Friday, January 27, 2006

Censorship Justifications from Brin, Do No Evil hypocrisy

Gary Price has been doing a good job of covering Google's China censorship debacle, and has posted a good recap of everything that's been going down on the Search Engine Watch blog post entitled, 'Brin Speaks On China & Looking At What's Filtered'. There is a rundown of what is being censored and a few other tidbits of note, like that Congress will ask Google to attend a hearing held by the House Subcommittee on Human Rights, after being bashed by the committee's chairman Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey.

In a CNN interview given by David Kirkpatrick, Sergey Brin commented on Google's justification for the censorship, saying that:

We ultimately made a difficult decision, but we felt that by participating there, and making our services more available, even if not to the 100 percent that we ideally would like, that it will be better for Chinese Web users, because ultimately they would get more information, though not quite all of it.

Brin goes onto say that they do the same thing in the US and Germany. But I must mention that the things that they are by law required to censor in these countries are not topics that a communist government wants censored to oppress its people from thinking in a way that is subversive to their way of governing. The U.S. requires the blocking of child porn. GREAT. The Germans block Nazi materials, NO PROBLEM. But blocking human rights and materials on democracy, NOT OK! There is a huge difference in what they are blocking, and to compare them like they're equitable is a bunch of baloney.

Kirkpatrick then ran into Human Rights Watch's boss, Ken Roth, who made this comment:

"I'm sure Google justifies this by saying it's just a couple of search words that people can't get to, but it's very difficult for Google to do what they just did and avoid the slippery slope. The next thing they'll do is ask them to tell them who is searching for 'Taiwan' or 'independence' or 'human rights.' And then it's going to find itself in the position of turning over the names of dissidents or simply of inquisitive individuals, for imprisonment.

The key in my view is that every company faces the same dilemma -- how do you maintain your principles while benefiting from the enormous Chinese market. And the answer is only going to come through safety in numbers. And it's going to require all of the search engines to get together and say "None of us will do this." And China needs search engines. If it can pick them off one at a time, it wins. If it faces all of the search engines at once banding together, the search engines win.

I think Google has totally missed the mark here.

In the US, the Department of Justice subpoenas them to give over nonspecific things that will aid an investigation and they refuse. Microsoft has announced exactly what kind of queries they are asking for, and guess what? They do not identify any IP addresses or leak private information. So why act all high and mighty like they're more ethical than the other companies who turned over what the government was asking for, but then agree to censor subjects for a communist government to exert control over its citizens?

They're selling themselves in the wrong way. They'd rather go against the US government and sleep in the pocket of China's.

Do No Evil my ass.

It's very funny to note that Google has removed their help article about them not censoring search results. It once read:

Google does not censor results for any search term. The order and content of our results are completely automated; we do not manipulate our search results by hand. We believe strongly in allowing the democracy of the web to determine the inclusion and ranking of sites in our search results.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Is Yahoo Looking to Acquire Digg?

Michael Arrington has posted a rumor on his TechCrunch blog, speculating as to whether Yahoo is looking to acquire Digg.

Are these Digg acquisition rumors founded, or is it bloggers stirring up trouble? There are a few people who say yes, Yahoo is setting their sites on this company. Some within Digg have denied the rumors, but that can be common when company's are talking about things like this.

I say go Yahoo!. Digg would be another smart acquisition for the Internet media giant. I admire Yahoo!'s strtegic acquisitions, the companies they buy are intelligent additions to their portfolio of services. I wonder when they will buy Technorati.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Google Caves to China Communists - Censors Results

Google, like Yahoo and MSN before them, has caved in to Communist China's demands to censor search results on their Chinese search engine.

The move is seen as a gross mockery of the freedom of speech the Internet allows, and organizations like Reporters Without Borders see it as a way for the communist government to exert unfounded control over the Internet.

"When a search engine collaborates with the government like this, it makes it much easier for the Chinese government to control what is being said on the Internet," said Julien Pain, head of the group's Internet desk.

So what type of search results will Google be censoring for China's internet searchers? Google has agreed to censor searches for subjects like [human rights], [Tibet], [democracy], [Taiwan independence] and the like.

I can somewhat understand censoring porn, or things that are illegal. Maybe. But censoring topics that are considered "subversive" to your government's reign of control, in an vain attempt to control the Chinese people's thoughts and feelings, well that's just evil.

Google really should drop their "Do no evil" slogan because that's all they've been doing since they went public.

I am sorry that the Chinese people continue to be oppressed by their government and now have all major search engines aiding in that oppression. Shame on you all.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Yahoo! Doesn't Think They Can Beat Google?

A new interview by Yahoo's CFO reports that those planning Yahoo!'s stragegic direction don't think it's viable to beat Google in the search market.

"We don't think it's reasonable to assume we're going to gain a lot of share from Google," Chief Financial Officer Susan Decker said in an interview. "It's not our goal to be No. 1 in Internet search. We would be very happy to maintain our market share."

Now I must interject that I think Yahoo! is a much superior search engine than Google, especially after the last 3 - 4 Google updates have continued to kick legitamite sites out of rankings. Yahoo!'s search is quality, and with their myriad of other services, I think they easily beat Google when you look at their company's side by side.

I don't know why their CFO should feel the need to come out and say things like this. Terry Semel should have stopped this interview from being published. Does the CFO really understand the search market when they're dealing with financial outlooks and figures?

For them to give up their quest for search dominance, means that they are cowed by Google's purported superiority, which I don't think is the case at all.

Yahoo! beats Google in many ways, even in the search market. Their publisher network offers telephone support, and offers higher revenue sharing than Google. Ever since Google lowered their CPC threshold to just 1 cent, AdSense partners are probably getting 1/3 of a penny per click on the lowest end, while Yahoo's lower end threshold is still 10 cents, meaning publishers get more money per click on Yahoo!.

