With a rise of Tax Shaming in the UK media, large companies including Google are finding themselves the focus of increased public scrutiny concerning their financial dealings.
One question posed on a news phone-in asked if Google were simply too big to be dragged into this public inspection? What would we do without them, what if Google simply stopped existing?
As with Starbucks, Amazon and Apple the usual backlash from alleged tax avoidance is often to reject the product, in a partisan stance against the big man. However, is boycotting Google as simple as dodging your morning latte?
With over 90% of the European market share Google, for the time being, is the internet.
For the sake of argument, let’s take a hypothetical situation. Google disappears overnight, it no longer exists, just what products would we have lost?
First things first its primary brand, the search engine, would be gone. Our online exploration needs would need to be fulfilled by another provider: Bing, Yahoo or maybe a newcomer SEO companies would need to re-learn optimizing for different brands and in many cases completely remarket a companies online profile.
The loss of the search engine would include its free browser Chrome, with all its various plug-ins and helpful additions, like Google Alerts and so on. Oh and we’d also lose out on having every world event, occasion or anniversary marked by a Google Doodle.
After that’s gone, better switch to a new email system as Gmail would disappear. We’d also lose other workplace mainstays like Google Drive, Books, Scholar, Docs and the MS Office substitute Quick Office.
Finding your way just got a little trickier; Google Maps, Earth and Streetview would be lost, along popular mobile navigation app Waze.
Bloggers may despair as its namesake writing community Blogger would be gone. For those not already migrated to Foursquare, Latitude would finally skulk off into the mist for good.
One of the more alarming voids would be Youtube. Purchased in 2006 the online video giant would be banished from the net, with the eradication of over six billion video hours and countless amusing cat clips.
Although not quite challenging the social network crown G+ would be gone. Seemingly more of a loss to the business community than Facebook faithful, but still a wide gap left in a lucrative market.
Helping the sanity of form-fillers, the online verification system, ReCaptcha would no longer force squiggly text into our life. Google purchased the security certification company in 2009 and have insisted on torturing internet users with cryptic text and wavy lines ever since.
Lets move offline for a moment, how about hardware? Android consumers may want to buy a new phone and Nexus users are truly up a creek. Your Chromebook is now just a nice shiny £300 coaster and that self-drive car is probably running amok in suburban California.
Depending on how you view technology, the once mighty Motorola (mobility) would cease to exist. Although technically a separate arm of the business, Motorola (solutions), would still exist after Googles $12 billion purchase in 2012 split the US-based company.
How about future operations? The hugely anticipated and much tested Google Glass (goggles) would be binned, an enormous setback in the augmented reality world. The superfast Fibre internet network tested in Kansas would be scrapped and any future venture dreamed up in the Google X secret hanger would never make the grade.
In truth, this is not everything Google has and in many cases these companies and products would probably pick up shop and rebrand elsewhere. Most professionals predict in such circumstance another super-company would simply fill the void, gathering the rubble from such a collapse and begin building its own empire.
Naturally, nobody is that much of Google-lover to use every single mentioned product; however it is interesting to note what share of our life would be disturbed by the search giant’s sudden disappearance. Might be time to think about that back up email address after all?
Listen to what the Search Laboratory staff believe the world would be like without Google (mobile users click here)