The Dark Side of Success: Google in the Courtroom

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The Dark Side of Success: Google in the Courtroom

The more successful you become, the bigger your legal team needs to be. Or so it seems. Competitors, ex-employees and nut jobs all want a piece of the action. And if it’s not them, it’s the government trying to to curb your reach.

Then again, with a battalion of top-tier lawyers at your disposal ready to bury plaintiffs in paperwork and motions, who would dare to take you on? Let’s have a look. (click to enlarge)

This is part of a special infographic series by Search Engine Journal. To see the rest go here.

Jenise Uehara Henrikson
Jenise is the CEO of Alpha Brand Media, home of Search Engine Journal and LinkPatrol, a WordPress plugin that enables users to find and fix... Read Full Bio
Jenise Uehara Henrikson
Jenise Uehara Henrikson
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  • Interesting … I learned a lot about Google and the patent war on NPR recently, and I have to say, I wish I could quit Google on principle … but their products are so damn handy.

    • Jim Nash

      Just another giant with feet of clay.

    • I have heard that comment a few times now re: wishing to go Google-free, but their reach and offerings are too compelling/encompassing. That’s a nice place to be (for them)!

    • Tom

      If you had principles, you could easily quit Google. That you’re driven more by convenience says your principles are lacking.

      • BJ

        LOL @ Tom. Your like the one penguin in that picture of the hundreds of penguins who stands up and says, “I just gotta be me.” We laughed at that too. All the players suing and being sued see the whole racket as business. One might argue that since 100s of millions of people are more like Lizzie then the one penguin with a complex… those principles might be the right ones. Just saying.

  • Aaron

    I’d like to point out almost all the companies mentioned have also have had class action lawsuits against them. On another note I trust google more than my government.

    • That is true re: class actions. And right now I’m not sure who knows more about me: google or the government, which is a scary thought. Imagine if they joined teams… which according to some privacy advocates, is not an impossibility (either through cooperation or compelling force)

      • Thank you Jenise! This infograph is so clear and entertainingly informative. It is a huge debate though, whether or not Google can single-handedly be blamed for a huge drop in global personal privacy. I think if it wasn’t Google, it would have been Microsoft, or even Apple. The point is we are in the Information Age, and with a free flow of information comes advantages as well as compromises. I do not think it is impossible though to benefit from the flow without taking measures to secure one’s individual privacy.

        It’s about being responsible, staying informed, and knowing your ‘opponent.’ If you play by their rules, Google does offer ‘blind spots’ where you can easily hide from the public eye… How long will that spot be blind is another question though.

  • Very interesting, I have such mixed opinions about Google as a company, yet I use so many of their awesome services. Well done on the infographic

  • I still love Google – the services they offer are excellent. As for the lawsuits, I wouldn’t be concerned about patent lawsuits considering how those go back and forth.

    The street view law suits annoy me, not because of what Google has done, but because of how the countries and individuals have responded. If your in public and you have a picture taken – guess what – you have your picture on the internet and it’s your own fault. Behave (at least in public).

    As for the countries that ask for information to be redacted or handed over to the government – well – again that is an issue with the government, not Google.

    I spent time in the U.S. Military. The U.S. Government knows a lot about me. Google knows more. I’m ok with that.

  • Brad

    Not sure how lawsuits = ‘dark side’. I would like to point out the google book scanning lawsuit is still in relatively early stages of litigation. Particularly it deals with how and who google should pay for orphaned books (i.e. books whose author is unknown who may or may not still have a copyright claim on it). Though, it also deals with who and how google should pay for other books it wants to scan. In either case it’s far from clearly ‘dark’ or ‘evil’ and is more of a negotiating process between Google and some publishing organizations.

    As for the ‘copyrighted images’ scanned I have to assume it’s discussing the numerous lawsuits over google images results. Almost all (I could be wrong, they could have won all of them) have been won by Google because the images came from freely available areas of sites and is no real market for thumbnails and thus it falls within fair use. I think there was one where a porn website argued it wanted to sell thumbnails of models from their site on the mobile market as cell phone backgrounds…but I don’t think they won that.

    As for them being blocked I feel like that really shows governments being unwilling to allow free access to information, not because google is somehow evil. I mean the states that outright block them are a who’s who of dystopian governments haha. The ones that ‘restrict’ it like the US is generally state security related things. For instance the google streetmap car passes a government installation and the government asks them to fuzz up or take down the image. These sorts of things happen with an information aggregation machine like google and they generally take this stuff down voluntarily. Probably also computed into this stuff is individuals requesting information to be taken down, which is also generally done voluntarily as long as they prove it is their personal info.

    Haha sorry about that, I didn’t mean to write so much. I just feel like listing lawsuits with almost no relevant information on them makes for a valid argument (especially when they miss the point and scope of the lawsuits). And as for government restrictions I think that just shows that the fact that google has created the largest and fastest flow of information ever known to man worries some people up top. Whether that’s a knock on google and/or the governments…guess that’s your call. That being said I can’t say I’ve noticed google being actively evil (well except maybe adsense haha).

  • Interesting that when Google was small it didn’t want to be evil. Now it has grown up to be one of the big kids in the playground people’s perception of it has changed. Sure Google has grown and with that comes pain, compliance and government pressure. I don’t think Google has “become evil” it has just become big and that means lots of fingers and lots of pies (it ain’t just a search engine trying to produce the best search results like it was in 2000)

    Share-holders, now they do the damage! In sharpening the profitability of the company they do run the risk of becoming short-termist looking for a quick buck.

  • Google has its tap root firmly to the ground that in some countries it is like the air they breath for me personally i can’t do without google in the first place am ranking no 1 in the first page of my niche which has allowed me to do business with every part of the world as most of my customers tell me they found me in google. there are lot of other benefits i get that are too numerous to mention. But all in all google has come to stay i say Hurray to GOOGLE

  • iluxy

    please excuse me for my honesty, but i think that posts like this make a big fight over nothing. i thought that swot is a well thought analysis, this just brings bad stuff out and make ppl argue over who thinks what’s more important. i thank SEJ for a great deal of my life experience, but content like this is just to get natural links rise like flies and for me it;s not the way..

    think about this, today you are showing this infographic to some people who have a direct connection with this matters. tommorow another person will search for “Google lawsuits” and find this content for a negative experience with the brand. negative edification brings harm to brand experience on the long run.

    it’s my point of view about the topic. your infographic is beautifull though. congrats!

  • Nice illustrations. It is interesting to see how culture and politics affect a free service such as search. Even with Google Earth… it is a matter of security and how the availability of information is being used. If you are successful, there will always be a bulls eye on your behind.

  • I love Google and I think that without the big G, we would all be screwed.

  • Karim Javed

    Google Vs SEO’s & SMO’s The Real War Begins here. We SEO’s are biggest enemies of Google 😛

  • There are some companies that lawyers do not want to sue. This is because they will hire teams of lawyers to fight you at every little turn. Think such big money that only a large plaintiff can come up with will keep the small ones out.

    I would never file suit against theses guys even if it were clear cut. These kind of companies fight cases for decades. A small law firm doesn’t have the pockets for this.

  • The street view law suits annoy me, not because of what Google has done, but because of how the countries and individuals have responded. If your in public and you have a picture taken – guess what – you have your picture on the internet and it’s your own fault. Behave (at least in public).