Google providing $53 bn in benefits to businesses in Australia

(IANS) Fighting the Australian government over its news media bargaining code, Google has announced it providing businesses and users with a combined $53 billion in benefits every year in the country.

The Google’s ‘2020 Economic Impact Report’ said that 1.3 million businesses receive $39 billion in benefits through increased revenues, millions of connections with customers and greater efficiencies, saving time and money.

“Consumers receive $14 billion in benefits via productivity, convenience and access to information,” Mel Silva, VP, Google Australia & New Zealand, said in a statement late on Sunday.

The company said Search saves users almost 5 days a year and drivers save 5.6 hours per year using Google Maps.

“Australian app developers earned $639 million through Google Play reaching one billion users globally. Sixty per cent go to small to medium businesses while 90 per cent of benefits go to non-technology industries,” the report mentioned.

The report is another example why Google’s presence in Australia is beneficial for the businesses as the company claims it makes less money from news content — $10 million (Australian) in revenue in 2019.

The bargaining code, according to the Austalian government, is necessary to address the fundamental bargaining power imbalances between news media businesses and major digital platforms.

For Google, it’s “unfair and unworkable”.

“As our report demonstrates, there are now more than 1.3 million businesses in Australia using Google’s free tools and services-to reach new customers, advertise effectively where they couldn’t before and make use of new digital skills,” Silva said.

Google’s products also provided $14 billion in annual benefits to consumers through increased productivity, convenience and improved access to information.

Flagging lack of transparency around the algorithms that Google and Facebook use to display ads and news, Australia’s consumer watchdog in December said that the tech giants need to be monitored closely so that they do not abuse their power.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has recommended a mechanism for monitoring how the major tech companies rank and display ads and news content.

In a report, the ACCC argued that the dominance of platforms like Facebook and Google — who derive a vast majority of their revenue from advertising — demands increased regulatory oversight.

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