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The In-Progress Plot To Kill Google

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the one-grain-of-salt-per-word dept.

Google 234

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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Summary omission (5, Funny)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528005)

Summary omits any references to chair throwing :(

Re:Summary omission (1)

cyborch (524661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529151)

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...

conspiracy theories (5, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528013)

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.

Re:conspiracy theories (5, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528093)

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. ;)

Re:conspiracy theories (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:conspiracy theories (4, Interesting)

yog (19073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528445)

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.

Re:conspiracy theories (4, Informative)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528599)

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:conspiracy theories (2, Informative)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528603)

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?

Re:conspiracy theories (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528837)

Because Labels are retarded

Re:conspiracy theories (2, Informative)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528853)

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.

Re:conspiracy theories (5, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529019)

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:conspiracy theories (1)

techprophet (1281752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528883)

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. What have you been smoking? They make you pay for POP3/SMTP support and pay more for IMAP support. The new web based interface is even slower than the old one. And at least google's ads on the webmail don't actually get put in the messages!!! I'd rather see Google get them because Google might preserve the good stuff, while Microsoft is more likely to absorb and rebrand. Well, at least you're not completely gone. I guess i overreacted a bit to the opening sentence. To this date I have gotten thousands of spam messages in Yahoo Mail. GMail: 2. IMHO Gmails Labels make more sense and are more functional than Yahoo's folders.

on Yahoo folder vs GMail tag (2, Insightful)

malaba (9813) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529177)

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:conspiracy theories (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528807)

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.

No, and here's why: Yahoo's targeted advertising product (Overture) is second only to Google's, and has coverage and large market share in several areas of the world that Google doesn't even cover. In the online ad business, you can do as much work as you want with algorithms and selection, but if you don't have a healthy distribution of people vying for ad space, you're going to have a hard time coming up with results that are both relevant to your user's search AND makes money. Part of the reason Live Search's ads suck so much is the sparsity in their advertiser ecosystem.

Incidentally there is something of a monopoly situation going on here, as Live Search relies on Overture for ads in all their markets but the US, and Overture recently tried to write into their ad delivery contract terms about what Live Search could put elsewhere on their page during the whole buyout scuffle, presumably at the behest of Google.

Re:conspiracy theories (1)

xaositects (786749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528821)

If Microsoft bought Yahoo, they would own Zimbra, which is a pretty good Exchange replacement. I, for one, do not want to see that happen, as my company uses Zimbra for mail and I don't fancy having to load Windows and Exchange on one of my mission critical servers.

Re:conspiracy theories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528881)

Yahoo's search sucks? Yahoo's email is atrocious?

You hyperbole much?
I bet you couldn't tell the difference in a blind test.

WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (5, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528293)

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.

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (5, Insightful)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (5, Insightful)

yossarianuk (1402187) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529005)

A corporation is legal construct. Don't try to apply human morals and emotions to it.

aaah. no. (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529133)

a corporation is a group of people. just like any other 'construct' that exists in social life is.

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (5, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528849)

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.

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528623)

Yeah, I doubt those people will ever act out of positive emotions and goodwill. They act out of honor to themselves and trample anybody in their way!

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (2, Insightful)

javilon (99157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528651)

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.

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528761)

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.

Doesn't track with my experience... I've seen far too many BODs make decisions that simply back up a single strong personality, usually the CEO, who is just looking out for his next bonus.

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (3, Interesting)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

darwinian BS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528657)

Yes top execs can be emotional and irrational, but that's just another factor in the darwinian equation. If their irrational behavior benefits their company (and it can) so much the better. Yes, even chair hurling gorillas can occasionally find the mark. If the behavior hurts the company, another entity will step in to reap the benefits.

As for self-interest, it can and does serve society. That's the whole point of the invisible hand.

Yeah, I know this was a simplified view.

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528661)

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.

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (1)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528665)

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 some sectors of business because they could not stand the cut-throat dealings that go on.

