In Australia, the tech giant, Google is threatening to unplug its homepage in a standoff with the government.
In December, the government introduced “world-first” legislation which forced tech giants to pay local news outlets for featuring and linking to their stories.
Google refused, warning that the proposed news media bargaining code would “break a fundamental principle of how the web works” and threatened to pull its search engine from Australia.
Google rejects a planned law that would force the company and Facebook Inc. to pay Australian publishers for news content.
The tech giant has given an ultimatum to local lawmakers which is to change the legislation, which has left a digital vacuum hanging over a nation that essentially knows just one way to navigate the web.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed Google’s brinkmanship, telling the company “we don’t respond to threats.”
However, in a marked shift last week, Morrison said he had a “constructive” conversation with Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Google runs 95% of Internet searches in Australia.
Banning the world’s most famous website would potentially hand all of Australia to rivals, including Microsoft Corp.’s Bing and DuckDuckGo, which have failed to displace Google as the gateway to the web.
These search-engine competitors could suddenly have a playground for development and a foothold to progress on the global stage.
“The prospect of Google search disappearing is frightening at best,” says Smith, a software engineering student who racks up 400 Google searches a day.
“It’s quite reflexive of me to Google something, anything, that I’m even mildly not sure of.”