7. Most embarrassing privacy violation
And the winner is: Google
Google works hard to show the world it isn't "evil" -- so when the search giant admits it accidentally collected e-mails and other personal information from random users, it sure doesn't look good.
Google grabbed the data while driving its Street View cars across more than 30 countries, including the United States. The cars are designed to capture geographical information for services such as Google Maps, but in this instance, they also found and stored unencrypted data from Wi-Fi networks. A coding oversight was blamed for the bungle.
Make no mistake about it: This was no small screw-up. The FTC, FCC, and numerous state and foreign government agencies launched full-fledged investigations into Google's practices as a result. Many of the probes are still pending.
For a global information company as huge as Google, that's a lot to live down.
8. Most embarrassingly bad mobile product
And the winner is: Microsoft Kin
Microsoft's Kin phone was practically a paradox from the start. The Kin, targeted at teens, was supposed to be an "always-connected" device -- but it wasn't always connected. It was meant to appeal to the "social generation" -- but it lacked support for apps, instant messaging, and other basic social features.
The fact that Microsoft killed the Kin just seven weeks after its debut was the only thing that actually made sense about this godawful gadget.
9. Most embarrassingly overhyped launch
And the winner is: The JooJoo Web Tablet
It was supposed to be the "dead simple Web tablet" that was going to change everything. TechCrunch ringleader Michael Arrington hyped his revolutionary product, originally called the CrunchPad, for months. Then, in late 2009, Arrington announced the CrunchPad was dead. Long story short, the company he'd hired to build the thing decided to rebrand it as the JooJoo and release it on its own.
After much public sparring and multiple missed shipping deadlines, the JooJoo finally launched in early April of this year. The device immediately fizzled, earning terrible reviews and lackluster sales.
The JooJoo dudes are promising to release a new and improved product sometime in 2011. I'm no psychic, but I have a dead simple prediction: No one's going to care.
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