Google: $14.1B Generated in California, $54B in Nation in 2009; Consumer Group Scoffs

Tue, May 25, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Google Inc. said Tuesday it generated $14.1 billion in economic activity for California and $54 billion in the nation as a whole.

    The economic impact for California was more than any other state, Mountain View-based Google said.

    The company has more than 9,000 employees in the state that are located in its headquarters as well as offices in Irvine, San Francisco and Santa Monica; and in Google’s YouTube headquarters in San Bruno.

    In its state report, Google said it now has 262,400 advertisers and Web site publishers in its network.

    “We calculate Google’s economic impact in each U.S. state by examining the number of businesses, website publishers and non-profits using our search and advertising tools,” the company said.

    The company also said it made 1,010 grants to nonprofits in the state, for a grand total of $27 million.

    Google has been slammed over privacy concerns both in the U.S. and abroad and is facing increasing competition from Internet companies such as Palo Alto-based Facebook Inc and San Francisco-based Twitter Inc.

    Consumer Watchdog of Santa Monica, however, said the company “is following the classic corporate evil-doer’s playbook as it attempts to quell worldwide outrage over the WiSpy scandal.”

    John M. Simpson, a consumer advocate with the nonpartisan nonprofit, said in a prepared statement, “This is what every big corporation does when they are under fire. They divert attention from their wrongdoing and spin a story about their contributions.”

    Consumer Watchdog said Google’s economic report relies on cooked accounting that only counts benefits while factoring in none of the costs Google places on society.

    “What’s the economic cost to the content providers whose material is grabbed without payment or the competitor whose listing is banished to the nether regions of results because of Google’s monopolistic control of search?” asked Simpson. “What’s the cost on society to maintain Google’s extensive network of energy-eating server farms?”

    Consumer Watchdog has launched a new Web site, http://insidegoogle.com/, as part of the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization’s Google Privacy and Accountability Project. “We want to open up the black box,” said Simpson.

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