Discussion in 'Waffle' started by sdm, Dec 10, 2004.
Google always innovating
What do you recommend I search for?
I have found this an interesting read ... anyone care to add their thoughts ?
For every successful company, you have a band of people hating on them.
Now if only I'd thought about making Google first..
I'm not jealous by the way
true true, there are always haters. I am interested in these issues (privacy, monopolies) in general though, and am in no way inclined to simply hate on google as it such a universally handy ... thing. I have gmail too, it rocks.
So I am sceptical, but I am not blind to the fact google may have disadvantages that are partly obscured by the fact nearly everyone depends on it somehow.
Basically I think most (read: more than 2/3) people are uninformed enough in the way they use net technology, me included, and I am not about to assume that google is benevolent in any way, helpful as it is.
So, anyone who has read this site or at least part of it, please let us know your feelings/informed opinion (2 diff things) about google's role in your net use.
On one hand they criticize Google for blocking results (China censorship) and on the other hand they criticize Google for not blocking results (Drugs). They make arguments that only make sense to the paranoid - the Google cookie will experience in 2038. They maliciously make it seem like Google is blocking images about US torture - yes, Google blocks those images if you choose the family-friendly search option - if you don't, then you can see them.
Lies and contradictions.
My feeling is that these guys are spammers or scammers who got angry that Google changes its ranking algorithm from time to time - which sabotages their attempts to fix the system - as they could with other search engines and so they set up a Google sucks page.
They don't criticise them for not blocking results on 'drugs', its about inappropriate ads that appear with same. And is it not true that the google cookie will expire in 2038?
Anyway, the issues I am interested in are these below, and until someone can actually debunk them I am still wary :
2. Google records everything they can:
For all searches they record the cookie ID, your Internet IP address, the time and date, your search terms, and your browser configuration. Increasingly, Google is customizing results based on your IP number. This is referred to in the industry as "IP delivery based on geolocation."
3. Google retains all data indefinitely:
Google has no data retention policies. There is evidence that they are able to easily access all the user information they collect and save.
4. Google won't say why they need this data:
Inquiries to Google about their privacy policies are ignored. When the New York Times *2002-11-28 asked Sergey Brin about whether Google ever gets subpoenaed for this information, he had no comment.
If this raises no alarm bells with you, fine. I find it interesting people really won't hear a bad word about google.
doublecheck that one too, safe search function is off.
Not my main point at all, but related to my concern about peoples' willingness to dismiss when they haven't checked.
Can't really comment on 3/4, but we do the same as number 2 here at DNBforum, as do nearly all web sites with a forum and / or a statistics package installed on their hosting account.
With our current advertising software, I can customise banner adverts based on your IP address (location).
It seems point 2 is very generic, so I wouldn't really hold it against the big G.
My 2 cents.
-Edit, point 3 could also be performed by any user with a basic hosting package.
I agree SDM, and it makes the net an easier, more personalised space too.
But given this is the case now, I find points 3 and 4 more of a worry. What are the rules governing how this info is shared with govt/business? Is it affected by the fact we are not subject to American law? Or are we subject to American law?
Again I quote the site -
(Also I do understand many search logarithms have an effectively infinite cookie now.)
Like I said - they criticize Google for editing some results/ads at the same time as criticizing for not editing others. Hypocrisy.
Customization according to address - good. Bring more relevant results. I don't care about dnb parties on Hawaii. If Google can provide me with my local parties without my adding "Warsaw" to the search, thats good.
Browser config - good - makes results more relevant - also means I won't get IE only sites for my Firefox browser.
Data retention and privacy polices - yes, they can retain data forever. So can everybody else - including dnbforum.com. No search engine I've seen has a data retainment policy. Eternal retainment means spending a helluva lot of money on storage - unlikely. And if you don't want your dirty laundry stored - don't post it.
Regarding privacy polices - you don't need to register your name and email to use Google, Gmail, Google Groups, Froogle or Blogger. The real privacy concern is linking your search requests or gmail account to your IP number and then linking it to you, however this requires your ISP's consent.
One point I'd make - Google is not a monopoly. If you don't like it - go use another search engine. Its not Windows - you do have a serious choice.
There a lot of haters on Google but Google has never acted in an evil fashion. They are built on the motto "Never be evil."
And if you don't like them, use MSN Search and Hotmail instead...
When I checked the page - the safe search function was set to true. Or maybe I was out of my head.
Cool, thanks for those thoughts. I tend to agree with what you say about reading your location and browser configuration. Its useful.
Lets assume they are capable of retaining data for, say 5 years with their capacity, and have a policy that allows them to hand it over if they "have a good faith belief that access, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of Google, its users or the public".
You make the valid point that you don't need to supply your real identity to use these services, but what bloody good is email if you have to use aliases to secure your privacy? Its ludicrous. If its to be any good as a tool in this day and age you need to be able to transact real, unencrypted, readable information. My point stands, they can hand every gmail I ever wrote to a govt. authority on these grounds above alone.
Second point on that, is that ISPs can be subpoenaed quite easily under laws in US, Europe, Australia etc ... so yes they can find what I (insert name here) searched for on such-and-such a date.
I am also aware of what constitutes a true 'monopoly', and Google isn't one. I know I have a choice, as we all do, not much good if its a blind choice though. I started this because Google is so pre-eminent that it has a disproportionate influence on peoples' net use. And companies don't talk about the need to 'increase market share' so they can give consumers more choice.
I am NOT a Google hater, I am being curious. I think its totally utterly naive to assume that the corporate logo "Never be evil" is some sort of absolute doctrine that informs everything they do. Its a slogan, not the foundation of their existence!
I use gmail, and google is my homepage, so please can the sarcastic suggestions re. MSN and Hotmail too. I don't want to stop using Google, I want to figure out exactly how it works and what it is capable of, because it is so ubiquitous that its worth asking. Not asking is stupid, maybe you have it all figured out, but I am not satisfied.
Finally you say "And if you don't want your dirty laundry stored - don't post it."
THATS MY POINT !!!
"Meet Daniel Brandt. He is a self-proclaimed public interest activist and the owner of Google-Watch.org Mr. Brandt founded Google-Watch.org after his own site, Namebase.org, did not get a good Google PageRank."
Separate names with a comma.