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The In-Progress Plot To Kill Google 234

Posted by timothy
from the one-grain-of-salt-per-word dept.
twitter writes "Four years after Steve Ballmer vowed to kill Google, Wired details Microsoft's, AT&T's, and big publishers' ongoing slog. The story is filled with astroturfers, lobbyists and others spending millions to manufacture FUD about privacy and monopoly in order to protect the obsolete business models of their patrons, who are mostly known for progress-halting monopoly and invasion of privacy. Their greatest coup to date was preventing Google from rescuing Yahoo."
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The In-Progress Plot To Kill Google

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  • by SupremoMan (912191) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @09:53AM (#26528005)
    Summary omits any references to chair throwing :(
    • by cyborch (524661)
      Come on, that wasn't off topic. That was fun! The summary is so very pro-google that even I think it's too much, and I wear my "Google - I'm feeling lucky" t-shirt with pride...
    • by wisty (1335733)

      The summary also forgot to mention msn, or live.com search, or whatever Microsoft is currently pimping.

  • by Speare (84249) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @09:54AM (#26528013) Homepage Journal
    Man, that blurb couldn't have been more paranoid-delusional if Oliver Stone directed it. Where do you get the idea that Google really wanted to "rescue" Yahoo? A solid company buys a failing company because the benefits and assets out-value the price.
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:02AM (#26528093) Homepage Journal

      No doubt. But keeping Yahoo alive and independent of Microsoft was and still is in Google's best interests, whether you call it a 'rescuing' or not. Microsoft wants Yahoo's search because their own sucks and they know it. Even Ballmer has admitted that his own impatience caused Microsoft to fail in search. Yahoo is the next best technology to Google's.

      So of course Google wanted to 'rescue' Yahoo from the jaws of Microsoft.

      Never attribute to heroism what can be explained by simple self-interest. ;)

      • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:17AM (#26528225)

        No doubt. But keeping Yahoo alive and independent of Microsoft was and still is in Google's best interests, whether you call it a 'rescuing' or not. Microsoft wants Yahoo's search because their own sucks and they know it....

        Google should love the idea of Microsoft buying Yahoo. One more albatross around Microsoft's neck, a lot more straws to grasp at while it flails around searching for direction, and a bunch of cash taken out of Microsoft's coffer = less resources.

        And face it: yahoo is becoming a failure in many areas. Its search, while second best, still sucks. It's webmail stagnates since the early 2000s and the "new" yahoo mail is atrocious. Etc, etc, etc. Nothing better than to hobble MS than with a soon-to-be hasbeen. Just like Compaq and HP merger screwed both companies for years, this will be much worse.

        As a consumer, I would like Yahoo to keep going, to innovate and update, to keep Google on its toes. But as Google, nothing would be better than to let Microsoft have at it.

        • by yog (19073) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:35AM (#26528445) Homepage Journal

          Yahoo has pretty good email actually and its filtering features are more flexible than gmail's. Yahoo's folders make sense. There's a lot to commend Yahoo mail.

          Furthermore, you can't reasonably expect millions of people with Yahoo mail addresses to suddenly switch to gmail simply because it's incrementally better in certain ways. Yes, back when Yahoo had a 10 megabyte limit and made you pay for more space, it made sense to switch. It makes a lot less sense to switch today because Yahoo has caught up.

          Yahoo search has been marginalized by Google. But its mapping, news, financial, sports, games, and shopping sites are still used by hundreds millions of people. Yahoo is still a huge franchise and would be a rich prize for whoever acquires it.

          Microsoft attempted to acquire Yahoo for a premium price of over $40/share a while back (woe that I didn't sell my damn Yahoo shares at that time!!!) and now they *might* pick it up for fire sale prices. It seems that despite himself, Ballmer might yet pull off a coup by having waited for Yahoo's stock to go down.

          I personally will be sad to see Yahoo go, because it was such a formative part of my own internet experiences back in the day. To this day I still have Yahoo stock quotes, news, and weather on my browser tool bar and I go there many times a day. I only wish their multimedia worked better in Linux, the one failing of Yahoo in my book. I'd rather see Google get them because Google might preserve the good stuff, while Microsoft is more likely to absorb and rebrand.

