Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is facing another privacy complaint about circumventing privacy settings for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Safari browser, and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has now alleged the same issues apply to its Internet Explorer (IE) browser.  This could be the start of more legal troubles for Google, with three U.S. lawmakers pushing for another Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into the company’s operations.  The repercussions of any such investigation could have a significant impact on Google’s advertising revenues if, given that browsers like Safari have millions of users.
“Do No Evil”: Does That Really Apply Anymore?
It is alleged that Google’s tracking system used loopholes within browsers like Safari to track a user’s browsing history even if they have disabled it. The default privacy protocols on web browsers like Safari and IE typically prevent small files known as “cookies” from being installed, which in turn safeguard any tracking by external ads. Google allegedly circumvents this protection by relying on “exceptions” to this rule, namely any website with which a user interacts with himself/herself. The company seems to have added specific coding that makes users unknowingly interact with such a site, and this results in the installation of the cookie. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report this incident and you can read more about it here, and discloses that this code was removed after the WSJ contacted Google about it.
A public relations mishap aside, this development could hamper Google’s mobile ambitions, especially given that Safari commands a +50% market share in the mobile browser space. This could lead to mistrust among users as well as a possible legislation that bans such circumvention of browser privacy, either of which would mean a reduction in the potential reach of Google’s advertisements. Not to mention, other leading browsers like the Opera Mini may also come up with similar allegations against the search giant.
We currently have a price estimate of near $627 for Google’s stock, which is roughly 4% above the current market price.
- Mid Year Review:How Will Google’s Mobile Search Division Fare In 2016?
- Mid Year Review:How Will Google’s Desktop Search Division Fare Till The End Of 2016?
- Dilemma Of YouTube’s Unplugged TV Part 2: How Much Revenue Can Ads Based Model Add To Topline?
- Alphabet Earnings: Mobile And YouTube Will Continue To Drive Revenue In The Future Even As Investment Outlay For Other Bets Is Expected To Increase
- Dilemma Of YouTube’s Unplugged TV Part -1: Is A Subscription Model The Right Approach For Monetizing Video Content?
- Alphabet Earnings Preview: Search Ads, YouTube, Google Play To Boost Revenue