The Coming Google Boycott?

There have been attempts to boycott Google over the years. I sense a much larger, diffuse but potentially powerful one is on the way.

In previous boycott action:

  • In 2003 the company was accused of complicity with the National Security Agency in its attempts at citizen surveillance; boycotts were organized. And almost whooly ineffective.
  • In 2006 its decision to “censor” [whether that term really applies is open to debate] its search results at the direction of the Chinese government drew equally ineffective boycott attempts.
  • Along the way other purported sins–among them Antisemitism and mistreatment of Adwords customers–have prompted the B-word.

But these are issue-driven boycotts. I’m wondering whether something bigger, a sort of ABG (Anything But Google) moment is upon us.

When Brother Google declined to outbid Microsoft for a share in Facebook, some interpreted it as a sign that Google will build up its own largely-ignored-in-the-U.S. social networking site, Orkut. [It is also apparently going to create open standards for social community applications, to force Facebook and MySpace, et al. to open up their users to the larger Web.]

But if Google plans to compete for users in the social networking space with its own brand–at the same time it attempts to insert itself in the middle of the mobile phone market, and place itself in the center of personal health care with Google Health, and plow ahead with a big, potentially anticompetitive merger over tough industry and government scrutiny–the Mountain View juggernaut may hit a tripwire. Add the $700 per share stock price and it could hit a wall.

I sense, in tinny noise from the blogosphere and in the grumbles of civilians I know who like to kvetch about their dealings with personal technology, an accumulating resistance to Google hegemony. It’s awfully similar to what happened to Microsoft when developers, state attorneys general, the federal government, business users, IT managers and consumers all began, for different reasons, to oppose the Redmond colossus.

This led such things as traction for open source software, Linux, software-as-service, competition in the IT backend market, the rise of Firefox–in short, to humbling Ballmer & Co. a bit. From my viewpoint, the world has become a better place for it.

And now, my ear-to-the-rail picks up vibes that it’s Google’s turn, with consumers and businesses alike moving to an Anybody But Google phase. Not just for reasons of fears about privacy and company bigfooting, but simply because there’s a growing sense that as it has grown the Don’t Be Evil crowd has lost the capacity to live by its own motto.

I’m not organizing or advocating a boycott. And Lord knows nobody’s search engine is about to topple Google from that pinnacle,’s funny but sadly desperate TV ads notwithstanding. But I feel a big ABG phase is about to begin.

I, for one, plan to make strictly ABG decisions about my cell phone.

For as long as I can hold out.

Explore posts in the same categories: Google, Microsoft, social networks

5 Comments on “The Coming Google Boycott?”

  1. It does seem like they’re doing too much, too soon. But damn it if they weren’t so good at it. Could I live without iGoogle? Or Google Maps? Or Gmail? Or Analytics?

    If they didn’t excel at each venture the way they do – there IS no better e-mail system out there than Gmail right now – it’d be easy to go elsewhere. A search is a search. Ask

    The China thing bothers me a lot. I guess if they keep up with that kind of B.S. than a boycott may be in order.

  2. Interesting post. I pretty much agree with you on this.

  3. lukewestaway Says:

    The fear is that Google will take unreasonable control of the internet and start filtering our results. But Google was built on the strength of its search algorithm – take search accuracy away and people will find an alternative. In this respect i think the problem is a self-correcting one.

  4. nepalishop Says:

    Why in the world would you NOT use free Google products?
    Google maps on the phone paired with Bluetooth GPS is basically a navigation system killer.

    800 Goog 411 frees up your hands to drive and takes search from internet to phone.

    Google Earth has expanded our sense of wonder about the world we live in.

    The ads are so easy to ignore that all their services are painlessly free.

    Yahoo has caught up with GMAIL though. The new yahoo mail (I have used both for the last two years) is just more organized and I can do what I want with less clicks and typing. THAT is all that matters in email.

  5. wecanchangetheworld Says:

    I’m a boycotter. G search was the last hold they had on me, and now that I’ve moved to the first meta search engine I’ve found which I actually like better than G search, I don’t have much reason to stay on the G boat. I’ll be shopping around for a small email account instead of the Y one soon, but email is a bit harder to dump than a search engine. Where do I search now?

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