Google Australia
Web services
Web search and display advertising and establishment of strategic partnerships in Australia.

Overall

Owned USA
Rating F
About the Ratings

Company Ownership

Google Australia Pty Ltd
AUS
Google LLC
owns 100% of Google Australia Pty Ltd
USA
Internet-related services and products
Global technology company in search engine, advertising, operating systems (Android, Chrome) enterprise (incl Google Maps), and hardware products. Founded in 1998, acquired YouTube in 2006. It is the most visited website in the world. Its founders say Google's purpose is to 'organise the world's information and make it accessible and useful'.
Alphabet Inc
owns 100% of Google LLC
USA
Holdiing company
Alphabet is a new holding company established in 2015 by the founders of Google Inc, which is now part of Alphabet.

Company Assessment

Google Australia Pty Ltd
Praise
This company received the highest packaging performance level of 5 (Beyond Best Practice) in its 2024 APCO Annual Report. Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is a not-for-profit organisation leading the development of a circular economy for packaging in Australia. Each year, APCO Members are required to submit an APCO Annual Report and Action Plan, which includes an overall performance level from 1 (Getting Started) to 5 (Beyond Best Practice).
Source: APCO (2024)
Information
Greenpeace's Reenergise campaign ranks Australia's biggest electricity using companies on their commitments and actions regarding renewable energy use. This company has committed to powering their operations by 100% renewable electricity by 2030. However they have not invested in on-site solar, and have not signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy power from a wind or solar project.
Google Australia has received criticism for paying less than $500,000 in taxes in 2014 for its Australian operations, despite recorded revenues of $357.7 million.
This company is a member of MobileMuster, Australia's only not-for-profit, Government accredited mobile recycling program, established and funded by the mobile phone industry since late 1998. The program adopts a product stewardship model based on circular economy principles where they promise to keep old mobiles and accessories out of landfill and recycle them in a safe, secure and ethical way, placing reusable commodities back into the supply stream.
Google LLC
Praise
This company is listed on the EPA Green Power Partnership website (USA) as using renewable energy for 105% of its organisation-wide electricity use in the USA.
Source: EPA (2023)
This company is listed as having best practice on a report card on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in corporate America.
Criticism
The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including brands owned by this company. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute's 2020 report estimates (somewhat conservatively) that more than 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019, and some of them were sent directly from detention camps.
Source: ASPI (2020)
In 2018 Google was fined a record 4.3 billion euros by EU regulators for breaking antitrust laws. The European Commission says Google has abused its Android market dominance in three key areas. Google has been bundling its search engine and Chrome apps into the operating system. Google has also blocked phone makers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android, and it "made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators" to exclusively bundle the Google search app on handsets.
In 2017 Google was fined a record 2.4 billion euros by EU regulators for breaking antitrust law. The decision follows a seven-year investigation into the US company's search algorithms, which ended with the judgement that Google had "abused its dominant position by systematically favoring" its own shopping comparison service.
The Green Supply Chain Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI) evaluates consumer-facing companies that have a sizeable supply chain in China. The evaluation uses government supervision data and public information to assess the environmental management of their supply chains in China. This company received a score of 12.3/100 (retrieved 24 Nov 2023).
Source: IPE (2023)
In 2019 Google and its subsidiary YouTube was ordered to pay a record US$170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General that the YouTube video sharing service illegally collected personal information from children without their parents’ consent. This is by far the largest civil penalty ever obtained by the Commission in a children's privacy case.
Source: FTC (2019)
In 2021 Google reached a deal with the US Department of Labour, requiring it to pay nearly $US2.6 million in back wages to thousands of workers over claims that the company's pay and hiring practices illegally disadvantaged women and Asians. Google has faced lawsuits before over claims it discriminates against women and people of colour.
