Google as a Public Utility?


Larry Brilliant, executive director of, wrote an article titled The Spreading Epidemic, which paints Google as a public utility:

Today we have even better electronic trolling services. Google has invested billions of dollars in search capacity. The company is providing these tools to a consortium of disaster-response organizations to provide earlier detection and coordinated response to pandemics and other disasters.


Larry didn't use the word

Larry didn't use the word "utility" in that article, and the only mention of the word "public" is referring to the "Global Public Health Intelligence Network." Larry certainly may have been referring to electronic tools like Google Alerts, Google Co-op, and Google Custom Search Engines. I'm not sure I'm getting what offering tools to disaster-response organizations has to do public utilities?

For example, when Hurricane Katrina hit, Googlers worked late nights and weekends and some people used their 20% time to do a Katrina restrict and Google Earth imagery:

Personally, I don't think providing helpful tools like that have anything to do with public utilities. The article didn't use the phrase and I didn't read it that way either.

I'd gladly pay my water bill

I'd gladly pay my water bill to GOOG vs. the socialist republic of Mike Easley. I'd likely get a far better rate and bad ass water consumption graphs to boot. :)

I saw it as

similar to how Ricochet was used in NYC after 911.

Is there a reason why the

Is there a reason why the blue article link doesn't work?


Fixed link


Google as a public utility... Cool.

Regulation and Regulators all over the place...

>utility ... regulation That

>>utility ... regulation

That will happen shortly after Google destroys all there competition (such as it is). The last man left standing gets regulated.

And once it is regulated, it will totally suck

The way of the world

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