Google is the dominant force in Search MKTG. But beyond their roots in Search, they have 7 total platforms with at least 1 billion users (for the record, they are: Android, Chrome, Gmail, Google Play, Maps, Search and YouTube).
Google’s days of unscrutinized maneuvers are in the past with the European Union enacting General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The US Senate Commerce Committee has questioned senior executives from Google, Apple, Amazon and others, as they begin the process of crafting privacy legislation stateside.
All of this seems to be pitting two oppositional forces against one another:
1) Google’s incremental improvement increasingly leveraging their products to drive deeper into consumer activity, making their offerings harder to avoid using in some – or preferably to Google – all formats.
2) Privacy leaks and security failures leading to growing sentiment from consumers and advocacy groups to combat Google’s unfettered dominance.
So, with that as a backdrop, what is the latest salvo from Google, you ask? As of 10/29/18, it appears to be a campaign to control hotel searches, leading to reservations (click for details). This is after Yelp! and TripAdvisor have already lodged anticompetitive complaints in Europe and the US. Google’s redesigned results occupy much of the prime top-of-search screen real estate, incorporating Maps, reviews from a broad base of platforms, prices, images, etc. It is a one-stop shop for hotel search and reservations, which gives credence to gripes from Google’s competitors.
Is Google playing fair, playing with fire, just doing their best to give their users the best end result, or trying to maximize profits? The truth seems to lie somewhere in between.
I would not presume to have answers for Google on such complex matters. As a bystander, it is interesting to see the story unfold. Undoubtedly, this will be something to watch in the coming years, as every ebb and flow will have resulting consequences for Search MKTG and beyond.