Australian companies forced to imagine life without Google

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Australian companies forced to imagine life without Google

Search group’s threat to withdraw from market over proposed law raises stakes for business

Jamie Smith

Can you imagine life without Google? That is the curious reality Australians have been contemplating since the US technology group threatened to shut its ubiquitous search engine in their country last month over a draft law that would force big tech to pay news providers for content.

“If the code becomes law, Google would have no real choice but to stop providing search in Australia,” Mel Silva, managing director of Google Australia & New Zealand, told MPs on a parliamentary committee scrutinising the draft news media bargaining code on January 22.

The ultimatum from Google provoked a terse reaction from Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, who told journalists: “We don’t respond to threats.” Nevertheless, there is mounting concern in the business and tech sector that a Google exit — or “G-exit” — could cause severe disruption, particularly for small businesses that rely on search to drive customers to their websites...

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