Google’s Monopoly on Me

Written by Izzy Meyerson. Edited by Sara Du.

While reading the pre-class assignment for our first “Technology and You: Innovation and Impact” class, I was confronted with a big question.

The New York Times’ article “Tech’s Frightful Five: They’ve Got Us by Farhad Manjoo asks readers to consider how much he or she depends on technology in their day-to-day life. Using what the writer calls the “Frightful Five,” he prompts the reader to think about which of these five tech giants — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Alphabet — has the most control over their life.

For me, this is a no-brainer.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has a complete monopoly on me because my life revolves around Google and its apps.

Although I love my Apple products and enjoy entertaining myself with Facebook’s Instagram, Alphabet is by far the most important of the Frightful Five because I constantly rely on it. I can’t imagine trying to get through each school year without Google Drive to give me easy access to all my documents and a simpler way to complete group projects.

But it’s not just that. As a new driver, I depend on Google Maps and Waze to get me to my destination in a timely manner.

And most importantly, what would I do without Google’s expedient and reliable search engine?

Whether I need Google for research purposes or for answering the trivial questions I come across throughout the day, Google is absolutely essential to my life. It’s even a little frightening to consider just how much control this one company has over me and how much I depend on its existence. Could I function normally without it?

Yet I am just one of the 1.17 billion people who use Google. And if I’m so affected by it, then Google’s presence and influence in society is immense, and therefore even more worthy of us questioning our public dependence on it.