          • by the_arrow (171557) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:49AM (#26528599) Homepage

            You forgot to mention that Yahoo is still very big in south-east Asia. In some countries their mail and messenger services are number one.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by sveard (1076275) *

              Because in south-east Asia, only old people use Google

            • And General Motors is doing very well in Europe and Asia as well. Doesn't mean the company overall isn't losing money hand over fist and in danger of bankruptcy.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Cowmonaut (989226)

            I'm curious how Google's mail folders don't make sense. It was implied in your statement that Yahoo's folders make sense. I normally use my gmail through Outlook (have to use it at work for the exchange server) but from what I remember it has an inbox, outbox, archive, and spam folders by default and then you can make your own labels to organize how you want. And those become their own folders when you use a client and gmail with IMAP.

            So how are Yahoo's better? Or are they the same?

            • by jgtg32a (1173373)
              Because Labels are retarded
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by xouumalperxe (815707)

              Two tags in gmail map to a tag1/tag2 folder hierarchy when you download that message via IMAP. When you upload something back to gmail, it will be stuffed with a single tag called "path/to/message".

              Possibly that's what the GP meant.

            • by Dun Malg (230075) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:26AM (#26529019) Homepage

              I'm curious how Google's mail folders don't make sense. It was implied in your statement that Yahoo's folders make sense.

              Going out on a limb here, as it's been several years since I abandoned my Yahoo email for my own mail server--- in my mother's basement, under my bed, next to my star wars underpants--- but I think it might be a "tags" vs "folders" issue. I've had one of my brother's friends tell me he didn't like Gmail because when you create a new "folder" for mail and a filter to sort it by, mail gets "copied" to two different folders! That's how it's supposed to work, but some folks just can't get over the fact that they have a Gmail tag for Ewok discussions and one for eBay auctions and that the email saying they've won an Ewok TV tray on eBay shows up IN BOTH PLACES!!!!1! Tags are a more flexible sorting system, but they require a certain mental shift to grok, and some people just have that "eighty column mind" thing going.

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by Zebedeu (739988)

                Wow.

                Your post was like a Kamehameha of Star Wars references.

          • folder are inferior to tag, period.

            If you want "folder" in GMail juste use one tag.

            But you can be more flexible with multi-tag

            my 2 cent

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rolfwind (528248)

            Yahoo has pretty good email actually and its filtering features are more flexible than gmail's. Yahoo's folders make sense. There's a lot to commend Yahoo mail.

            Furthermore, you can't reasonably expect millions of people with Yahoo mail addresses to suddenly switch to gmail simply because it's incrementally better in certain ways.

            I recently switched my parents because they were complaining for some time they were getting too much spam (mostly their fault as they were signed on to stupid things, hopefully cor

          • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:01PM (#26530499)

            MS search is pretty bad, yes. Google is a lot better. However, Yahoo is substantially better than Google. Go to search.yahoo.com for a clean interface if you want, and next time you actually need something, compare Yahoo and Google. I do about once a month. For the last several years, Yahoo's results have been equivalent to or vastly superior to Google's, in terms of ordering of results and lack of unrelated results. It's hard to quantify, though, and conceivably Yahoo just has an advantage when searching for the things I typically need (scientist stuff).

            If you want a more easily demonstrated Yahoo advantage, compare Yahoo's map searching and Google's. Last week I stood within five blocks of a restaurant I needed help finding and searched Google maps (the app version on my phone) for its name. Every single result I got was an irrelevant location, none closer than 10 miles to my location, and they were all based on someone mentioning the place I wanted (or the type of food it makes) in a review. Half of them weren't restaurants. I have to admit, searching for something that included the word sushi and getting a pet shop as my top results was pretty funny. This is very consistent behavior with Google maps, which is a great mapping site until you need to access Google's weakness: search. Luckily, I keep yahoo maps bookmarked, and so I was able to get a map (unfortunately without GPS) that got me to dinner. As usual, searching for the name of the restaurant got me that restaurant as my top response in Yahoo maps.

            When I search for something, I don't want to be ushered toward the page that the most bloggers have mentioned in posts that include my search terms. As my first result, I want the page that includes the language I entered. Yahoo gives me that a lot more than Google.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Cinder6 (894572)

            Yahoo has pretty good email actually and its filtering features are more flexible than gmail's.

            People have already beaten the "folders vs. labels" argument to death. I just couldn't help but notice what you said above. I'm honestly curious--just how are Yahoo's filters superior? I just checked out both systems, and they appear (to me, at least) exactly the same. Except that Yahoo limits you to 15, and Google doesn't care how many you make.

          • by the_olo (160789)

            Also, it needs pointing out that MS probably wants to acquire Yahoo not only for its search-related business. After acquiring Zimbra [zimbra.com], the most viable open source alternative to MS Exchange, Yahoo becomes a prime target for MS acquisition and extinguishment of that threat to one of the most lucrative and monopolious MS products.

      • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:24AM (#26528293) Homepage Journal
        it's absolutely appalling to see people feel they have to tie every move which happens on top of the business world to some 'logical and rational market move' or some darwinian bullshit.

        excuse me guys, but, people on top of business world, board of directors, ceos, executives are ALL people. they have various emotions like anyone else. remember how a number of executives had totally crashed u.s. and world economy out of pure simple greed, letting go of all reasonable precautions and moves with the hedge fund gig.

        the fact that up to this date many of the moves on top of business world have been done through selfish, negative interests does NOT mean that it has to be like that forever into the future.

        they are people. yes, a board of directors, executives CAN feel positive emotions, and CAN move out of goodwill, or a sense of honor, or any other similar emotion.

        none of them are exempt from being homo sapiens sapiens, after all, which is what we all exactly are.
        • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:47AM (#26528571)

          You're working on the assumption all humans have the same psychology and that people in certain jobs don't get into those jobs because they have traits that are rather self-serving as opposed to being charitable and helpful.

          • by Dun Malg (230075) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:54AM (#26529405) Homepage

            You're working on the assumption all humans have the same psychology and that people in certain jobs don't get into those jobs because they have traits that are rather self-serving as opposed to being charitable and helpful.

            Indeed, one study I've read estimated that close to 1 in 20 men are incapable of sufficient empathy for it to be a significant motivator--- yes, 5% of men are sociopaths! Of course, not all such people are murdering freaks as movies and tv news would have you believe. The John Wayne Gacys of the world are merely the few sociopaths with poor impulse control. The vast majority of them are intelligent enough to have figured out that society expects empathy and have learned to fake it well enough to get by. Sociopaths may think we're all just objects to be used, but they can still recognize that we "objects" will throw them in a cage if they don't play the game according to the rules. Think of all the truly awful self-centered jerks you've ever had to deal with in your life--- particularly the ones that seemed charming at first--- and that 1:20 ratio starts to make sense. It's not a comforting thought, but it bears keeping in mind. Being a high functioning sociopath isn't something that would necessarily be evolutionarily selected out.

            I firmly believe that an uncomfortably large percentage of people who rise to power positions--- be it political office or CEO's office--- are just such high-functioning sociopaths.

        • by cyn1c77 (928549) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:50AM (#26528611)

          it's absolutely appalling to see people feel they have to tie every move which happens on top of the business world to some 'logical and rational market move' or some darwinian bullshit. ... they are people. yes, a board of directors, executives CAN feel positive emotions, and CAN move out of goodwill, or a sense of honor, or any other similar emotion.

          I disagree. Google is no longer a cute, friendly little startup. It is a massive corporation. And that is the operative word.

          Corporations are primarily in business to make money for their shareholders. Sure, the people running the corporation MAY feel positive emotions, but at the end of the day they WILL choose the option that will bring in the most cash or they will be fired.

          Part of the board's decision may be to promote a "do no evil" or environmentally friendly mentality. Don't get me wrong, the board may even genuinely believe such propaganda, but the stock holders don't care. They want to see the stock go up or the board members replaced.

          At the business level, it is no longer about positive emotions, goodwill or honor. It's about cold hard cash. Business decisions must reflect that in either the short or long term.

          • by yossarianuk (1402187) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:04AM (#26528753)
            This is why capitalism is not moral / fair/ goes against Christian values and will hopefully replaced by something better. The fact that shareholders only care about profits rather than the common good (this includes enviormental damage) is a falut of the system. p.s - the only religion I believe is Linux.
          • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:13AM (#26528849) Homepage

            Part of the board's decision may be to promote a "do no evil" or environmentally friendly mentality. Don't get me wrong, the board may even genuinely believe such propaganda, but the stock holders don't care.

            How do you know that they don't care? Have you asked them? A large amount of Google shares are owned by employees (of which the biggest chunk is the two founders and chief executive). Many of them are rich, and likely to care about more things than just making even more money.

          • Corporations are primarily in business to make money for their shareholders.

            That shows a huge degree of naiveté.

            Corporations *answer* to the shareholders, and to the board. But while that is a consideration, corporations serve very much at the will of the company leader.

            After all, how exactly does a company decide WHAT makes money. If what you said was true, a company would only ever make one thing and they'd be done.

            The fact is that there are many avenues toward "making money", not all of them rea

          • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @12:55PM (#26530399)

            Don't get me wrong, the board may even genuinely believe such propaganda, but the stock holders don't care. They want to see the stock go up or the board members replaced.

