If data is the new oil, Google is monarch, but an uprising is happening

India is on the cusp of becoming a member of Australia in halting the marauding Google in its tracks, it is good that it is doing much more than merely imposing ‘Google tax’ because it did in 2018

Google is aware of a person’s browsing and looking out habits by using algorithms, cookies and what-have-you and squirrelling away the data. Image: iStock

In the 2003 Tamil film Boys, comic Senthil sends out his younger fellow mendicant thrice a day to gather meals supplied by varied temples in Chennai at the appointed time.  After a few errands, the fellow mendicant loses his cool, and throws the gauntlet at Senthil — “go and acquire the meals your self; why ought to I run errands for you?”

Senthil sneers and tells the teen if the latter went alone, he would get nothing. For, the important device — data on who serves what at what time — was with him and him alone.  “This is the data age,” he goes on to taunt the fellow mendicant who is as indolent as Senthil. The chastened teen picks up the vessels resignedly to do one more spherical of errand for a typical trigger.

Much the identical is happening between the print media throughout the world and Google (used metaphorically for all commercial aggregators together with Meta, given its dominant function).  Google is aware of my browsing and looking out habits by using algorithms, cookies and what-have-you and squirrelling away the data a la Senthil.  

Google is watching


I’m not alone in being a sufferer of invasion of privateness.  Practically, all netizens are. Google has by now prevailed upon a big chunk of on-line publications to let it do the promoting for them primarily based on the distinctive proclivities of netizens.  

Last night, I used to be searching for aspect by aspect fridges.  I may need given up for the nonce but not Google.  It has been tailing me ever since.  I open digital newspapers which have subscribed to Google advertisements.  Presto, aspect by aspect fridge advertisements tumble in at relentless pace not fleetingly but for a adequate size of time.  

The fridge advertisers need to ppc. To ensure, the per click on association is cheap at first blush but the satan lies in the particulars.  The advertiser has no clue about the clicks made or eyeballs attracted but he doesn’t demur. 

The worst deal was until just lately gotten by the publishers whose digital newspapers have been the supply of earnings for Google and but it dared to thumb its nostril at them by paying a pittance.  The lead in reining in the  Google avarice was taken by the Australian authorities by enacting the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code in March 2021 that obliges Google to enter into significant contracts with the Australian digital media on income share from ads.  

Google fell in line kicking and screaming.  The Australian authorities has discovered to its gratification that as many as 30 business agreements have been struck between digital platforms (Google and Meta) and information companies since the enactment of the Code in March 2021. Such a Code certainly has had a catalytic impact, making a couple of different governments together with Indian bestir. 

Checks on Google

The Indian Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance noticed in its report on anti-competitive practices by massive tech corporations as follows:

“India has various and quite a few information publishers who get promoting revenues primarily by Systematically Important Digital Intermediaries (SIDIs) and [we] are of the opinion that regulatory provisions are required to make sure that information publishers are capable of set up contracts with these SIDIs by a good and clear course of.”

India thus is on the cusp of becoming a member of Australia in halting the marauding Google in its tracks.  It is good that the authorities has woken as much as do much more than merely imposing ‘Google tax’ because it did in 2018.  While such a tax is certainly mandatory given the supply rule of taxation, such a supply rule ought to discover resonance in the promoting world, too.  A writer whose platform is gatecrashed by Google can’t be left twiddling its thumb.  And by the manner, Google doesn’t lose sleep over the Indian Google tax, which it conveniently passes on to the advertisers. 

As it is, on-line publishers usually are not in any case so helpless as to be depending on Google’s crumbs.  Many of them have erected paywalls to cover their premium articles and content material.  Discerning readers who treasure such writeups don’t thoughts paying, but in a rustic inured to low cost printed newspapers bankrolled by advertisers, there is appreciable unwillingness to pay up.  

Own advertisements vs Google advertisements

Transferring information content material to movies and importing them on YouTube is additionally proving efficient for on-line publishers.  ‘Own advertisements’ have virtually vanished with publications both themselves or, on the recommendation of their promoting companies, seeing advantage in plumping for Google advertisements.  Media purchasing was earlier a tiresome job for advert companies.  Now that burden is shouldered by Google.

At the finish of the day, nonetheless, Google is a mandatory evil.  As it is, the crumbs thrown at advertisers by Google are pitifully small and unfair.  One hopes that after the Indian authorities enacts an acceptable legislation, on-line publishers’ palms can be strengthened.  

But then Google, too, ought to mend its methods and finetune its algorithms in order that advertisements don’t flash robotically — I seek for fridge and I’m flooded with fridge advertisements for days on finish; I seek for inside clothes, and I’m flooded with inside garment model advertisements even after I’ve purchased them.


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