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In Germany, people are often suspicious of mega-corporations like Google. This certainly has to do with the mistrust of power (concentration) that is deeply rooted in this country for historical reasons. In the case of Google, however, the issue of data protection plays a particularly important role: as the undisputed market leader in search queries on the Internet, Google knows Google in principle everything about the interests of the users. And the company knows how to make the most of this knowledge: Google’s books show a turnover of 60 billion dollars and a net profit of 15 billion dollars, most of it from search engine advertising.
No wonder the topic of data protection takes up so much space in Heuser’s portrait. In this respect, Page doesn’t leave a good mark on Europeans in general and Germans in particular: If he had to start a company today and choose between Silicon Valley and Germany, the choice would not be difficult for him. In Europe, it becomes "very hard to build a company of global importance", says Page. There is too much regulation here. "Then there’s data protection, all these laws just make it more difficult." But his company is dependent on the use of data: "We use a lot of data to offer better services, according to Page.
Remarkably, author Heuser seems to agree with Page on this point: "If Page and the Valley are right, and we are indeed living in the century of great technological leaps, Europe should consider this criticism", he writes.
This Google-friendliness is surprising insofar as the rather left-liberal readership of "Die Zeit" is not interested in the Google-authority will probably turn up his nose at such statements. Nevertheless, the newspaper was not one of the pioneers of Springer’s ancillary copyright, and even page-long Google criticism is more a matter for the "FAZ". Admittedly, Heuser’s article also radiates plenty of skepticism towards Google and its somewhat cranky boss. Especially at the end, when the warning comes that Google’s automation and technology visions may eventually get out of control. However, the text Page always takes seriously – and that’s right.
When people in Europe talk and write about managers like Page, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg or Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, they tend to show a certain disdain, sometimes even contempt, for the Internet entrepreneurs’ plans to improve the world. Google wants to increase the level of automation so that people have more free time? Only destroys jobs. Zuckerberg wants to use his Internet initiative.org network the whole world? He just wants ücan sell advertising everywhere. Amazon wants to deliver packages with drones? Drones are used to fight wars after all! And so on. "I think they talk unusually negatively about us in Germany", Page complains in the "Zeit" newspaper.
At the same time – and this is what Heuser obviously wants to express – it would be naive and wrong to dismiss such projects as pure marketing claptrap. Anyone who has ever been to Silicon Valley knows that when people talk about improving the world through new technologies, they are very serious about it. Very much. It goes without saying that an entrepreneur always has his own business success in mind. Daimler, Bayer and SAP don’t live on air and love either, but that’s just by the way.
Let’s not misunderstand each other: No one is calling for cheers for the projects of the movers and shakers from Silicon Valley. On the contrary: critical distance is more necessary than ever in times when Google is the master of global Internet search and Facebook is becoming a news platform. The topic of data protection in particular must always be on the agenda. However, missionary zeal is not appropriate here, but rather reflected sobriety. Heuser’s text is also evidence of this. ire