A few precedents come to mind:
- Google scans and publishes online millions of books without consulting publishers or authors or estates of those. it is just done. Moral pretense: Preserve knowledge, make unpublished books readliy available. The deal offered after the international outcry is a kick in the teeth for most publishers. I might be wrong here, but no teamplay with any of the manifold digital library projects (not even LoC). Sponsorship of a few libraries in exchange for access to their repositories. There has been a lot of discussion here on Slashdot as well about the quality of the "library". That is not my opinion alone, cf. for example the writings of Jean-Noel Jeanneney.
- Google Streetview - remember all those people who tried to get their faces and properties erased?
- Google ignores most data protection regulations that I know of (and all data protection agencies and lawyers in my neck of the woods agree) and uses every bit of data they can lay their hands on to profile and market user beahvior for advertising dollars. (and it amazes me how everybody happily tags along, but then again I do not have even a single customer loyalty card) A "Google Dashboard" has been introduced only a couple of days ago to create some transparency.
From my own experience "Googleplex" looks all furry and friendly, until you start to talk (or try to negotiate) with the natives, I had an instant flashback to my happy university days and an exceptionally fruitless discussion with a group of fellow students who were members of a maoist group.
That may be just my european view of the world, and I am aware that most business is a cutthroat affair. My problem is, that when you have a look at Ellison/Ballmer/Chambers/etc. they never pretend that it would be unwise to play on their turf, if you have not engaged full battle mode before doing so. If they are interested in what you do, you either will be bought or crushed if possible. Google's figureheads on the other hand cultivate that slightly nerdy (all those kindergarden-like happy places I remember) and positive image that successfully camouflages the titanium alloy endoskeleton underneath all that fluffiness. Again that might not be enough proof, but then I would have to write an article (hmmm, come to think about it...). Again: Naming the language Go is another expression of Google's general attitude. My (humble) opinion.