Earlier today, accusations surfaced from Mocality, a Kenyan company that provides a directory of businesses, that Google had improperly obtained its customer database, attempted to steal its customers, and misrepresented its relationship with Mocality.
We've since learned from a source close to Google that a small team of people were involved in the improper behavior, but that the company's not sure whether they are official Google employees, vendors, or partners. Our source tells us that while there is no existing policy on how to deal with the issue — it hasn't happened to Google before — the company plans to fully investigate the matter and review its protocols. They stressed that it's a very specific issue in one local office, and that the behavior was not authorized by Google — our source says that "as a company, Google was not aware of it," and that the action was "not condoned."
Our source says that Google is in close talks with Mocality over what happened, and that it will do "whatever needs to be done to make it right."
Earlier today, Google's Nelson Mattos, Vice-President for Product and Engineering, released an official statement on Google+ confirming Mocality's accusations, and says that it is "mortified" about the behavior, and that it's still investigating how it happened. We'll keep close tabs on this story, and let you know when Google updates us on its investigation.