Google->Value–;

May 15, 2005

Being in the tech field, it’s pretty much impossible not to run into buzz across the blogosphere about my former employer. However, I saw this today on Inside Google, and it really suprised me. Basically, this guy Dr. Lenz, a professor at a university around Tokyo, is so angry at Google’s AutoLink and Web Accelerator that he has drastically modified his site to prevent Google from touching it.

Here, he posts about how he has decided to make his site a “Google-free zone”.

And now for a rant of my own…

<rant>

What happened to the company that everyone loved? How is it that every day now, instead of hearing a person rave about how much Google has changed their lives, you hear about yet another webmaster/techie/blogger(/and now professor) getting downright pissed about what the company is doing and ranting about how they think the company is evil?

I can see people at the Googolplex blowing this off saying, “Oh, it’s just because we’re successful. People naturally hate others who are successful, and we’re the embodiment of the ultimate success story.” To anyone over on Amphitheatre Parkway reading this, that is not the reason. People are pissed because you are doing stuff that is trampling the rights of content publishers. To add insult to injury, you are hearing their complaints and ignoring or dismissing them.
</rant>

Congratulations Google, you’re taking one of your most valuable assets, your street cred among the technology influencers of the world, and dragging it through the streets.

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No Responses Yet to “Google->Value–;”

  1. Jim Says:

    I’ve noticed the change too. The anti-Google noise is growing. But it’s not because Google are doing nasty things, it’s because people perceive them differently now they are public.

    Want an example? Look at all the complaints they had after they cloaked their own pages as a quick hack to alter their algorithm for a few select pages.

    These people were screaming about Google being evil because they decided one page was more relevant than the rest. Essentially, they were complaining that Google were doing exactly what all search engines intrinsically do. The fact that they did it with cloaking rather than tweaking their algorithm is a mere implementation detail.

    Yes, Google are hearing their complaints and dismissing them. With damn good reason – it’s sheer paranoia. If they listened to everybody with an axe to grind against big companies, they’d never get anything done.

  2. markjen Says:

    I’m not too concerned about them cloaking pages to hack their algorithm (I’m not too concerned about cloaking or SEO in general, it seems that it will always be an arms race).

    However, what does concern me is that they are getting complaints from people across the industry – and not just conspiracy theorists. I’m talking about people who have been around the block and are well respected in the industry. I’m not going to argue whether they are right or wrong, but I am going to say that I definitely wouldn’t dismiss the feedback of people who have been in the industry since before the Internet was even in existence.

    I do agree that some of the complaints are probably paranoia. However, I think it’s foolish to believe that Google has the best intentions for you at heart in every decision they make.

  3. Joe Burlas Says:

    Love it- you’re totally right too. Good thing they couldn’t corrupt you, I am glad you’re doing what you’re doing. Joe.

  4. Jim Says:

    I think it’s foolish to believe that Google has the best intentions for you at heart in every decision they make.

    This isn’t an either/or proposition. You can think that they are just an average company without being paranoid and accusing them of “trampling rights” or thinking that “they have our best interests at heart in every decision they make”.

  5. markjen Says:

    Very true Jim. I think Google does provide a lot of cool services and they are a decent corporate citizen. However, I’m observing that they are currently proceeding with some questionable actions and ignoring widespread community feedback.

    I think we are both middle of the road here.

    Google could be a little better about their public perception though. Why is it that Google is largely missing from community dialogue directly relating to their services? (AdSense rev share, GMail privacy, AutoLink, and Web Accelerator just to name a few.) Right now, they have the luxury of being adored by most users. It seems that it would be smart to stay in that position and antagonizing certain groups probably isn’t helping.

  6. fantomaster Says:

    dragging it through the streets

    That sums it up very well and there’s a very poignant word for it: it’s called hubris.

    Yes, forget conspiracy theories – but in the process, don’t ignore the fact that “everything that Google does is GOOD” belongs in that category as well.

    Taking a rational approach to it, forgetting the whining and nagging and the grinding of axes: what remains is that here’s one truly huge, all pervasive company forgetting one of the most basic tenets of their own existence, namely that all power, be it political, commercial or moral, is only borrowed from society and its constituent communities. The market giveth, the market taketh – and only very rarely has the process of falling from grace proven to be reversible.

    And it’s not just about resuscitating the feelgood factor, either: when technological opinion leaders and influencers, those high priests of modern civilization, start turning their backs on you in droves, there’s every reason in the world to be worried. Investors will invariably follow and what’s left will be the carrion feast of all those political vultures only too keen on setting another example to prove their anti-corporate prowess like they tried to (and are actually continuing to do in Europe) with Microsoft. It’s boiling up all over Europe already and no one will be able to ignore it with impunity.

  7. Jim Says:

    Why is it that Google is largely missing from community dialogue directly relating to their services?

    I agree this is something they need to fix. They have “GoogleGuy”, but that’s not much. Other large companies have “a-list” bloggers – IBM have Sam Ruby, Sun have Tim Bray, Microsoft have Robert Scoble and Yahoo have Jeremy Zawodny. Google have a weblog, but it seems limited to product announcements. Google Code is a step in the right direction though.

    There are plenty of people fighting in Google’s corner for every overblown controversy. I think tension would ease up on them if one of them could speak at least semi-authoratively on the subject, even if it’s just to say “no we won’t alter GWA, your code is broken, you suck at programming, go work at McDonald’s”. Silence is perceived as being suspicious.

  8. loseridiot Says:

    sore loser…

  9. markjen Says:

    Hmm… LoserIdiot, I noticed your comment on my other post as well. If you’d like to get involved in the discussion, I invite you to join in with something intelligent. 😛

  10. Michael Says:

    Have a look at http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum86/505.htm

    ” When people start moving from the Bush adminstration to VP positions in Google it’s time to start using other search engines.”

    “…the attitude of his previous employers is certainly one of “we know best, do as your told.” And he’s going to bring that to Google as VP of Global Communications and Strategy? Man. Seems awfully dodgy. Giving this guy access to my Gmail messages and search history really gives me the creeps. So what do I do? Stop using GMail (which I love), uninstall the Google Toolbar (which I love)?”


  11. I saw Eric Schmidt speak at TieCon recently here in Santa Clara, and was interested to hear his comments about the trend of Google knowing more and more about me as a user. My brief post about it is here. [interesting that he admitted that it would not work to gauge popularity of pages based on clicks because it was too easy for them to be gamed; quite a telling admission I thought.] Clearly, their agenda includes combining the current contextual marketing they’re providing to companies with additional types of behavioral advertising.


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