So honestly, I don't think it's unfair for us to distrust the motives of people at the top of the business field. That does not mean that, I suppose, there aren't good ones out there who somehow make it that high, but it just seems more realistic to take the more cynical view.

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (1)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528825)

Right, a board of directors are people that "can feel positive emotions"...

With one big difference: they have to increase profits or be replaced.

In the end, it does not matter one bit if they are good decent people, or the "positive" feelings they may have. The logic of the corporation will prevail.

Re:WHY the hell it cant be heroism ? or goodwill ? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529051)

Said "people" (ceos, executives, etc.) are almost uniformaly sociopaths. So no, they aren't like everyone else; they're more like Ted Bundey than you or I.

Re:conspiracy theories (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528315)

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.

Re:conspiracy theories (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528887)

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 for Google. Disregard previous. :)

Re:conspiracy theories (2)

salimma (115327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528187)

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.

Re:conspiracy theories (1)

merchant_x (165931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529163)

From Merriam-Webster:

Scuppered

Main Entry: scupper
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: 1899

British : to defeat or put an end to : do in

From the context it is used in the meaning is pretty clear. This is the first time I have encountered that word though, so I thought I would post the definition to save other folks the time.

Re:conspiracy theories (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528511)

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:conspiracy theories (2, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528839)

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 themselves for best quality and price, not making irrational allegiances.

Sadly, this is "high quality" article by slashdot standards.

Re:conspiracy theories (1)

phatsphere (642799) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528941)

Google really wanted to "rescue" Yahoo?

back before 2000, google was choosen as the search results provider vor yahoo. they helped google, now they want to give back. this deal wasn't about google gets yahoo,just about showing ads along a page, only bottom right iirc, and nothing more - for their mutual benefit. (i.e. yahoo doesn't have the technology to show ads for the long tail of less important keywords and therefore less ads to display)

Way more of a win for Google than for MS (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529251)

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).

You cannot win with just engineers and algorithms (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528061)

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:You cannot win with just engineers and algorith (1, Insightful)

rel4x (783238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528647)

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 pretty much got a monopoly. They have no serious competition. MSN lacks an algorithm, and Yahoo lacks competence in the PPC department. Google doesn't have to 'crush' competitors in the same way MS has in the past because their fanatical userbase keeps the competition forever in obscurity. Beyond that, they're terribly difficult to deal with. They often selectively enforce irrational rules, have support staff that flat out lie, gouging margins where they can, etc.
So far the closer people I've met are to the big G, the more paranoid about it they are.

They're not a victim. They're the godamn boogeyman. And yes, they probably have your credit card.

Re:You cannot win with just engineers and algorith (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528963)

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.

No Boycott Novell Link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528067)

obligatory [boycottnovell.com] for Twitter stories...

Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (4, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528117)

-1 Astroturfing

Re:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529231)

-1 Astroturfing

By posting that and getting mod points you've just shown that Google also has astroturfers. Nice job, dumbass.

Re:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529313)

Boss, is that you ?

catchpa:slaves

Re:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528169)

LOL, Dude, you really went all in, didn't you?

If you are worried about privacy, just manage your cookies manually and don't put all eggs in one basket. OK?

Re:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (2, Funny)

click2005 (921437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528723)

and don't put all eggs in one basket. OK?

Didnt you hear.. they just opened up the Google Yolk beta program to the public.

What about the bank that keeps your money? (5, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:What about the bank that keeps your money? (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528269)

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:What about the bank that keeps your money? (2, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528547)

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

Re:What about the bank that keeps your money? (5, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528325)

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 !

Re:What about the bank that keeps your money? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528339)

The OP forgot that Google also knows which websites you visit via Google ads even if you don't use the search (also they use that too because they know what you click on).

The difference is that there are laws protecting your money and the general public cares about money. People know what it means if someone screws with their money.

The laws surround privacy are fuzzy and getting fuzzier because the public doesn't understand or care. Speaking of which, I gotta go because a new episode of "Ow, my balls" is on.

Re:What about the bank that keeps your money? (1, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528465)

Totally different.

