Is Google jumping the shark?
Ron Howard explained that while they were shooting the notorious episode where Fonzie jumped the shark, he knew the show had turned a corner. In the case of Happy Days, the corner was the chasing of ratings at the cost of integrity. In the case of corporations, the corner is usually the chasing of profit at the expense of the original mission.
These places don't run out of creativity. You don't jump the shark because you're empty, you do it because there's pressure to be greedy.
Google has been found to have hacked and stolen user data, circumventing privacy settings. They've recently announced that without asking first or sharing the upside, they may be selling the names and faces of people who use Google + to advertisers, to be included in endorsement ads. People expressing themselves online might soon find themselves starring in ads as unpaid, unwilling endorsers.
How does this happen? Public companies almost inevitably seek to grow profits faster than expected, which means beyond the organic growth that comes from doing what made them great in the first place. In order to gain that profit, it's typical to hire people and reward them for measuring and increasing profits, even at the expense of what the company originally set out to do.
Every company at a certain stage ends up with two sorts of employees... some that work hard to improve the experience and value for the original customers, and some that tear down that experience and value in order to please shareholders in the short run.
It's not surprising, but it's sad.
The irony here is that in the long run, what the advertisers are telling companies like Google they want isn't what is going to build it into an even better company (or even help the advertisers) in the long run.
Advertisers often seem to want pitchmen spraying perfume at every person who walks into the store, inserts stuffed into every periodical, pop up ads, complete data on every individual they target and the ability to spam at will. Great media companies fight back on all of these intrusions, because they know that what actually works is genuine connection built around remarkable products and services.