Google Drive suggestions in Chrome could raise antitrust red flags

Ewdison Then - Sep 29, 2021, 10:27pm CDT
Google Drive suggestions in Chrome could raise antitrust red flags

Google has so many products that it’s not really surprising to see it trying to connect the dots across its different properties, like Android, Search, and Chrome. What may sound natural, however, isn’t always desirable or even legal in some cases, especially when businesses are involved. That is why the company has been embroiled in numerous monopoly and antitrust lawsuits, and its latest spate of new features exclusive to Chrome could eventually land it in hot water yet again.

If you are an Android or Chrome user, most of the time, you’re also using other Google services, especially Search. Under the pretext of making it easier for its users, Google has always attempted to bundle these services together, like how Google apps are preinstalled on most Android phones or how Chrome integrates perfectly with Search. Google’s rivals, however, beg to differ and see it as a way for Google to monopolize those markets.

That hasn’t stopped Google from still trying anyway. It just announced yet another integration between its Chrome browser and Google Drive that, on its own, looks pretty harmless. Building on an announcement in 2019, Google is now showing suggestions to Drive files in Chrome’s New Tab Page. The idea is to “save end user time and mental load to navigate to relevant files,” as long as those files are on Google Drive.

This, however, is just the latest in a series of new features, both official and still in testing, that put Google’s other services and products at the forefront of the Chrome browser experience. Google just announced the integration of Lens and more Search features into Chrome on desktop and mobile. There are even clues that Chrome would soon offer a Search side panel as an incentive to use Search with Chrome rather than other search engines.

The Chrome and Drive integration will even be enabled by default for all users, including Google Workspace customers as well as those with personal Google accounts. While convenient for many users, there will be rival companies and regulators that will argue that Chrome as a Web browser shouldn’t be intricately tied to Google’s other products or at least offer the same access to rivals like Dropbox, Bing, and the like.


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