Founding Fathers

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Founding Fathers

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are former Montessori school students turned math whizzes and solid software engineers. It's one thing to be arrogant. But they can afford to do so from a position of power, which bothers people. Most people can't relate. People fear what they don't understand and what they have no control over. Fear turns to hatred.

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Google Is Great

We don't mean great as in fantastic and shining, but as in large and in charge. The company will be the first to tell you that it has made a lot of enemies because it has grown so big. It is the Googlezilla many people fear, and along with that comes a whole lot of loathing. Actually, Google's growth isn't what has irked companies. It's how Google has done it that bothers folks. We're not simply talking about adding talent and technology through acquisitions. More specific examples follow.

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Google Books

Google began life as a search engine, but has grown to include email and collaboration software, and extended its tendrils to myriad niches. Google wanted to put the world's books online, which sounds ridiculous in its scope, considering the current copyright Web. Google endeavored to do it anyway, and got sued by authors and publishers, who grew to hate Google for what they perceived as a greedy bid to profit from their work. It doesn't matter that the people who represent authors and publishers agreed to a deal that has yet to be properly approved by law. Google's efforts here left a bad taste in the mouths of many authors and publishers.

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Google Public DNS

Here's another example of the more modest side of the Web service scale. In 2009, Google threatened the Domain Name System sector by >launching Google Public DNS. Google billed it as part of its plan to speed up the Web. That's great for consumers, but it's like a knife to the ribs of the smaller DNS rivals.

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Big Data

From search to Gmail and other services, Google's main access vector is the Web. The company amasses a ridiculous amount of user data in dozens of data centers worldwide, and leverages a lot of it for advertising, perhaps its most reviled online business. That bothers a lot of people. The question five years ago was, what does Google know? This slide highlights the many sources Google has for collecting user information. In all fairness, users can remove their data from Google. However, many people are still concerned with the question of what will Google do with this information?

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Google and Privacy

Why would users worry about their data? Google angered many politicians by collecting 600GB of email, passwords and other user data with its Street View cars from 2007 to 2010. Google also ticked off a lot of consumers by exposing their contacts in Google Buzz more than a year ago. These privacy gaffes from a company that chomps user data are deeply disturbing. Google made light of them. In matters of privacy, apologies are never enough.

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Business Copy Machine

Google has become something of a copy machine, which means there are constant cries the company doesn't innovate. The company was a great benefactor to local search providers Yelp and CitySearch and TripAdvisor until it launched its competing Google Places local search services, which features the Hotpot recommendation engine. Companies such as Yelp aren't happy with the fact the when they turn down Google's request for an acquisition, it goes ahead and rolls its own product that looks a lot like theirs.

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Groupon Clone

Indeed, when Google couldn't buy Groupon, it copied its approach. To be fair, Google is pairing Offers with its Google Wallet mobile-payment service later this month. But Offers is still painfully a lot like Groupon.

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Social Network

Google saw Facebook kicking serious butt and scoring serious user engagement. Google Buzz didn't steal any major market share. So what does Google do? Build Google+ to spite Facebook and steal some users for time spent on Google, which is highly resourceful at monetizing big user bases in search, YouTube and mobile. Google calls this competing; others will call it copying, even with the unique Circles approach and other perks, such as Sparks and Hangouts.

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Java for Android

Perhaps, the worst copy act is taking code from Sun Microsystems' patented Java software for Android. Now Google is feeling the wrath of Oracle, which probably bought Sun so it could sue Google for just this kind of blatant affront. Still, it has to be proven in court, and while it doesn't look good for Google, there has been no decision yet-beyond the court of public opinion. Pretty much anyone following the space that doesn't work for the company thinks Google ripped off the Java technology.

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