Google's greatest controversies and biggest foul-ups

Google's greatest controversies and biggest foul-ups

Summary: A run down of some of the most controversial decisions or actions by Google, including some of their biggest mistakes to date.

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  • Google Doodles have long been used by the company -- which uses its search page as its home page -- to brighten up on days which are special in the calendar. Unlike some search engines like Bing which maintains mostly consistent throughout the year, Google changes their logo into a fitting graphic for that day.

    However, many took to the blogosphere and the forums to complain against a perceived 'Islamic reference' and a 'flag-burning' in a Doodle which was released on Veterans Day.

    It is highly doubtful that Google would do this deliberately, regardless of the connotations. What does matter, however, is that quality assurance clearly did not vet this image enough to predict such a response from users of the service. 

    Google probably did nothing wrong, but the perception by the users due to lack of checks put themselves in a negative light.

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    For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet Googling Google column.

  • Google Books has been a saviour to students and ordinary citizens alike for years, but has not been met without great controversy over issues of copyright and intellectual property rights. 

    Many groups and individuals have attempted to bring legal action against Google for their use of widespread "snippets of copyrighted work" and "massive copyright infringement". 

    One of the major issues is, while Google in some cases provides no content available in books, it has scanned and made searchable millions of books for which many argue it has no right to do so.

    Only recently, three top French publishers say they will sue Google for scanning and applying search technologies to their books and content "without permission".

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    For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet Googling Google column.

  • When Google Buzz launched last year in 2010, it was the first micro-blogging social network-like service for which users had to opt-out of -- as users with a Gmail or Google account were automatically opted in without their prior permission.

    It also added pre-existing contacts from a user's Gmail service into Buzz, which drew vast criticism from privacy critics and the media alike.

    Not only this, a major privacy flaw allowed users to see who one was emailing and chatting too. While this was quickly changed and 'reset' by Google, it had already left a bitter taste for many of Google's users.

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    For more on company controversies, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column or for more on Google, visit the ZDNet Googling Google column.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Google, China

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7 comments
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  • RE: Google's greatest controversies and biggest foul-ups

    why do I keep reading teh BS about google. It is liek Watching a G rated Horror Flick
    Ez_Customs
  • RE: Google's greatest controversies and biggest foul-ups

    seriously you got to be kidding me im an artist, and I have a huge imagination, but you gotta be smoking DMT 1) to maybe first see the burning flag. 2)To even think, that is worth making a report about.

    -The Dead, Shop
    bosleyjack@...
  • Flag burning? Really?

    Who in their right mind saw that image as a burning flag? Only a conspiracy nuts would have come up with that!
    mlandon
  • Haven't you seen the face of evil in apple sign

    Conspiracy theorists can make anything out of thin air or thick cloud
    binuvarghese
  • RE: Google's greatest controversies and biggest foul-ups

    Someone is trying to get famous from seeing this as a flag burning.
    guywayne
  • RE: Google's greatest controversies and biggest foul-ups

    Test
    flobi15
  • Flag issue shouldn't have been included.

    This (flag burning doodle reference) is only adding to a controversy that never should have existed in the first place. The "Doodle" is obviously the sun shining through the clouds, through the flag itself which is showing the top of the "e" in "Google" as a silhouette through the flag. Controversial my behind.
    bandersnatch42vt