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Tag: techlash

Google quietly adds DuckDuckGo as a search option

Thursday, 14 March, 2019

“Tech” is not yet a four-letter word in Washington, but it could soon become one. Following noises from the left and right about breaking up Big Tech, Google has just offered a DuckDuckGo sop to its critics. TechCrunch has the story:

“In an update to the chromium engine, which underpins Google’s popular Chrome browser, the search giant has quietly updated the lists of default search engines it offers per market — expanding the choice of search product users can pick from in markets around the world.

Most notably it has expanded search engine lists to include pro-privacy rivals in more than 60 markets globally.

The changes, which appear to have been pushed out with the Chromium 73 stable release yesterday, come at a time when Google is facing rising privacy and antitrust scrutiny and accusations of market distorting behavior at home and abroad.”

Language note: A little over a year ago, when The Economist made its predictions for “The World in 2018,” one topic that the it singled out was ‘the coming ‘techlash.'” This possible backlash against Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook, Google and Twitter, would see increasing calls for regulation and crackdowns on monopolistic policies wrote the forecaster. And now, the techlash is beginning to sting.


The flagellation of Big Tech

Monday, 18 February, 2019

Amazon’s decision last Thursday to abandon its plan to build a new headquarters in New York City, citing fierce opposition from state and local politicians, is another sign that the techlash is beginning to hurt. Megan McArdle in the Washington Post:

“Though Amazon won’t lose much by redirecting expansion elsewhere (including adding personnel to its offices elsewhere in New York), Big Tech should be worried about the company’s experience. Once viewed by the left as the Good Big Business, Big Tech has now been reclassified to the ranks of the rapacious monopolists. Meanwhile, the right is also getting less tech-friendly as it perceives Big Tech taking the other side in the culture wars. At the moment, tech has no obvious political allies.”

If the techlash turns into a war on Big Tech, the Information Oligarchs will rue their love-in with the Left. Radicals in Seattle and New York can no longer be depended on to support every Silicon Valley edict and it’s rather late in the day for the likes of Google to go looking for allies on the right. As Warren Buffett famously said in another context: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is keeping an eye on the ebb and flow along Capitol Hill these days, no doubt. He may yet be exposed, depending on the currents.