Google is having a very busy year.
Between the development and launch of a new social network, multibillion dollar acquisitions, constant legal sparring with other tech goliaths, antitrust allegations from competing companies and hearing before the United States Judiciary Committee, Google has barely had time to count all the money they are making, spending and making back.
The biggest news is the aforementioned hearing, which took place last Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Google’s exponential growth together with frustrated finger-pointing from companies like Yelp, Expedia and Nextag who maintain that Google is attempting to bias search result and tilt the scale towards their own products rather than to the websites of competing businesses raised a red flag with congress.
The hearing, which is available for viewing on CSPAN.com’s archived video library, raised important questions about the nature of business in the 21st century, and also just how out of touch Washington is with it. In asking Google to disclose it’s business practices and suggesting that it may be treating small business unfairly by dint of its search results, many are ignoring the fact that these same small businesses are given a fighting chance through Google that they would not otherwise have.
Since rising to dominance in the mobile search market (Google controls 95% of mobile search) the company has stressed local search and local results. Business size is less a factor than quality of service, which gives an edge to smaller companies who may not have millions of marketing dollars pulling consumers through the doors. Android, Google’s mobile OS, cultivates competition by offering a platform for developers to create new mobile applications, while PPC campaigns generate traffic and revenue by utilizing a demand side platform.
Local Search: Small Businesses vs. Big Brands
When pressed by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) about how Google helps small business, Schmidt wasted no time recounting the company’s long history of promoting and helping small business, boldly stating, “The vast majority of small businesses are extremely well-served by our approach.” At first, it happened by default. Schmidt explains, “Small businesses were more nimble [than large businesses], at least when it came to the Internet.” He went on to say, “If anything, [Google] promotes small business over large businesses, because it gives the a hearing and a role that they would not otherwise have because of the nature of the way the algorithms work.”