Google Spinning Up a Storm

What should you expect from a lawyer?

This morning I read a “cute” post from the Google Blog:
Yahoo! and the future of the Internet

Google’s Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, questions Microsofts’ integrity for making a bid for Yahoo!. Of all things, who the heck does he think he’s kidding?

Google has historically bought out dozens – if not hundreds – of companies, and they usually do it ‘cloak and dagger’ without revealing anything publicly, if they can. The SHORT LIST of companies and products Google has bought out includes:

  • Adscape
  • Applied Semantics
  • dMarc Broadcasting
  • Deja’s Usenet archive
  • Dodgeball
  • DoubleClick
  • Feedburner
  • GrandCentral
  • GreenBorder
  • Hello
  • ImageAmerica
  • Jaiku
  • JotSpot
  • Kalrix
  • Keyhole
  • Marratech
  • Measure Map
  • Neotonic
  • Orkut
  • Outride
  • Panoramio
  • PeakStream Technologies
  • Picasa
  • Postini
  • Pyra Labs/Blogger
  • SketchUp
  • Trendalyzer
  • Urchin
  • Where2
  • Writely
  • YouTube
  • Zenter
  • Zingku
  • Zipdash

And there are plenty more. Unfortunately, the list of Google Acquisitions can never be complete, because they do their best to prevent public disclosure of each transaction, at least until it’s a done deal.

What a load!

And while that really touches a nerve, what really gets me upset is the implications made by Mr. Drummond:

The openness of the Internet is what made Google — and Yahoo! — possible. A good idea that users find useful spreads quickly. Businesses can be created around the idea. Users benefit from constant innovation. It’s what makes the Internet such an exciting place.

So Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It’s about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.

So Microsoft is “bad” because they use closed source? I don’t recall Google giving source-level access to their major projects, either. Maybe I missed the memo, but when was Google giving away the source to AdWords, Google Search or direct data access to their extensive data stores? When did Google decide to open their algorithm and publish the specifics?

Oh that’s right. They didn’t.

The difference between a desktop operating system (Windows) or desktop application (Office), versus an internet service (Google Search, Google Apps) is significant. The users of Word and Excel, or any other desktop application – whether it’s open or closed source, can determine how the application functions and engineer their own imitation of it. Microsoft even spearheaded the .net language system which uses an easily reversible language construct – specifically for the purpose of interoperability and openness.

What has Google done lately? They’ve offered more and more means of accessing everyone elses information – often by buying out someone elses development projects, but have made no effort to publish their own source code.

If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black.

What really interests Google?

One of the most telling historical acts is Google purchasing a 5% stake in AOL! America Online! Apparently it’s okay for Google to invest in every media company (even those that are SO closed source they can’t even discern what the “real” internet is!), buy out the rest, and “spin tales” about their opposition. “Do no evil,” my @$%.

Hypocrites and Monopolies

Ready for the Rave? I hope you are sitting down; it could get a little messy today. Capitol Resource Institute wrote a piece today called “Capital Bullies.” It really got under my skin – but not for the reasons you might think.

I feel Google has a noose around my neck and keeps pulling it tighter. We run google ads on our site to help us fund our writing, but it’s very frustrating to have to work so hard to have a political voice. Matt Barber faithfully submits articles to be published by us and often they were right on, but I refused in the end to subject my readers to filth.

Let me explain. Any articles containing the letters G-A-Y in them or their close cousins H-O-M-O… etc. (you get the picture) ultimately presents offensive ads; ads that I find distasteful and out of place. This is a family oriented website written by a (often) radical host, bent on discussing real societal issues. I have found it nearly impossible to ban all of the offensive ads that get displayed whenever articles on certain topics are published.

If you believe in true freedom, the ability to make informed choices, then we, as parents, as sisters, and neighbors should be able to control our Internet experience (not to mention that of our children). A step in the right direction would be to require webmasters to check an ‘adult content’ box to avoid displaying pornography into our homes, without our consent — the owner of the domain found liable and fined for offending our delicate sensibilities.

Individuals should be able to decide for themselves, if they want access to adult themes. Face it folks, it’s not all that difficult of a request to honor.

I don’t think I’m asking for too much. Heck, I’ve got the government telling me I have to strap myself to the wreckage (of my car), they tell us that it’s for our own safety. But don’t believe it. The facts tell a different story. The truth is they want to ticket us – any excuse is as good as any, I always say. The other side of the coin is this; it’s easy to find a body if it’s fastened down.

I’ll tell you the same thing I tell the kids. My car (house) – My Rules! The day our all-powerful government buys me a shiny new Rolls Royce, is the day they can force me to buckle up. It just ain’ta goin’a happen. Facts are facts. According, to the constitution I read, the government has no right to "protect" me from my own stupidity.

I have no idea what ads are being served up to our visitors. Google, Yahoo and most other ad generating engines – all base the ads they serve up on "user" defined values, so everyone’s experience is different. A parent that views adult sites and allows their child to browse websites on that same computer, could end up responsible for the child seeing adult advertisements.

Which brings me to my next – totally unrelated topic.

Doorway to Danger

When you need shaving cream at 10pm and you live in the mountains, choices are limited, but never fear Wal-mart is always near. Such was our lot in life tonight. My dear spouse ran out of shaving cream and so we traipsed down the "hill" to pick some up.

The store, I’m told, is required to be totally remodeled every five years — this being the fifth year… if you believe a certain customer service clerk. Needless, to say finding anything was a real challenge. My son trotted off as usual to check out the toy section, to locate whatever new treasures were to be found.

When we went to find him, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was livid with the choice of their relocation of the toy department. Get this… they had moved the entire lawn and garden department outside. The childrens section was moved into its place, near one of only three sets of doors.

I inquired as to why on earth they would move the childrens section to the most exposed section of the store. The section came complete with its own exit door, without a greeter or guard, which on most occasions only has one clerk. (Though, to be fair, the customer service clerk informed me that it is Wal-mart policy to provide a greeter for each exit. I personally have never found a greeter to be present at that door. Ever.)

For those of you that can’t see our concern, I’ll spell it out: the childrens department is next to an open door. Any nefarious pedophile could use it as their very own shopping aisle for the children they’re after. Most parents let their children wander the toy aisles while they shop. The ‘temporary’ placement of this section next to an unguarded door is a huge – and unnecessary – risk. In the world this has become I would not be surprised if this were exploited before the toys were back in the main area.

Voicing concern with the minimum wage clerk didn’t get us very far. She had better things to do with her time. I hope the children that are kidnapped don’t weigh too heavy on her conscience.

Fortunately, the clerk assures me this is a temporary situation, while they work on various areas of the store. Currently the pharmacy is under siege. It looks like a war zone. If you want my opinion, they would have been better off giving the employees a paid vacation and closing the store. The work would certainly go a lot faster. Surely people can do without Wal-mart for two weeks? But what do we know? We are just lowly shoppers with an eye for safety.