I have never been able to get someone on the phone at Google. With Yahoo!, it takes less than a minute to have a real IT person talking on the phone with me. Yahoo! is so accessible and willing to help.

Yahoo! also holds integral patents for search engines and search queries, especially after having acquired Alta Vista who were the real pioneers in search engines. They also have Overture's SEM patents. Google has nothing like Yahoo!'s patent portfolio.

I don't think they should sell themselves short. Yahoo! may be a little behind in the actual SERPs, but I do believe their satellite services more than beat Google's lackluster service record.

The future is theirs for the taking. Yahoo is a company that stands up for its people. Google will become increasingly hard to deal with in the coming years. Hell, it's impossible to deal with them already.

In the end I must say that Google is for sheep, Yahoo! is for real people.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Google Does Radio Advertising - Acquires dMarc

Unlike Yahoo!, which is busy in buying consumer oriented companies like, Flickr, and WebJay, Google is after pleasing its advertisers.

Today Google has announced it is buying dMarc broadcasting for $102 million in cash. Google may end up paying as much as $1.136 billion over the next three years in contingent payments.

Tim Armstrong, vice president of Advertising Sales, Google says

"Google is committed to exploring new ways to extend targeted,
measurable advertising to other forms of media. We anticipate that
this acquisition will bring new ad dollars and accountability to radio
by combining Google's expansive network of advertisers with dMarc's
talented team and innovative radio advertising technology. We look
forward to working together to continue to grow and improve the
ecosystem of the radio industry."

Do you think this was a good acquisition for Google? Why is Google not going after consumer oriented companies? Will such ignorance of consumer oriented companies hurt Google in the long run? Regardles, media giants need to watch Google carefully.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Old and New Meanings of Words

Old Meaning
1. google it: To find something using a search engine
2. you've been googled: someone has found your site using google.
New Meaning (2006)
google it: To destroy something
you've been googled: Your site has vanished from the Internet

Satire by FM
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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Phone records for sale

Somewhat related to "Search Scandals", the Chicago SunTimes is reporting that your cell phone records may be for sale on numerous online services.

Criminals can use such records to expose a government informant who regularly calls a law enforcement official.

Suspicious spouses can see if their husband or wife is calling a certain someone a bit too often.

And employers can check whether a worker is regularly calling a psychologist -- or a competing company.

This must be a violation of laws, and privacy concerns need to be addressed by some authority. However it seems that the law is currently not doing what it needs to do.

"Though this problem is all too common, federal law is too narrow to include this type of crime," -- Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Please pass some laws to protect against this, I do not want my phone records available to purchase for less than $200.

Reading: Your phone records are for sale

A site selling phone records: LocateCell (shut these guys down someone!!)

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Google steps boundaries with Google Pack

At CES 2006, Google Inc accounced the release of Google Pack. Google Pack is nothing new or innovative, just a collection of software packages bundled together. The idea behind Google Pack seems to be to let users download a bundle of software packages (regardless of whether they need it or not) by downloading a single package.

Google is marketing Google Pack as a "free Software Package" that "offers users One Stop to Discover, Install and Maintain a Wide Range of Essential PC Programs."

One of the funniest parts of the press release was that Google Public Relations people forgot to change the year on their press release template. Hey, its 2006 now. The dateline on the press release read,

"CES, LAS VEGAS, Nev., January 6, 2005 - Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG)"

Seems like Google needs some people to double check their press releases. It makes them seem like a dumb company that outsources their press releases and then the press releases are published without any proof reading. Not something to be expected from a company that claims to have hired the "smartest brains" on earth. But then, PR is the area where IMHO, Google has always been seriously lacking.

My rant about professional PR aside. Marissa Mayer, VP of search products reportedly said, "We've heard from countless new computer owners that it can take
days or weeks to install all the software they need to make their
computer useful. We developed Google Pack to give users a way
to painlessly install all the essential software they need -
pre-configured in a sensible way - in a matter of minutes. Better yet,
users don't have to keep track of software updates or new programs
- we maintain and update all the software for them."

Now, I don't know about you but to me, this is a big bologny that "it can take days or weeks to install all the [f*cking] software they need to make their computer useful."

Excuse my frankness, but what kind of an idiot do you have to be that it will take you days to download a handful of free software?

Now the scary part:

Google Pack also includes Google Updater, a new tool that intelligently
downloads, installs and maintains all the software in the Google Pack.
Google Updater alerts users when updates and new programs become
available and ensures each program is always up-to-date. Google Updater
can also be used to monitor the status of installation, run software
that's been installed, or easily uninstall software.

Users can easily select which programs they want to install. For
programs already installed on a computer, Google Updater checks whether
the latest version is running. If not, Google Updater will install the
latest version.

Every program included in the Google Pack is free, has earned a
reputation for excellence, and was evaluated to ensure it meets
Google's Software Principles. Google respects users' rights to
control their own computers and does not include software that is
spyware, generates pop-ups, or that is difficult to uninstall.
Additional information on Google's Software Principles is available

Whatever Google. You are just trying to shove your software by bundling it with a few other packages, something that most seasoned users DON'T like. If I want to download Real Player, I can do so myself. You don't need to freaking shove it on my computer. No thanks, I'll pass on that.

Expect Google to start ripping people off by charging a fee to include their software in Google Pack. After all its a company that will sell itself for anything. Go look at the ads they show when you search for [Google]. All ads are crap, but the company markets them as "highly relevant" and useful to the user. Go F*** yourself.

Frankly Speaking

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google+updater CES
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