Banks are regulated, and the money is definitively yours. In most countries, your account is registered with government who insures that money. It is unlikely that a bank would steal your money. (Misspend it...perhaps... but even then the government bails them out).

But Google has no such regulatory obligations. They don't need to keep the information, yet they do. They could sell it, data mine it, or lose it. Even if someone got my account numbers that way, I'm insured. And if a bank released the records for my accounts it would not be personally damaging.

In the poster's example, Google has 10 times as much information as the bank, and does not insure you against loss.

Re:What about the bank that keeps your money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528589)

No no, the point they're trying to make is that they completely trust Google! It's obvious, since they're willing to give them ALL of that information, knowing the possibilities full well. Right?

Re:What about the bank that keeps your money? (4, Insightful)

javilon (99157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528703)

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:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528349)

my notes (Google notebook)

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

Re:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528361)

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'm perfectly capable of running my own servers for all those things for myself and my family and friends.

Re:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528471)

Hey, you seem to get it.

Wanna job?

HR@microsoft.com
HR@att.net
HT@google.com

Oh... wait.

Re:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (2, Insightful)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528381)

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

Re:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (1)

crabboy.com (771982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528543)

They have [...] my blog (Blogger)

Not mine! I keep mine safe and secure on a publicly accessible website.

Re:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528575)

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?

Re:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (1)

destroyer661 (847607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528719)

Not even just selling, it is "legal" to rent your data to other companies for a certain contracted time so that they can claim 'yeah we'll never sell your data to anyone, you're covered'.

Regardless, I don't really care who has what information about me. My credit card company will call me at any event my credit card is swiped wrong and I'm not one for buying into the ID Theft FUD because I'm fairly smart with how I give out my info.

Re:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528871)

Dude, you use Orkut?! lolz

Re:Is it FUD if there's some truth to it? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529137)

Do they? Well, what idiot goes and gives on company all that data to begin with? Apparently that idiot is you.

LEAVE GOOGLE ALONE!!! (5, Funny)

gsslay (807818) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

MS almost bought La-Z-Boy Corp. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528125)

The idea was to provide Ballmer with a practically unlimited arsenal of disposable chairs.

Google countered by hiring Chris DiBona, thus giving legions of Slashdot editors delusions of getting on the gravy train. The current article notwithstanding, I think they've figured out that it's not gonna happen.

google rescuing yahoo... (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528181)

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.

Since when are concerns about privacy FUD? (5, Insightful)

digitalgiblet (530309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528205)

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.

Re:Since when are concerns about privacy FUD? (5, Interesting)

biscuitlover (1306893) | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

Re:Since when are concerns about privacy FUD? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528803)

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.

Re:Since when are concerns about privacy FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528371)

Both want to find ways to get you to send them your money
 
Unless you have an Adwords campaign (to attract revenue for yourself), can you outline the last time you sent Google money?

Re:Since when are concerns about privacy FUD? (3, Interesting)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Google has a different model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528443)

Google has a different model for making money, they don't want YOU to send them money.
They want your personal information so they can target ads and possibly sell it to other companies.

I read here or somewhere else that google earns about $400/yr off each of us using our personal data, surfing habits and whatever they can gleam from all the data we give them freely (use gmail, google docs, maps, visit a site with analytics, etc....... )

Google knows almost everything about your internet use and communications.

Re:Since when are concerns about privacy FUD? (1)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528563)

Concerns about privacy are FUD simply because privacy in the modern world is completely and utterly DEAD.

The notion of privacy died as soon as credit cards, search engines and social networking sites became so prominent. Accept this brave new world we live in, and life becomes less stressful.

Re:Since when are concerns about privacy FUD? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528801)

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 bandwidth & AT&T doesn't get a cut (I guess). Also, apparently AT&T also want's to get into the advertising gig (according to the article), hence the reason for opposing Google (try to weaken them now before beginning to compete). Google's attempt to open up the telecoms disgusting stranglehold of wireless technology probably didn't endear them with AT&T (also jacking up the price during the wireless spectrum auction didn't help AT&T either). I think that's probably a more likely reason for the animosity than AT&T going into advertising.

