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Business and Finance

Google: The Quest to Balance Privacy with Profits

Synopsis: Google is a web search engine, which was initially known as BackRub inaugurated its operations in 1996 by Sergey Brin and Larry. The advent of Google was a result of a research project at Stanford University, the purpose of which was to look for documents on the Internet. Today, Google is a multinational, publicly traded organization that owns products and services that go beyond the ownership of the search engine. Google+, YouTube, Android, Motorola Mobility, the Nexus 7 tablet computer, Google Wallet, and Google Glass are a few famous names that come under the possession of the Company. Today, the issue faced by the company is privacy. “Google: The Quest to Balance Privacy with Profits” is based on the struggle by Google to maintain a balance between the privacy of its stakeholders and its reputation of providing a wide variety of data.  (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2013)

The Company continually puts in efforts to improve the quality of work for their employees. The working environment is widely known to be comfortable for the employees. There is the provision of various services like daycare, gymnasium, etc., in their headquarters, Googleplex. Similarly, Google endeavoured to make its company culture pleasurable and inventive. Google’s two primary values are “You can be innovative without a suit” and “You don’t need to be from your work area to require an answer,” showing the organization’s uniqueness in having a more informal work environment. (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2013)

Google, as a search engine, is very popular amongst students and researchers. Anybody who is in search of information uses the search engine to answer all kinds of answers. The availability of the service improves the quality of work and saves time for many users.

Google generates much of its revenue from advertising. This feature allows the user to look at and choose from a range of products and services. Moreover, Google has extensive information about the users, which usually goes against the privacy policy. However, this information helps the company to provide the user with the most relevant and customized advertisements, making the user’s choices easier and speedier.

It is no longer acceptable for multinationals to just look after their direct stakeholders like employees and clients. It must be socially responsible and contribute to the economy and environment. For this purpose, Google has put resources into various activities that support economic progression, environmental awareness, and charity. For instance, Google Green is an attempt by Google to adopt greener practices and technology to contribute positively to the environment. (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2013)

The very sole purpose of starting a business or company is profit maximization. Hence, just like any other company, Google operates not just to serve the people but, first and foremost, to generate revenues and massive profits. Google is known for targeting the masses and tapping into niches. Its large volume of information usually impedes the right to privacy. To gather information and provide the best service, it has to collect data from all available sources.

In various instances, Google has been accused of violating the privacy of individuals. This has cost the company multiple legal suits, claims, and dollars.

The view that Google might lose its profitability in the case it respects privacy is not true. In my opinion, Google is likely to continue being profitable even when it respects the privacy of its users.

Privacy is the right of every individual, client or user, and this right has to be valued by every company. In this case, the user is not only ensured the right but it is also practised it’ll make the Company more reliable and reputable.

As per the case study, Google has been spending amounts to remove the accusations and legal requirements of several companies. For example, Google paid $22.5 million to reconcile charges levied by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Moreover, as per the conditions of the audit, if Google is found to be in violation of privacy rights, the FTC could levy penalties of $16,000 for each encroachment per day. (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2013)

If Google ensures a process free of invasion of privacy, it will set it free from lawsuits and, most of all, tangible and intangible costs attached to it. This eventually would make Google even more rewarding and profitable.

Government regulation is intended to correct, amend and improve the policies of companies to prevent the exploitation of resources, users, and all stakeholders. Ever since Google gained popularity and made its contribution to the market, the government has carefully looked at its operations and workings. The sensitive nature of work by Google and the use of enormous amounts of information also involved calls for a lot of attention from government and regulatory bodies.

The effects of government regulation on the Internet would result in the change of policies of Google. For instance, in 2012, Google changed its policy as a consequence of the privacy concerns raised by various stakeholders. (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2013) It is expected that the regulation would keep Google on its toes, primarily because a range of information is involved. Government regulation needs to ensure the privacy of its citizens and key aspects of the nation. In case, any information is leaked, it may lead to disruption within the country and also amongst the relations of countries.  For instance, the ongoing issue of Google in China might result in a glitch in the diplomatic relations between China and the United States. Similarly, according to the United States, the release of some important information by Google in 2011 could have led to war. (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2013)

Thus, government regulation would prevent such outcomes. However, it might cost Google in the sense that it would not be able to put up all kinds and sources of information. Eventually, it would compromise the range of information provided by the search engine.

Having said that, Google, in any case, must adapt to and conform to the regulations introduced by the Government to stay relevant in the market.

References

Ferrell, O., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2013). Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making & Cases (10th ed., pp. 458-474). U.S.A: Cengage Learning.

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