Monday, August 11, 2008

Why I am beginning to hate Google?

Don’t’ be evil”. This is the corporate motto of Google. Google’s much publisized Don’t Be Evil policy according to them has been their forte all through these years to earn trust from its users. The motto speaks that Google believes in providing users with unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the bext products and services.

Don’t be evil links:
http://investor.google.com/conduct.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don

Lets forget the previous paragraph completely. Just sit back and reflect on how as netizens, our life has been dependent on Google. We have today knowingly or unknowingly handed over our control to Google which is slowly prgramming our behavorial patterns on the Internet. We have innocently surrendered ourselves to Google. We ask Google involuntarily to search anything and everything under the Sun for us and get to see only what Google wants us to see. Ok you might disagree. Because according to their Don’t Be Evil policy they would actually show what is relevant. All through these years we see what Google gets us to see. Just imagine the kind of power that Google wields. It’s the torch bearer for the ignorant and nothing could be more powerful than that where you can conscisously program the psyche of your users. And we all have been allowing Google to do it, because we “TRUST” Google. We trust that its search algorithms are the most unbiased and it only shows relavant ones. I thought the same.
Its all too easy to talk about principles, mottos and ethics when you are starting and growing something. But when you taste success, when you sense the all pervading power, when you know you are invincible, it gets very tempting to shortchange the very principles and mottos for a little moolah. I did my own little research on its search veracity.

My research

A search first page by default shows ten search results. How would you know if out of the ten, there is one search that is put by design and not by fair search? You and me are not equipped to know this and neither would we bother. I did a few trial runs and saw instances of one or two search results in the front page where it did not deserve to appear. It then reinforces the statement, “Google shows us what it wants us to see”

I searched on the following key words:

  • Books
  • SMS
  • News
  • Translation
  • Maps
  • Groups

I was startled at what I saw. In all the above cases, Google tried to accomodate space for its own Google services in the first page, bypassing other deserving sites.
SMS
Search on SMS gave me Google Mobile SMS, as the third search result. And what does it have. Have a look at what I got below:



This is an over the top attempt to advertize a Google’s service which is just Beta and which still is not in service.

Books
Search on Books gave me Google Book Search as the first search result. Ahead of Amazon and Barnes and Noble's database.
Same was the case for other key words. The whole point is that Google is designing popularity of its other services through a power that it weilds and its users unwittingly and naively are absorbing what it wants them to see.

Imagine tomorrow, you search for a topic, and Google would plant a KNOL article ahead of its Wikipedia equivalent. I am sure this is going to happen. Take it in writing.


Well, its not just me who is keeping a close eye on Google. There are many who want to keep a watch on Google’s unsuspecting ways so that it will not take its users for a ride. There is is a not for profit organization yet professional organization called, Google Watch, headed by Daniel Brandt who is president of Public Information Research. Google Watch professes to keep a watch on Google’s monopoly, algorithms and privacy policies. In 2003, it nominated Google for the “US Big Brother Awards”. The following were the accusations:

Accusation 1: Google’s Immortal Cookie
Accusation 2: Google records everything they can,
Accusation 3: Google retains all data indefinitely.
Accusation 4: Google wont say why they need all this data

You all know about how Google scans your email and picks key words from it to show the relevant ads adjacent to it. I have been aghast many times, to see an ad popping just when my mail contained matter related to the ad. Google has time and again defended its policy of privacy breach by saying that it betters its customer service. Thirty-One Privacy and Civil Liberties Organizations already have made a public urge to Google to Suspend Gmail.

The truth is everything that you do on the Internet, the Big Brother is watching.

4 comments:

Prasanna Seshadri Monday, August 11, 2008 11:50:00 PM  

Come on, see the value in Google as what you get from it and not based on what they do.

In business everything will be emulated one one day, from Netscape to IE to Firefox, everything will have its moments and then they may be history, its just part and parcel of the game and one cannot blame the other for that matter.

Remember the sweetest of the fruits gets the maximum no of stone hits, its the same case with Google as well.

Ravi Kumar Monday, August 25, 2008 11:43:00 AM  

I very much agree with you Prasanna. I was just giving a sneak peek into its other side. They are the leaders no doubt. ;)

sarublogs Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:59:00 AM  

Hi i think you are missing some thing here
http://searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html?page=2189531
this article will clarify all your doubts abt cookies privacy etc.

next your sms search exp:- this is called brand extension. any company will use an already existing brand to launch a new product. so just that your SMS exp with google was bad(their message was loud and clear we r working on it and beta!). if you want, search for explore in live.com and it will throw internet explorer as the results. This you have to bare with.

BTW nothing is free on earth, all the data google tracks for user behaviour is the fees you pay for using google. ofcourse all search engines track these.

So lets stop complaining about the hitches and enjoy the rich experiences (maps, docs, blogspot,gtalk) to me google stands for lite weight, simplicity, functionality unlike MS which is bloated most often, and charge you like hell.

Cheers!
Saravanan

TopesZZ Wednesday, October 29, 2008 11:13:00 PM  

Absolutely right...Google is GOD now. Big Brother of the 1984 TVC by APPLE.
The 'No Evil'' concept was not followed by Google when they entered China - and they actually did not index and crawl many websites that the Chinese Govt did not want them to - as these sites were arguably anti-govt!!!
So must learn to take these search results with many pinches of Namak

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