In Oct 2021, this company agreed to pay US$100 million to resolve claims it violated the privacy rights of consumers through Google Photo face recognition. The settlement benefits Illinois residents who appeared in a photo in Google Photos between May 1, 2015, and April 25, 2022. Google Photos is a way for Google users to store their photos online and access them from any device. According to the plaintiffs, Google's facial recognition technology and storage of "faceprints" violates Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Follow the link the read more. "Google failed to obtain consent from anyone when it introduced its facial recognition technology."
Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) evaluates and ranks 14 of the world's most powerful digital platforms on their policies and practices affecting people's rights to freedom of expression and privacy. In RDR's 2022 Big Tech Scorecard, none of the digital platforms earned a passing grade. This company ranked #4/14, with a total score of 47/100.
In 2021 India's competition regulator fined Google $161.9 million for anti-competitive practices related to Android mobile devices in "multiple markets". The Competition Commission of India said in a press release that Google requiring device manufacturers to pre-install its entire Google Mobile Suite and mandating prominent placement of those apps "amounts to imposition of unfair condition on the device manufacturers".
In 2022 Google agreed to a US$391.5 million settlement with 40 state attorneys general over its location tracking practices. The settlement outlines that Google misled its users into thinking they had turned off location tracking even as the company continued to collect their location information.
This company scores Ethical Consumer's worst rating for the likely use of tax avoidance strategies, and has at least two high risk subsidiaries in tax havens.
The Invest Your Values Corporate Retirement Plan Sustainability Scorecard by As You Sow rates retirement plans on seven environmental and social sustainability issues. This company's default corporate retirement plan offered to employees is the Vanguard Target Retirement Fund which is rated Fair for gender equality and civilian firearms, and Poor for fossil fuels, deforestation, prison industrial complex, military weapons and tobacco. This retirement plan has millions of dollars invested in fossil fuels, deforestation-risk agribusiness, and arms manufacturers.
In 2021 Apple and Google were fined 10 million euros apiece by Italy's competition and market authority (AGCM) which has found they did not provide their users with clear enough information on commercial uses of their data - in violation of the country's consumer code. The regulator also accuses the pair of deploying "aggressive" practices to push users to accept the commercial processing. Google is accused of omitting relevant information at the account creation phase and as consumers are using its services - information the regulator says should be providing in order for people to decide whether or not to consent to its use of their data for commercial ends.
In 2021 Google was fined 500 million euros by France's antitrust watchdog for failing to comply with the regulator's orders on how to conduct talks with the country's news publishers in a row over copyright. Google must come up with proposals on how it will compensate news agencies and other publishers for the use of their news. If it does not do that, the company will face additional fines of up to 900,000 euros a day.
In 2022 Google agreed to pay US$90 million to settle a lawsuit with U.S. developers that accused Google of abusing its power of app distribution and charging an unfair fee of 30% for app purchases and in-app purchases made through the Play Store. U.S. developers who made less than US$2 million each year between 2016 and 2021 through Google Play Store earnings will be eligible for compensation.
In 2022 the Federal Court of Australia ordered Google LLC to pay $60 million in penalties for making misleading representations to consumers about the collection and use of their personal location data on Android phones between January 2017 and December 2018, following court action by the ACCC. The Court found that Google had breached the Australian Consumer Law by representing to some Android users that the setting titled "Location History" was the only Google account setting that affected whether Google collected, kept and used personally identifiable data about their location. In fact, another Google account setting titled "Web & App Activity" also enabled Google to collect, store and use personally identifiable location data when it was turned on, and that setting was turned on by default.
Source: ACCC (2022)
In 2023 Google agreed to a US$23 million settlement to resolve claims it shared search queries with third-party websites and companies without user consent. Plaintiffs in the case claim their information was wrongfully compromised by this conduct.
In 2024 Google reached a settlement in Singular Computing's US$1.6 billion lawsuit accusing the search giant of patent infringement during its development of artificial intelligence (AI) programs. The lawsuit claimed Google used patented AI processing in its Tensor Processing Units.
In 2023 Google agreed to a US$700 million settlement over accusations that its control of the Google Play Store violated antitrust rules and impeded a free market. Google reached an early agreement with a group of app developers over an antitrust case that alleged Google excluded competing app stores from its operating systems and limited users to its own in-app payment system. Google still faces more antitrust lawsuits in the USA.
