Google last Saturday released the full report published by the Federal Communications Commission of its 17-month investigation of Google’s Street View project, a report that The New York Times says
“draws a portrait of a company where an engineer can easily embark on a project to gather personal e-mails and Web searches of potentially hundreds of millions of people as part of his or her unscheduled work time, and where privacy concerns are shrugged off.”
The revelations caused Robert X. Cringely of Infoworld
today to this grim conclusion: "Clearly Google believes it can do whatever it wants with our data and get away with it."
Meanwhile, Google Drive last week was released and received a barrage of negative publicity because several clauses in Drive's terms of service
make it seem as though Google has greater access to and power over data stored on Drive than it should.
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For advisors trying to come up with a long-term IT strategy, Google’s stumbles probably will mean steering clear of its Google Apps for Business service. Why get involved with Google when it is presenting all of these issues?
Interestingly, in researching Google Apps for Business this weekend, I noticed the that Google Apps for Business does not allow you to write documents online. So if you are on an airplane or someplace where you don’t have an Internet connection, you can’t write new information to your word processor, spreadsheets, and presentations using Google Apps. You can read but not write these documents.
You could write documents using w word processor other than Google’s and then later upload or sync the file later with Google Apps. But if you’re running a business, do you want to get into that? Probably not.
While Google is really easy to use, my guess is it will not meet the needs of investment advisors. With Microsoft today announcing
a $1.7 billion investment in Barnes and Noble’s Nook tablet division and Windows 8 launching this fall, a comeback by Microsoft seems likely.