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Outcry Over Google's Purchase of Doubleclick 242

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fear-of-change dept.
TheCybernator writes to mention that several activist groups have cried out in protest of the Google buyout of Doubleclick reported in recent news. "'Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world,' said the complaint lodged with the Federal Trade Commission. 'Moreover, Google will operate with virtually no legal obligation to ensure the privacy, security, and accuracy of the personal data that it collects.' The complaint was filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center along with the Center for Digital Democracy and the US Public Interest Research Group, all of which are involved in online privacy issues."
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Outcry Over Google's Purchase of Doubleclick

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  • What? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:10PM (#18846421)
    No love for Google now? Is the honeymoon over?
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:15PM (#18846485)
      The honeymoon is over, and Google cheated on us. The only question now is who do we move on to, or do we just have a one night stand with Yahoo! to get over the pain.
      • Re:What? (Score:5, Funny)

        by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:41PM (#18846809) Homepage Journal
        I would go with MSN, but I'd be thinking of Altavista.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The only question now is who do we move on to, or do we just have a one night stand with Yahoo! to get over the pain.
        Just don't ask Jeeves. He is sort of old fashioned about these sort of things and is best left alone in his retirement.
      • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2007 @07:40PM (#18847475)
        Oh no! Now Google will know about your page and image searches for porn AND your clicking on porn links!

        I realize some of you are pretty young around here, but there was a time when PC's were new. Everyone wanted one because they unhooked you from CENTRALIZED COMPUTING. Now everyone thinks CENTRALIZED COMPUTING is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

        Guess what, nothing has changed. The corporations want you to buy into centralized computing because it gives them control over your information and computation.

        Looks like history will reinvent itself with everyone wanting to unhook themselves once more. Well, if they are smart.
    • motto (Score:5, Funny)

      by Propaganda13 (312548) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:22PM (#18846611)
      Same old motto, you just read it wrong before.

      Google - Don o' evil
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by HermMunster (972336) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:53PM (#18846955)
      And where's the outcry for Microsoft holding a lock on 90% of the world's computers via their registration, activation, and spy utulity (Windows Genuine Notification)? Why would these entities complain about someone that is able to bring advertisements to the world--especially about privacy issues when Microsoft violates your privacy every day and they are going unchecked? Listen, you have a company with unprecedented access to the world's computers, information about the users, information about governments, access through whatever means they choose to install, and no piddly group such as these are complaining that Microsoft is unchecked.

      When they installed WGN onto your computer and they then started reporting back to their website about your legitimacy they were spying on you. It is akin to having Walmart employees come into your home and search it to determine if those things you have in your home are paid for given the fact that you visit their stores as a customer. This is essentially what Microsoft is doing and they are doing it repeatedly, on a regular basis. Microsoft should get away from it because they installed the equivalent of a hidden camera on your computer? You wouldn't let the government invade your home and you certainly wouldn't allow Walmart to enter it, and you damn certainly should not be allowing Microsoft to do what they are with their WGN program or any other.

      This complaint is utter nonsense and loonacy at best. There are greater issues out there for these agencies to complain about. Let's get them complaining to the FTC about Microsoft's WGN utility and the various other things Microsoft is and will do to invade your privacy.
      • by imemyself (757318)
        I have strong feelings against the Chinese government because of the way that they try to control their population. Does that mean that I can never talk about why I don't like George Bush? Just because there are worse things out there doesn't mean that people can't complain about this Google deal. Maybe, if people pay attention like this, we can make sure that Google never becomes a monopoly like MS is. What if people had been more critical of how MS operated in the eighties and early nineties when they
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ai Olor-Wile (997427) on Monday April 23, 2007 @07:08PM (#18847133) Homepage

      What this article so nobly doesn't mention is that it's Microsoft who's stirring up all of these lobbyist groups. Snatching a link off of Google (ahem), we find:

      DoubleClick: Microsoft Loses, Then Whines - http://www.247wallst.com/2007/04/doubleclick_mic.h tml [247wallst.com]

      Google buys DoubleClick, Microsoft protests - http://techreport.com/onearticle.x/12270 [techreport.com]

      Google rivals urge scrutiny of DoubleClick deal - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18132983/ [msn.com]

