Google’s power comes from the fact that, to a very large extent, they control what people see on the Internet. Here’s a useful thought experiment. Imagine that Google takes away search results. Search may seem like the company’s essential function. But why does Google have to keep serving up search results from the Internet? Very few people look beyond the first couple results anyway. Why wouldn’t a company in a position of almost total control serve up nothing but sponsored content if they could? Or just content only from sites that jump through their hoops. The idea that a search engine doesn’t show search results isn’t too far fetched once you think about it. No different than Facebook neglecting to show you posts from a person or company that you follow.
– From ‘Ad giants enforcing web standards? Hmmph.’ The Old Reader behind the scenes blog