Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Doctorow: Rivalry Keeps Google From Doing Evil

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the what's-my-motivation? dept.

Google 113

An anonymous reader writes "Writer and activist Cory Doctorow says competition keeps Google behaving ethically because it believes there are benefits to be had. However, as it moves into sectors where it faces fewer rivals this may not always be the case. 'It actually seems to be a quality metric. They believe they can attract customers, independent software vendors, resellers and an ecosystem around them by not being evil,' he says. 'Where they operate in narrower, less competitive markets — like where they’ve become an Internet service provider, for example — they abandon those commitments.'"

cancel ×

113 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Monopoly (5, Insightful)

PlasmaEye (1128377) | about a year ago | (#44857367)

So, they are acting like any other company when faced with the same market situation?

Re:Monopoly (4, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44857463)

With reading TFA, I'm assume their fiber business is being referred to and their blocking 'Servers', which most other ISPs do. If that's the objection, it seems that that rule is only so a subscriber with an unlimited bandwidth plan does not run their own ISP on their connection. It seems quite fair, although there are probably a few other ways to enforce that than the more general ban, which I understand they do not enforce (also like most other ISPs).

I've rarely seen Google approach evil other than some of the push with Google Plus, which I think is at least bordering on it, like embedding 'join Google Plus' function in a YouTube 'play' button.

Re:Monopoly (2)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44858367)

Most other ISPs do? I don't think any of the ISPs I've ever used have wasted their energy doing that. They stopped giving out static IPs for free a long time ago and they've never guaranteed the kind of uptime or bandwidth necessary to make a server useful. And many ISPs cap the connection anyways.

For people who care about those things, a residential plan is just not going to cut it. Now, a personal server for something that's only of interest to the extended family isn't likely to be something that's going to cause enough trouble to be worth worrying about.

Now, maybe in parts of the country where there's FiOS service or uncapped connections capable of more than 5mbps that's not the case.

Re:Monopoly (4, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44858407)

Every ISP I've ever used has had a "no servers" clause in their TOS. They also don't tend to enforce it, as I generally run SSH, etc. From what I can see, Google is no different other than having what looks like a well funded FUD campaign targeted at them. It's good to keep an eye on them, but I think they get a lot more abuse and a lot less praise than they deserve, compared to pretty much everybody else at least.

Re:Monopoly (2)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year ago | (#44859341)

It's port 25 and 80 that they block. What I've noticed is inbound 80 being the predominant one.

Re:Monopoly (1)

Antonovich (1354565) | about a year ago | (#44858567)

All they need to do is get Glass right quick and then basically make everything run through G+. Facebook problem solved. Sure there'll be plenty of "backlash"... just like everyone stopped using FB when they found out how ridiculous their fine print was. Or not...

Re:Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44863363)

Running a server != running an ISP.

Re:Monopoly (3, Informative)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about a year ago | (#44863381)

The problem is that they don't clearly define "server". If I use Bittorrent to download a Debian release, other downloaders are pulling the data from me. Will I be blocked? If I'm hosting a Minecraft server, will that be blocked? What about ownCloud, Tonido Plug, Gotomypc.com. Are they blocked? What if my home security system allows remote access, can I use that without violating my terms of service? What if I set up a simple S/FTP server for me and a few friends to access? I can understand an argument that I shouldn't run a node for newegg.com out of my basement, but I think Google should delineate more clearly between what kinds of home service are forbidden on a consumer plan - and if they really mean everything, it sucks.

And in terms of Evil, Google complained that they couldn't query public posts on Facebook while Bing can, but can Bing or anyone else query public posts on Google Plus? Of course not. Are they opening Google Plus APIs to third party app developers so users can cross-read and cross-post content and comments from other networks? Of course not. I strongly suspect that Google circa 2005 would have done differently. But now that they've settled further into their position as an juggernaut, they've started to take pages from the Microsoft play book.

I still trust Google more than I trust Microsoft. But the gap in credibility between the two companies is narrowing.

Re:Monopoly (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#44857473)

So, they are acting like any other company when faced with the same market situation?

While that is true, what's different is those other companies generally get reamed when they pull a switch like that - Google, on the other hand, gets a free pass from lots of people.

We see it happen here on Slashdot all the time.

What switch are you talking about? (2, Insightful)

linuxguy (98493) | about a year ago | (#44857677)

Can you provide an example to back up your claim?

I am also curious about the switch you are talking about? If you are talking about their no server policy, can you provide a link to where they said servers were OK at some point and then later went back on their word?