In 2024 Google agreed to a US$350 million settlement in a lawsuit claiming a software glitch led to a data breach in which Google+ users' personal data was exposed for three years. The lawsuit alleged Google knew about the data breach in March 2018 but did not acknowledge it while publicly stressing its commitment to data security.
Information
This company received a grade of D+ in the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics (Oct 2017), which assesses companies from the electronics industry across three impact areas: energy use, resource consumption, and chemical elimination. Of the 17 companies ranked, this company came tenth. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
Google has been fined in court over privacy breaches (often in relation to its Street View cars) in several countries including the USA, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Google faces more lawsuits for violating privacy laws.
This company was fined $200,000 by an Australian court in October 2012 over its autocomplete search which linked the name of a Melbourne man to gangland crime. It was also fined $65,000 by a French court in January 2012 over its autocomplete search which linked the word 'crook' to an insurance company.
Freedom from Facebook and Google is a coalition of civic groups pressing for accountability from the tech platforms. "Facebook and Google are two of the world's most dangerous monopolies. They have seized control of how billions of people communicate online, making more than $200 billion a year from selling advertising. They addict us to their services, promote dangerous content, engage in surveillance, and rent out our attention to anyone willing to pay up." The coalition is calling for Facebook and Google to be broken up, regulated, and held accountable for wrongdoing.
This company was one of four companies that agreed to pay a total of US$324m to settle a class action lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to hold down salaries in Silicon Valley by agreeing not to recruit or poach employees from each other. However in Aug 2014 a US court rejected this settlement on the basis that more than 60,000 top-level workers were affected, saying that the amount should be larger. The final amount is yet to be decided.This company was one of four companies that agreed to pay a total of US$324m to settle a class action lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to hold down salaries in Silicon Valley by agreeing not to recruit or poach employees from each other. However in Aug 2014 a US court rejected this settlement on the basis that more than 60,000 top-level workers were affected, saying that the amount should be larger. The settlement amount was changed to US$415m in 2015. [Listed under Information due to age of court finding]
This company has agreed to refund US$19m to parents billed for unauthorised purchases by their children while using mobile apps. It also promised the US Federal Trade Commission to change its billing practices for in-app purchases 'to ensure that it obtains express, informed consent from consumers before charging them for items sold in mobile apps'.
Greenpeace's 2017 report 'Clicking Clean' looks at the energy footprints of large data centre operators and popular websites and applications, and calls on these companies to power their data centres on renewable energy. Companies are graded (A,B,C,D,F) on their commitment to and procurement of renewable energy, as well as energy efficiency, transparency and advocacy. This company's final grade was A. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
This company is a participant in the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA), a multi-sector and multi-stakeholder initiative to support supply chain solutions to conflict minerals challenges in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes Region (GLR) of Central Africa. The PPA provides funding and coordination support to organizations working within the region to develop verifiable conflict-free supply chains; align chain-of-custody programs and practices; encourage responsible sourcing from the region; promote transparency; and bolster in-region civil society and governmental capacity.
Source: PPA (2019)
This company is a partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, whose stated mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works with business, government and academia to build a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design.
Google has bought several robotics firms in recent years including Boston Dynamics which, prior to purchase from Google, was heavily funded by the US military. Many expressed concern that Google was moving towards becoming a major US military contractor, however Google denies this and has greatly reduced its dependence on government funding. Google sold Boston Dynamics in 2017.
