Fox News host Glenn Beck takes on Google

Beck says he's won't use Google products and suggests that his viewers follow suit; analysts see little effect on the firm

Fox News host Glenn Beck's criticism of Google is unlikely to harm the Internet giant, analysts say.

Beck, who also hosts a radio talk show, voiced misgivings about Google during several recent episodes of his show on the cable news channel. For example, he has said "something is wrong" with the company, its politics and its privacy policies.

On Wednesday's Fox television show, Beck said he'll to try to avoid using the company's services, and suggested that his viewers consider doing the same. While Beck said he's against boycotts, he added that he would post tips on his Web site about how to avoid using Google.

"I'm not so sure I want to use their products anymore," said Beck. "I'm not feeling really comfortable with Google the more I find out [about it]."

Google did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Beck's criticism.

Analysts, however, said that while Beck's Google bashing is drawing a lot of attention, they doubt it will hurt the company or its dominant search engine.

"There are a lot of people who are suspicious of Google and their motives these days," said Dan Olds, an analyst at The Gabriel Consulting Group. "But I don't think that [Beck's] Google comments will have much, if any, effect on Google's share of the search or Internet tools market. While he has a big audience, it's not nearly big enough to impact Google."

During his show, Beck contended that the company supports "overthrowing governments," citing Google executive Wael Ghonim's efforts to stimulate criticism of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak via social networks.

Ghonim was detained by the Egyptian government for more than a week before his release earlier this month.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt reportedly complimented Ghonim this week for his work in Egypt.

"Google is bizarrely inserting Google into the story of the Egyptian revolution," said Beck. "I want to point out that I'm not sure I want my search engine involved in government overthrows."

Beck went on to say he has issues with Schmidt sitting on the White House Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The pundit also called out Google for working with law enforcement agencies and the U.S. government.

"I'd say [Beck] has jumped the shark," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research. "When this news hits the stands, it will drive some to think more highly of Google."

Gottheil conceded that Beck has about 2 million viewers and also has the ear of the conservative Tea Party political movement. However, he also was quick to note that Beck has a lot of detractors as well, and that alone will benefit Google.

"Beck may steer a few people away, but the more attention he draws, the more he draws supporters to Google," he added.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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