I know I’m getting too cynical, but today Google is in the public relations news on two fronts. First, is their quite public and, according to what I read, increasingly embarrassing tiff with Microsoft over patents. I don’t know enough about the hairy details to comment, but what I can see from the commenters is that Google appears to be taking a bit of beating on the reputation side. That’s the problem with a “do no evil” corporate slogan–it’s so easy to point to the hypocrisies.
Second, is the little fender-bender car accident of their somewhat famous self-driving car. They outfitted this Prius with all kinds of gear that allows it to drive regular roads without humans. Apparently, according to the story, its been pretty darn successful with it logging 160 million miles (huh, one car?) without drivers. But, now this fender bender. Google is quick to point out that the accident occurred when the car was being driven by a human.
Wow, what a way to make the point about the safety of computer-driven vehicles. But, even better. If the Microsoft tiff is causing unhappy headlines, complaints from Google supporters, wouldn’t it be great if there was a great distraction–like having your self-driving car have an accident–with a human driver!
OK, I’m getting too cynical. No one in PR would be that devious. Or, maybe, that smart.