Ethics Paper (Google)

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  • Topic: Google, Privacy, Internet privacy
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  • Published : April 21, 2013
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Individual Paper
Google: The Quest to Balance Privacy with Profits

Amanda Green
MGT 308
Professor Vidal
March 19, 2013

Background
Since its birth over a decade ago, Google has been on the cutting edge of internet technological innovation, and more recently, consumer electronics and productivity tools. Many faithful Google users praise the company for the ease of use of their products, and for the number of free virtual products the company offers (Google.com, Google+, Gmail, Google Docs, Chrome, Youtube etc…). In order for Google to offer a variety of “free” virtual products, they must sell ad space to other companies to be featured within Google products, such as their free search engine Google.com. In 2000, Google introduced a new way to capitalize on its advertising revenues by using a different way of selling ad space, AdWords. With this method of advertising, companies only pay when a user actually clicks on their advertisement. The users’ searches can also be tracked and advertisements related to the search words will be displayed to the user. Methods like this are both profitable for the company and for Google because it allows the ads to better reach the target audience. Although from a corporate point of view this method seems ideal, some users have taken a great concern with how their personal internet patterns are being used to Google’s advantage, thus causing a user privacy conflict. Although some users are comfortable with this method, in the past few years, Google’s privacy policy issue has been placed under an ethical spotlight, and the company continues to face many challenges not only with consumers, but also with government regulations. Great Power; Greater Responsibility?

Being one of the most valuable brands in the world, Google has an inherent responsibility to use their power to improve the lives of their many stake holders. These stake holders include employees, investors, advertisers, and...
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