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Business Ethics Case Studies - Google Inc.

Essay by   •  October 19, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,765 Words (8 Pages)  •  2,123 Views

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Introduction

As the rapid growth of the internet, it is deemed to be the most potential market in the world. Google stands on the greatest valuable goldmine. Just like other companies, they also faced some barriers during their mining process, by using a relativist ethical approach, minimizing the conflict occurs between different parties. We will determine the pros and cons of the company's action and see whether they have followed their company's aims or not.

The World's Best Company to work for

Google Inc. has started to design an internet search engine since 1996. After fifteen years, it becomes a famous American multinational public corporation. One of the famous characteristic of Google is that the working environment is extremely great because the company provide meals for their employees within eleven restaurants as well as numerous of entertainment, such as gym room, volleyball courts, swimming pool, climbing wall, etc. There are free of charge that their employees are able to obtain those benefits in anytime. Under a good working environment, flexible working hour, the company encourages the employees to propose new ideas. Google's employees unleash the great innovation to the company and make a huge profit for the company every year.

Google's invested and development

Google has invested in the various internet-based services and product, except for their internet search engine, Google really impresses the IT industry because they keep inventing new products on different aspects. Most of them are very successful, such as Google Maps, web mapping service that they are really useful for navigation, Google Chrome, successfully beat the existing web browser, Gmail, the first webmail services and provide a large capacity to the user. Also, Google will acquire other companies to expand their competitiveness. For example, Google enters into the mobile device market in the recent year through the Android system, which they acquired on 2005, from the cooperation with other famous mobile device hardware manufacturer. Google's existing internet-based features, Android become the largest competitor of Apple Inc. and the market share will surge over in the coming years. As the rapidly growing of Smartphone in the recent year, the company foresees the advertising market in the mobile services, which is worth for billions of U.S. dollar. The company has decided to acquire Adscape and DoubleClick in 2007. Adscape is a company, which is specialized on video game advertising technology, and DoubleClick is one of the most valuable Internets advertising software Development Company. Undoubtedly, these acquisitions can further consolidate Google's market leadership of online advertising advantage.

One of the well-known Google's product, Google Earth, which is originally created by Keyhole, Inc. The company has acquired by Google in 2004, and the user use the software to browse a virtual global to see everywhere by the images obtaining from satellite. Also, the company also introduces the skymode and street view functions in the updates between 2007 and 2008, which allows the user to view the star atlas and zooms to the street-level view. Although Google Earth brings us information as well as entertainment, it also leads to some ethical issues which we will discuss in more details later.

Aims of the Company and the social responsibility

"Don't be evil" is a well-known but unofficial slogan coined by Paul Buchheit , the engineer of Google(the lead developer of Gmail). It is related with the company core values, which emphasized on the social interests. The employees should consider whether they will make the evil decision during the invention of a new product? Any inherent issue that would harm the society actually should be avoided. Google is stated a mission which is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." It is indicated that the company wants to contribute to the society.

On the other hand, Google has formed a non-profit charitable organizations Google.org in 2004. The company will contribute one percent of their annual profits to their charitable organizations every year. Also they have announced five initiatives, which they will be focus on in the coming years. (Included supporting efforts to empower communities to predict and prevent the spread of diseases, improve public services for the developing countries, helping the small and mid-sized businesses to growth, develop the renewable energy and accelerate the commercialization of Plug-In Vehicles in order to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide). The company has announced their social responsibility activities and the relative news through updating Google.org, by using their strong information and technology infrastructure to change the world.

Ethical dilemmas of internet-based services

As it has mentioned previously, Google Inc. owns various technologies by innovation itself or acquires from other companies. However, some of their products may contain the ethical issue. Google's internet search engine and Google Earth are offended the most controversial issue on the invasion of privacy. Google has received the Worst Privacy Ranking of Internet Service since Google has stored the user's search history for the nine months. It is violated the Data Protection Law of the European Union, according the report form Privacy International (a human rights research organization). It is also listed the privacy failures of Google "Google retains a large amounts of user information and has no limitations on how it can use that data. Even if the users want to terminate the service, the user cannot delete or withdraw the personal data." "Google has accessed to the user data for employment, address, phone number, and hobbies through Orkut (a social networking website owned by Google). Google maintains these records

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