Is Google still worth our love, or has it become another selfish corporation?

Is Google still worth our love, or has it become another selfish corporation

Google’s rise to the top of the tech world has been meteoric. Before 1998, there was no Google, yet only 14 years later, the search engine has unseated almost all competitors, from Altavista to Yahoo. And thanks to an innovative platform called AdSense, it redefined ads on the Web, and now rakes in $37 billion annually, and that number grows by billions every year. The company has been so successful, it has taken over entirely new fields of business almost overnight. At the center of this success has always been a promise. Google has promised us that it will “make money without doing evil.” It has consistently contended that it is a new kind of corporation; a good one. A company that will stand above the fray and do the right thing with the mounds of data we pump into it because it’s different than the rest. Google has always wanted to be that geeky friend you can trust to do the right thing. 

Lately, things have changed. Google has been getting into trouble with the government and users on a regular basis and seems to be on a streak of actions that seem quite unlike Google. If it were Apple, Facebook, or any other company, we may not care, but Google says its different. It has challenged users, bloggers, and the world to see it as more than every other company. But are its actions living up to its image? Google doodles and the “I’m feeling lucky” button are fun and quirky, but do they represent the company that Google is today? In the sections below, I bring up many recent actions that have put Google at odds with its users, other companies, governments, and many others. Is Google still Google or has it become just another big corporation, out for its own interests?

‘Good’ history

Perhaps a bit more history would be helpful. 

Since it’s founding, Google’s corporate culture seems to have mirrored its ‘good’ mission. Employees were encouraged to always dress casually and 20 percent of their work hours were to be spent on passion projects. It also showered them with high salaries and amenities like workout facilities, lavish free food, free daycare, free laundry service, massages, and perks of all kinds. Google seemed like the coolest place to work. 

Letting employees have fun paid off. After Google began swimming in cash, Google Labs was born. New, crazy projects began to flow out of Google on a consistent basis, all of which were free and built to better the Internet or solve a problem. Gmail, Google Maps, Google News, Google Shopper, Google Earth, Google Docs, Google Health, Google Goggles, YouTube (purchased by Google), Chrome, and the Android OS are just a few of these types of projects. There were bombs too, like Google Wave and Google Buzz, but you couldn’t hold it against Google for trying and even a bomb like Wave had some extraordinary ideas behind it. Grander ideas, like self-driving car research and buildings that ran off of renewable energy only enhanced the company’s image. 

Google has built user trust by offering almost all its products for free, and earned a strong reputation with developers by embracing open source and open APIs, which let coders use its services in new and interesting ways. Google also created ways for users to import and export information from its services. Meanwhile, Google’s search has continued to improve and stay cutting edge and has only one major competitor today (Bing).

When the company went public in 2004, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin typed up a manifesto pledging that Google was “not a conventional company” and was determined to make “the world a better place.” Reiterating that message, Google pulled out of China in early 2010 due to the censorship policies of the Chinese government. 

Cracks in the armor

2010 was a great year for Google financially and it stood its ground on China, but the company got itself into hot water on privacy issues related to Google Buzz and Google Maps. Though each controversy was different, both of them attracted the attention of regulators and lawmakers around the world. As a result of sharing contacts on Buzz, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will monitor Google over user privacy for the next 20 years. Both of these issues seemed like innocent mistakes? Negligent, sure, but not ill intentioned.

The controversial net neutrality framework Google inked with Verizon, which seemed to concede that net neutrality wasn’t possible over wireless (cellular) connections, was another disappointment to many of the company’s supporters. It was as if Google had given up the fight early. It was a sign of things to come. 

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Mobile

Keep Notes is the latest app to get Google’s Material Design makeover

Google is updating more and more of its apps to come into line with its latest Material Design trends, and now it's Keep Notes' turn to get a new pair of pants. This update is now rolling out on Android devices.
Computing

Is the Pixelbook 2 still happening? Here's everything we know so far

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Has the Pixel Slate taken its place? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Mobile

Google will start charging Android manufacturers to use its apps in Europe

Google announced that it will be charging Android device manufacturers in Europe a licensing fee to use its apps and services. The announcement comes as an effort to comply with new European Commission regulations.
Computing

Did your Windows 10 audio stop working after the update? Microsoft has a fix

Microsoft has released a small patch for its October 2018 Update build of Windows 10 following some users facing audio issues that resulted in no sound output at all. After this fix, that problem should disappear for good.
Mobile

Key settings you need to change on your brand-new Google Pixel 3 or 3 XL phone

Google's Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones are now available. If you've set the phone up, we've rounded up a handful of key settings we think you should tweak or turn on to get the most out of your new device.
Mobile

Xiaomi phone with 5G and 10GB of RAM will become more than just a rumor next week

Xiaomi will announce the Mi Mix 3 smartphone on October 25, and according to the company's spokesperson, it will be capable of connecting at 5G speeds and feature 10GB of RAM -- two world firsts.
Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Mobile

Key settings you need to change on your brand-new LG V40 ThinQ

Now that you've got your brand-new LG V40 ThinQ, it's time to get to work. Whether its hiding the notch or setting a schedule for the blue light filter, here are some key settings you'll want to change on your LG V40 ThinQ.
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Mobile

The upcoming OnePlus 6T may get a major camera update

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 6T.
Mobile

Verizon's newest deals can net you $500 off the LG V40 ThinQ

Looking for a new LG flagship? The LG V40 ThinQ is here, and it's bringing a familiar style, two more camera lenses, and upgraded specs. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the LG V40 ThinQ.
Mobile

Pixel 3 XL vs. Pixel 2 XL vs. Pixel XL: Which XL is best for you?

A Google Pixel XL is the best phone to get if you want the perfect Android experience on a big screen. However, with the release of the Pixel 3 XL, you have more choices then ever. Which Pixel XL should you buy?
Mobile

LG V40 ThinQ vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Can the V40 unseat the king?

The LG V40 ThinQ is packing a massive display and an incredible five lenses, making it a unique offering in the market. But is it better than the Galaxy Note 9, another phone with a huge display and great cameras?
Mobile

There are four versions of the Mate 20, but which one is the best?

Huawei revealed its full range of Mate 20 handsets, and it seems that there is a device that fits everyone's needs. We've compared all the options, including the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the Mate 20 X, the Mate 20, and the Mate 20 Lite.
1 of 3