With access to millions of emails and business profiles, Google uses its vast resources to educate businesses about technology legislation via email and many websites.
People with Google Business Profiles or who use other Google properties may have noticed an email alerting them to upcoming legislation that may affect their business.
In addition to emails, Google has written blogs and set up websites in an effort to educate people about the potential consequences of these bills.
Anti-tech bills, such as the US Online Innovation and Choice Actwork to prevent companies like Google from using their online platforms for discriminatory purposes.
Google and other big tech companies are stepping up to torpedo the recent bill.
Local Google efforts
According to billhartzer.com, the email says the bill has “unintended consequences” for businesses that use digital tools like Google Ads, Gmail, Google Analytics and Docs. It also says it would impact listings on Google Search and Maps.
The email goes on to say that the bill would make it harder for people to find your business, hurt productivity, and cost you time and money.
Google doesn’t include the invoice’s name in its email, information about where people can read it, or any other identifiable feature that readers might use to find it on their own.
This indicates that Google is trying to craft its own narrative around the proposed bill, rather than encouraging companies to come to their own conclusions by seeking information elsewhere.
What is the US Online Choice and Innovation Act?
The bill is a bipartisan effort designed to clip the wings of major online platforms for antitrust and consumer choice violations.
Some of the biggest companies affected by the bill include Apple, Amazon, Meta and Google.
They are all targets because they have over 50 million monthly active users (or 100,000 business users), have an annual market capitalization (or net sales in the United States exceeding $550 billion), and are a business partner essential for its professional users, according to the wording of the bill.
Consumer choice and privacy has long been an issue, as companies like Google use consumer data and information for their own purposes.
The bill would allow federal antitrust agencies to issue civil penalties and injunctions for the following conduct:
- Unfair preferences for online platform products over other companies.
- Limit products from companies that compete with the platform.
- Use discriminatory practices in the application of terms of service that may harm competition.
- Use of non-public data obtained or generated by professional users of the platform to favor the products of the platform over the company”.
- Restrict or hinder software applications pre-installed on the platform or change the default settings of the platform that directs users to its own products.
- Retaliation against users who report issues.
The wording of the bill is vague, much like the original wording of the UK Data Protection Act 2018, which left many businesses wondering how to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Proponents of the bill say it eliminates discriminatory practices. Critics say it negatively impacts consumers and businesses.
Objection to Google website details
Google’s efforts to derail the bill include a website which details the issues and allows people to send letters to their congressman with a pre-written message opposing the bill.
The website explains in detail the impact of the bill on businesses, including:
- Removed phone number, address, and hours of operation from Google Search and Maps.
- Disconnect Google advertising products from each other and from Google Analytics.
- Separate Gmail, Docs, and Calendar so they no longer work together.
The website also has a detailed FAQ section detailing specific issues such as internet safety and list groups that have concerns about the bill, including:
- United States Chamber of Commerce
- Connected Commerce Council
- American Darkrooms
- Latino Coalition
- Chamber of progress
- American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship for Asia and the Pacific Islands
The website also includes a link to the Google Blog where Kent Walker, President, Global Affairs and General Counsel, Google and Alphabet, explains in detail Google’s concerns about the bill as well as recent changes to it. .
Do Google’s efforts prove the need for the bill?
Google used its own platform and information to email consumers and businesses to speak out against the bill’s opposition by showing how anti-tech bills can affect them. The one-sided email is as vague as the bill itself.
By providing a unilateral proposal to their consumers that advances the corporate agenda, is Google proving the need for such a bill?
The legislation is designed to protect businesses from the iron grip of big companies like Google and Amazon. Google says it does more harm than good.
Ultimately, the decision to pass the bill and its language rests with Congress. Obviously, Google and other companies affected by the bill will continue their own efforts to modify or eliminate the anti-tech bills.
Featured image: max.ku/Shutterstock