Google announced last month that it would pay San Francisco $6.8 billion to let low-income students aged 5-17 ride city buses for free.
It's a paradoxical irony. The company will soon grant schools and libraries in Austin and Kansas City access to free and fast fiber optic Internet. Google serves as a source of relief for these communities that are unserved or underserved by the existing broadband market. But how many public services is too many? Over-involvement by Google in providing civic amenities that would otherwise be a city's responsibility brings Google's considerable control over our online lives into the real world.
This is the beginning. Google with its unlimited funds could develop situations where people outside of the company start to rely on them. Progress this situation a few years with more of this benevolence and perhaps you get a company that no one can allow to fail?