Yes, what we thought would never happen actually did… Google went down on Monday (December 14th) and the world stopped for a second (actually 3600 seconds). In the 21st century, most technology, connections, platforms, and research are connected to Google. Going down means the online world essentially stops.
Besides being the most used search engine of all time, Google is behind YouTube, Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar, Google ClassRoom (where thousands of students currently have online classes), and much more. Could you imagine the market loss for a service like this? For example, in 2013 (when this giant was down for just five minutes) they lost $545K. This means that if the market didn’t evolve, they would have lost around $5M this year.
If you didn’t need anything from Google that morning, the only things you missed out on were the amazing memes. But for anyone who counts on Google for their jobs or schooling, it was definitely an excruciating morning (or evening – depending on where you were).
Did you know that there are more than 140 online search engines, and most of the world is currently dependent on one?
From online tools to entertainment, Google is a company that touches almost everything in our day-to-day lives. And while that could be amazing, as they offer great tools and easy-to-use features, it can also be extremely risky relying solely on one entity.
How are we so dependent on only one company?
The Google market monopolization started 20 years ago, and has seen massive growth. Since then, the acquisition of other major companies such as YouTube or even Waze has become the norm, and serves as a way for the company to control more and more markets. If you want to see a video you go to YouTube, if you want to do some research you’ll find it on Google, if you want to travel somewhere the first two platforms that come to your mind are Google Maps and Waze (both owned by Google). Even Google Docs is quickly surpassing the Microsoft Office platform.
Is there a way out?
Well, nowadays if there is a company that isn’t meeting demand/pleasing its customers, usually new competition will appear to offer a solution to said issues. However, with the hold of Google being what it is, it’s certainly an uphill battle. Market monopolies have a negative effect when it comes to both companies and users, as it doesn’t allow for healthy competition, and strips away the users’ freedom of choice.
Take Google Play for example. Users already have the platform installed on their Android devices, and if they want to download an app from outside Google Play, they will (in most cases) automatically receive a warning regardless of the app’s source. This is not to mention the unfair policies that have been a frequent issue, with their mandatory billing system being a definite no-go for many developers (as they require 30% of the apps’ profits). In response to this, there are platforms that are fighting for alternative options, such as Aptoide.
As for go-to alternatives when another crash happens, you can always search on Yahoo, go to Vimeo for videos, download Microsoft Office, and even drive to the sound of an old-school GPS navigator. If this happens again, we’ll just be waiting for the memes to arise—because that was definitely the best part of this crash.