            You're forgetting that sometimes good will is worth paying money for. Wal Mart probably won't disappear due to people thinking that it's a terrible business and horribly unethical, but it will keep Target alive. I know people who register at Target simply because registering at WalMart would split the gift givers between those who go to Wal Mart and those who refuse to, and vice versa on those giving gifts.

            As for being environmentally friendly, there are a lot of people who will make purchases and other decisions based on those factors. If you're an internet company where the cost of switching is near 0 (which Google is), then part of remaining viable in the marketplace is making sure that people don't want to switch, and part of that is making sure that the news around your company doesn't cause people to have a bad taste in their mouth when they use your product. People liking Google and thinking that it's moral is absolutely vital to their business strategy, and the only sure way to make people think that you're moral is to be moral (and then publicize it).

          • by quarterbuck (1268694) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:52PM (#26535881)
            In Google's case Stockholders don't really matter. When they IPO'd they made two kinds of stocks, Class A and Class B. Class A is what got sold, Class B is what the insiders (Larry and Sergey) hold. The most important thing is that Class B has infinitely more voting power than Class A stock. It means that Shareholders cannot vote out the board for "not being evil [google.com] enough". Even better, Class B stocks cannot be sold to outsiders (if they are, the convert to Class A)
            Google made this pretty clear [usatoday.com] when they IPO'd -- their letter to investors said that they were not trying to be just another corporation. They specified that the stocks the customers were getting was a claim on the profits, not a claim on voting rights.
            Essentially, as long as the insiders stay honest, the company will stay honest. The quarterly numbers, stock prices are all meaningless to the board in this case.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by javilon (99157)

          they are people. yes, a board of directors, executives CAN feel positive emotions, and CAN move out of goodwill, or a sense of honor, or any other similar emotion.

          Are you joking? the day a board of directors would do anything for a reason other than to maximize profits, they would be sued straight away.

          • by yoshi_mon (172895) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:18AM (#26528905)

            Are you joking? the day a board of directors would do anything for a reason other than to maximize profits, they would be sued straight away.

            I see this come up all the time and it's kinda silly that when in the US we always joke about how you can sue for damn near anything but act as if you even whisper the word lawsuit to a board of directors they are going to run crying for their mommies.

            Yes a board of directors is liable for it's actions and can be sued for not doing things that will further a companies goals. (Mind you this is different than always maximizing profits, something you also don't seem to understand.)

            But no that does not always happen. As is pointed out it's still humans at the controls and mistakes are made, some decisions are made from more emotion than business sense, and other assorted nonsense.

            • by Belial6 (794905) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:18PM (#26530767)
              That needs repeating:

              Yes a board of directors is liable for it's actions and can be sued for not doing things that will further a companies goals. (Mind you this is different than always maximizing profits, something you also don't seem to understand.)

              The idea behind suing the board because they didn't maximize profits is that the board is required to act in the best interest of the shareholders. Given that Google's motto has been "Do No Evil" from the beginning and that shareholders bought their shares with no evil as a company goal, it is safe to say that Google doing evil in favor of profits is not in the shareholders interest.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rossifer (581396)

            Are you joking? the day a board of directors would do anything for a reason other than to maximize profits, they would be sued straight away.

            Over what time frame?

            After World War II, Merck delivered streptomycin to Japan to treat rampant tuberculosis that had arisen in the poverty of the war economy. The Japanese couldn't afford this, so Merck synthesized, shipped, and distributed the drug at it's own substantial expense. Merck shareholders sued against this obviously unprofitable act. The shareholders lo

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          Most business decisions aren't based on the decisions of one person. There are exceptions, to be sure, but most business decisions are based on rational conclusions drawn by a company's panel of experts in the area the decision is made by.

        • I agree with your premise, but it leads me to the opposite conclusion. They are humans. That's the problem.

          In short, I don't trust anyone who is "at the top of their field," at least where business is concerned. I doubt people get there without some dirty play. Perhaps it's merely my own anecdotal evidence, but I've never met a man who works for a corporate office that was anything other than a stubborn and emotionless suit. I've met investment bankers who subscribe to the ideas of Social Darwinism who left

      • by D Ninja (825055)

        Yahoo is the next best technology to Google's.

        Really? I thought Ask's was better.

        I would venture a guess that, while Yahoo's may not be better, their name is much more recognizable and THAT is why Microsoft wanted them. You can't make inroads to a market with a non-recognizable name.

      • by Rolgar (556636)

        It's not necessarily bad for Google for Yahoo to end up in Microsoft.

