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					Criticism of Google
Criticism of Google includes possible misuse and manipulation of search results, its use of
others' intellectual property, concerns that its compilation of data may violate people's privacy,
censorship of search results and content, and the energy consumption of its servers as well as
concerns over traditional business issues such as antitrust, monopoly, and restraint of trade.

Google Inc. is an American multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud
computing, and advertising technologies. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based
services and products,[1] and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords
program.[2][3] Google's stated mission is "to organize the world's information and make it
universally accessible and useful";[4] this mission, and the means used to accomplish it, have
raised concerns among the company's critics. Much of the criticism pertains to issues that have
not yet been addressed by cyber law.

                 Possible misuse of search results

In 2007, a group of Austrian researchers observed a tendency to misuse the Google engine as a
"reality interface". Ordinary users as well as journalists tend to rely on the first pages of Google
search, assuming that everything not listed there is either not important or merely does not exist.
The researchers say that "Google has become the main interface for our whole reality. To be
precise: With the Google interface the user gets the impression that the search results imply a
kind of totality. In fact, one only sees a small part of what one could see if one also integrates
other research tools".[5]

                 [edit] Danger of page rank manipulation
                 See also: Google bombing and Search neutrality

The page ranking algorithm of Google can and has been manipulated for political and humorous
reasons. To illustrate the view that Google's search engine could be subjected to manipulation,
Google Watch implemented a Google bomb by linking the phrase "out-of-touch executives" to
Google's own page on its corporate management. The attempt was mistakenly attributed to
disgruntled Google employees by The New York Times, which later printed a correction.[6][7]

A group of Austrian researchers said in 2007 that page rank can be influenced by individual
views of the Google staff: "it became clear that not only mathematical algorithms and software,
but also human brains in the Google headquarters will edit information processed by Google and
decide what will go online and in which form."[5]

Daniel Brandt started the Google Watch website and has criticized Google's PageRank
algorithms, saying that they discriminate against new websites and favor established sites.[8]
Chris Beasley started Google Watch Watch and disagrees, saying that Mr. Brandt overstates the
amount of discrimination that new websites face and that new websites will naturally rank lower
when the ranking is based on a site's "reputation". In Google's world a site's reputation is in part
determined by how many and which other sites link to it (links from sites with a "better"
reputation of their own carry more weight). Since new sites will seldom be as heavily linked as
older more established sites, they aren't as well known, won't have as much of a reputation, and
will receive a lower page ranking.[9]

In testimony before a U.S. Senate antitrust panel in September 2011, Jeffrey Katz, the chief
executive of NexTag, said that Google’s business interests conflict with its engineering
commitment to an open-for-all Internet and that: "Google doesn’t play fair. Google rigs its
results, biasing in favor of Google Shopping and against competitors like us." Jeremy
Stoppelman, the chief of Yelp, said sites like his have to cooperate with Google because it is the
gateway to so many users and "Google then gives its own product preferential treatment." In
earlier testimony at the same hearing Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman, said that Google does not
"cook the books" to favor its own products and services.[10]

                 [edit] Page ranking related lawsuits

In 2006, the parental advice Internet site Kinderstart.com sued Google for setting its Page rank to
zero, claiming that the reset caused the site to lose 70 percent of its audience. In this lawsuit, it
was stated, that "Google does not generally inform Web sites that they have been penalized nor
does it explain in detail why the Web site was penalized".[11] Kinderstart claimed that they were
penalized for being a Google competitor (setting up the search engine). Kinderstart has formally
lost the process (while their rank seems no longer zero). Google Incorporated claims that
allowing one to win such process would set a dangerous precedent, encouraging other penalized
sites to protest as well.

Numerous companies and individuals, for example, MyTriggers.com[12] and transport tycoon Sir
Brian Souter[13] have voiced concerns regarding the fairness of Google's PageRank and search
results after their web sites disappeared from Google's first-page results. In the case of
MyTriggers.com, the Ohio-based shopping comparison search site accused Google of favoring
its own services in search results (although the judge eventually ruled that the site failed to show
harm to other similar businesses).