Re:What switch are you talking about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44862497)

Yeah. Just read any story about Google doing something bad. There are dozens upon dozens of fanbois doing spin doctoring and damage control.

Re:Monopoly (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857699)

Google... gets a free pass from lots of people.

Google, the Obama of the internet.

Microsoft is the 'Bush'. They get blamed for everything that goes wrong

Apple is a mix of Gore, Nader, and Perot on camera... Behind the scenes they are Kissinger and Rumsfeld.

Re:Monopoly (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44857951)

Which frankly blows my damned mind, its like "do no evil" is some sort of RDF instead of just another slogan like "think different" and "where do you want to go today?".

I mean from the nasty stuff we are learning from Snowden to the locking down the backend (where is the public API for Google+? Last I checked it didn't exist) to their using spammer techniques with Chrome like tying it to unrelated third party software which I would say is not only evil (because Joe and Jane don't know how to reset the default browser) but seriously douchey time and time again we have seen Google act just as nasty as MSFT and Apple yet...crickets. Hell it doesn't matter what they do, even ripping off the old "Requires IE" bit [tumblr.com] not only will people refuse to see this as nasty you will often see them charge to DEFEND whatever douchey thing Google does! When I pointed out on one forum that Google was using the old toolbar spammer trick of tying Chrome to programs like CCleaner and Defraggler I even had one defender say "Well I downloaded Chrome and didn't get CCleaner" because he was so fucking desperate to defend an obviously scumbag behavior he was grasping at any straws he could find!

I don't know, maybe I'm weird but I don't believe in "flying the flag" of ANY company, especially not the megacorps. If they make a good product like Win 7 or Android 2.x? I'll be happy to give credit where credit is due. If on the other hand they put out a product I think is crap, like Win 8 or those proprietary as hell and NSA wet dream [arstechnica.com] ChromeBooks? I'll be the first to start passing out the rotten tomatoes. I honestly do not understand this whole "corporations as ballclubs" mentality, first I thought maybe it was a form of buyer's remorse, you have invested all this money into something you really don't have a use for so you defend and try to justify it like the gal I saw struggling to use an iPad for a grocery list, but then you have the free products like Chrome and Google Search that are just as militantly defended...I don't know, maybe I'm one of the last sane guys in the nuthouse but jumping through flaming hoops to defend some supermegacorp that would happily shove them under a bus if it made the stock bounce 8% is just insanity to me.

Re:Monopoly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44858005)

What blows my mind is how "Don't be evil" is always chanted by Googlehate fans, not the other way around.

It always goes "Google does this or another" - "Ha-ha, don't be evil, my ass! Are you going to tell me it's still true?", not "Google does this or another" - "See, you guys, they're still not doing evil as they promised!"

Meanwhile, I, and others, just keep using what's convenient for them and evaluate things on case by case basis, not trying to paint it all by a nice soundbite.

It's a fucking big corporation, they're not a person to be good or evil, but they're made up of people who do all kinds of things, bad and good.

Re:Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44859835)

What blows my mind is how "Don't be evil" is always chanted by Googlehate fans, not the other way around.

Maybe, just maybe, because that's Google's OWN GODDAMN SLOGAN?

It's a fucking big corporation, they're not a person to be good or evil, but they're made up of people who do all kinds of things, bad and good.

Yes, and that's what your "Googlehate" fans kept trying to tell you, Google had done enough bad things, just like all other big bad evil corporations.

Re:Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44859935)

Did you even read the conversation? You're here with exactly the kind of "THIS IS WHAT GOOGLE FANS ACTUALLY BELIEVE" I was just speaking about.

Re:Monopoly (1)

Kernel Krumpit (1912708) | about a year ago | (#44858033)

+10

Re:Monopoly (0)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44858433)

What exactly is evil about not having a public API for Google+? Did they promise one or something?

Re:Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44858979)

Actually, they're far, far more ethical than other companies would be in their situation. They have the most popular search engine, mobile OS, and browser out right now - the potential to block competition is STELLAR, but let's see what they've done:

Search: competitors are shown prominently. A search for "search", for instance, brings up Yahoo and Bing first. A search for "travel" brings up Kayak and Travelocity first. A search for "email" brings up Yahoo mail first.

Mobile OS: Unlike their main competitor, Google makes no attempt to lock down functionality from their users - they provide ridiculously easy ways to use other apps instead of the defaults for everything from email to keyboards. Other app stores are welcomed and usable. Plus, it's open source, so anybody can do whatever they want with it.

