And he covers this with the rhetorical question: They can do these things, but they don't, because being as anti-user as possible (while putting out the occasional fluff PR piece) earns them billions and billions and billions of dollars.
He's basically saying "Google could remove advertising and figure out how to make money without being one of the most user-hostile organizations in software history, but they don't because their hostility to privacy and their revolution in combining aggressively curated private data with advertising has made them one of the richest corporations in history"
what is this elsewhere of which you speak? Google apps for your domain? Youtube red? Android licensing fees?
The truth can be seen from the way users behave. Nobody wants to pay any money for online services, and if google were to stop advertising, they'd basically be bankrupt as the userbase is not willing to pay the equivalent amount to google that they derive from selling user data.
As an example, Facebook might sell you the ability to target people between ages 12 and 20 located in major metropolitan centers in the US. You never bought any user data that let you flag individual users, but you are still "using" the data.
(Disclaimer and also claim to authority: I worked in ad tech.)
It's the same with Google, you cannot control your data and what they do with it.
I'm not sure why people keep saying that Google and Facebook is selling user data. Does that mean that if those companies started to actually do it, it wouldn't bother the claimants as they consider it being done already? Seems to me like an important distinction to make.
In comparison, are Uber selling software? Rather than using software to sell a service?
Can I find out what data Google has on me?
Amazon doesn't directly sell you the AWS infrastructure. But they rent it to you. Google is doing something akin to that. If they had an opt out saying "Don't use my private data to show me ads" I'd no longer make the point they sell my data. But they don't provide any opt-out, and the effect is identical to my data being sold to advertisers.
If a company sold your information, you can say bye bye to being able to restrict what that information is and who has it; you might as well consider it public from that point on. I don't think anybody in their right mind would call that difference a technicality.
Google does provide the opt out you say they don't, too: Browsing in incognito mode.
I think that's the GP's point -- but Google has enough cash in the bank that they could probably continue to provide services indefinitely if they took the decision to divest themselves of advertising and re-organise themselves appropriately.
I wish this meme would die already. Youtube red cannot be purchased in half the world. Google the search engine does not even have pay-for-no-ads offering that I know of.
You can't say they actually tried to get money from users yet.