Google’s Rise and the Legal Implications.

This week’s case analysis was “Google, Inc.” by Benjamin Edelman and Thomas R. Eisenmann. The article related to this week’s topic of “Enterprise Applications.” “Google, Inc.” focused on the rise of Google, the apparent lack of symmetry in their product development, and the course of future product development in Google. The article thoughtfully outlined Google’s start as a search engine featuring paid listings to the company’s game-changing improvements to search engines and advertising. Additionally, the article delved into Google’s organization including the corporation’s values, philosophy and core business. The article also discussed the conflicts in Google’s existing product line and the forays Google has made into new areas of technology (Youtube & content hosting, productivity applications, etc). Finally, the article briefly mentioned Google’s approach to public policy and clashes with well-known competitors. ¬†However, despite this level of detail, the article main question was, “So what next, Google?”

Due to Google’s power and presence in technology, the options are virtually limitles. On one hand, Google can continue to focus on optimizing their superior search engine and developing their targeted advertising. Or Google could expand into a full portal, develop their Checkout function, etc. No matter what, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt explains that whatever they develop must remain “consistent with the mission of the company…we’re in the business of making all the world’s information accessible and useful.” (Edelman & Eisenmann, 13).

However, as with any action, there will be an equal and opposite reaction. As Google continues to develop products that reflect their business of making the world’s information accessible and useful, public policy relating to copyrights, patents, and the realm of personal privacy become relevant and highly combative topics. One of Google’s latest products, Google Wallet, has recently been suspended due to discovered flaws that allow individuals to use stolen cards through the transaction system. (Ray, 2012) Google’s suspension prevents new customers from signing up, but also damages consumer confidence in the system and the protection of their privacy. NFC World has recently criticized Google for launching the product before working out all of the issues related to the payment process. (Ray, 2012).

Additionally, Google has recently announced changes to their privacy policy that will allow the company to share data collected from users signed on to Google across it’s dozen of services. The most recent change in the privacy policy will also allow Google to now gather data from the user’s search history and interaction with YouTube. The Electronic Privacy Information Center, a consumer watchdog, recently filed a lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission asking a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to compel federal regulators to enforce a recent settlement that followed a class-action lawsuit against Google based on Google Buzz. This consumer watchdog organization argues that by changing their privacy policy, Google is preventing users from “opting out” of these recent changes and thereby violating the terms of the settlement.

Together, these recent events demonstrate that no matter where Google tries to expand their business to next, they will undoubtedly have to manage the natural conflict created from the business of making all the world’s information accessible and useful.

Sources:

Guynn, J. (2012, February 13th). Lawsuit targets Google’s new privacy policy. Retrieved February 13th, 2012, from The Columbus Dispatch: http://www.disptach.com

Ray, B. (2012, February 13). Google lock Wallets- no new customers for now. Retrieved February 13, 2012, from The Register: http://theregister.co.uk

 

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