                 [edit] Copyright issues
                 [edit] Google Print, Books, and Library
                 Main articles: Google Books , Google Books Library Project , and Google Book Search
                 Settlement Agreement

Google's ambitious plans to scan millions of books and make them readable through its search
engine have been criticized for copyright violations.[14] The Association for Learned and
Professional Society Publishers and the Association of American University Presses have both
issued statements strongly opposing Google Print, stating that "Google, an enormously
successful company, claims a sweeping right to appropriate the property of others for its own
commercial use unless it is told, case by case and instance by instance, not to."[15]

On September 20, 2005, the Authors Guild, a group that represents 8,000 U.S. authors, filed a
class action suit in federal court in Manhattan against Google over its unauthorized scanning and
copying of books through its Google Library program. Google responded that its use was a fair
use because they were only showing "snippets" for books where they did not have permission
from a rightsholder[16] and was in compliance with all existing and historical applications of
copyright laws regarding books.[17][18] Google temporarily suspended scanning copyrighted
works to allow for changes to its program and allow copyright owners to submit lists of books
they wished to be excluded.[19] In the Spring of 2006 the parties began negotiations in hopes of
settling the lawsuit.

On October 28, 2008, Google announced a proposed agreement with the Authors Guild and the
Association of American Publishers in which Google would pay $125 million to settle the
lawsuit.[20] The agreement also included licensing provisions, allowing Google to sell personal
and institutional subscriptions to its database of books. On November 9, 2009, the parties filed an
amended settlement agreement after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief suggesting that
the initial agreement may violate US anti-trust laws.[21]

Following a Fairness Hearing in February, on March 22, 2011 supervising judge Denny Chin
issued a ruling rejecting the settlement.[22][23][24] Chin urged that the settlement be revised from
"opt-out" to "opt-in" and set a date for a "status conference" at which to discuss next steps.[25][26]
As of mid-September 2011 settlement discussions were continuing, but a discovery and briefing
schedule was also established that would bring the case to a hearing sometime in the second half
of 2012, if a settlement is not reached before then.[27]

                 [edit] Cached data

Kazaa and the Church of Scientology have used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to
demand that Google remove references to allegedly copyrighted material on their sites.[28][29]
While Google potentially faces lawsuits when not removing such links,[30] critics[who?] argue that
Google has an obligation to direct users to intended content and not censor results based on
copyright.[citation needed]

The New York Times has complained that the caching of their content during a web crawl, a
feature utilized by search engines including Google Web Search, violates copyright.[31] Google
observes Internet standard mechanisms for requesting that caching be disabled via the robots.txt
file, which is another mechanism that allows operators of a website to request that part or all of
their site not be included in search engine results, or via META tags, which allow a content
editor to specify whether a document can be crawled or archived, or whether the links on the
document can be followed. The U.S. District Court of Nevada ruled that Google's caches do not
constitute copyright infringement under American law in Field v. Google and Parker v.
Google.[32][33]

                 [edit] Privacy

After privacy concerns were raised, Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, declared in December 2009:
"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in
the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines—
including Google—do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that
we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information
could be made available to the authorities."[34]

Privacy International has raised concerns regarding the dangers and privacy implications of
having a centrally-located, widely popular data warehouse of millions of Internet users' searches,
and how under controversial existing U.S. law, Google can be forced to hand over all such
information to the U.S. government.[35] In its 2007 Consultation Report, Privacy International
ranked Google as "Hostile to Privacy", its lowest rating on their report, making Google the only
company in the list to receive that ranking.[35][36]

                 [edit] Potential for data disclosure

                 [edit] Cookies

Google, like most search engines, places a cookie, which can be used to track a person's search
history, on each registered user's computer. Google uses the cookies to maintain user preferences
between sessions and offer other search features. Originally the cookie did not expire until 2038,
although it could be manually deleted by the user or refused by setting a browser preference.[37]
As of 2007, Google's cookie expired in two years, but renewed itself whenever a Google service
is used.[37] And more recently Google anonymizes its IP data after 9 months and its cookies after
18 months.[38]

Microsoft's Bing uses cookies which expire after 18 months.[39] Yahoo! Search had been holding
most data for 90 days, but changed to an 18 month retention period in mid-2011 mainly because
it was going to become powered by Bing.[40] An alternative, Scroogle Scraper, uses Google
search, but does not store cookies on users' computers.[41]

There is no evidence that Google shares this information with law enforcement or other
government agencies, though some users remain anxious about the possibility.[37]

