Street View and As a Ground Hog Event

December 6, 2010

The cute little ground hog pops up and events repeat themselves. Google, a cute creature indeed, is caught in a ground hog event. We refer to Street View and its ability to pop up, recycle, pop up and recycle the same sequence of activities. Is it us or the ground hog effect?

Google takes another hit with revelations of Google Street View cars again gathering private information through WiFi networks.  “Google Privacy Breach: Damage to Brand ‘Substantial‘” reports that unlike the spring 2009 data gathering, this UK privacy breach was significant enough to warrant investigation, although the British Information Commissioner’s Office did not subject Google to a fine.  According to the article, though, the main punishment for this offense will not be found in legal penalties:

“Jack Adams, SEO consultant at Greenlight told Web User that although Google seems to have been ‘let off lightly’, he believes the breach could have a major impact on the brand’s reputation: ‘There can’t be any denying that some extent of damage has been done to users’ confidence in the brand and its squeaky-clean image, built around the company’s “don’t be evil” motto.’”

In addition, the FCC is investigating similar accusations.  Does this add to what seems to be Google’s recent losing streak with Buzz, Wave, Google TV, etc.?  After all, there are objections to Street View itself with nearly a quarter of a million Germans opting out of having their homes shown.  Put all this together, and  I’m not sure that reputation damage is the main point to take away from Street View’s private data gathering fiasco.  We are beginning to think the bigger issue is an emerging pattern of poor judgment calls.  Solving problems in math does not require social savvy. Perhaps services like Street View do?

Alice Wasielewski, December 6, 2010


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