Google is no longer a young corporation flush with money and idealism (it’s easy to have the latter when you’re rolling in the former). Despite making its money from selling ads, which is not a good and certainly not something we need more of, Google is still far better behaved than most corporations. I’ve worked for mid-size and large corporations even to know this for certain.
However, events over the last few years and especially over the last year show that Google is no longer the poster child for how to make money while remaining unsullied by the world’s surplus of evil. Whether the recent events involving Google employees (or contractors) sabotaging OpenStreetMap data or trying to steal customers from a Kenyan startup, Google has either lost a little control over its growing empire, or it’s loosened its ethical reins. I hope it’s the former.
Google, like all giant internet companies that rely on customer data to make money, has long had to dance the line between innocuously using that data and destructively invading customers’ privacy. The latest move, discussed in the link below, may be either one. Time will tell.http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/01/what_larry_page_doesnt_underst.html