The Dark Side of Google [Infographic]

Matthew Gates 4m 902 #google

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“Come to the dark side, we’ve got cookies!” said Google. And everyone went to the dark side and Google had plenty of cookies for everyone. Cookies that tracked people to and fro, home and work, on vacations and on business trips. Many people believed Google was invading their privacy, while Google was just trying to be friendly and lure people with their cookies, much like Facebook once admitted – long after everyone left the house of Facebook, but that is for another story time.

Google has risen to the top dominating the Internet search industry, helping many websites and companies get rich, and unfortunately, keeping others out of the competition. Google is both the good guy and the bad guy to many. While it may seem like Google has good intentions, there are many people who do not trust Google, and see it for what it really is.

Regardless of what Google is, it is a company that is always learning, making mistakes, and making changes to fix its mistakes. It is an ever-evolving company that sets its own trends, but also must abide by the natural trends of society. There are things that Google does right and things that Google does wrong.

Google is not an untouchable company and does come with its fair share of issues, lawsuits, and lawyers, and because Google is such a large corporation that affects many areas of the Internet and life, it is bound to attract enemies and lawsuits. Everyday is a constant battle for Google, not only to be the best company it can be that can provide value to its customers, but to fight against the competition, even in court.

This infographic explores the Dark Side of Google, including the class-action lawsuits, the companies that sued Google, and the imposed sanctions upon Google, specifically from those countries that largely mistrust Google over privacy concerns.

The Dark Side of Google [Infographic]

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Google: A view from the Dark Side

Class-actions to civil suits to government prosecutions keep Google’s army of lawyers busy as well as outside counsel. Who dares to take on the Goliath of Internet Search?

Google has been sued by just about every different entity type on the planet: from huge multinational corporations to countries to individuals.

Google vs. Oracle, Paypal, AFP, Daum, Microsoft, The McGraw-Hill Companies

A few samples:

CompanySued Google for:
Paypal, eBay’s payment armTheft of trade secrets and breach of contract, the same day Google Wallet is introduced. (May 2011)
NHN Corporation and Daum Communications (Two of South Korea’s biggest Internet companies)Antitrust complaint for allegedly forcing smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Google search and apps on Android phones. (April 2011)
MicrosoftAntitrust suit/unfair competition (before the European Union’s Competition). (March 2011)
Skyhook WirelessBusiness interference and patent infringement. (Sep 2010)
OracleAndroid phone software allegedly infringes Oracle patents and copyrights related to Java. (Aug 2010)
Agence France Presse (AFP)Google News unlawfully incorporated photographs, headlines, and excerpts from the beginning of articles. (March 2005)
Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO)Trademark infringement in Google’s Adwords. (May 2004)

Bizarre Lawsuits

A Japanese woman sued Google for showing her private items after images of her underwear appeared on Street View. Decmeber 2010

Shooting victim sues Google over search results on his name alleging it branded him a crook and a member of Melbourne’s underworld. November, 2009

A California woman, sued Google for damages after she was hit by a car while following directions provided by Google Maps on her cell phone. May, 2010

When a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court, this is called a class-action lawsuit.

Class-Action Lawsuits Against Google

  • Copyright Infringement
  • AdSense Related
  • Overcharging Advertisers
  • Trademark Infringement
  • Tempering a Site’s Ranking and Inappropriate Search Results
  • Click Fraud
  • Patent Breach
  • One-line
  • Subpoenas
  • Other

Google agreed to a $90 million-settlement fund in the class-action lawsuit over click fraud filed by Lane’s Gifts & Collectibles (March 8, 2006).

Individual authors and book publishers organizations sued Google for forgery. They say Google digitally scanned thousands of books without permission.

Photography and graphic arts organizations and individuals sued Google for displaying copyrighted images in books it scans, without fairly compensating the people who created the images.

Dozens of countries have launched investigations into Google’s Street View.

Some of them have imposed sanctions such as:

  • banning Street View cars.
  • banning Street View car plates.
  • cease collecting Wi-Fi data.
  • deleting private data.
  • lowering the height of the cameras.
  • halting Street view operations.
  • blurring faces.

Several countries are considering sanctions to Google for collecting personal data from Wi-Fi networks. Google Street View ceased operations in some of these countries.

Under federal and state laws, Google may be both civilly and criminally liable for the unauthorized capture of data from private Wi-Fi networks and may also be liable for deceiving consumers and violating individuals’ privacy.

One in Four Countries Block Some Google Services

Google’s services have been blocked or censored to some degree in 25 of the 100 where it operates.

Some of the countries that blocked Google (from search and Blogger to YouTube and Google Docs).

Countries that requested or required a significant number of restrictions (July to December 2010). Google regularly receives request from government agencies and federal courts around the world to remove content from its services and hand over user data.

SEJ Search Engine Journal

Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.



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