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What links search, music and remotely controlled thermostats?

What links search, music and remotely controlled thermostats? Google’s relentless quest for data and information.

As we know, Google has extended its dominance in general search into so much more by developing and buying major players in video / music (YouTube), mobile technology (Android), and social media (Google+), to name just a few.

Some acquisitions, such as the purchase of home automation thermostat company Nest, seem incongruous – until you consider that data defines its core business.
Competition authorities investigating abuse of dominance have always been sensitive to examples of monopolies leveraging their positions in one market to move into, capture and then dominant adjacent markets. Google should be no exception.

More than 90 percent of all searches made online in many European countries are made through Google. This makes Google the gatekeeper to information about competing services, and the preeminent data collector
about consumer preferences and behaviors in every sector.

Google is perfectly situated to use that strength to dominate and then exclude competitors in closely related markets. It is in fact poised to pluck the next big markets from the hands of competitors – the internet of things, wearable technologies, and data and analytics from health to energy. Indeed experience has shown that Google will now use its greater data scale, ad revenue and commercial power to muscle out alternative
providers.

This is in no one’s interest whether consumer, competitor or regulator. e