For the past few months I’ve been noticing a lot of Google-bashing.
It seems to’ve started when Gmail came out, and has escalated every time the Big G comes along with another innovation or business deal. We now even have a little pejorative term, “fanboy,” to describe people like me who believe Google’s on the right track. Well, “geek” used to be a four-letter word. They used it to describe a skinny college dropout named Gates. As of last week, Billy G. was still the richest man in the world.
With Gmail it was “privacy.” Everyone got excited about the little targeted ads that Google puts over on the right side of the screen when you read your mail. They were like, “OMG! Google is reading our mail! Our privacy… yada, yada, yada…” What garbage! Google’s system scans the mail for certain keywords, then targets the ads to the keywords. No one reads your mail. And guess what? Yahoo!, Hotmail, Mail.com, AOL, and anyone else with spam-rejecting software does the same thing. Google just makes more effective use of the results, because it wrote better algorithms to begin with. Anyone who cares can look over your email anyway. If you don’t encrypt it, every single message is hung out on the cyberspace line for the entire neighborhood to paw over if they want to – and that’s not paranoia. At least the Google folks are honest enough to tell you they do it!
Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo!, on the other hand, don’t tell you that they scan your mail, and they stick big ads all over the screen where they get in the way, and smaller ones on your mail itself, unless you pay extra. Gmail messages contain no ads at all, and they’re free. Note: all of Google’s services are free at present. Wonder whose butt that burns?
Then there was the China deal (I’m skipping a few minor issues here). Gosh! Google agreed with the Chinese government to limit some of the material on its Chinese site, in return for acquiring a billion new customers. Imagine that! Guess who else makes similarly nefarious deals with the Chinese? Only every other government and company that trades with them, that’s all. The good ol’ Freedom and Liberty-pushing US of A is at the front of the line, in fact. (Think “human rights.”) Oh, by the way – MSN, Yahoo!, and AOL all made similar deals, and no one said a word. Now what makes more sense, for Google to stand fast, lose the business of probably half the customers on the planet, and still have them getting censored information from the other three, or for them to do what they have to do and serve up as much accurate data as they can get away with? Let’s get real here – remembering, all the time, that the other folks do it too.
Now we come to the flap with the Department of Justice. Google has agreed (egad!) to release limited information about some of its searches to the DOJ. Google fought it, lost to a judge’s decision, and will give the government some info – a helluva lot less than Duhbya’s boys and girls wanted, mind, because Google fought to protect its trade secrets and – incidentally – your privacy. (Oh, I forgot, you don’t use Google. You don’t approve of it.)
Despite the fact that none of the data required by the DOJ would have exposed any individual’s surfing habits, nor the details thereof, Big G fought it anyway. It could have revealed some information about Google’s business secrets, specifically about the way some of its search algorithms are constructed, but I like to think there was some principle involved, too, to do with the “Evil” thing. Maybe I’m a Pollyanna. Again, however, guess what? Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN caved without a whimper, and gave the Feds what they asked for – a lot more than Google will be giving them.
BTW, instead of whining about Google’s integrity, why aren’t you complainers writing letters to every one of your Senators and Representatives? Real letters, that will get their attention, not those silly, useless online petitions that just make you feel like you’ve done something. Why aren’t you letting them know how you feel about Internet privacy? (Oh, GOSH. Take a stand and actually CONTRIBUTE? Suck it up and put out a little effort toward changing things for the better, instead of just complaining? Well, I don’t knowwwwww….)
Looking at the way this stuff keeps turning up, it makes you wonder who starts it all. Naturally Micro$oft, AOL, and the others would never do anything like that, but it does make you wonder.
Of course, I’m one of those fanboys…
[tags]gmail,google-bashing,china fiasco,search tech,fanboy[/tags]