The answer: It's probably a trend, because it turns out that Google's "Don't Be Evil" has a corollary. Get big enough, and you're evil by default. The picture of co-founder Sergey Brin wearing his Google Glasses has taken on the air of Boardwatch magazine's 1996 cover of Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) CEO Bill Gates as a Borg from Star Trek.
On Google's conference call Wedneday, executives blamed mobile for the miss. Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora said advertisers have yet to take full advantage of the mobile platform, that their "journey is just beginning."
But Google has also been investing heavily in technologies without a clear path to earnings, including drones, robots, the Nest thermostat and Brin's Google Glasses.
All these have combined into fears Google is creating a "digital superstate" that is threatening to people, nations and industries.
The fear was expressed openly recently by Mathias Doepfner, CEO of German publisher Axel Springer, who wrote of publishers' "total dependence on Google" in Frankfurter Allgemeine.
As Google goes into areas that seem like science fiction, the pushback grows on its base operations. What might have seemed before like minor tweaks to its terms of service result in global hysteria in which it's compared to the National Security Agency.
This means that whole industries cheer when Google faces competition from any quarter.