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Google Case Study

677 words 3 page(s)

The case study in question focuses on the evolution of Google, one of the world’s most known and most profitable companies, and its “Don’t Be Evil” motto which has shaped the company culture and its operations. Coming from humble beginnings in a garage in Silicon Valley in 1998 to be one of the most powerful technological forces in the world, Google’s philosophy is to not “be evil unless…” in offering everyone worldwide access to free and unfiltered information. However, Google’s ethical standards and practices have come under fire from different departments within its operations. The first of which is the privacy of Gmail, Google’s email function, of which customers complained about their emails being search and ads being customized based on its contents. Another concern is the legality of keeping consumer information sent through Gmail without their knowledge or consent, which means a lack of protection that is due to them by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (Stanwick & Stanwick, 2014).

Individual privacy is paramount to satisfying customers especially when using a medium in which their personal information and communications are located. The issue of privacy is one that has been the subject of many debate between the general public and governments around the world, the former of whom are endowed to a right to privacy, yet the latter of whom places matters of national security and safety above all, hoping to compromise with individual protections. In this case, Google and the government of the People’s Republic of China were embroiled in conflict when Google censored internet search results for citizens, keeping them from having access to major websites, which the public saw as a violation of their rights to free accessible information. Google also resisted the United States Department of Justice’s request to make all website available to aid in defending the Child Online Protection Act of 1998, a request said to have violated customers’ right to privacy again. Google faced several other consumer privacy and copyright conflicts and issues.

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In regard to censorship, Google was not allowed to censor searches in China, as it did not align with its mission to provide free information to everyone worldwide, even those who live in states and republics whose access to information is more restricted due to political history and reasons. The pressure of the Chinese government got to Google and while it was not “evil,” it was a misguided action and violated the rights of the Chinese public to have access to information. Furthermore, Google was adamant about refusing to supply information to the United States government, the former of whom thought that the request was incredibly vague and a form of harassment upon Google’s users and the American public.

In regard to its library project, this, unlike Google’s previous strategies, kept with the mission of providing out of copyright books for no charge to users, as well as copyrighted works. This certainly enhanced and stayed true to the mission of unfiltered information for all, yet this project violated copyright laws and posed a threat and disadvantage to authors and publishers whose work was released and made accessible without compensation, most likely, or consent. Finally, its issue of click fraud came up when it was uncovered that advertisers get revenue from who pay for Google each time a user clicks on an ad displayed within Google results, making it possible for competitors to increase their overhead costs and gain a competitive advantage. For Google, this poses a significant threat, even as it is the largest search engine in the entire world. Digital ad fraud is a growing problem and the quickness and ephemerality of the Internet makes it hard to catch.

  • Kantrowitz, A. (2015, May 18). Inside Google’s Secret War Against Ad Fraud. Retrieved February 03, 2018, from
  • Stanwick, P. A., & Stanwick, S. D. (n.d.). Understanding business ethics (3rd ed.).
  • Suber, P. (2005). Does Google Library Violate Copyright?.
  • Waddell, K. (2016, January 19). Why Google Quit China-and Why It’s Heading Back. Retrieved February 03, 2018, from