        Microsoft loses a bunch of cash, and if the merger goes poorly (Yahoo has a different culture to MSN, employees of both become disillusioned, talented people choose to go elsewhere, Google's market share goes up similar to a combined drop in MSN and Yahoo, etc.), Microsoft is worse off than if they never bought Yahoo. Microsoft stock goes down, and stockholders finally realize what a poor CEO they have and fire him.

        Wait, that would be bad

      • I've heard that said several times now.... "Yahoo has the next best search engine to Google". Is this a proven fact, based on studies? Or is it something decided by the fact that it's the "second most commonly used search engine" out there?

        And for that matter, is it possible it's as good as it is because they put the resources into feeding it comparatively more data to filter than competitors? (In other words, could a supposedly "inferior" search engine really be superior, if it wasn't underperforming be

      • Google needs to invest $120 million and sign an IP license agreement with Yahoo... like Microsoft did in the 90's with Apple!

      • Microsoft wants Yahoo's search because their own sucks and they know it. Even Ballmer has admitted that his own impatience caused Microsoft to fail in search. Yahoo is the next best technology to Google's.

        Are you seriously saying that Live Search is worse than Yahoo search? When have you actually used either last time (rather than just Google)?

    • by salimma (115327)

      Even more so, someone skimming the article would not have noticed that, in page 2, it revealed that Google had previously scuppered Microsoft's takeover bid for Yahoo.

      I'd certainly prefer a Google-Yahoo collaboration to an outright takeover by a known monopolist, but even so, the article seems overly paranoid and one-sided.

    • Man, that blurb couldn't have been more paranoid-delusional

      Speaking of delusional: RTFA.
      It's not paranoia when people are actually out to get you.

      What next, you gonna call the Secret Service or the Vatican paranoid-delusional for parading their bosses in bullet-proof vehicles? As if anyone would ever shoot at them! Fools, huh?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Conspiracy theory is right. FUD about privacy? Err, there are real privacy concerns with pretty much all the search engines, not to mention social network sites. Expressing dissatisfaction in privacy policies isnt FUD its giving a shit about privacy.

      I also fail to understand why I should support one faceless corporations but hate another. Once you peel away the flagrant fanboyism there really isnt much difference between google, apple, yahoo, ms, etc. A savvy consumer should be playing them against themselv

    • Seem's like Google were the one's who were the most clever in that mess, not MS. They prevented their biggest rivals (MS and Yahoo) from merging without spending a dime. That's WAY more a win for them than for MS (since Google was never really serious about buying Yahoo anyway, just serious about stopping MS from doing so).
  • But you can win with public opinion. Shame on Microsoft, AT&T and the rest of these companies that cannot compete and resort to political bullying.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rel4x (783238)
      Shame on you for for believe the collection of shit that is this article. Yessir, a multi billion dollar company is getting bullied around by those mean ol' lobbyists :-(

      I'm an advertiser with Google, and allow me to say that those companies do not need to "politically bully". There's plenty of grassroots hatred to go around.
      Everyone still has this misguided notion that Google is out there helping them out despite all evidence to the opposite.

      I advertise on Google, and I'm saying right now they've
    • Back in the 80's and 90's, MS took the same approach. Under W they have found that if they buy politicians, they can buy the DOJ. If Google wants to survive the onslaught by ATT, Verizon, MS, France, Germany, Russia, China, and many others, they will have to start cozying up to politicians. They do not have to be evil like MS (outright buys pols; uses astroturfers, etc), but they will have to play on the same field. After all, they are there already.
  • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:01AM (#26528085)

    Google keeps every search you or I ever make in their database.

    They have my e-mail address, my calendar, my documents, my spreadsheets, my bookmarks, my address (Google maps), pictures of my house (Google streetview), my list of friends (Orkut), my blog (Blogger), my pictures (Picasa), my videos (Youtube), my website (Googlepages), my mailing lists (Google groups), my sales history (Google checkout), my local files (Google desktop), my medical records (Google Health), my Cell number (Google SMS), my chat history (Google talk), my RSS feeds list (Google news reader), my open source project collaboration (Google code), my notes (Google notebook)

    They own the database, they could sell or outsource every bit of it to third parties at will.

    If they let an untrusted party access to their DB, privacy is severely compromised for users of their services.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      -1 Astroturfing
    • by mangu (126918) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:11AM (#26528175)

      I see no sense in mistrusting one large organization that keeps your virtual goods, while trusting another organization with your material wealth. If you mistrust Google, shouldn't you keep all your money under the mattress or buried in the garden?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rolfwind (528248)

        I think his point was more about Google having everything in a nice centralized spot, like if the police wanted to build a nice, big profile about you and see you have a gmail email address - they would head to Google with a warrant and get a buffet of information.

