You could ask your mother how to bake a cake, or you could ask Google or Siri. You could sit wondering what your high school crush made of their life, or you could check Facebook. You could go shopping with your friends at the mall, or have Amazon bring the mall to you. Were those cat memes not so absorbing, we may find ourselves questioning how humans used to do everything without the internet.
The internet age has brought an increasing share of our lives online, and as Stephan Hawking has painted our new reality, “we are all now connected by the internet, like neurons in a giant brain”. The question then becomes who is constructing the brain itself. While vast arrays of constructors are building the platforms through which we connect, a small number of chief architects have risen through the masses to dominate the internet landscape.
When it comes to these architects, they don’t come much bigger than Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. According to a Statista survey in March 2017, these internet behemoths are all now household names with more than 90 percent of respondents knowing the brands, at least by name. Google comes out on top as the most recognizable at 96 percent.
Part of Google being so iconic certainly stems from the diversity of services and products they provide. Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome and the Google.com search engine are the most commonly used from the range that seems to cover every reason someone would ever venture onto the internet. This dominant presence means that around 69 percent of people use at least one Google service or product daily. However, Google is not alone in their desire to spread beyond their initial services when the development of the giants is brought into focus. Facebook’s purchase of Instagram and Amazon and Apple’s movements into entertainment through Amazon Prime and Apple Music serve as prominent examples of these desires.
The giants of GAFA will likely continue to purchase competitive startups that pose an alternative to what is becoming business as usual for the biggest players in the internet game. It seems that concerns around information use and societal influence are not enough for consumers to abstain on mass from the largely free services they provide. Perhaps autonomy is a price consumers are willing to pay.
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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 75 most important statistics relating to "Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon (GAFA)".