Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Should Google Search Be Regulated as a Public Utility?

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Mark A. Jamison, University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration, Public Utility Research Center asks Should Google Search Be Regulated as a Public Utility?

ABSTRACT: I examine the validity of the arguments for regulating Google search and find that they are insufficient and that regulation would likely be counterproductive. Google search does not fit the traditional frameworks for justifying regulatory control, namely, the public utility concept, common carrier concept, and essential facilities doctrine. For example, Google’s search is not monopolistic in nature, does not preclude rivals from competing against Google, does not rely upon grant of a franchise as does a utility, and does not take control of rivals’ content or service. Furthermore, the advocates for regulation fail to give adequate weight to the changes that constantly occur in the search business, the ways that rivals benefit from Google’s investments, the negative impacts of forcing Google to reveal its search algorithms, and regulation’s stifling effect on innovation.


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