IMHO, the biggest mistake Google has made is the series of events that led to its Street View cars inadvertently collecting WiFi data.
Google has enough trouble living up to its non-evil philosophy. This event shows that it's not as good at managing people's data as the company insists. Now there's really something to point to, a level of incompetence we might expect from the phone companies, those scourges of misinformation and playground ethics dedicated to making our lives miserable in the pursuit of profits.
Apparently the software used in the Street View system included some experimental code from another Google engineer, unaware that the code would collect WiFi data.
Score one against those programmers using their 20 percent time for neat new ideas.
I still believe Google management and programmers try to do the right thing. But where are the checks and balances that are supposed to, among other things, protect user privacy? Yeah, the Google Programmer's Playground is a great thing. But Google has to make sure that games of strip poker don't make it into the curriculum. Who let this happen?
People and lawyers have been wondering whether Google's freewheeling management style can really keep things under control. Perhaps this indicates that the internal machinery is spinning a little too wildly.
Google tried to delete the data, but now an Oregon court demanded that it hand over that data. That's because of lawsuits alleging that Google invades people's privacy.
Yeah, that's right, hand over personal information to lawyers in order to help protect privacy.
This whole thing is nuttier than the inside of a chipmunk's cheeks.