Browser: All sorts of havoc could be wreaked here, but they do not restrict the user at all. The code itself is open sourced, so people can do whatever they want with it. The biggest criticism I've seen here is that they've added new functionality to the web that isn't in a standard yet, but all of the code for these features is open source as well!

It's hilarious some of the things that people are considering "evil": "They don't allow servers on their ISP!", "They don't have a public API for G+!". Seriously? If these are the best instances you can think of - the company not being quite as good as they possibly could be - you don't realize how good you have it.

Can you imagine how bad things would be if Microsoft or Apple were in the positions that Google is in? Without Google, the internet would objectively be a much, much shittier place.

Re:Monopoly (2)

Clarious (1177725) | about a year ago | (#44859069)

Let me recounts recent events....
- They axed any services that compete with G+ (Google Reader for example, together with its community)
- Everything must be tied with G+, back then I can add my comment on Google Play, now I need a G+ account
- They 'upgraded' Google Talk to Hangout, removing XMPP Federation in the process which makes Hangout a walled garden (Gmail/Gtalk users constitute one of the biggest XMPP network).
- After your 'upgrade' to Google Hangout, you will lose your ability to disable chat logging from the gmail web interface, that can only be done with official Hangout client. And you can only disable per contact, not completely.
- They did not respect Do not track setting.
and many more....

I feel that Google now is no longer the one I loved, I shutdown most of my google services, took out all my data, blocking cookies from Google. Now the only Google service that I still is gmail, as I am looking for a good alternative, paid service like fastmail.fm is fine too.

Re:Monopoly (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44859211)

Reader wasn't used enough to matter to them.

Everything was previously tied to your 'Google' account, now you have to ... I don't know, click 'Join G+' then skip a few times to not give it any extra info? You already have an account with them, what exactly are you freaking out about? And how exactly did reader compete with G+?

XMPP federation still works perfectly fine, I use it every single day.

Theres a checkbox on a settings page somewhere that you can turn off chat logging, I know this because I once turned it off and then forgot where the hell it was to turn it back on. Took me a while.

Re:Monopoly (2)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year ago | (#44859403)

Everything was previously tied to your 'Google' account, now you have to ... I don't know, click 'Join G+' then skip a few times to not give it any extra info? You already have an account with them, what exactly are you freaking out about?

You missed the nymwars then I take it? Killing accounts for weeks, including emails and everything else because they didn't like the name you used for G+

That was my watershed event. Before that, I was very pro-Google. After that, they have lost my trust.

Re:Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44860339)

1) Shutting down services is not evil. Companies do that to products that aren't profitable / don't meet their needs. Plus, the Reader shutdown was far more complicated than "it competes with G+".

2) So? Part of Google+ is identity, why would it be surprising that for reviews tied to your identity, they want you to use G+?

3) Thus sucks, but again, it's a far cry from "evil".

4) Again, sucks, but not even close to "evil".

5) They repeatedly stated that they were waiting for further details / implementations before taking action. They've supported it for almost a year now. ... still not seeing the evil.

Re:Monopoly (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year ago | (#44859397)

Mobile OS: Unlike their main competitor, Google makes no attempt to lock down functionality from their users - they provide ridiculously easy ways to use other apps instead of the defaults for everything from email to keyboards. Other app stores are welcomed and usable. Plus, it's open source, so anybody can do whatever they want with it.

And so they do. Why do most people who use Android phones complain about crapware? Why isn't anyone doing anything to stop that? Because "anybody can do whatever they want with it" and so they do.

Sometimes, a little bit of control is good. Stopping all the crapware and other shit carriers foist on the users is a good thing.

On the other hand, you're right, having an open platform allows a lot more things to be done. Choices... which shall it be?

Re:Monopoly (1)

retech (1228598) | about a year ago | (#44857791)

The difference here is that the almighty all-seeing all-hipster voice of the doctorow said this. While it is nothing that anyone with an IQ over 95 and a smidgeon of common sense would be able to see and just say "meh" to; when the all wonderful doctorow says it the internet stops and takes notice.*


*by "taking notice" it is understood that only BoingBoing and /. actually post or comment on the great doctorow. The rest of the world just does not give a shit.

Re:Monopoly (1)

west (39918) | about a year ago | (#44857947)

You're sounding awfully bitter that a moderate number of people with limited amounts of time and energy pay more attention to Cory Doctorow than they do to you or me.

Why? Outsourcing news filtering to those we've given some authority to is not a crime. It's how we function.