                [edit] Gmail
       Main articles: Gmail and Criticism of Gmail

Steve Ballmer,[42] Liz Figueroa,[43] Mark Rasch,[44] and the editors of Google Watch[45] believe
the processing of email message content by Google's Gmail service goes beyond proper use.
Google Inc. claims that mail sent to or from Gmail is never read by a human being other than the
account holder, and content that is read by computers is only used to improve the relevance of
advertisements.[46]

The privacy policies of other popular email services, like Hotmail and Yahoo, allow users'
personal information to be collected and utilized for advertising purposes.[47][48]

                 [edit] Possible ties to the CIA and NSA

There have been allegations about connections between Google and the U.S. National Security
Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),[49] going as far as saying that
Facebook and Google are CIA fronts.[50] U.S. intelligence agencies are reported to use Google
software to support their work.[51]

In February 2010 Google was reported to be working on an agreement with the NSA to
investigate recent attacks against its network. And, while the deal did not give NSA access to
Google's data on users’ searches or e-mail communications and accounts and Google was not
sharing proprietary data with the agency, privacy and civil rights advocates were
concerned.[52][53]

In October 2004 Google acquired Keyhole, a 3D mapping company. In February 2004, before its
acquisition by Google, Keyhole received an investment from In-Q-Tel, the CIA's investment
arm.[54] And in July 2010 it was reported that the investment arms of both the CIA (In-Q-Tel)
and Google (Google Ventures) were investing in Recorded Future, a company specializing in
predictive analytics—monitoring the web in real time and using that information to predict the
future. And, while private corporations have been using similar systems since the 1990s, the
involvement of Google and the CIA with their large data stores raises privacy concerns.[55][56]

                [edit] Government requests

Google has been criticized for both disclosing too much information to governments too quickly
and for not disclosing information that governments need to enforce their laws. In April 2010,
Google, for the first time, released details about how often countries around the world ask it to
hand over user data or to censor information.[57] Online tools make the updated data available to
everyone.[58]

For the period between July and December 2009 Brazil topped the list for user data requests with
3,663, while the US made 3,580, the UK 1,166, and India 1,061. Brazil also made the largest
number of requests to remove content with 291, followed by Germany with 188, India with 142,
and the US with 123. Google, who stopped offering search services in China a month before the
data was released, said it could not release information on requests from the Chinese government
because such information is regarded as a state secret.[57]

Google's chief legal officer said, "The vast majority of these requests are valid and the
information needed is for legitimate criminal investigations or for the removal of child
pornography".[57]

                [edit] Street View
                Main articles: Google Street View and Google Street View privacy concerns

Google's online map service, "Street View" has been accused of taking pictures and viewing too
far into people's private homes and/or too close to people on the street when they do not know
they are being photographed.[59][60]
                 [edit] Surveillance of WiFi networks

As it set out to photograph neighborhoods around the world as part of its Street View program,
Google equipped its vehicles with antenna as well as cameras so it could create a database with
the names of Wi-Fi networks and the coding of Wi-Fi routers. Google collected about 600
gigabytes of data from users of public WiFi stations (which are not owned by Google) during
2006–2010, including snippets of private data such as e-mail. No disclosures or privacy policy
was given to those affected or to the owners of the WiFi stations, in more than 30 countries.[61]

Google apologized, said they were "acutely aware that we failed badly here" in terms of privacy
protection, that they were not aware of the problem until an inquiry from German regulators was
received, that the private data was collected inadvertently, and that none of the private data was
used in Google's search engine or other services. A representative of Consumer Watchdog
replied, "Once again, Google has demonstrated a lack of concern for privacy. Its computer
engineers run amok, push the envelope and gather whatever data they can until their fingers are
caught in the cookie jar." In a sign that legal penalties may result, Google said it will not destroy
the data until permitted by regulators.[62][63]

                 [edit] Google Buzz
                 Main article: Google Buzz

On February 9, 2010 Google launched Google Buzz, Google's microblogging service. Anyone
with a Gmail account is automatically added as a contact to pre-existing Gmail contacts, and
must opt-out if they do not wish to participate.[64]

The launch of Google Buzz as an "opt-out" social network immediately drew criticism for
violating user privacy because it automatically allowed Gmail users' contacts to view their other
contacts.[65]

