I wish I could add more to Danny's excellent coverage of the government's bogus overarching power grab for data from search engines, but I can't, so I just want to parrot it. :)
The US government requested not personally identifiable search data from AOL, Google, MSN and Yahoo! in an effort to evaluate how often children might find porn on the web. Everyone but Google handed it over. The US government is now suing Google.
The stock market punished Google heavily on this and other news, with the stock dropping from about $470 to $399 a share last week. While Google may have wanted to keep the data for trade secret related reasons they also win a ton of user trust by being the only company which said no to the request.
Compare their position to MicroSoft. Only after Google made this request an issue by denying it did news come out that other search companies, like MSN, gave over data last summer.
How did MSN's recent post make them look?
A prime opportunity was missed last summer. Back then there was a chance to come out at a time when Google was being pounded over privacy concerns and stand up to the government instead of folding like a cheap lawn chair and working out some technical response that we would only learn about months later when the heat was on and they had to say something. Shameful, really.
As a person who likes search this lawsuit makes me wish I was a bit smarter so I could work at Google.
As a marketer I think Google being the only one doing what they are doing is a great thing for them.
- This heavily undermines the Google can't be trusted with data meme.
- By being the content in the news they raise their brand exposure. If you ARE the content that people are talking about advertising is not needed to gain market share.
- By standing up against the government they gain user trust. It is going to be hard for a competitor to build an ad demand network of Google's scale while also trying to build that much trust at the same time.
I think this incident enhances Google's implied value, as it will surely increase their market share.
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