Personally, I outsource my filtering to newpapers, TV, friends, family, experts who happen to get media coverage, etc...

Re:Monopoly (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#44857927)

So, they are acting like any other company when faced with the same market situation?

Actually, no. Most corporations that size, in the rare cases where they're faced with competition, look for unethical ways to stop it.

Google's made some effort to be ethical, but the ways in which they fall short are becoming harder to overlook. They're one of the few companies with the resources to resist the NSA for example, even if only to fight the gag order that's been placed on them regarding the level to which they have been served national security letters. If Google doesn't fight, what chance does a smaller company have? That's one of the areas in which Microsoft has actually acquitted itself pretty well.

Which reminds me that Doctorow recently recommended that web companies use "dead-man switches" to respond to NSA spying. By putting up a single sentence, "We have not been contacted by the NSA to turn over data" and leaving it up as long as it's true, they could fight against the despicable practice that the NSA, DEA, even the CFPB has, of demanding companies play ball and then forbid them from telling customers about it.

A company like Google could get a whole lot of public love if they just took one small step in fighting back against the encroaching police state. Other, smaller, companies have done it. Now it's their turn.

Re:Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857971)

Well, both Google and MS went campaining for transparency over NSLs only after Snowden's bomb hit the news - you can either read that as damage control, or as sincerely hoping to ride the wave to get it done, depending on your cynicism.

Re: dead-man switch - I don't think going against the intent, not the letter, of the law is looked at kindly, especially when talking about something as removed from usual justice system as NSA. "But we were ordered to NOT tell anyone about your orders, not keep silent about not receiving them!" will surely fly no better than "Yes, I was ordered not to approach her closer than 50 feet, that's why I used this lens with rangefinder to keep at 51 feet all the time!"

Re:Monopoly (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year ago | (#44859421)

They're one of the few companies with the resources to resist the NSA for example, even if only to fight the gag order that's been placed on them regarding the level to which they have been served national security letters. If Google doesn't fight, what chance does a smaller company have? That's one of the areas in which Microsoft has actually acquitted itself pretty well.

While I agree Google did OK, Microsoft *DID NOT* They bent over backwards to provide access. Outlook.com has builtin backdoors for these things, as do skype.

Re:Monopoly (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about a year ago | (#44861583)

Which reminds me that Doctorow recently recommended that web companies use "dead-man switches" to respond to NSA spying. By putting up a single sentence, "We have not been contacted by the NSA to turn over data" and leaving it up as long as it's true, they could fight against the despicable practice that the NSA, DEA, even the CFPB has, of demanding companies play ball and then forbid them from telling customers about it.

A similar idea was suggested by some librarians some years ago (back when national security letters were new, I think). IIRC, the best legal advice said that removing the sign was a punishable non-compliance with a gag order, so I don't think that would work here, either.

Re:Monopoly (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#44862443)

the best legal advice said that removing the sign was a punishable non-compliance with a gag order, so I don't think that would work here, either.

Which is exactly why Google has to do this, because they have the resources to fight it in court. I'd like to see a court case where the NSA and US Govt try to assert the right to force a company not to take something off their web page.

If we're going to have this fight, then we have to have this fight.

Re:Monopoly (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44858055)

well, they're just as full of bullshit as everyone else. ..but wave their dicks around like they weren't.

can you imagine if Ford had come out with the slogan "Do No Evil" in 1996? would have been fucking laughed out of the states.

it's such a fucking empty slogan anyways, since the opposite would be just hysterical as a sloga.

KKK could take a lesson in feelgood marketing and adapt the slogan "Don't rape!". sure, has nothing to do with the business of KKK but it's generally acceptable, unlike KKK's actual policies. if they would have had some real balls google would have adopted more definite policy, like "Don't snitch our customers away." - something that would actually work as a plan of action.

Re:Monopoly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44858245)

All public corporation have a legal and I believe moral obligation to maximize returns to their shareholders, the owners. If you believe this is evil or otherwise harmful you should advocate other economic systems like socialism. Criticizing individual corporations is pointless , they are only doing what they are required to do. In short corporations behave ethically in situations where it improves their financial situation, on other places it is not relevant. Incidentally, doing good for selfish motives does not diminish in any way the value of good acts, for example. corporation often give to charity.

Re:Monopoly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44858681)

> All public corporation have a legal and I believe moral obligation to maximize returns to their shareholders, the owners.

