Australia, Street View, and Another Apology

July 9, 2010

I saw in the Official Google Australia Blog this headline, “We’re Sorry.” I thought I had seen that headline before. (Is this that day-ja view thing my neighbors in Kentucky talk about?) The addled goose gets confused when confronted with more mea culpas than a priest in the Spanish inquisition would hear on a typical day in a church basement in Castile.

Here’s the paragraph I noted:

In Australia, we have been working with the Privacy Commissioner to support her investigation into what happened. We welcome today’s conclusion of this investigation, and as a result we have committed to working even more closely with them going forward on the privacy implications of our product launches. We want to reiterate to Australians that this was a mistake for which we are sincerely sorry. Maintaining people’s trust is crucial to everything we do and we have to earn that trust every single day. We are acutely aware that we failed badly here.

A crisis public relations expert I met a decade ago was an advocate of apologizing and putting the problem behind you.



The problem with this American’s approach to crisis management is that the method may not work as planned in other countries and cultures. One good example may be Australia. I don’t know much about Australia or law enforcement, of course. But I have heard that some authorities in Australia are sometimes quite strict in their approach to law enforcement.

Will the Google apology cut much ice in the land down under. I don’t think the German authorities were not amused with the Google Street View Wi Fi issue.

And, Australians, despite the silliness of 1986 film “Crocodile Dundee”, can be quite a handful when irritated. Could Google become a red kangaroo with Australian authorities giving chase with automatic weapons ready to fire? The Australia – Google dust up will be interesting to watch. In those red kangaroo hunts, the red kangaroos don’t win too often.

Stephen E Arnold, July 9, 2010



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