Wednesday, 15th October 2014

by Joshua Gaskell

In last week’s episode of The Media Show, Steve Hewlett made the interesting suggestion that the services provided by companies like Google could now (or soon) be described as utilities – ‘regarded as essential to the community’ (OED) – because of how seemingly indispensible they are for businesses and communication.

In March I reflected on the case of public utilities that were privately owned, and then nationalised during and after the Second World War. One might infer from this that in the event of a third world war, Google would be the kind of company that the American government would be compelled to nationalise, on account of how much power doing so would grant them.