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The term "information good" is from economics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_good

An information good is one for which it's very cheap to produce additional units. Unfortunately, I'm probably abusing the term, since books are listed as an example of information goods. The idea is that most of the cost of producing the book goes into the content (writing, editing, etc.) and actually printing one additional book is cheap. (When I said books are "imperfect" information goods I meant that they still require paper and shipping and retailing and such, but it's probably just a bad use of the term.)

There's a fantastic book about the economics of information goods called "Information Rules" ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/087584863X ). Software is an information good so this covers some topics relevant to the digital economy. My favorite part is the chapter on lock-in. In particular the discussion around the equation:

profits from a customer = quality advantage + switching costs

which puts "(marginal) goodness of your product" on equal footing with "pain you can inflict on your customer for leaving".




The original topic was not on the topic of economics, rather, the monopolies any invention creates. The economics of things have existed alongside everything else in human history. The point was whether Google is a monopoly in the context of information. My contention was to identify the fact that Google only facilitates the information (like what printing press did to the information people were keeping orally, or through scribes).

If Google is the monopoly in the sense that the OP describes, then a unified Internet itself is a bigger monopoly. Break apart the monolith of the Internet itself, and you have more player contending equally in facilitating search etc.


If you're not aware, one of the authors of Information Rules (great book, BTW, I second the recommendation), Hal Varian, now works for Google as their Chief Economist.




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