Saturday, January 28, 2006

Google and the tipping point

After fawning over the upstart search engine, are the press and public opinion starting to turn against Google?

Ivan Fallon at The Independent describes the mood:
It has been the week from hell for Google.

Once the much-loved and unblemished hero of the web, the giant internet group has suffered a series of blows that have exposed for the first time its feet of clay. The company that stood for "freedom of the net" is accused of humiliatingly submitting to Chinese censorship, conniving at the suppression of freedom in Tibet, exploiting the work of American writers and of running what is arguably the biggest porn and violence website in the business.

The biggest worry of all ... was the abrupt shift in sentiment among its almost messianic customers, who are suddenly asking awkward questions .... Google's problem is that the world expects better of it. It had stood up to the US government and championed free speech, but now ... it has lost the high ground.

Every company contains the seeds of its own destruction, and it may be that even Google, the miracle of the new media age, has reached the tipping point in the past week.
As John Battelle said, "Google? We thought...well, we thought you were different."

[Found on Findory]

Update: Dennis Kneale at Forbes has a more even-handed take in his excellent article, "Gunning for Google".

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