      So, um, don't panic. The community hasn't decided Google is the antichrist; this is all astroturfing, and Yahoo and Microsoft were trying to buy DoubleClick too. ;)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by pacalis (970205)
        The difference is that if MS bought Doubleclick, Google would still dominate the market. Something decent about MS for once is that MS doesn't track your word docs, your powerpoint presentations etc... In this day and age, increased privacy is a MS strategic directive.
  • by Neil Blender (555885) <neilblender@gmail.com> on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:10PM (#18846423)
    Is Google good or bad at Slashdot these days?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:19PM (#18846559)
      Yes.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by quiahuitl (1092197)
      Google discreetly bought Slashdot two years ago so answer yourself :p
    • by Lux (49200) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:21PM (#18846599)
      Excellent question.

      I think I'm going to start tagging stories with "googleisgood" or "googleisevil" depending on how I think it reflects on the company. If that catches on, we should be able to gather up-to-the-minute data on whether Google is good or evil.

      God bless Web 2.0.
      • by IgLou (732042)
        Hmm, lets check out the googleshares on this...
        Google 766,000,000
        Evil 151,000,000
        Good 1,150,000,000
        Google + Evil 55,700,000
        Google + Good 341,000,000

        So Google is currently more good than evil. However, Evil is more google than good is... ok, it makes sense when you're down several coffee's.
    • by porkThreeWays (895269) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:26PM (#18846647)
      When your other choices are Viacom, Clear Channel, and Microsoft, I think Google is still one of the good guys.
      • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:39PM (#18846801) Homepage Journal
        I agree. There is this growing trend of people up in arms about how large Google is, and how evil they are.

        Google already holds a good deal of private information about me. And their privacy policies are readily available and clearly outlined.

        http://www.google.com/privacy.html [google.com]

        What does this purchase change other than a new source of information? They do targeted advertising. Google's income relies on giving away free services in exchange for you giving information to Google. I believe their ads while targeted, often come across as less intrusive and less annoying than anyone else's.

        Given their competitors, I think Google is the least evil kid on the block.

        While guys like AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo were volunteering private information to China in a massive witch-hunt, Google was the only one that even tried to fight for your right to privacy.

        Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo have all in the past put out software that doesn't fully disclose how it spies on you.

        Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo have all fought against open standards, open communication and open source software. Google embraces and supports all of these things.

        When someone has evidence to demonstrate that Google is in fact evil, and specifically worse than their competitors, I'll be concerned. Everything until then is alarmist propaganda.
        • by rtb61 (674572)
          The argument is pointless. Google is a profit seeking public corporation, sometimes it will do good things for marketing purposes, which means pretty much nothing. Other times it will do things that would be considered privacy invasive, which is considered by the majority to be evil.

          So criticize them for each and every time they do something wrong and when they do something good, well, why would you congratulate them for doing the morally right thing. We expect it from each other as individuals all the ti

          • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Monday April 23, 2007 @07:50PM (#18847585) Homepage Journal
            Your logic that every for-profit company is evil is weak. Absolute statements don't hold up very well.

            You assume the only reason they would do anything "good" is for marketing purposes to make the company look better. Do you know that when I bring up things like Google's Summer of Code program to the non-slashdot crowd, not a soul has heard about it?

            They don't sit around tooting their own horn.

            Has it ever occurred to you that they are a very wealthy company that has the ability to do good things with their wealth and position, and opts to do so based on principle rather than their image?

            Why is it impossible to believe that they would support something financially simply because they support the ideal?

            You then follow with another absolute statement that advertising companies are all evil. Again, blanket statements aren't helping your cause.

            You also have suggested that Google does from time to time violate your privacy. In what way? Do you have details or examples?

            They paved the way for giving away tons of free products and services. They've paved the way for respecting privacy and establishing trust with their user base. They've paved the way to catering the geek crowd, and attempting to offer the best services as opposed to the most mass-marketed services.

            Most of the anti-Google talk lacks substance and if I had to guess, stems from the hatred of large corporations in general, as opposed to anything that Google has done specifically to deserve it.

            Feel free to try again.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by kjart (941720)

              You assume the only reason they would do anything "good" is for marketing purposes to make the company look better. Do you know that when I bring up things like Google's Summer of Code program to the non-slashdot crowd, not a soul has heard about it?

