Google's privacy breach damaging to user confidence

The Street View privacy breach has damaged Google's brand perception and presented Bing the opportunity to make a focussed marketing push, says  Jack Adams, SEO consultant at  marketing and technology firm Greenlight

Jack AdamsGoogle has escaped a fine for collecting personal data - including email addresses and passwords - being used in UK public Wi-Fi spots.

Despite labelling the act as a "significant breach" of the Data Protection Act that was "not fair or lawful," the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), has simply requested that Google delete the offending data and given the search giant nine months to review its privacy practices.

The general consensus is that the ICO has been very lenient over this – its probe has been labelled ''lily-livered'' by Tory Member of Parliament (MP) Robert Halfon.

But has Google really escaped lightly? According to Jack Adams, search engine optimisation (SEO) consultant at leading search specialist marketing and technology firm Greenlight, whilst this won't have an impact for search engine marketing, the damage to Google's brand perception is substantial and perhaps a time for Bing to make a focussed marketing push.

In direct monetary terms it seems certainly Google has got off lightly (in the UK at least - investigations in other nations are ongoing).

However, there can't be any denying that some extent of damage has been done to users' confidence in the brand and its squeaky-clean image, built around the company's ''don't be evil'' motto.