Google Shifts Focus from Trusted Products to Social Platform as Security Probe Pushes On

Photo credit: Minh Uong

Back in February the Wall Street Journal published an expose on how Google used codes to bypass Safari’s security measures for tracking users’ browser activities.  Since then, Google stopped using the code, denying the allegations.  Republican Representatives Cliff Stearns of Florida and Joe Barton of Texas, and Democrat Edward Markey of Massachusetts urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the incident.

Now, regulators in the U.S. and European Union are investigating Google to which the search giant stated that they will fully cooperate.

“We will of course cooperate with any officials who have questions,” a Google spokeswoman said. “But it’s important to remember that we didn’t anticipate this would happen, and we have been removing these advertising cookies from Safari browsers.”

If Google is found guilty of violating the privacy of Safari users, they can be fined  $16,000 per violation, per day, which could easily leave a dent in Google’s pockets.  But state attorneys general can have the ability to levy fines of up to $5,000 per violation.

Trying Too Hard

Google’s income is mostly from their ad networks, which are all included in the probe for using the code on Safari.  And the launch of their social networking platform last year, Google+, is just making things worse.  In the WSJ report, it was stated that “Google previously acknowledged it began circumventing Safari’s privacy settings last year in order to embed a social-networking feature—what it calls a “+1” button—in some ads.”

And Google’s aggression in utilizing Google+ in every way possible was reason enough for Google executive James Whittaker to leave the company.

‘The Google I was passionate about was a technology company.” Whittaker stated.  “The Google I left was an advertising company.”

Whittaker shared that CEO Larry Page, was focused on focused on ‘beating’ Facebook in advertising which shifted the compay’s focus from established products such as Google Mail onto its controversial social network Google+ and other ‘social’ products built for advertising.