Engineers from ifixit.com disassembled and analysed a range of smartphones, tablets and laptops, awarding each a repairability score between one and ten. Ten is the easiest to repair. A device with a perfect score will be relatively inexpensive to repair because it is easy to disassemble and has a service manual available. Points are docked based on the difficulty of opening the device, the types of fasteners found inside, and the complexity involved in replacing major components. Points are awarded for upgradability, use of non-proprietary tools for servicing, and component modularity. Products released by this company between 2017 and 2021 scored between 4 and 6 points.
C- grade in the Baptist World Aid Australia's Behind the Barcode 'Ethical Electronics Guide 2016', which grades companies on their efforts to mitigate the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation throughout their supply chains. Assessment criteria fall into four main categories: policies, traceability & transparency, monitoring & training and worker rights. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
California, the UK and Australia have all enacted legislation requiring companies operating within their borders to disclose their efforts to eradicate modern slavery from their operations and supply chains. Follow the link to see this company's disclosure statement.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre digital platform presents news and allegations relating to the human rights impact of over 20,000 companies. Their enhanced Company Dashboards also include financial information, key data points based on corporate policies, and scores from prominent civil society benchmarks. Follow the link and use the search function to view this company's dashboard.
OpenSecrets.org tracks the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens' lives. Follow link to see this company's record of political donations, lobbying, outside spending and more.
Criticism of Google includes alleged misuse and manipulation of search results, its use of others' intellectual property, concerns that its compilation of data may violate people's privacy, censorship of search results and content, and the energy consumption of its servers as well as concerns over traditional business issues such as antitrust, monopoly, and restraint of trade.
Alphabet Inc
Praise
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Climate Change score of A.
Source: CDP (2023)
JUST Capital polls Americans every year to identify the issues that matter most in defining just business behaviour. For their 2024 rankings the public identified 20 issues, which are organised under the headings Workers, Communities, Customers, Shareholders and Environment. JUST Capital then define metrics that map to those issues and track and analyse the largest, publicly traded U.S. companies. This analysis powers their rankings, in which this company ranked 47th of 937 companies, and 1st of 9 Internet companies.
InfluenceMap's 2021 A-List of Climate Policy Engagement identifies 15 corporate leaders advocating for ambitious climate policy across a range of sectors and regions. To qualify, a company must exhibit sufficient support for ambitious climate policy, strategic levels of engagement with climate policy, and leadership in its sector. Links to industry associations egregiously opposing climate policy can disqualify a company from the list. The report also offers 21 'Potential Leaders', including his company, which appear to be on the right track.
As You Sow's 2022 report, 'Road to Zero Emissions', assessed the progress of 55 of the largest U.S. corporations in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with the Paris Agreement's objective of limiting global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which requires achieving "net zero" emissions by 2050. Companies are graded on: climate related disclosures; GHG reduction targets, and GHG reductions. This company received an Overall Net Zero grade of B.
As You Sow's 2019 report, Mining the Disclosures, is a deep analysis of 215 companies' human rights performance in relation to sourcing conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This company's score was 76.7% (Strong).
America's Most Responsible Companies 2022 by Newsweek and Statista recognises the Top 500 most responsible companies in the United States. Companies were evaluated in three areas: environmental (waste, energy use, etc.), social (leadership diversity, employees and philanthropy) and governance (transparency and economic performance). This company received a total score of 71.1/100, ranking 23rd in the Software & Telecommunications sector, and 296th overall.
The 2023 Digital Inclusion Benchmark ranks 200 companies on their responsibility to advance a more inclusive digital society. The companies were assessed using four measurement areas: access, skills, use and innovation. This company ranked #26/200, with a total score of 50.3/100.
World's Most Sustainable Companies of 2024 by TIME and Statista recognises the Top 500 most sustainable companies in the world. From a selection of 5,000 of the world's largest companies, non-sustainable businesses were excluded, and the remaining companies were rated on Commitment & Ratings, Reporting & Transparency, and Environmental & Social Stewardship. This company received a total score of 53.6/100, ranking 482nd overall.
Source: TIME (2024)
Criticism