                 [edit] Google+ and Nymwars
                 Main articles: Google+ and Nymwars

Google+ requires users to identify themselves using their real names and accounts may be
suspended when this requirement is not met.[66][67][68] Critics point out that pseudonymous speech
has played a critical role throughout history and feel that the Google+ policy deprives some
people of an important privacy protection tool.[69]

On October 19, 2011, at the Web 2.0 Summit, Google executive Vic Gundotra revealed that
Google+ will begin supporting pseudonyms and other types of identity within a few months.[70]

                 [edit] YouTube and Viacom
                 Main articles: YouTube and Criticism of YouTube

On July 14, 2008, Viacom compromised to protect YouTube users' personal data in their
$1 billion copyright lawsuit. Google agreed it will anonymize user information and internet
protocol addresses from its YouTube subsidiary before handing the data over to Viacom. The
privacy deal also applied to other litigants including the FA Premier League, the Rodgers &
Hammerstein organization and the Scottish Premier League.[71][72] The deal however did not
extend the anonymity to employees, because Viacom wishes to prove that Google staff are aware
of the uploading of illegal material to the site. The parties therefore will further meet on the
matter lest the data be made available to the court.[73]

                [edit] Privacy and data protection cases and issues by state

                [edit] European Union

European Union (EU) data protection officials (the Article 29 working party who advise the EU
on privacy policy) have written to Google asking the company to justify its policy of keeping
information on individuals' internet searches for up to two years. The letter questioned whether
Google has "fulfilled all the necessary requirements" on the EU laws concerning data
protection.[74] The probe by the EU into the data protection issue, As of 24 May 2007 is
continuing. On June 1 Google agreed that its privacy policy is vague, and that they are constantly
working at making it clearer to users.[75] The resulting modifications to its privacy policies have
been met with praise.[76]

                [edit] Czech Republic

Starting in 2010, after more than 5 months of unsuccessful negotiations with Google the Czech
Office for Personal Data Protection has prevented Street View from taking pictures of new
locations. The Office described Google’s program as taking pictures “beyond the extent of the
ordinary sight from a street”, and claimed that it “disproportionately invaded citizens’
privacy.”[77][78]

                [edit] Germany

In May 2010 Google was unable to meet a deadline set by Hamburg's data protection supervisor
to hand over data illegally collected from unsecured home wireless networks. Google added,
“We hope, given more time, to be able to resolve this difficult issue."[79] The data was turned
over to German, French, and Spanish authorities in early June 2010.[80]

In November 2010, vandals in Germany targeted houses that had opted out of Google's Street
View.[81]

In April 2011 Google announced that it will not expand its Street View program in Germany, but
what has already been shot–around 20 cities' worth of pictures–will remain available. This
decision came in spite of an earlier Berlin State Supreme Court ruling that Google's Street View
program was legal.[82]

                [edit] Guernsey

In September 2010 Google’s Street View cars on Guernsey in the English Channel were
vandalized.[83]
                [edit] Italy

Google-Vividown: in February 2010, three Google executives were handed six-month suspended
sentences for breach of the Italian Personal Data Protection Code.[84][85][86]

                [edit] Norway

The Data Inspectorate of Norway (Norway is not a member of the EU) has investigated Google
(and others) and has stated that the 18- to 24-month period for retaining data proposed by Google
was too long.[87]

                [edit] United States

In early 2005, the United States Department of Justice filed a motion in federal court to force
Google to comply with a subpoena for, "the text of each search string entered onto Google's
search engine over a two-month period (absent any information identifying the person who
entered such query)."[88] Google fought the subpoena, due to concerns about users' privacy.[89] In
March 2006, the court ruled partially in Google's favor, recognizing the privacy implications of
turning over search terms and refusing to grant access.[90]

In April 2008 a Pittsburgh couple, Aaron and Christine Boring, sued Google for "invasion of
privacy". They claimed that Street View made a photo of their home available online, and it
diminished the value of their house, which was purchased for its privacy.[91] They lost their case
in a Pennsylvania court. "While it is easy to imagine that many whose property appears on
Google's virtual maps resent the privacy implications, it is hard to believe that any – other than
the most exquisitely sensitive – would suffer shame or humiliation," Judge Hay ruled; the Boring
family was paid one dollar by Google for the incident.[92]

In May 2010 a U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon ordered Google to hand over two copies
of wireless data that the company's Street View program collected as it photographed
neighborhoods.[93]

                [edit] Censorship

Google has been criticized for various instances of censoring its search results, many times in
compliance with the laws of various countries, most notably in China.