        It's definitely something to think about, and completely innocent people get symbolically hung by too much info in the hands of the authorities:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc [youtube.com]

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nschubach (922175)

          So use Yahoo for your email, Google for your search, amazon for your purchases... shall I go on?

          • And all of this tracked by doubleclick.net and google-analytics...

            I know how to counter that, but other 99% of the people don't.

            • by nschubach (922175)

              So, where's your proof that doubleclick knows you bought that TV or book you were looking at? That doubleclick can link your yahoo account to your blog? That you even use doubleclick ads on your blog? How does it differentiate your use of "the bomb" to mean cool as opposed to a real bomb?

              I think people are being overly paranoid or as the article states, paid.

      • If you mistrust Google, shouldn't you keep all your money under the mattress or buried in the garden?

        You fool ! Google knows where the mattress is via Google Maps and the garden is plainly visible on Google Earth !

      • by javilon (99157) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:59AM (#26528703) Homepage

        The day you feel that a bank is acting against your best interests, you go and withdraw all of your money. Your relationship with them is finished.

        Now go to google and tell them that you want all information related to you in their database to be deleted, as of today.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          A person can try to request that Google delete their data, but then even if they actually "delete" the data it is only suppressed at best. Oh yeah, and it might even take up to seven days to supress that data, so deletion requests apparently need human review even though data capture takes less than a second. Then, as some have already seen with Google Groups and supposedly deleted Usenet posts, the data can actually return from being suppressed due to some software revision issue, and it can take up to a f

        • by ArhcAngel (247594)

          When Chase bought Texas Commerce I took my money out and moved it to WAMU because I had several bad experiences with Chase. Now I am looking for a bank AGAIN! Oh, and I worked for Bank One for a year before Chase merged with them and I was "let go". What do you do when you have bad bank karma?

    • by D Ninja (825055)

      my notes (Google notebook)

      Well...that's one thing you don't have to worry about anymore [blogspot.com]!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aladrin (926209)

      The answer is: Yes, it is. FUD is about spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt, in whatever form. Yes, some FUD used to be untrue, but the most effective FUD is completely true. It's the hardest to fight.

      Generally, this is done by pointing out the scariest parts of something while neglecting that those and/or other things are just as scary about the competition.

      I don't deny that everything you said is 'scary', I just deny that it really matters. If it did matter, I wouldn't keep using those services. I

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      As opposed to Microsoft who have no information on you at all .... ?

      Most of the above services only apply in the USA and you had to sign up for (and read the agreement) the only exception I can see is search history (which is linked only to your ip address) all the rest you either signed away your rights to the information when you signed up, or is only linked to you if you want it to be

      • by MrMr (219533)
        If your search history worries you try: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3173 [mozilla.org]
      • (which is linked only to your ip address)

        You really put that is a parenthetical? Hell most grocery stores can link you to a purchase with a great deal of confidence even when you pay with CASH -- and even when you don't use your store-issued ID card. For the vast majority of people the vast majority of the time, their IP address IS 'personally identifiable information'.

    • they could sell or outsource every bit of it to third parties at will.

      If they let an untrusted party access to their DB

      Yes it is Fear Uncertainty & Doubt "even" if it's believable.

      How would it scare you if there was no way you'd believe it?

  • by gsslay (807818) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:03AM (#26528101)

    "Their greatest coup to date was preventing Google from rescuing Yahoo."

    Poor Google. Selflessly throwing a lifeline to troubled Yahoo without a thought for their own safety or position. And do people thank them for it? Noooo. You'd think they were doing it for their own benefit.

  • i must be dreaming...

    it would have taken a few years to integrate everything of worth of yahoo into google, let yahoo inc by services fron the mother, and then split of the rest of yahoo.... In the end a only the domain name would have been left.

  • by digitalgiblet (530309) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:15AM (#26528205) Homepage Journal

    Whether or not Microsoft or anyone else is trying to "kill Google" doesn't change whether or not Google is trampling on privacy.

    I for one don't trust ANY company to do anything except look out for its own interests.

    The idea that Microsoft is bad, therefore Google is good is silly. They are both large corporations. Both want to find ways to get you to send them your money. Heck, I would love to find a way to convince you to send me your money. I find it disturbing that so many people seem to trust Google to the extent they seem to trust them.

    Hate on Microsoft all you want, but don't make the dangerous assumption that "if MS is bad, then Google is good". Evaluate the actions of each company on its own merits, not in comparison to one another.

