Opinion: Is Google facing an existential threat?

Posted in: Miscellaneous at 06/05/2012 17:50

Is internet titan Google facing an existential threat? Is it in danger of fading from prominence and becoming, essentially, the "next Microsoft"? With government regulators nipping at its heels, Facebook leading in the race for attention and prestige, and "social" beginning to replace "search" as a focus of online activity, the company that revolutionised our means of finding information just a decade ago now finds itself under siege.

Google - a company that boasts of its informal motto "Don't Be Evil" - stands accused of being just that. The phenomenally successful and profitable internet firm is being newly scrutinised, both domestically and on the international front, by consumers, competitors, regulators and elected officials alike, all concerned about basic issues of privacy, trust - and anti-trust.

It was bad enough in 2010 when Buzz, Google's "antisocial social network", deceptively breached online consumer privacy and trust, leading to a class action lawsuit and US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation. Buzz, which company founders had crowed "would reinvent social networking" in much the same way the company had reinvented search, instead soon flopped.

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