                [edit] Web search

In the United States, Google commonly censors search results to comply with Digital
Millennium Copyright Act-related legal complaints,[94] such as in 2002 when Google censored
websites that provided information critical of Scientology.[95][96] Furthermore, in February 2003,
Google stopped showing the advertisements of Oceana, a non-profit organization protesting a
major cruise ship operation's sewage treatment practices. Google cited its editorial policy at the
time, stating "Google does not accept advertising if the ad or site advocates against other
individuals, groups, or organizations."[97] The policy was later changed.[98]
In the United Kingdom, it was reported that Google had 'delisted' Inquisition 21st Century, a
website which claims to challenge moral authoritarian and sexually absolutist ideas in the United
Kingdom. Google later released a press statement suggesting Inquisition 21 had attempted to
manipulate search results.[99] In addition, in April 2008, Google refused to run ads for a UK
Christian group opposed to abortion, explaining that "At this time, Google policy does not permit
the advertisement of websites that contain 'abortion and religion-related content.'"[100] The UK
Christian group sued Google for discrimination and as a result in September 2008 Google was
forced to change its policy and anti-abortion ads came alive.[101] In Germany and France, a study
reported that approximately 113 White Nationalist, Nazi, anti-semitic, radical Islamic and other
websites had been removed from the German and French versions of Google.[102] Google has
complied with these laws by not including sites containing such material in its search results.
However, Google does list the number of excluded results at the bottom of the search result page
and links to Chilling Effects for explanation.[103]

As of January 26, 2011, Google's Auto Complete feature will not complete certain words such as
"bittorrent", "torrent", "utorrent", "megaupload" and "rapidshare"[104] In addition, swears and
pornographic words are not completed. However, they are not censored from actual search
results.

                [edit] China
                See also: Google China

Until March 2010, Google adhered to the Internet censorship policies of China,[105] enforced by
filters colloquially known as "The Great Firewall of China". Google.cn search results were
filtered to remove some results concerning the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, sites
supporting the independence movements of Tibet and Taiwan, the Falun Gong movement, and
other information perceived to be harmful to the People's Republic of China (PRC). Google
claimed that some censorship is necessary in order to keep the Chinese government from
blocking Google entirely, as occurred in 2002.[106] The company claims it did not plan to give the
government information about users who search for blocked content, and will inform users that
content has been restricted if they attempt to search for it.[107] As of 2009, Google was the only
major China-based search engine to explicitly inform the user when search results are blocked or
hidden.

Some Chinese Internet users were critical of Google for assisting the Chinese government in
repressing its own citizens, particularly those dissenting against the government and advocating
for human rights.[108] Furthermore, Google had been denounced and called hypocritical by Free
Media Movement for agreeing to China's demands while simultaneously fighting the United
States government's requests for similar information.[109] Google China had also been
condemned by Reporters Without Borders,[109] Human Rights Watch[110] and Amnesty
International.[111]

In 2009, China Central Television, Xinhua News Agency, People's Daily reported Google's
"dissemination of obscene information", People's Daily claimed that "Google's 'don't be evil'
motto becomes a fig leaf".[112][113] Chinese government imposed administrative penalties to
Google China, and demanded for a reinforcement of the censorship.[114]
However, on January 12, 2010, in response to an apparent hacking of Google's servers in an
attempt to access information about Chinese dissidents, Google announced that “we are no
longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks
we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an
unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all.”[115] On March 22, 2010, after talks with
Chinese authorities failed to reach an agreement, the company redirected its censor-complying
Google China service to its Google Hong Kong service, which is outside the jurisdiction of
Chinese censorship laws. However, at least as of March 23, 2010, "The Great Firewall"
continues to censor search results from the Hong Kong portal, www.google.com.hk (as it does
with the US portal, www.google.com) for controversial terms such as "Falun gong" and "the
June 4 incident" (Tiananmen Square incident).[116][117][118]

                 [edit] AdSense/AdWords
                 Main articles: Google AdSense and Google AdWords

In August 2008, Google closed the AdSense account of a site that carried a negative view of
Scientology, the second closing of such a site within 3 months.[119] It is not certain if the account
revocations actually were on the grounds of anti-religious content, however the cases have raised
questions about Google's terms in regards to AdSense/AdWords. The Adsense policy defines
that "Sites displaying Google ads may not include [...] advocacy against any individual, group, or
organization",[120] which allows Google to revoke the above mentioned AdSense accounts.