This company appears on Burma Campaign UK's 'Dirty List' of companies assisting the Burmese military to continue to commit human rights violations and environmental destruction. Google hosts applications created by the Burmese military. This includes one for Min Aung Hlaing, Commander in Chief of the Burmese military, whom United Nations investigators have said should be prosecuted for genocide. It also hosts applications for the Myawady military newspaper, the Ministry of Defence, and military-owned companies.
In 2022 the median pay for a worker at this company was US$279,802. The CEO was paid 808 times this amount. Exorbitant CEO pay is a major contributor to rising inequality. CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are increasing productivity or possess specific, high-demand skills. The economy would suffer no harm if CEOs were paid less (or taxed more). In contrast, the CEO-to-typical-worker compensation ratio was 20-to-1 in 1965 and 58-to-1 in 1989.
As You Sow's 2024 Plastic Promises Scorecard measures the corporate ambition and action of 225 large companies across six industries on six core pillars of plastic packaging pollution prevention: 1) Recyclability, 2) Reduction, 3) Recycled Content, 4) Recovery, 5) Reuse, and 6) Producer Responsibility. This company received a grade of D+.
This company is on OpenSecrets.org's list of "Top Donors", a list of the 100 biggest givers in US federal-level politics since 1990. Companies on this list lobby and spend big, with large sums sent to candidates, parties and leadership PACs. This company comes in at number 61 on the list, with contributions totalling $44,788,048 between 1990 and 2020.
This company is on OpenSecrets.org's list of "Top Spenders on Lobbying", a list of the 20 organizations that have spent the most trying to influence US government policy. This company came in at number 8 on the list in both 2018 and 2017, having spent $40,240,000 on lobbying in those 2 years.
As You Sow's 2021 report, 'The 100 Most Overpaid CEOs', reveals the 100 most overpaid CEOs from USA's 500 largest public companies (as determined by the S&P 500 list). This company's CEO, Sundar Pichai came in at number 1 on the list, having been paid US$280,621,552 in 2020. According to the report, "Most CEOs have come to be grossly overpaid, and that overpayment is harmful to the companies, the shareholders, the customers, the other employees, the economy, and society as a whole."
Information
As listed on the We Mean Business website, this company has committed to the following climate action initiatives: commit to 100% renewable power.
In November 2017 the Enough Project published Demand the Supply, which ranked consumer electronics and jewelry retail companies on their efforts to develop conflict-free minerals supply chains from Congo. Companies were ranked on reporting; sourcing conflict-free minerals from Congo; supporting the artisanal mining communities in Eastern Congo; and conflict-free minerals advocacy. This company ranked second overall. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
This company is a member of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (formerly the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative), which helps companies address conflict minerals issues in their supply chains. The RMI provides information on conflict-free smelters and refiners, common tools to gather sourcing information, and forums for exchanging best practices on addressing conflict minerals. Membership is open to companies that use or transact in tantalum, tin, tungsten or gold (3TG). Founded in 2008 by members of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.
Source: RMI (2019)
This company is a member of the Responsible Business Alliance (formerly the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition), a non-profit coalition of electronics companies which supports the rights and wellbeing of workers and communities worldwide affected by the global electronics supply chain. RBA members commit and are held accountable to a common Code of Conduct and utilize a range of RBA training and assessment tools to support continuous improvement in the social, environmental and ethical responsibility of their supply chains.
Source: RBA (2022)
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 46/100 in the Interactive Media Services & Home Entertainment category of the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices (last updated 18 Nov 2022). The rankings are based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, environmental reporting, climate strategy, human rights and labour practices.
OpenSecrets.org tracks the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens' lives. Follow link to see this company's record of political donations, lobbying, outside spending and more.

Company Details

Type:
Wholly-owned subsidiary
Founded:
2002
Revenue:
1.95 billion AUD (2022)
Employees:
2,130 (2022)

Contact Details

Address:
L5, 48 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont, NSW, 2009, Australia
Phone:
02 9374 4000
Website:
www.google.com.au

Products / Brands

Google Australia
Android Software
Chromecast Media Streaming Devices
Google Search Engines
Google Chat Messaging
Google Maps GPS
Google Meet Messaging
Google Nest Smart Speakers
Google Pixel Smartphones
Google Pixel Buds True Wireless Earbuds
Google Pixel Watch Smartwatches
Google TV Video Streaming
Waze GPS
YouTube Social Media
YouTube Video Streaming
YouTube Music Music Streaming