Have you heard the latest ideas of deeply concerned government representatives in France and Germany? Mastermind Sarkozy wants to raise a Google-Tax, German Secretary of Justice sees a urgent need to check if projects like Streetview conform with german law. While these thoughts are not a week old, the fight aainst Google Books is still present. Well, Google is the new enemy, that is obvious.
The overall public perception of Google in Germany is quite negative, but it wasn't always. In the early years, Google was seen as a great company, very much like the "don't be evil"-claim suggests. Over the years yet, this attitude has shifted towards an, in my opinion, overly critic one. The main concerns are privacy and the fear of an uncontrollably huge enterprise with almost unlimited power in the internet. While all of these fears are at least partially reasonable and justified, they are nothing more but a result of an organic development and the business model of Google. This development has only been possible by a number of components working together brilliantly: the idea, the team, the environment, and the time in which all of Google happened.
Contrary to other big players in the industry, no one was ever forced to use Google. Although this is a weak point, it's still important in understanding why government programs to limit Google's influence are set to fail. Google dominates the market not by a policy in which all other competitors are either bought or killed, it dominates the market by being the best. This is valid for GMail, the Google Search, Maps and many other applications. The consequence is simple: Users tend to use the best, that is, Google. A very high market share at the end is just a symptom for the lack of knowledge of other players involved, but no consequence of some evil tendency on Google's side.
What about privacy? First of all, there is a discrepancy. While searching for people and last names is super-popular, this is only valid as long as the own name is not represented in any ( negative, compromising ) way. So basically, Google should fix the stuff people mess up on the internet, be it by uploading pictures or by writing private sex-blogs. Something Google will never do, because it's simply not possible, and a search engine can't be replacement for a responsible and conscious use of this medium.
The other privacy concern is the usage data Google gathers. This happens e.g. when you use GMail, the Google Search, Google Documents, and virtually all other products provided. This data is collected to improve the overall experience, e.g. by providing recommendations or remembering settings, by customizing results and so on. But this data is only collected once you start using Google. Google Analytics, using also cookies to track unique visitors, is by the way just a product provided by Google for Website owners. In case you feel offended by that, you should therefore contact the staff of any website in question, rather than Google.
What is clear to me after writing these few paragraphs: the Problem is not Google, the problem is the non-existence of any kind of competitor on this continent. Having been unable to create a sustainable Internet business in the last ten years ( help me if I'm wrong ) on the continent, instead of improving the conditions for IT-Startups, the education, this problem shall now be solved by reanimating the poor idea of protectionism.
The question should be, why we are simply unable to be a successful country when it comes to non-copied, innovative startups and great companies. And how to solve that.. I don't know.