We let Google dodge taxes, wouldn’t it be nice if they gave something back?

With Google using Ireland to save 100s of millions of dollars every year, wouldn’t it be nice if they repayed Ireland by making some of their services useful? From an Irish Times article:

An effect of the arrangement is that Google Ireland, the operating company, made an after-tax profit of only €2.74 million on a turnover of €603 million. It had operating expenses of €359 million which are understood to include the royalty payments to the other Irish company. Google Ireland paid Irish corporation tax of €1.6 million.

Yes, wow, they employ people. How good of them. O’Briens employ more people in Ireland than Google right now. With Ireland being their European HQ, you’d think they’d make Google Maps Ireland kind of useful. The minute you look outside the main towns on the map, it all pretty much goes blank. C’mon guys, your bottom line is far far more padded as a result of setting up shop in Dublin, how about using some of your resources and your PhDs to have maps that actually, you know, work? Maps.Google.ie would also be better than going to the UK site to see a map of Ireland. Or how about wirelessly enabling a small town in Ireland? The interest alone on your tax savings could pay for that. How about having Irish versions of Google Mobile? “Do no evil” is one of your philosophies, maybe you should add “Don’t be a scrooge”?

5 Responses to “We let Google dodge taxes, wouldn’t it be nice if they gave something back?”

  1. Google Maps coverage of Ireland in particular is a really bad joke. Microsoft Live Local kicks their ass for detail. Really, how much would they have to pay the Ordnance Survey to get decent info?

  2. I’m not a google spokesman and I don’t play one on the ‘net, however:

    The jobs Google generates are externally oriented and bring money into Ireland. That’s why they’re more valuable to the economy than a job in O’Brien’s.

    Yes, google maps are crap for ireland outside the big towns. It’s not a matter of PhD’s, it’s a matter of map data. Buying the OS data would be very expensive, and the cost would be recurring every year. In terms of cost, the address database alone (which is essential to make maps useful) would need a commitment of hundreds of thousands of euros. Even that wouldn’t work well, because 40 percent of addresses in the country are ambiguous.

    It’s a shame this can’t be sorted out, but it’s not Google’s fault. If google caved to overpriced mapping in Ireland, it would be setting a precedent for the other 50 or 100 countries which don’t have decent Google maps. The map issue is a bigger problem than Google.

    Why do you expect Google to initiate a big wi-fi project? For one thing, the San Francisco project has gotten messy by all accounts. For another, to my knowledge, no Irish town has actually sought tenders or seriously investigated blanketing their streets in wi-fi. If they were interested, they could get FON routers and make a start. Doing a relatively small town? I don’t know how that would really achieve anything, it would just be tokenism.

  3. Mary Gilmartin says:

    Thats not really a can do attitute.

  4. Des says:

    If they wished they could buy the maps from Teleatlas or indeed Navteq who have recently completed mapping the country.

    There isn’t a compelling need for the OS to sell their data to a private company for little or nothing…

  5. Hmm. I think Teleatlas is derived from OS data (at least their UK stuff is derived from OS data, according to the the Google paperwork). This means they need permission from OSi to sell it on.

    Similarly, Navteq is significantly OSi or Geodirectory-derived. At least that is what it says on their website.

    I don’t understand your point about OS selling data for little or nothing. I never said anything about this.