So what you've got is two really really bad, convicted as illegal monopolies opposing Google. These two companies have historically tried to screw the customer (and arguably still do quite frequently). So the question is, whose motives do you trust in this case? It seemed like the Yahoo deal would have actually kept Yahoo solvent for a little longer and had no monopoly effects - Yahoo would get the same revenue deal other Adsense partners get with no exclusivity requirements (Yahoo could switch to another partner at any time if they wanted).

The reality is that Microsoft hated that Yahoo rejected them (and then going into bed with Google must have caused some chair-related weather events in Seattle). This was a completely retaliatory act to prevent Yahoo from remaining a financially stable company (look at the position they're in now). The CEO that insulted Microsoft also had to resign for rejecting the Microsoft deal (since the Google deal fell through). Thus, they are much weaker company and probably won't be able to reject an even lower offer from Microsoft if it ever comes. Microsoft however now has all the power. If Yahoo goes under, they get rock bottom prices on some valuable technology (not that they'll be able to do anything with it thankfully if history shows us anything). Even if it doesn't, Microsoft can get a much cheaper price now on a hostile takeover (or even a non-hostile takeover would come at a significantly cheaper price than a year ago).

This had nothing to do with any kind of worrying about consumers from Microsoft's POV. It was strictly a "how can we retaliate against Yahoo, screw Google, & maybe get our own deal back" action & they browbeat advertisers into thinking this somehow affected them. This is Microsoft's continuation of its good ol' 80s & 90s tactics of screwing over competitors.

Is that a sufficient evaluation of why their claims are bogus?

As for the privacy issue, the effort of tying all the information (especially if you want accuracy) within Google is an extreme amount of work. The question is whether or not there's any value for Google - I seriously doubt that as their Adsense model probably won't get better with the kind of ancillary information that would be present in their other services (it might even get worse if the data just overspecifies the actual function).

It would be nice if there were some governmental guidelines for privacy, but at this point Google has so far demonstrated to be a way more trustworthy company (in terms of technical competence preventing leaks & from a socially competent way of not abusing that information). Microsoft & AT&T however do not have that luxury. I find it especially hilarious that AT&T is talking about consumer privacy - did everyone already forgetting that whole wiretapping business?

Also, when was the last time you sent Google any money? End-users at the end of the day do not pay Google anything. There are 4 groups involved - advertisers pay, websites make money, Google gets a cut, and users get free content.

Re:Since when are concerns about privacy FUD? (1)

Bert690 (540293) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529159)

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:Since when are concerns about privacy FUD? (1)

cppmonkey (615733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528993)

When they are hypocritical. Google at least fought the good fight to keep my records anonymized while the privacy spouting competition bent over backwards to violate my privacy.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5165530

On the simple facts Google thus far has been less evil.

they don't need to "manufacture" (1, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528227)

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.

Re:they don't need to "manufacture" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528367)

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

Guilty --

however, it does save me time escaping from cybersquatters. "Hrm, was that website .com or .net?"

Re:they don't need to "manufacture" (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528663)

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.

Monopoly Arena (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528253)

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.

Whos to say google didn't submit this story? (2, Insightful)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528257)

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,

Re:Whos to say google didn't submit this story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528487)

Did you mean: [i]car insurance[/i]

When Sock Puppets Attack (0)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528785)

Who's to say twitter (the obsessive-compulsive (and thereby consistently entertaining-for-all-the-wrong-reasons) Microsoft-hater who contributed this story) isn't a sock-puppet of some Google Marketing Coordinator?

Re:Whos to say google didn't submit this story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529157)

Well, at least Google would know where to send them when they type "car insurence" instead of "car insurance".

Which is, in my mind, Google's primary purpose. Getting along with my misspeelings.

So he finally realized... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528303)

That throwing chairs out of the Window(s) doesn't have any impact on Google? Ok, now I'm starting to worry.