    • by biscuitlover (1306893) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:30AM (#26528365)

      I think that a lot of people think Google are good purely because they are now largely seen as the anti-MS... no other company has done remotely as much to scare the people at Redmond, and for that they should definitely be applauded. Paving the way to unseat a monopoly - however (un)likely the eventual unseating may be - is no small accomplishment and one that legions of us, pissed off with having to fund a monopolist all the time, should be quite appreciative of.

      I do agree with your points though - I can just understand why people do like Google. There is also the fact that their mainstream tools usually just work. Can you say the same of MS?

      • by nschubach (922175)

        I think you hit on an interesting perspective though. The only way I have to combat Monopolistic Microsoft is to support Google. When Google becomes the next abusing monopoly, then I should support the next company creative enough to bite into Google's market. It's a never ending cycle of the power of consumer dollars killing off a monopoly.

      • There is also the fact that their mainstream tools usually just work. Can you say the same of MS?

        As much as I dislike Microsoft and most of their products, I'm going to have to say yes, their "mainstream tools" usually just work. They may or may not actually be better than competing products and services, but any honest person will have to admit that they do "usually just work."

        Taking this original discussion further, I would propose that not only is Google irrationally deemed "good" by a lot of people, Microsoft is also irrationally deemed "bad," probably by those same people. I believe that Micr

        • by Dan Ost (415913)

          As much as I dislike Microsoft and most of their products, I'm going to have to say yes, their "mainstream tools" usually just work. They may or may not actually be better than competing products and services, but any honest person will have to admit that they do "usually just work."

          I had the misfortune of trying to edit a bulleted list in Word the other day on someone's MacBook-Pro. It was horribly painful and there's no way that you could argue that is "just works".

    • by D Ninja (825055) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:33AM (#26528425)

      I think that tinfoil is seeping into your brain.

      You are correct on one point - a company exists to make money, and look after its own interests. Absolutely. However, one thing you seem to be forgetting that it IS in Google's interest to protect your data. Do they have a lot of it? Absolutely. But they're not just going to pass it around willy-nilly unless there is a very good reason for them to.

      Of course, you don't actually need to trust Google. You don't have to use their products and you can setup your own tools. But this isn't an option for most people. And Google makes some very excellent products that mesh well together. As a result, they provide a service that people will use. You aren't going to convince people any differently.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well what did Microsoft do? Instead of convincing the DOJ on the merits of why this would be a bad deal industry-wise, it sent lobbyists around to advertisers simply to scare them into voicing concern (didn't even have to be opposition) to the DOJ, thereby scuttling the deal because it seemed like third parties were going to suffer (advertisers aren't since Google uses an auction model - thus the prices advertisers pay is closely related to market value).

      AT&T really dislikes Google because they use ban

      • by Bert690 (540293)
        Wow, someone actually read the article! The article is not about the outcomes of the various cases discussed, but the tactics that are being used. It's a good read.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by blueskies (525815)

      Of course you can't give them a blanket "GOOD" label, but you can't put MS and google in the same category.

      One company has done everything in its power to screw over the consumer (via monopoly rents) and hasn't given a damn about goodwill. The other one doesn't have a history of negative behavior.

      Which one would a rational person trust more?

    • I think the trust Google is being shown is a result of how they treat their applications and services, as well as how they do business. They're not just a competitor to MS and that's why people rally behind them. They give away most of their services for free and on top of it, the services are some of the best on the web. They give a lot of code to the open source movement and promote open source contributions through their Summer of Code program. Yes, they are a corporation and are motivated by profit, but

  • The story is filled with astroturfers, lobbyists and others spending millions to manufacture FUD about privacy and monopoly

    Um...they don't need to manufacture. There are serious privacy and internet coherency issues. Google has already become a major, slim-but-possible single-point-of-failure.

    It's so bad, I see people enter domain names for popular sites into the search bar and then click on the search results.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      How the hell is Google an SPF? OHNOES Google shuts down! So I switch to Yahoo. Or Microsoft's engine. And I'm sure there are others (I haven't surveyed the space in a while). Would it be annoying? Certainly. But the Internet would pick up and move on, just as it always has.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rossifer (581396)

        Google is a single point of failure because of it's enormous logs of user activity. If Google was to one day say: "Yeah, we're done with the 'don't be evil' thing. It's everyone for themselves!!!" we have an awful lot of data to sell (I work for Google). Every suspicious sequence of things goes to the DOJ. Everything of interest to marketers gets sold off to them... etc.

