- Mistrust of Big Tech is one of the few issues that has strong bi-partisan agreement.
- With the backdrop of last month’s news that 50 state attorney’s general had launched a probe into Google, the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai wrote an op-ed for Fox Business News.
- Pichai argues that Google is a friend to small business, not a foe.
- His choice of publication is an interesting appeal to pro-business political conservatives as the Fox Business news organisation is the sister outlet to Fox News, both owned by conservative-leaning Fox News Group.
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There’s one thing that people on both sides of the aisle seem to agree on these days: a mistrust of Big Tech, especially Google and Facebook.
On Thursday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, made a public appeal for his company in an op-ed on the Fox Business news website, a sister news outlet to Fox News, both of whom are owned by the conservative-leaning Fox News Group.
Pichai was making the case that Google was not a big, evil tech corporation, but that it uses its monopolistic hold on internet search advertising and all of its monitoring tech to be a friend to small business owners.
“Some people assume that big companies can only succeed at the expense of small ones,” he wrote. “At its core, connecting local businesses with customers is an information problem. So when someone asks Google to find the best BBQ restaurant or dry cleaner “near me,” we try to get as much relevant information in their hands as possible. That includes information like driving directions, hours, or popular times to help plan a visit, along with easy ways to make a purchase or reservation on the spot.”
In other words, Pichai is saying that Google needs to collect massive amounts of information on people to use in service of small businesses.
He then promoted Google’s free training tools, a site that trains people on how to use Google’s advertising and technology products and services. Google is positioning this free training as being a gift to small business, and it is helpful to many small businesses not to have to hire someone to use Google’s ad. But, like all corporate-specific training programs, the goal is a self-serving one: the more people that know how to use Google’s commercial offerings, the more money Google makes.
Pichai also announced that its charity organisation has made a $US10 million pledge to help entrepreneurs from underserved communities start new businesses. The first grant will be a $US2 million contribution to the American Library Association to support entrepreneurship centres at libraries in ten states.
All of this comes on the backdrop of 50 state attorneys general officially opening up an investigation into Google last month, a move with bipartisan support.
One of them is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said in a statement to the New York Times, “we have seen evidence that Google’s business practices may have undermined consumer choice, stifled innovation, violated users’ privacy and put Google in control of the flow and dissemination of online information.”
Meanwhile, top Democrat presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, has also been preaching that Google, Facebook and Amazon should be broken up.
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