In May 2011, Google cancelled the AdWord advertisement purchased by a Dublin sex worker
rights group named "Turn Off the Blue Light" (TOBL),[121] claiming that it represented an
"egregious violation" of company ad policy by "selling adult sexual services". However, TOBL
is a nonprofit campaign for sex worker rights and is not advertising or selling adult sexual
services.[122] In July, after TOBL members held a protest outside Google's European
headquarters in Dublin and wrote to complain, Google relented, reviewed the group's website,
found its content to be advocating a political position, and restored the AdWord
advertisement.[123]

                 [edit] YouTube
                 Main articles: YouTube and Criticism of YouTube

YouTube is a video sharing website acquired by Google Inc in 2006. YouTube's Terms of
Service prohibits the posting of videos which violate copyrights or depict pornography, illegal
acts, gratuitous violence, or hate speech .[124] User-posted videos that violate such terms may be
removed and replaced with a message stating: "This video has been removed due to terms of use
violation".

YouTube has been criticized by national governments for failing to police content. In 2006,
Thailand blocked access to YouTube for users with Thai IP addresses. Thai authorities identified
20 offensive videos and demanded that YouTube remove them before it would unblock any
YouTube content.[103] In 2007 a Turkish judge ordered access to YouTube blocked because of
content that insulted Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a crime under Turkish law.[103] On February 22,
2008, Pakistan Telecommunications attempted to block regional access to YouTube following a
government order. The attempt subsequently caused a worldwide YouTube blackout that took 2
hours to correct.[125] Four days later, Pakistan Telecom lifted the ban after YouTube removed
controversial religious comments made by a Dutch government official[126] concerning Islam.[127]

YouTube has also been criticized by its users for attempting to censor content. In November
2007, the account of Wael Abbas, a well known Egyptian activist who posted videos of police
brutality, voting irregularities and anti-government demonstrations, was blocked for three
days.[128][129][130]

In February 2008, a video produced by the American Life League that accused a Planned
Parenthood television commercial of promoting recreational sex was removed, then reinstated
two days later.[131][132] In October, a video by stand-up comic Pat Condell criticizing the British
government for officially sanctioning sharia law courts in Britain was removed, then reinstated
two days later.[133][134] In response, his fans uploaded copies of the video themselves, and the
National Secular Society wrote to YouTube in protest.

YouTube also pulled a video of columnist Michelle Malkin showing violence by Muslim
extremists.[135] Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia,
commented that while, in his opinion, Michelle Malkin disseminates bigotry in her blog, "that
does not mean that this particular video is bigoted; it's not. But because it's by Malkin, it's a
target." [136]

                 [edit] Monopoly, restraint of trade, and antitrust

According to Joe Wilcox of Microsoft-Watch Google has increased its dominance of search,
becoming an information gatekeeper despite the conflict of interest between information
gathering and the advertising surrounding that information. His colleagues do not share the same
view.[137]

In the case of the now-defunct Google-Yahoo! deal of 2008 — a pact for Google to sell
advertising on Yahoo! search pages — the U.S. Department of Justice found that the deal would
be "materially reducing important competitive rivalry between the two companies" and would
violate the Sherman Antitrust Act.[138]

                 [edit] Alternatives to Google and monopoly power

In testimony before a U.S. Senate antitrust panel in September 2011, Eric Schmidt, Google's
chairman, said that “the Internet is the ultimate level playing field" where users were "one click
away" from competitors.[10] Beyond the existence of alternatives, Google's large market share
was another aspect of the debate, as this exchange between Senator Herb Kohl and Mr. Schmidt
at the September Senate hearing illustrates:[139]

       Senator Kohl asked: "But you do recognize that in the words that are used and antitrust kind of
       oversight, your market share constitutes monopoly, dominant -- special power dominant for a
       monopoly firm. You recognize you're in that area?"
       Mr. Schmidt replied: "I would agree, sir, that we’re in that area.... I'm not a lawyer, but my
       understanding of monopoly findings is this is a judicial process."

