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What if Google went Bankrupt?

The answer to the question of "What if Google went Bust?" may surprise you. It would make almost no difference at all. Plus, after a short readjustment period, it would be an improvement!

Yet, I have seen websites that make such claims as "If Google went bankrupt we would all be stuck" and "If Google went bankrupt the government of the United States would have no choice but to NATIONALISE the company!". This latter case is even more worrying, because they would then presumably do what governments do when the nationalise a business, they outlaw all competition. Of course if they did that in a post-Google world, in the USA, the rival search engines to Google would set up home in other countries, and it would then be the government-controlled government-censorship search engine versus numerous maverick sites offering international free search. I believe the US Government has more sense than to buy-up Google, even if some fascist might think it would give the government a big propaganda advantage, like Pravda used to be for the Soviet government.

Now what's this about the bankruptcy of Google making no difference? Well, here's how it works: There ARE many search engines. It's a free competition market, and Google is one of many competitors in a market. You can switch your search allegiance to another search engine anytime you choose. In fact, please do!

The thing about Google going bust is that it's like the idea of "What if everyone caught coeliac disease?". What would happen is that coeliac disease would in any practical sense disappear. Everyone's diet would shift to a diet involving other forms of cereals and no more wheat. The technology of bread would have to shift across to working with other types of grain.

If Google Search went offline tomorrow, there'd be a week or so of panic among a few people who use it, but quite quickly people would switch to using other search engines. Other search engines are just as good, and in some ways better. Also, some of them have much better policies on such things as personal privacy.

So now we move on to why you are looking for "Google bankrupt"? It's not that the situation of Google's finances is looking bad currently (2012/08), so it's not as if Google is likely to be bankrupted any time soon. Their market model does not depend on the searches being any good, and so the quality has reduced and continued reducing until now it's pretty poor. Plus, Google makes a fortune out of you in many other lines of business that they are in. Mobile phones, putting pins in maps, some quite decent language translation, taking photographs of everyone's private house, loads of things. The problem is the search is getting deplorably bad, and that's why you are looking for "Google bankrupt" etc. It's because there is a desire for Google to be put out of business! Or, more precisely, there's an increasing groundswell of opinion which desires Google SEARCH to be done away with.

What could cause Google to go bankrupt? If enough people changed their search allegiance, Google, being business-minded, would pack up search and concentrate on their other lines of business. If you want to vote against Google and give it a big thumbs-down, just change your search options to other search engines! There's plenty to choose from.

There are a few other things which could conceivably bust Google. For example, if they lost bigtime various legal cases with the FTC and suffered punitive damages. Or, if there was a distrust in the market and the share price started to fall and then there was a "run on the bank" with shareholders dumping the stock. Any public limited company is vulnerable to that, especially those that don't have any "real" assets.

However, none of these things is likely to happen. Google is likely to continue to monopolise the search market and to produce search results that are worse and worse, partly because most people are too stupid to realise this is happening. It's like the dystopian speculation stories expressed in the page about Google Updates

However, although Google Search is unlikely to go bankrupt tomorrow, the likelihood is that sooner or later Google Search will end, or cease to be popular. It's happened before. Look what happened to Altavista. It used to be THE search engine. Sounds familiar? Well, it ceased to be that, and Google took over the market. In turn, Google will be replaced by something else at some time. The thing to decide is... Is that time NOW?

Also see The Google Problem , Google Updates , Google has alienated us , and Stuff Google!

I did an experiment into what would happen if Google were to go bust, by banning Google on my computer using the hosts file. This produced some interesting results, but no problems. It's quite possible to live without Google, and in practice it makes very little difference.