              You're assuming that the Summer of Code isn't tightly focused marketing to the 'slashdot' crowd. I'm not sure how much it would actually mean to most non-tech people, but it is obviously a big win in the tech/OSS crowd.

              They paved the way for giving away tons

      • by cicho (45472)
        There are no "good guys" when it comes to corporations listed on the stock market. It's a thoroughly silly question to ask, whether Google are good or bad. Some of their actions will benefit users, but only as a side-effect, since they have to benefit their shareholders first and foremost. Other actions will just benefit the shareholders without any positive side-effect for users - or, as may be the case here, with potentially adverse implications. And that's about all that can be said re good-or-evilness o
    • "DoubleClick confirms it! Google is dying!!!!"
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Is Google good or bad at Slashdot these days?

      I think that curve is time delayed compared to if Apple is a good company or not, and perhaps related to if RMS is just an overzealous nutcase or simply great for the OSS community. So, the short answer is -- there's too many unknown factors to know this at this point.
    • Is Google good or bad at Slashdot these days?


      As always, Slashdot consists of many people, with differing opinions on any topic.

  • by Adult film producer (866485) <van@i2pmail.org> on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:12PM (#18846443)
    clear your cookies twice a week and browse the web through Tor.. and use your neighbours wifi connection whenever possible.
    • by ArcherB (796902) *
      clear your cookies twice a week and browse the web through Tor.. and use your neighbours wifi connection whenever possible.

      Firefox has a setting that will clear all settings every time it's closed. Works like a champ. Of course, this won't clear any IP logs on Google's (or whoever's) site, but it's a start. I guess you can force your ISP to keep assigning a new IP to you, but that may be more of a hassle than it's worth. My tin-foil hat doesn't fit that tight.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sumdumass (711423)
        Generally., just changing the Network MAC address your operating system or router reports to your cable/DSL modem and then cycling the power to the modem will change the IP address. I don't know how long it would take untill they are all used up and a probkem ensues. Usually the lease time is only 11 hours or but I'm sure some are set way higher. The router will attempt to keep the IP address asigned to the Modem for that length of time so you may end up having to cycle the power twice.
        • by pnewhook (788591)
          How about turning off your computer and getting a real life? No corporation can track you if you aren't spending 16 hours a day online.
    • by pilgrim23 (716938)
      If you are worried about Google having your private information, be sure to place it somewhere safe and secure say...with your federal government. I am sure they will afford it all the care and consideration you as a citizen deserve..
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cicho (45472)
        The federal government is, at least in theory, electable. In practice, they have long been bought and paid for by corporations. Yahoo now does dissenter policing for the Chinese government, and so does Google, though they have not yet ratted anyone out for a dozen-year stint in a Chinese reeducation camp (that we know of). When it comes to civil liberties, the government is bound by many more laws and regulations than corporations are. Try sending a FOIA request to Blackwater or Monsanto, and report back wh
    • by soft_guy (534437) *
      It is pretty sad if you have to do something illegal just to have privacy.
    • And make sure that nothing about you goes on the internet. Really, most people should be more worried about the stuff that random people and future employers can find out about you through Google rather than some company keeping data about your browsing habits. No one wants google to keep habits about them, but at the same time if you've got pictures of yourself drunk at a party puking over a balcony or smoking weed on your MySpace, that's probably a little more damaging to your reputation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:12PM (#18846451)
    Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world

    You mean one company will have more information than any other company? Unthinkable!
    • by rm999 (775449)
      "You mean one company will have more information than any other company? Unthinkable!"

      I know you are being funny, but I want to point out - in case it's not clear - that that isn't what they meant. What they mean is that this acquisition will cause google to *overtake* the current record holder of privacy infringement (if it isn't them already). They key is that Google will be worse for the status quo, instead of replacing it with something comparable. If it's not stopped now, it never will be. And these co
  • and, as such, is irrelevant bashing.

    If you want to make an argument as to why Google shouldn't be able to aquire Double Click, you have to talk about prices.. you'll just be ignored otherwise.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NewsWatcher (450241)
      Believe it or not the world still takes more into consideration than just prices. If it didn't we could have been purchasing cheap oil from Iraq for the past decade. Sometimes you gotta look past the prices to what is in the public's best interest. In the USA for example you have laws that limit foreign investment in some sectors.

      China probably makes nuclear weapons a lot more cheaply than the United States, but you aren't purchasing them there.