Being a monopoly or having monopoly power isn't illegal in the United States. It depends on
whether that power is used in ways that violate the special rules that apply to monopolies.[139][140]

                 [edit] Other
                 [edit] Energy consumption
                 See also: Google Energy

Google has been criticized for the high amount of energy used to maintain its servers.[141] Google
has pledged to spend millions of dollars to investigate cheap, clean, renewable energy, and has
installed solar panels on the roofs at its Mountain View facilities.[142][143] In 2010, Google also
invested $39 million in wind power.[144]

                 [edit] Doodles
                 Main articles: Google doodle and List of Google Doodles

Google was criticized by U.S conservatives in 2007 for not featuring versions of the Google logo
(known as "Doodles") for American patriotic holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans
Day.[145] That year, Google featured a logo commemorating Veterans Day.[146]

                 [edit] Google Video
                 Main article: Google video

On August 15, 2007 Google discontinued its Download-to-own/Download-to-rent (DTO/DTR)
program.[147] Some videos previously purchased for ownership under that program were no
longer viewable when the embedded Digital Rights Management (DRM) licenses were revoked.
Google gave refunds for the full amount spent on videos using "gift certificates" (or "bonuses")
to their customers' "Google Checkout Account".[148][149] After a public uproar, Google issued full
refunds to the credit cards of the Google Video users without revoking the gift certificates.

                 [edit] Search within search
                 Main article: Google search

For some search results, Google provides a secondary search box that can be used to search
within a website identified from the first search. Although this is an innovative search tool for
users, it sparked controversy among some online publishers and retailers. When performing a
second search within a specific website, advertisements from competing and rival companies
often showed up together with the results from the website being searched. This has the potential
to draw users away from the website they were originally searching.[150] "While the service could
help increase traffic, some users could be siphoned away as Google uses the prominence of the
brands to sell ads, typically to competing companies."[151] In order to combat this controversy,
Google has offered to turn off this feature for companies who request to have it removed.[151]
According to software engineer Ben Lee and Product Manager Jack Menzel, the idea for search
within search originated from the way users were searching. It appeared that users were often not
finding exactly what they needed while trying to explore within a company site. "Teleporting" on
the web, where users need only type part of the name of a website into Google (no need to
remember the entire URL) in order to find the correct site, is what helps Google users complete
their search. Google took this concept a step further and instead of just "teleporting", users could
type in keywords to search within the website of their choice.[152]

                 [edit] Naming of Go programming language
                 Main articles: Go (programming language) and Go! (programming language)

Google is criticized for naming their programming language "Go" while there is already an
existing programming language called "Go!".[153][154][155]

                 [edit] Potential security threats

Google has been criticised for providing information that could potentially be useful to terrorists.
In the UK during March 2010, Liberal Democrats MP Paul Keetch and unnamed military
officers criticised Google for including pictures of the outside of the headquarters of the SAS at
RAF Base Hereford, stating that terrorists might use this information to plan attacks, rather than
having to drive past it themselves. Google responded that there was no appreciable security risk
and that it had no intention of removing the pictures.[156]

On Google Maps, street view and 360 degree images of military bases were removed at the
Pentagon's request.[157]

                 [edit] Tax avoidance

Google has been criticized by journalists and others for using legal, but aggressive tax avoidance
strategies to minimize its corporate tax bill.[158][159] Google cut its taxes by $3.1 billion in the
period of 2007 to 2009 using a technique that moves most of its foreign profits through Ireland
and The Netherlands to Bermuda. Google’s income shifting — involving strategies known to
lawyers as the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich” – helped reduce its overseas tax rate to
2.4 percent, the lowest of the top five U.S. technology companies by market capitalization,
according to regulatory filings in six countries.[159][160]

                 [edit] Privacy and civil liberties organizations urge Google to suspend Gmail

Thirty one privacy and civil liberties organizations wrote a letter [161] calling upon Google to
suspend its Gmail service until the privacy issues are adequately addressed. The letter also calls
upon Google to clarify its written information policies regarding data retention and data sharing
among its business units.

The organizations are voicing their concerns about Google’s plan to scan the text of all incoming
messages for the purposes of ad placement, noting that the scanning of confidential email for
inserting third party ad content violates the implicit trust of an email service provider. The
scanning creates lower expectations of privacy in the email medium and may establish dangerous
precedents.

Other concerns include the unlimited period for data retention that Google’s current policies
allow, and the potential for unintended secondary uses of the information Gmail will collect and
store.

				
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Description: Criticism of Google