        The problem with that scenario is that that would be it for Google's future. That's the fire sale. Nobody is going to trust Google wi

  • Monopoly Arena (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:20AM (#26528253) Homepage Journal

    Let them all use fears of, and laws against, monopoly and privacy abuse to try to kill each other. Let's have a business atmosphere of damnation and recriminations for any raised evidence of monopoly and privacy abuse, brought on by experienced, rich, aggressive and well funded competitors. That's how our system is supposed to harness competition to drive enforcement of open access to a fairly competitive market governed by rules that protect us from unfair competition.

    I'm not worried about Google. It's at least as smart, rich and connected as is Microsoft, and nearly as connected as AT&T. Let it slam them for their monopolies and abuses. It's got a lot more material to use than they do. Every move they make against each other along those lines is a move in the public service, against monopoly and privacy abuse.

    And I'm not worried about Yahoo, either. It got a $half-billion in that original IPO, and $billions since. If it couldn't use its early lead, vast riches, top brand and huge audience to make it, it should die. And if Yahoo + Google is more monopolistic and worse for privacy, then dead Yahoo is better.

  • by djsmiley (752149) <djsmiley2k@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:20AM (#26528257) Homepage Journal

    Whos to say google didn't submit this story?

    Anyhow, google is what most non-technical users consider the internet to be. Infact the way people browse after watching an advert for car insurance proved it to me. Instead of going to the url which the advert mentioned, they just google "car insurence". To us that seems strange as we are good at remembering or working out urls, but to people who dont understand the net, or dont care about various tlds google is the perfect answer.

    Its game over,

  • Google works well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by foxalopex (522681) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:37AM (#26528455)

    I think folks are forgetting one important point. The reason why I like Google is that their search engine works extremely well. In fact, how often does google search find what you're looking for? Plus the fact that the service is "free" and paid for by relevant advertising is great. I don't see Microsoft giving you free software now do I? Nor does Microsoft's software always work as well as they claim it does. Sure Google probably collects a huge amount of information but so does the government. You have to trust someone and so far Google has shown that it hasn't breached that trust. A standard rule in life is to initially trust someone until it's been broken once. Then it's an all out war. You can't be paranoid of everyone that's new. It just stops changes.

    If anything I think this is just proof that companies that would force the money out of you and steal everything you have are afraid of Google just because it's not doing the same and winning the hearts of the public. Nice try but I don't think this will work.

    • by Zothar42 (802414) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:54AM (#26529409) Homepage

      You have to trust someone and so far Google has shown that it hasn't breached that trust. A standard rule in life is to initially trust someone until it's been broken once.

      Perhaps Google is simply waiting for the right, most profitable moment to break everyone's trust...

    • Microsoft doesn't give away anything free?

      What about their free version of Visual Studio? Does anything out else there even exist that even tries to come close to it?

      What about Windows Mobile Live Search? It is hands down the best mobile search, map and gps program out there and its free.

      Have you tried using maps.live.com? Its aerial imagery and isometric views are pretty damn good. Its addresses seem more up to date as well. I move every 2-3 years into new subdivisions and maps.live.com always lists

  • by allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:46AM (#26528551)
    I thought it was Googles coup to prevent Microsoft from aquiring Yahoo.
  • It's the advertisers who are unhappy with Google. Google is approaching a monopoly in targeted online advertising; they bought DoubleClick, which got them up to 70%, and if they picked up Yahoo, they'd hit 90%. Advertisers are not happy about that. It's as if there were only one TV station or one newspaper nationally. (RCA, in the 1930s, once proposed a system by which the entire US would have one nationwide radio station, broadcast over three giant AM transmitters. That ran into antitrust problems.)

  • The population of /. are prone to skepticim. They're mostly young libertarian geek males, and respond well to rebellion against 1) authority, 2) anything "irrational," and 3) invasion of privacy. They also love to expose contradiction, whether real or otherwise. FUD astroturfers understand this. They know that /. is a good place to plant the seed of their message: "Google is an evil behemoth, and wants to invade your life. They're like the next Microsoft, but worse."

  • bloated, broken and doomed to failure
  • by ThousandStars (556222) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @12:58PM (#26530437) Homepage
    Step 1) Create better search engine.

    Step 2) Make search engine accessible on the Internet.

    Step 3) There is no step three.

    If you manage Step 1, you'll "kill" Google in the same way Google killed Yahoo!.

  • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:16PM (#26531877)
    ... the Hydra [wikipedia.org]. Evey time you try to kill it, it just grows two more 'O's.

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