Of babys and bathwater (1)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528407)

Microsoft Creed :: If we can't do it no one should be allowed to try.

Google is a monopoly (1)

dwex (143870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528435)

Google is Microsoft 2.0.

Look at Google's shares of the search & search advertising markets, domestically and internationally. They are clearly a monopoly. The question is whether or not they go so far as to be an ILLEGAL monopoly. It is pretty straightforward that they are using their market dominance in one market (search/search advertising) to attempt to leverage entry into other markets (Google Analytics being one of the most striking examples). This is one true test of abuse of monopoly power.

There is no question that they Yahoo deal needed to be blocked. They didn't even pretend that customer pricing wouldn't rise - they just lamely tried to argue "but you'll get more for your money". They would have had > 90% share in the US and closer to 100% in many parts of the Western world had that deal been allowed.

As to privacy - Google's data retention policies are outright consumer-hostile. If any of you are old enough to remember Microsoft's abortive Hailstorm initiative, Google's policies on data retention are worse than anything that would have happened with Hailstorm. Where's the uproar?

People trust Google far too much for their own good.

Google works well (5, Insightful)

foxalopex (522681) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Google works well (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528645)

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.

I am no cheerleader for MicroSoft, but they do offer so very good free software like Visual Web Developer.

Different strategy? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26528483)

At least the residents around MS' main office won't have to worry about falling chairs anymore ;-)

The other way around? (4, Interesting)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528551)

I thought it was Googles coup to prevent Microsoft from aquiring Yahoo.

Google are evil bastards who will kill us all (0, Offtopic)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26528607)

A new study shows that using Google will destroy the planet [today.com] . A typical Google search on a completely random topic such as "charlot chirch sex tape" produces enough carbon for 98 pencils or seventeen boiled kettles and brutally murders an average of two point four cute fluffy things.

"A Google search has a definite environmental impact," said Alex Wissner-Gross of Harvard University. "Instead, you should use Windows Live Search - to be renamed Windows Love Search - which produces butterflies and baby seals. That's instead of whatever you were looking for, but hey - it's for the planet."

Google is "secretive" about its energy consumption and carbon footprint. "Or at least, they told us to 'fuck off' when we asked how many endangered species they'd killed off today. This proves their inherent malice. If you search using Google you may as well be strangling kittens. You should go to a trustworthy company of demonstrated moral fibre, like Microsoft."

A recent Gartner report said the global IT industry generates as much greenhouse gas as the airlines industry. "Primary in this is the large quantities of hot air produced by completely independent analysts to support the views of the highest bidder."

The Home Office welcomed the findings. "This proves that Internet users might as well be terrorists," said Jacqui Smith, "and so we'll treat them like they are. All Internet access in the UK will be run through Cleanfeed filters and your electronic ration book ticked off per web page used. Reading Wikipedia or the Guido Fawkes blog will, of course, be declared capital offences."

Microsoft has demonstrated its environmental credentials by recycling Vista, its huge and lumbering Hummer of an operating system, as Windows 7. "All new and yet ... old," said marketing marketer Steve Ballmer. "Save the planet with Windows 7! (Requires4coreprocessor2gigabytesmemory500gigabyteharddiskandbasement nuclearpowerplant. Powerplantsoldseparately.)"

Let them all kill themselves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529069)

Let them all kill themselves... BTW, I have a new fine idea for a web-based company...

i wanna new one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26529101)

this is evidently a lobbyist article. it seems like google has already "learned it's lessons".

frankly, i got bored with google. i've been using it for ages + it hasn't got any better.

i'd like to see some p2p engines like www.edgios.com or www.faroo.com , in open source versions.

So quick to defend Google? (1, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26529123)

Don't make Google out to be some put upon victims; victims would be the people in China who can't access online material about Tienanmen Square. "Don't be evil" my arse.

I am no fan of Microsoft (haven't used windows in years), but neither am I a fan of the Chinese government nor those who collude with them against freedom.

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