s inventory, ad exchange, and ad units available in any tool, Google remains open to competition, which is good for advertisers wanting to buy ads on YouTube.
Improve advertising pricing transparency
The algorithm that determines the cost of an ad spot is complex, but even some visibility into winning and losing bid ranges would provide marketers with great data to make their campaigns even more relevant for consumers. Similarly, the drum of “transparency” has been incessant from the world’s largest marketers. With its size, Google could provide full transparency for marketers into the pricing of its buy-side and sell-side technologies and be the first to show marketers how efficient it can be to buy through a single system.
Google has created significant advancements to our society and can continue to do so. Government regulation meant to deflate the monopoly could have the unintended consequence of derailing future innovations, meaning everyone loses. Instead, Google can beat them to the punch with thoughtful self-regulations that may limit short-term gains but preserve its interconnected companies and resources for the long term.