According to a new report from Google, the Internet search giant helped generate $54 billion in business activity for companies, Web publishers, and nonprofits last year, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The report, Google's Economic Impact: United States, 2009 (62 pages, PDF), looked at economic activity generated by the company's search engine, the ads that run next to search results, the amount the company pays to Web sites that run ads, and grants made by the company's nonprofit arm, Google.org. According to the report, more than $14 billion of that activity was generated in California, where the company has more than nine thousand employees and its headquarters. Google said the estimates in the report are conservative.
While few question that Google, like other major technology companies, has a huge impact on the nonprofit sector and the nation's economy, critics of the company argue that it is emphasizing its role in creating jobs and economic development in order to counter increased scrutiny from lawmakers, regulators, and privacy watchdogs. Indeed, with the value of Google stock having declined 24 percent this year, technology analyst Rob Enderle notes that a spruced-up image is an important element of the company's efforts to woo and retain investors.
"People have trouble investing in a company that has a declining image," Enderle told the Times. "Google has lost control of its image. Some have started to position Google as the evil company. Google is rolling out a marketing campaign to get people to look at them in a more balanced and positive way so they don't get pounded by politicians."