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Will Google "Swallow E-commerce"?

Nathan Newman, founder of Tech-Progress.org, wrote an interesting blog post that demonstrates how Google’s recent acquisitions and announcements have shed light on the search giant’s intentions to leverage its power to capture all consumer behavior online for itself and prevent other providers from competing in e-commerce.

Google, Newman writes on Huffington Post, “is aiming to keep users from leaving the mother-ship – looping them through interconnected Google search and e-commerce sites – and allow Google to collect a direct slice of the exploding e-commerce pie.”

He cites four examples to support his thesis:

  • ITA Acquisition: Google’s page about the acquisition explains that Google purchased ITA to get beyond “the traditional 10 blue links” of a Google search page and start providing the information without having to direct consumers elsewhere.
  • Google Advisor: Google Advisor allows consumers to receive offers on mortgages, credit cards, CDs and checking accounts. Google will not only be able to add information on each user through this new site, but it will also collect a commission on each mortgage sale.
  • Google Offers: As with everything Google, the service is secondary to the new data the company will now be able to collect on user behavior to enhance its value to advertisers and justify demanding a share in the end purchase price.
  • Google Wallet: The payoff of Wallet will be the chance to actually observe the full lifecycle of users seeing a Google ad, clicking on it, storing the offer, then seeing which ones actually lead to a purchase. Every click of the button at a checkout counter with Google Wallet will deliver invaluable data on purchasing behavior. Advertising campaigns and their success will be able to be tracked continually from initial display on a website to final purchase.

Newman writes: “This is the classic problematic behavior of dominant companies in an industry, not so much controlling a large share of one market like search itself, but the fact that such overwhelming dominance in one sector can be leveraged for dominance in other related sectors along the economic chain. Potential innovative rivals without the sprawling resources of the multi-sector monopolist can never get a firm foothold, so many stop even trying.”

As Google begins to swallow e-commerce, the question will be: will it leave any room for other companies to compete?