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14 "Is Google Evil?" Tipping Points Since 2001

Earlier I wrote how Google seems to have had a bad week, with some recent negative publicity making it seem like the tipping point of Google becoming the big bad company they don’t want to be happening — at least perhaps in the eyes of many opinion makers on the web. Clearly I wasn’t alone thinking this. But then again, I can’t help but note that I’ve seen people question whether Google has lost popular goodwill so many times over the years. I thought it would be useful to actually list a number of these "tipping points" that Google’s nonetheless survived.

February 2001: Deja Tipping Point

Google’s first serious crisis, in my view, was when it had to alter the Deja newsgroup service temporarily. Acquired in February 2001, later that month functionality was greatly reduced. My article from the time covers the "revolt" and upset that Google faced during this time. Until then, Google pretty much had been viewed as a sweetheart company that could do no wrong. Despite the outcry, Google continued upward. And the service did get much better, as promised.

April 2002: Scientology Tipping Point

After Google overstepped and pulled too many pages from an anti-Scientology web site, an outcry that kicked up concerns about censorship. Pages were restored, and Google also instituted a policy of publicly listing Digital Millennium Copyright Act requests its received. My article from the time has more.

August 2002: Google Watch Born Milestone

Not really a tipping point, but a milestone worth noting. Google gained its first serious anti-Google web site, Daniel Brandt’s Google Watch. This happened during the midst of a number of other issues making people wonder if Google was getting too big and powerful. From the opening of my Google: Can The Marcia Brady Of Search Stay Sweet? article at the time, covering these developments: