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eKstreme

Google Hammered In The Press Today

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Although I'm not Google's biggest fan, even I think these two articles crossed too far beyond the line of "reasonable".

 

1. NYT On Day Care, Google Makes a Rare Fumble:

Do you think you know how this story ends? You’re probably guessing that because it involves “do no evil” Google, Fortune magazine’s “Best Company to Work For” the past two years, this is a heart-warming tale of a good company reversing a dumb decision.

 

If only.

 

2. Fortune Mag on CNN: Why Microsoft will win Yahoo:

But Microsoft does not accept that Google is the best tech company. And neither do I. It is a fundamental misreading of Google's market success to describe it as the industry's technology leader.

 

Both worth a read, but only with in "rant damping" mode. Both of these suggest the media is turning against Google. TechCrunch predicted this year would be the year Google loses its "innocent" image. Maybe he's right, but I hope that if it happens, Google, and any other company for that matter, loses it over something serious not mere slanders from bored media reporters.

 

Thoughts?

 

Pierre

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I think both articles have more truth than rant in them, Pierre. Google is in many ways an old-style product-driven company. They need to adopt a much better two-way communication process with their stakeholders. As another thread here suggests, perhaps Google needs an ombudsman. The only issue I would have with the second article is that Microsoft is even worse. Putting two weak search engines together without much better marketing thinking will do nothing for Microsoft.

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The tide must be changing...

 

Discover magazine's print August issue has a large article that shows how Google bought USA surveillance software and is now using it in Google Maps to "spy" on everyday people with their driveby cam's.

 

Google got into a USA army base and took shots of the roads and buildings and put it on Google Maps. The US gov flipped out and banned Google from doing it again.

 

But, for a "Do no Evil" company, why did they think they should do it in the first place?

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Am I the only one who finds the "Do no Evil" motto bit cynical.

 

A bit like in 1984 they would use Ministry of Truth (which was in fact the ministry of lies)

 

That all being said, I do not think Google should be given bad publicity if it does not deserve it.

 

I believe Google in many ways defines our age and hence should be held up high but also criticised where it is due.

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A couple of employees were driving a car running the camera. I doubt that they were trying to capture and give away national secrets. If the military lets people drive down those roads then they should have no expectation of privacy.

 

The bosses at Google are unable to preview and consult with lawyers over every inch of video that is placed on their website just as they are unable to determine the name of every property owner who has real estate shown on the site and get their permission.

 

People who post that "Google is Evil" want Google to be evil.

 

Other people are not even thinking about moral weights and measures.

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I suspect we are seeing the convergence of three streams:

1. Google moving from a search company [sic] with a fast rising stock issue to an ad server, web services company with a plateaued stock price and the associated change of MSM's perspective of them from upstart darling to just another multinational;

 

2. The data privacy and security issue, which, for Google, has been largely an EU problem, has more recently (web services, the Verizon suit, etc.) linked those topics and Google in the mind of US MSM.

 

3. The longterm efforts of Google competitors to sully Google's rep with MSM have laid a lot of available background for journalists to leverage in sync with (2). The dirty little secret about MSM is that few journalists actually 'dig' for stories. Many stories are 'received' and oft published without verification of that initial background and pov.

 

It is not Google that has changed but MSM's perception.

 

What will be interesting, and hopefully amusing, is how Google responds over the next year.

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Happy Monday, Google. Now it's getting serious:

 

GOOG’s MySpace Problem: Serving Irrelevant Ads:

The problem Google is having monetizing its inventory of News Corp.’s MySpace pages may have more to do with faulty algorithms for ad serving than it does inherent issues with social networking sites.

Worth a read.

 

Pierre

Edited by eKstreme

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when an organisation gets so massive there has to be pieces that start coming loss especially when it’s in such a dynamic and relatively young market place

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What needs to be very well regulated are the privacy issues. Not so disasters and misuse can be prevented, you can't do that through law, but just so the rules are clear.

 

Apart from that Google is the second Microsoft I see in my life. By their might they do a lot of things which are truly annoying for other companies and a few things which really aren't correct.

 

Yet the overall backlash against then Microsoft and now Google seems to have much less to do with the company itself and much more with what the company represents. To figure out for yourself if you (generic) might belong to that camp, ask yourself if you would feel hunky dory with every once everything Google has been handed over to Yahoo, IBM, Sony or Kellogg's.

 

If you felt iffy about Google before the answer is probably no.

 

What seems to irk us is when one company through open market economy means becomes so successful that it becomes and a market force itself and a political influence. No doubt the fact that such a company is part of our everyday life makes things worse, right?

