The story of Google is one of growth, gross and global domination.
They have long prided themselves as a company of bringing the fairest and most accurate search results in the world, their algorithms and innovations bringing about the very best of web technology over the last decade. But for a company with the slogan "competition is one click away", has Google begun to abuse its position atop the internet's pedestal?
You might have noticed search results changing ove the last few months, and a particular style of results dominating your search queries. Search for music and you'll find Google Music and the Google-owned Youtube beaming at the top of your results. Try another keyword and you may well notice Google News taking precedence in the results. Google Maps comes to the top of most company searches nowadays too. Noticing a trend?
Though Google has always claimed to be the very truest of meritocracies, their results seem to be taking an increasingly editorial style, with Google products and sites clearly promoted ahead of perhaps more relevant material.
Firstly, there's Google Tips - a handy addition to their search that has since been removed after many complaints which brought "tips" from Google. They just happened to all be Google products.
As mentioned before, Google Music and Youtube often are prioritised or dominate any musical queries or similar, the video results increasingly more prevalent than they used to be in results. And Google News too seems to enjoy the top ratings for all too many topical enquiries.
And perhaps the cheekiest of all these promotions is that Google Checkout is the only icon allowed in Google Adwords, even though Paypal is the far superior and much more popular checkout tool on the web.
But is this actually a problem? After all, it is Google's site, surely they can promote what they like?
Well, as ever, there's two sides to the tale and I'll risk splinters in my rear by sitting on the all-too-comfortable fence.
Yes it's Google's site, so technically they can promote what they like. Indeed, often their products, such as Adwords for Pay Per Click Advertising, are vastly superior to the rest of the market. We don't mind a bit of self-loving in amongst all the top algorithmic results. But there's also the more inferior products like Google Calendar and the aforementioned Checkout, which simply shouldn't be getting leg up they don't deserve.
Why should be tell Google what's right and what's wrong? Because they wanted us to. Google grew as a site due to their excellent services and top ideas - they never failed to remind us how democratic and meritocratic their products were, and free too!
But by doing this, just as sportsmen sign their lives away to become public property, so do companies. Google is an institution for the internet, dare I say it, it is the internet. So we want them to live by their original maxim and be fair. Is that too much to ask?