Google is under scrutiny for allegedly violating anti-trust laws by manipulating search results and collecting excessive data on its users. Solution providers say the recent headlines aren't lost on business customers, but the recent investigation opened against the internet giant may prove more impactful to consumers.
“No entity in the history of the world has collected as much information on individual consumers as Google,” Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said in a news conference after serving Google with a subpoena and opening an investigation into the Mountain View, Calif.-based company Monday. “We should not just accept the word of these corporate giants that they have our best interests at heart. We need to make sure that they are actually following the law, we need to make sure that consumers are protected, and we need to hold them accountable.”
In June, the European Commission issued a hefty $2.7 billion anti-trust fine to Google for what it said was the company favoring its own shopping services over competitors. In 2013, attorneys general in 37 states reached a $7 million settlement over Google’s unauthorized collection of Wi-Fi data through its "Street View" digital-mapping vehicles.
In addition, popular business review website Yelp wrote to attorneys generals in all 50 states in September that Google allegedly has been copying images from its service without permission for the past six years, an allegation that Hawley promised to investigate as well.
Hawley’s office is looking into the way Google is handling its users' private information, the use of other content providers’ information on its sites, as well as potential bias in search engine results.
Google Monday said it had not yet received the subpoena. However, a spokesperson for the company said in a statement that it has "strong privacy protections in place for our users and continues to operate in a highly competitive and dynamic environment.”
Recent coverage around security and data tracking has captured the attention of business customers who are asking about the reports in the news, said Jim Suss, co-founder and president of LAM Technology, a Fort Worth, Texas-based solution provider that partners with cloud providers such as Rackspace and TierPoint.
"There are going to be a lot of companies that compete with these big hyper-scalers, and smaller, local cloud players with good reputations are going to take away business from the big guys. I'm seeing it all the time," Suss said.
Google partners today can resell G-Suite, Google's storage, communications and collaboration applications, which includes Gmail, Google Maps For Business and the Google Cloud platform.
SADA Systems, a born-in-the-cloud managed services provider, is a longtime Google partner that is selling G-Suite products, as well as the Google Cloud Platform and Google Maps.