To Date, The Public Loves Google
No doubt, many in the technosphere or with media companies have long viewed Google as a company to be wary of, if not outright feared. But that fear simply hasn’t been reflected among people in general. Consider a few data points:
- 2007, Google was rated as the most favorite brand by internet users in a JupiterResearch study
- 2008, Google gets top brand spot in the UK’s Superbrands survey
- 2010, Google was fourth in an Interbrand survey
- 2011, Google’s took the top spot and a AAA+ “brand rating” in a list maintained by Brand Finance
- 2011, Google was the second-most popular brand (Apple was first) in a “brand desire” survey run by M&C Saatchi/Clear
- 2011, Google was named the most reputable corporation in the US by Harris Interactive
Look again at that last data point. It’s from a long-standing survey from Harris Interactive, run for 12 years in a row, that involved over 30,000 people. Google was deemed the most reputable company.
One part of of the survey found Google ranking in the top five for social responsibility, products & services, vision & leadership, financial performance and workplace environment:
Another part of the survey ranked it in the top ten for excellent customer service and ethical standards:
Are The Times Changing?
Given this, what to make of this graffiti (OK, graffito, picture used with permission) that paidContent writer Jeff Roberts spotted on a bridge connecting Brooklyn and Queens:
Is it indeed a sign-of-the-times, reflecting changing public perceptions about Google?
A Particularly Bad Month
We won’t really know until we see more brand surveys come out later this year. The Harris Interactive one will be especially interesting to watch. While it was released in 2011 — and was positioned as the “2011″ report, it really measured reputation for 2010.
Last year, Google saw itself basically put on trial in front of a US Senate sub-committee. Last year, Google had settlements with the FTC over privacy and allegations of assisting with illegal drug sales.
This past month has been one of the worse, I’d say, that Google has ever seen. It found itself penalizing its Chrome browser because of an ad campaign that violated its own guidelines. It was embroiled in a controversy that it was raiding the listings of a Kenya business directory.
A Wild & Crazy Tweet?
I Googled “Google Conspiracy Thing”
That leads me to New Girl, the new Fox show starring Zooey Deschanel. I was struck how in a recent episode, when trying to get her roommate Nick to behave, Deschanel’s character Jess begged him not to talk about politics, or small business loans or the “Google conspiracy thing.”
Maybe none of these are an indicator that public perception itself is changing. Certainly it doesn’t help Google to have Hollywood, which backed the anti-piracy bills of SOPA & PIPA, now viewing the company with even more anger after Google pushed to hard against those bills.
As I said, it’ll be interesting to watch the future studies that come out — as well as what we might be seeing in popular entertainment and the word-on-the-street. Will Google’s perception with people in generally really change for the worse?
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