The consequences of Google potentially pulling out of Australia could be massive, but motorists are unlikely to be left stranded.
The world’s most popular search engine provider is at loggerheads with the Australian Government over a proposed new code of conduct that would force the American company to pay licensing fees to local media organisations in order to display and serve digital content through its search engine.
Google Australia’s Managing Director, Mel Silva, told a Senate Economics Legislation Committee in January that the local arm “is committed to achieving a workable News Media Bargaining Code," but argued the current proposal “remains unworkable and if it became law would hurt not just Google, but small publishers, small businesses, and the millions of Australians that use our services every day.”
“Withdrawing our services from Australia is the last thing that I or Google want to have happen - especially when there is another way forward,” she added.
At present, if the new Code is passed without any changes Google has threatened to shut down its search engine functionality in Australia – similar to what it did in Spain in 2014 when it closed its local news service.
However, it has also recently agreed to pay 120 French media companies more than $142 million over the next three years to promote its Google News Showcase product, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison is bargaining with Microsoft to fill any void left by Google’s departure – both of which could reduce the threat in Australia.
If Google does go through with its proposed pull-out, how you use your Android device in the car is unlikely to be affected as critical functions such as Google Maps and Android Auto smartphone mirroring capabilities will remain operational, as will YouTube, Gmail and its G Suite of services.
Without its powerful search engine functionality, there may be an impact as to how easy it is to find new businesses, such as cafes and restaurants, within your vicinity while driving or at your destination.
According to consumer data provider Statista, almost 60 per cent of Australians used Android-operated mobile devices in 2020 while less than 40 per cent use an Apple iPhone.
READ NEXT How to put CarPlay on your old car