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Google’s tussle with CNET not only demonstrates their pettiness, but is a PR problem for the company, says Adam Penenberg, an assistant professor at New York University and the assistant director of the business and economic reporting program in the school’s department of journalism:

The result is Google has a pressing PR problem. The privacy issue is not going to go away, and as much as Google representatives would like us to believe the company would never do anything “evil” – trust us, they say – that’s simply not good enough.

As a public company, Google has a legal obligation to its shareholders to increase revenue. There may be a time when “do no evil” comes into direct conflict with doing right by its shareholders. Instead of punishing reporters and news organizations that raise legitimate concerns about privacy, Google PR should meet the challenge head-on.

By dealing with the matter in such a disastrous way, Google is rightfully getting flogged in the San Jose Mercury News, Forbes.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other many outlets. It’s easy to say they don’t quite deserve it, but then they did bring it on themselves.

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