Google has a very focused brand strategy — integrate all of its products to make consumers Google-dependent. It’s a brilliant strategy that’s working. However, is Google guilty of brand arrogance by taking its efforts for complete integration too far? With mounting investigations by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and inquiries from the U.S. Senate and Congress, Google’s recent announcement to merge its approximately 70-product privacy policies into a single policy is adding fuel to the fire. Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on.
Google has been under investigation by the FTC for possible violations of antitrust laws. The legal question is whether or not Google is giving preference to its own branded search results over other, more relevant, results. With the launch of Google Search Plus Your World earlier this month, which provides search results from individual’s Google+ connections above unbiased, non-Google results, the legal heat on Google has gotten even hotter.
Google’s Response and Strategy
Similarly, in a response to the FTC adding Google Social Search to its antitrust probe, a Google spokesperson reportedly told eWeek, “The great thing about the openness of the Internet is that if users don’t like our service, they can easily switch to another site.”
So Is Google Guilty of Brand Arrogance?
The quick answer would be that yes, Google is guilty of brand arrogance, but there is more to this debate than a quick review provides.
Google Search Plus Your World is a different story. While it might be true that Google doesn’t have access to all of the data from Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to be able to provide those results alongside of Google+ results and other Google product results via social search, there is a bigger problem at work here. The Google brand promises the most relevant search results. Bumping relevant results further down the page to make room for Search Plus Your World results is a direct contradiction to that brand promise.
That’s where Google is demonstrating a level of brand arrogance that is likely to be a source of problems for the company in the short- and long-term.
What do you think?
Learn more about brand arrogance: Avoid the Leading Brand Image Killer: Brand Arrogance