      When it comes to a single conglomerate controlling vast amounts
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        Sigh. They're talking to the Federal Trade Commission about a merger.. the only thing that matters is the effect the merger has on the market.

      • You are not buying nukes from China, but you are buying nearly everything else. And until very recently Halliburton was doing brisk business with Iran through a Cayman-based subsidiary.

        There is hardly any distinction between the government and the corporations anymore. And right now "public's best interest" is what the president (such as he is) says it is.
  • Uhh, duh?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garcia (6573) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:14PM (#18846475) Homepage
    Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world

    Wow, and all this time I thought that they already had.

    Moreover, Google will operate with virtually no legal obligation to ensure the privacy, security, and accuracy of the personal data that it collects.

    How is this different than before just by acquiring Doubleclick? (Hint: It's not.)

    Yeah, acquiring Doubleclick was fucking lame and I think it was an expensive gamble but that doesn't make them any more or less likely to horde our private data.
    • Yeah, acquiring Doubleclick was fucking lame and I think it was an expensive gamble but that doesn't make them any more or less likely to horde our private data.

      It just gives them more data to horde.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by porkThreeWays (895269)
      The whole privacy issue is dumb. Google will have just as much info about you before and after the purchase. i.e. They know everything about your life. Trying to block an acquisition will not change this. I wouldn't be surprised to find out later some of these groups are actually funded by other media companies that wanted to purchase doubleclick.

      All of these complaints are stupid anyway because none of them have the public's interest in mind. Do you really think Microsoft feels the purchase will be agai
      • by cicho (45472)
        "Google will have just as much info about you before and after the purchase. i.e. They know everything about your life."

        If it were so, why purchase doubleclick? Of course the acquisition is expanding their database, it's the only value doubleclick has.
    • by solevita (967690)

      Yeah, acquiring Doubleclick was fucking lame and I think it was an expensive gamble
      Google make their money by knowing all they can about you and selling you ads accordingly. As such, buying one of their big competitors in the data mining industry is probably neither fucking lame, nor an expensive gamble.

      Google is almost becoming the internet because they can afford to buy all they need to. Seems like a good money making scheme to me.
  • by Bananatree3 (872975) * on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:16PM (#18846513)
    would welcome a Google takeover of Doubleclick if it ment a radical change to its underhanded spyware tactics [trustix.com]. If Google can reform this company into something less invasive, I really would welcome that.
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      Yea, And if the spyware didn't crap out the computer in a viral fashion, I wouldn't mind having some installed either.

      You right, there isn't any indication that they are going to use this to any extreme way. And it could be highly possible that Google will take this company to a new level of how it operates.
  • I've had this in my hosts file for yonks:

    127.0.0.1 anything.doubleclick.net
  • Big Google is BAD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:16PM (#18846517) Homepage

    Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world.

    That's the status quo. Google may be that company, they may not be. But there must be one company which knows more than any other at this moment.

    Moreover, Google will operate with virtually no legal obligation to ensure the privacy, security, and accuracy of the personal data that it collects.

    That, too, is status quo. Again, nothing is different.

    I realize that big companies are evil, mergers are evil, and having all that data in one company's hands might make it more likely to be abused than in the hands of two competitors... but this seems like hand-wringing over nothing. Google just placed themselves in a position to used as a bad guy in this fight. Of course, if companies can get your data wrong and not be liable, wouldn't you rather have 5 companies have it wrong than 6?

    Poor Google made themselves a target in an old fight, but I don't really see this as all that bad. This just seems overblown to me.

  • I'm still more worried about the RIAA than Google. The former seems to have a hand in, or is associated with gun wielding police officers. Just pass some legislation to ensure that Google cannot do this, and that one never _must_ use Google (assuming there are alternatives) and I am fine with this. AdBlock will take care of obtrusive ads.
  • No limits, really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:18PM (#18846553)
    "Google will operate with virtually no legal obligation to ensure the privacy, security, and accuracy of the personal data that it collects"

    Don't they have to abide by existing privacy laws? If so, then the real problem is: existing privacy laws are inadequate.