 

I love the idea of turning your life into indexed bits. The permanent web history on Google? Great! Do I like it that Google provides this service? Yes and no... Yes, because they're likely to really be around with this service for life. No, because I would like to be able to select other services that do this so I can give each service a little bit of my life instead of one mighty service all of it.

 

Likewise I think most of us are comfortable with parts of Google's business and business reach -- it's just that combined into one Giant we start to feel uncomfortable, right?

 

It's at that point that we want to see different rules introduced for Google (Microsoft) then for our friend who started his own web 2.0 company....

 

And perhaps, for some or at some times, the "arrogance" comes into play as well. I notice how a lot of people much younger then me don't have these Google/Microsoft problems (unless they hang around in circles where it's considered cool to have those problems...).

Could we be suffering from "popular friend syndrome" and do we label that as "arrogance" of the other party?

Here we are, "friends": we "grew up" together, Google and I... Remember, Google, when I was there being hip because my friends used Hotbot and complained about spam while I went to you? I made you great, I helped turn you into a star and now look at how you treat me! Like I'm "just" one of your customers! You're no better than Facebook ("come and see! .... oh cool.... oh, forget it...") or Twitter ("life changing!.... open your mind! .... ah well....").

 

In our mumbling and grumbling about Google, our gloating in semi-bad news -- aren't we looking more at ourselves than at Google?

 

<edit>corrected URL

Edited by bwelford

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You are right, of course, Ruud. We might be disappointed that G has cheated on us and turned to the dark side.

 

However, it doesn't mean we'll enjoy it stomping around like an elephant in a trinket store.

 

Ruud, do you assume that whatever we do, outside this story, doesn't resemble ourselves? :) I wouldn't expect it to be different here, either.

Edited by A.N.Onym

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I think, Ruud, there are two major questions here. On the privacy question, it's really the other side of our visibility on the Internet. We can't blame Google alone here. Just check what cyberspace knows about you with Whozat. If we wander around we leave very persistent footprints.

 

Google as a major force in the information space must clearly accept its responsibilities with respect to privacy. If we do not like Google's rules, our only option is almost to opt out of cyberspace.

 

That clearly is one area of concern. However my biggest concern with Google is their arrogance in assuming that if they build it, we should like it. They produce some fine products but almost entirely from a product driven view. They are very slowly getting a little better in trying to listen to customers. However measured against what they should be doing, they would only rate an F in my estimation.

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Yura, I'm actually of the thought that Google hasn't cheated on us and hasn't gone over to the dark side.

 

I think the starting negative reaction to Google is one that seems to be common to our collective reaction to this type of large company. A little bit like once a star has become Bigger Than Life we, the collective, seem to have a need to make the playing field level again by breaking that person down.

 

Barry, I like your point regarding privacy not being a Google-only issue. It falls outside of this thread but I think that the nature of privacy, the expectation of what it entails, will not only change but has changed in the past 3 years.

 

As for their production method and perceived arrogance ... I don't know. A good number of their products started in what I believe is a pretty good way: one or two guys or gals thinking "dang, would be handy if...". Out of those personal needs Google Reader and Google News were born, for example.

 

Also, my impression is that after having toyed with making "products" or services (Google Docs, Gmail, Picasa, etc.) Google is concentrating again on making money by establishing itself as *the* advertising content delivery and tracking network. Can't say their other products are a big hit, eh :)

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Google is neither evil nor not evil, it simply is a company with a lot of money and a lot of data whose business model requires it to continually capture as much data as possible and parse it for as many revenue streams as possible. Quite normal contempory business practice.

 

My concerns are more about the concept of privacy. Google has become the poster-child of privacy denied due to it's scale of consumption and re-use of personal information, not because it was the first to do so.

 

If one uses any web service one must consider the possibility (and often the reality) that all provided information is copied by the provider for their own re-use. Further one must consider that any web connected information can be cracked, stolen, and abused.

 

Then there is the continuing torrential loss of business and government laptops full of inadequately secured improperly stored personal information. And dumpsters full of unshredded personal medical histories, etc.

 

I sometimes think the only reason we have any privacy left is because our personal information is lost among everyone else's out there not because it is actually restricted.

 

Data privacy is largely gone. Discussing shutting the stable doors is equivalent to shutting one's eye's, the horse is already loose. It would be better to develop methods to access all one's own data wherever it might reside, with simple means of review and correction of errors. Plus stiff penalties for the provision of misleading or false data about others, and for the misrepresentation of another's data as yours.

 

I remember reading years (decades?) ago about one of the Scandanavian countries where one could, for a fee, check a limited number of other people's data. It included notification to those folks that whoever had viewed their information. That format sounds reasonable in todays data mining world.

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