This has to be the worst year for Google so far. Here’s a brief review of the top stories from around the web.

  • Chrome paid links scandal

In summary: Paying Bloggers to write posts about the Chrome browser. In direct violation of it’s own policies.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/02/chrome-sponsored-posts/

  • Google+ Outcry, (Google + force feeding = Search Plus Your World)

In summary: Recommendations from people within your circles, or people you might know, now appear front and center in SERPs, (Search engine results pages). Autosuggest skewing towards G+ pages and in perhaps the worst abuse I’ve seen, looping content from third parties into G+ in can what only be described as, “Brand Arbitrage”. See an example query for the, “New York Times”.

See: http://www.google.com/search?q=new+york+times&adtest=on&hl=en&gl=US&pws=0

Is it really what users want when they click what appears to be an article link to be fed into G+? Hard to defend.

Twitter is the most vocal of all opponents:

http://techland.time.com/2012/01/12/is-googles-social-search-anti-competitive-ftc-complaint-looms/

  • Caught stealing unauthorized third party data for sales calls, (Too much Kenyan coffee)

In summary: Google allegedly selling services into a customer base of Kenyas largest business directory without authorization in a, “Scrape & Sell” operation. Scrape is a little harsh though as it does appear to be a team of humans.

http://thenextweb.com/google/2012/01/13/busted-google-gets-caught-scraping-kenyas-biggest-business-listings-database/

http://blog.mocality.co.ke/2012/01/13/google-what-were-you-thinking/

It shouldn’t be news to readers that Google are known within the IYP, (Internet Yellow Pages) industry to scrape and seed, (Create places pages from citation data and then seed this above the fold to get business owners to claim)… at least I hope not, it’s been going on for years… allegedly.

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