    It shouldn't matter what company it is.
    • by Babbster (107076)
      Clearly, these folks don't think the existing laws are adequate (they're probably right). Of course, that's something to take to Congress (legislative) and isn't something over which the FTC (enforcement) has any power, nor should the privacy issue have anything to do with a proposed merger.
  • Seriously, I think they have more access to that information already (than anyone else)... I doubt this will significantly change things... and if it does, so what? I'd choose Google over MS any day to have such information...
  • by jfengel (409917) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:19PM (#18846567) Homepage Journal
    FTFS:

    ...will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world
    Isn't there always going to be some company with more access than anybody else? Is it this guy's job to complain about whoever has the most information until nobody knows anything? Or will he be satisfied when two companies know precisely the same amount and there is no longer a single company with "the most".
    • Isn't there always going to be some company with more access than anybody else?

      Except when two or more are tied for first place. B-)

      = = = =

      Their spokesperson was innumerate, which makes his lead argument ludicrous to anybody with even a slight understanding of math.

      He was also very unclear on his major point:

      - Google now has access to info on user searches, along with SOME of the link-follows from their search results (those where they hotwired it to go to their servers and forward to the target al
  • That was my first thought. I use ad blocking software and other privacy assurance items. I haven't seen a doubleclick ad in a loooong time.

    MS is obviously having second thoughts about not making a better offer. I understand that there are people out there that will be susceptible to ads on the Internet. I don't know if you can ever get some people to surf safely. Google has so far demonstrated a huge amount of honor (honour) with regard to privacy of users. I'm absolutely happy that doubleclick didn't sell
  • If you don't like it, take your business elsewhere. Every business evolves to improve or maintain profitability and competitiveness. If you don't like Google's business practices, go to MSN, Yahoo, Ask, another competitor, or build your own.

    As they say, the only constant in business is change. And when you have a market as cut throat as internet advertising, companies are going to do everything they think of to get an edge. Google is a business, and they aren't the government, so I don't have any prob

    • You make an excellent point. Really, Google <i>can't</i> be caught doing bad things with the data they collect -- otherwise they're doomed (if people don't trust them, they get no traffic, no advertisers and no sites willing to post their ads... any one of which would impact them greatly). The simplest way to ensure that they don't have that problem is if they don't do bad things with the data in the first place. They know this. Why are we freaking out when they haven't done anything yet, nor is
  • by jhfry (829244) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:23PM (#18846625)
    ... let Google have it. I would much rather have a closely scrutinized, 'Microsoft' of online profiling.

    Why? Because the more consolidated the resources are, the easier they are to monitor, and the more careful they have to be because they are a larger target if they do violate our rights, or simply piss off the internet community.

    I don't like double click any more than anyone else. Mostly because they are very stealthy (well kinda), compared to Google. I know that Google pays attention to what I search for, I can tell by the ads they provide... it's in my face and I trust them (more or less) because they have lots to lose if they start abusing their users.

    I really start to freak out when I visit a not-so-reputable site and get adds for "So-and-so lives in mycity,state about 2 miles away and is looking for a good time..." where did they get my address? I wouldn't put is past doubleclick or any of the smaller tracking systems, but Google would be blasted in the media if they were selling our personal info to Porn/Adult 'dating' sites.

    I could be completely wrong... maybe no one cares enough to complain and Google is selling us all up the river... but I doubt it.

    I do have to admit though, it's kinda scary knowing that anyone has that kind of power to know so much about a person. Kinda like when I reviewed my FBI security clearance paperwork... it's amazing what they can dig up!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rosonowski (250492)
      They map your IP to whereabouts it should be. All they have to do is get the city right, and the rest is probably static.
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pestilence669 (823950) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:25PM (#18846633)
    ... really. It's not like this acquisition comes from anti-competitive practices or anything (search Microsoft's history). Let's complain when they (Google) actually does something wrong instead of being reactionary and speculating about things which have yet to happen.

    Historically, Google has been pretty good about privacy issues, despite the NUMEROUS areas of concern like:
    - Scanning everyone's gmail
    - Google Desktop's indexing of everyone's machine content
    - Keeping search data indefinitely
    - etc, etc.

    Somehow, DOUBLECLICK is the biggest concern? Not a chance. This is media hype perpetuated by the competition crying foul. I really wish people would concern themselves with actual privacy issues. It's just advertising data, people. Fear the Google Desktop, not tracking cookies.
    • by camperslo (704715)

      Somehow, DOUBLECLICK is the biggest concern? Not a chance. This is media hype perpetuated by the competition crying foul. I really wish people would concern themselves with actual privacy issues. It's just advertising data, people.


