2010 The year of Google Gripes

It’s been a long and busy year all around for every business out there, but Google hit a few more potholes than most however. Here are just a couple of the hiccups the giant experienced along the way in ’10.

Wi-Fi Snatch

The biggest newsmaker for Google this year unfortunately would have to be their admission of capturing unencrypted Wi-Fi data by the Street View cars. What was it that happened? Google revealed that the Street View cars had inadvertently scooped hundreds of gigabytes of data from unsecured networks in more than 30 countries around the world since 2007. The culprit turned out to be an engineer who had written code without Google’s permission. Google has been under scrutiny since.

Google Fires Engineer for Accessing Gmail Accounts

As if the Street View cars capturing data wasn’t bad enough, one Google engineer was fired from his position for snooping on four minors Gmail accounts. After Gawker broke the story, Google retorted: “We dismissed David Barksdale for breaking Google’s strict internal privacy policies. We carefully control the number of employees who have access to our systems, and we regularly upgrade our security controls. For example, we are significantly increasing the amount of time we spend auditing our logs to ensure those controls are effective. That said, a limited number of people will always need to access these systems if we are to operate them properly—which is why we take any breach so seriously.”

Google Investigated by the European Commission

Everyone likes to have an even playing field, and the EU’s antitrust commission is great at playing on an even field. It happened to Microsoft, it happened to Intel and now it’s happening with Google. Foundem, Ciao, ejustice, Euro-Cities and German publishers complained that Google is pumping up its own services at the expense of theirs. The Commission, after having Microsoft and Intel pay out billions to continue operations in the EU, is taking this seriously.

Add to the above the failures of a few acquisitions like Groupon and the ITA software, there were the unfortunate passing of some products as well. Both some aged in the case of Wave and Buzz, which hit it’s own privacy problems that needed to be paid out, to the promised Google TV. It’s been a tough year for the big G, here’s to the prospects of a new year.

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