Google’s Doubleclick takeover is questioned in Europe

December 14, 2007

Last April Google announced its intention to take over Doubleclick: one of the leaders in graphical advertising and marketing. Although Brazil and Australian authorities have approved Google's 3.1 billion dollar purchase of the company, the European Commission competition authority has refused permission and ordered an in-depth review amid opposition from rivals, publishers and consumer groups.

The European Commission's concerns are related mostly to issues of privacy than of a stranglehold over the online advertising market, which to many is rather surprising considering that - if approved - Google will dominate a huge portion of ads served to blogs and websites worldwide.

Indeed, issues of privacy overshadow those of competition in Washington, where officials have yet to approve the takeover for the American market:

“Google is an information colossus already, but add on DoubleClick’s marketing power and you produce a single commercial entity that can know more about you and me than nearly everybody but Mom and the I.R.S.,” said Representative Joe Barton, Republican of Texas. “It looks like the old saw, ‘I know where you live,’ is only the start. They’ll know where we go, who and what we see, and what we buy, too. And they’ll know it forever.” (Source)

That's quite a frightening thought, especially when you come to realise that Google Adsense served on websites you visit are actually geared to your interests, your browser history and geographical location. As Moe Glitch said on the TechCrunch site, "in the past Microsoft may have controlled the Desktop, but they have never tried to control your life!"

Google's dominance stretches well beyond the borders of the United States, where the company is primarily based. In the United States alone, Google accounted for approximately 57% od internet searches last year, and Google sites are counted as the most visited domains in Britain, France and Germany say ComScore, an internet research company.

So what would concern you most about Google's possible (and ultimately, most likely) takeover of Doubleclick: privacy of market dominance over advertising online? Please let me know your opinions by leaving your comments below.

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