      Ti you it make seem like just advertising data, but it qualifies as stalking in Texas [nytimes.com].

      It's interesting that Homeland Security looked to someone from doubleclick [infoworld.com] to protect personal privacy [pbs.org].

      It's kinda funny how marketing-speak changed the name "web bugs" to the almost religiously e
    • by cicho (45472)
      "Let's complain when they (Google) actually does something wrong instead of being reactionary and speculating about things which have yet to happen."

      In these cases, prevention is better than cure, because it will be exceedingly hard to know WHEN Google has "actually done something wrong". Bhopal disaster, you knew about it because people were dying all over the place. But a company like Google can be delivering political dissenters to their governments for imprisonment and/or torture, like Yahoo now does, a
  • ...as I am about long-term security. From hackers, from digruntled Googleans (what do you call Google employees, anyway?), from the Federal Gov't, from other Gov'ts who somehow are able to subpoena Google logs. I try not to wear a tin-foil hat too often, and when I do, it's usually got holes for Google, but I'm not a great fan of Double-Click's at least historically.

    But is it worth suing them or breaking them up or blocking their ability to purchase the double-clicks of the world? I don't know. If you

    • by BladesP9 (722608)
      I am puzzled, but not surprised - if that makes any sense. Most of the time I hear that Microsoft is bad for being a monopoly - but now it is somehow not a big deal for Google to be one in terms of user data. Is it only OK because it's Google and you now need to find a way to justify the love and devotion that has been poured over them for years from various sources? Or do you really believe that one company's greed is another's virtue? Sorry - I just don't get it. I'm getting very wary of Google now. Is
      • by bennomatic (691188) on Monday April 23, 2007 @07:31PM (#18847395) Homepage
        It started off as a gut feel, but I'll be honest with you, Google is very far from being a monopoly. They are innovating--and purchasing--their way to success, and they applaud and support small businesses with good ideas. If they were a monopoly, they would have crushed YouTube with GVid, but they didn't; they paid a very good price for it.

        With Microsoft, a lot of what they do stinks of control and monopoly-based thinking. Claiming to support browser standards, but breaking them such that it's more work for web-based businesses to support browsers other than the most dominant one, creating their own "PlaysForSure" music DRM standard and then breaking it for their banner music player which is supposed to supplant the iPod, donating huge amounts of money to schools in the form of certificates for Windows-only software. It's a very different culture.

        Plus, if I really want to, I can block cookies, I can avoid sites with advertisements, I can not use the Google toolbar. They are not forcing me to give them my data. I don't use Google Checkout, for example. I don't like to have a blank check sitting on anyone's system. However, they've made it worthwhile for me (functionally) to use their toolbar, so I do. They've made it (financially) worthwhile for me to use their Adsense system, so I do. They've made it worthwhile (functionally) for me to use Gmail, so I do. It's easy, reliable and the price is right, and I can take my crap and go any time if I really wish to, so I use it.

        The sheer fact that Google is one of the biggest companies doesn't make them the worst. A very small company can be very corrupt. Microsoft, to quote--or at least paraphrase Steve Jobs--may not be evil, but they have no class, and I choose to give them no more of my resources--informational, financial or otherwise--than I absolutely have to. But it's not because their the biggest; it's because they engage in predatory, anti-competitive behavior.

        That being said, Google is a company made up of people. And people do bad things; people make mistakes. My initial point was that even if the intention isn't bad, bad things can happen. I'm not sure it's worth a lawsuit, but it is worth questioning--and was, even before the D-C purchase--whether Google is taking all necessary precautions to make sure that data is not being abused. For example, a client of mine recently emailed me his social security number. I didn't ask for it, and I didn't want it. And I deleted the message. However, it was on my Gmail account, and I'm sure they have a backup somewhere, and if some corrupt-but-efficient person were to gain unfettered access to email backups and do a search for patterns matching social security numbers, they could find them, and possibly use and sell them, and that would be a *bad* thing.

        So in short, there's no love and devotion and justification going on, and Google is not yet Microsoft. G may be bigger, but M is definitely badder. Your wariness is probably founded; I just don't feel the same way... yet.

        Your rhetorical suggestion about some other smaller company with a good idea is probably a good litmus test. If some little company comes along with a search algorithm that works 100 times better than Google's, and Google sues them into oblivion spuriously (i.e. without grounds, but knowing that the little guy doesn't have deep enough pockets), then I'd start to feel the same way about Google. Likewise, if they were to buy the company and bury the technology so that it never saw the light of day, I'd feel negative about Google. But so far, GOOG has been all about incorporating new ideas, using open standards, and supporting multiple platforms. So far, so good. If you want to know how I'll feel about them next week, ask me next week.

    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Yes, I think the first major problem from Google's services won't come from a scandal in how Google use their information, but rather from an exploit. However, it could be an idea to try protect Google from themselves, because can we otherwise be sure they'll sanitize themselves and build their infrastructure in a way that databases aren't cross-ran too much?
  • "will give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world"

    Uh, there will always be one company with access to more information than any other company, unless all companies make all of their information available to all (never happen). Exactly what makes it bad that it's Google, and not company X or Y which has access to the most information?
  • by Itninja (937614) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:36PM (#18846769) Homepage
    Google in 1998: "Don't be evil"

    Google in 2007: "Really now, what is evil? Who are we to say what evil is....?"
  • 3 letters (Score:3, Funny)

    by Duncan3 (10537) on Monday April 23, 2007 @06:44PM (#18846857) Homepage
    I'm sure the CIA will call the FTC and make this all OK. Worry not. It's double-plus good.

    It's well known the CIA is woven deep into Google, and frankly if they weren't we'd have to fire the whole CIA for incompetence.

  • classic slashdot prejudices on display: google can do no wrong. kind of like microsoft can do no right. hey guess what slashbots, in the real world, *gasp* microsoft can actually get some things right, and *gasp* google's "do no evil" buzzphrase is exactly that: marketing propaganda. face it: google might have been the cool new upstart 5 years ago in 2002, but now it is just as much an entrenched bloated corporate entity just as much as whatever your favorite corporate bogeyman is. please catch your prejudi
  • Who cares who owns it, besides, as a pretty successful AdSense publisher, I am glad the possibility of a bigger footprint of what I can advertise and at what kind of revenues...Since there is currently no automated, contextually sensitive advertising system that even comes close to AdSense.
  • It's a hoax (Score:2, Funny)

    by Yeechang Lee (3429)
    Hmm.

    "Electronic Privacy Information Center"

    Your search - "Electronic Privacy Information Center" - did not match any documents.

    Suggestions:
    • Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
    • Try different keywords.
    • Try more general keywords.

    "Center for Digital Democracy"

    Your search - "Center for Digital Democracy" - did not match any documents.

    "US Public Interest Research Group"

    Your search - "US Public Interest Research Group" - did not match any documents.

    Since Google says these so-called 'activist groups' don't exis

  • So far all they've done is purchase a large ad company. Nothing really new for Google, they're already very heavily into the online ad market.

    Of course, this does give them greater *potential* to do evil .... But considering their past history, previously stated goals (do no evil) and past history of pretty much adhering to said goals I for one would be willing to wait and see exactly what they do with this.

    On the flipside - who's whining about this acquisition? .... Microsoft has been leading a bunch of
  • Just saw this in the SMH:

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/search-service-trac ks-your-online-habits/2007/04/23/1177180549441.htm l [smh.com.au]

    "The new feature, called {Google} Web History, allows users to look back in time at the websites they have browsed and search them for specific lines of text." and "Australian Privacy Foundation chair Roger Clarke said of the new feature: "Every URL that you ever go to at any time is being sifted through at Google and thrown into their archives to help them build a profile about yo
  • Use firefox [mozilla.com] + ad block plus [mozilla.org] and filter doubleclick out with *.doubleclick.net/*
  • If doubleclick "hit the monkey" ads start being served from google.com addresses in order to get around the fact that people DNS block doubleclick. Then I will just start DNS blocking google.
  • The complaint was filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center along with the Center for Digital Democracy and the US Public Interest Research Group, all of which are involved in online privacy issues.

    Wow, I'm sure that hearing from those groups will rile up Congress. How about a moratorium on stories about this until someone who is not a tinfoil-hat-wearing paranoid or working for Microsoft files a legitimate gripe?

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