Well, no, they don't. FFS, you even just now contradicted yourself here - giving to charities doesn't quite "maximize returns to their shareholders". Really, citations are sorely needed on this requirement. I can't find any cases, can you? I can find things like: "directors of a corporation . . . are clothed with [the] presumption, which the law accords to them, of being [motivated] in their conduct by a bona fide regard for the interests of the corporation whose affairs the stockholders have committed to their charge", which says nothing about shareholders' returns. Not being a dick and creating a long-term positive public image is surely in the interests of corporation, and converse is surely failing that.

Bury this fucking meme already, every corporate assholery is met with consenting nods of this bullshit: "Ah, but see, they have to be assholes!" They are not nearly assholes enough as they would be required by this literal reading. They're just assholes because they're assholes.

Duh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857369)

What else is to be said, they are not stupid, they hire the smartest, and some of the smartest are crooks.

Re:Duh (0)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about a year ago | (#44857815)

"... they hire the smartest, and some of the smartest are crooks."

Hire? They buy you out. You are now them, only you have no real tasks but spending the millions they just gave you to keep you on the bench and off the playing field...and your mouth firmly shut.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_acquisitions [wikipedia.org]

Rivalry, my ass. The only rivalry I see is from Microsoft, leaving us the old "lesser of two evils" scenario. In other words, no choice. It's a good cop/bad cop routine meant to keep us in a state where we have no options.

Think back to the list of major players that Snowden exposed, then look at the following lists of acquisitions and you'll see just how much of the tech world has been compromised.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Apple [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Facebook [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Microsoft [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Yahoo [wikipedia.org] !

And take a close look at Twitter's acquisitions--Bluefin Labs and Whisper Systems, in particular.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Twitter [wikipedia.org]

Except when it comes to China. (0, Troll)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year ago | (#44857383)

Unless they get hurt, they'll deal with anyone and anything evil - China being the prime example.

Re:Except when it comes to China. (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44857461)

By now US is the prime example. China may be evil with its own population, but US is with the entire world's one.

Re:Except when it comes to China. (1)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#44857675)

They originally hoped that they'd bring uncensored information to China. When that got silenced, they switched to telling their customers they were being censored, bringing attention to the censorship. When that was silenced, they left.

At the high level, (and from a Western viewpoint*,) those are not evil actions. The rest of their dealings with China and the Chinese market may have been less than angelic, but their overarching framework had noble foundations.

* I qualified that statement because there is a Chinese viewpoint that a harmonious society (even if it is built on polite fictions) is better than individual freedoms that lead to disruptions. We may find that dishonest, repulsive, repressive, and tyrannical, but ours aren't the only ideas on the planet.

Re:Except when it comes to China. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44858399)

What else did you expect them to do? Other than not even try, they took the only other reasonably option other than fully complying.

It's not different from the US. See how long you can operate a server that provides child pornography and methods of taking down a plane before the server is shut down and confiscated.

The law is what the law is in the country and until and unless the policy isn't enforced you're options are to not go there, to leave or to fight. And fighting is often times not viable in countries like China where the party makes the laws and enforces them.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857395)

Providing free internet to individuals, schools, and libraries, and increasing paid broadband speed by 100x without raising prices is evil?

Re: Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857427)

That whooshing sound over your head is the main point of the summary.

I guess you forget the main reason ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857573)

... for the investment: COLLECTING PRIVATE DATA

Google's profit depend on collecting your data and selling it to the highest bidder (same as Facebook).

Re:I guess you forget the main reason ... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44858415)

That's not true. They don't collect the information coming down the pipe. They collect the information the same way on their network that they do on the network in general. The profit motive for them to provide the improved connections is more impressions per hour. As well as fewer people blocking ads because of slow connection speeds. And hopefully scare the other ISPs into improving the connection speeds so that it happens all over the place.

Google Do Do Evil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857407)

Their bottomless pit of an appetite for people's data that can be used for Advertising is IMHO pure evil.
THen there is there slurping of data from their cars. I don't buy that their capturing of WiFi data was an accident.
When they were photographing places why did they need to detect WiFi signals? They didn't.

Google will do as must as they can to get data on the people who use their system.
The can proclaim their 'goodness' as long as they are less evil than FaceBook.

Re:Google Do Do Evil (4, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#44857441)

That's kind of it. Their business is in selling adwords and they do that by trawling as much data as they can about as many people as they can. All of their other businesses are either amusing side projects they haven't figured out what to do with yet, or they do evil in support of their main advertising business.

Anything that can't either boost adsense revenue or make money directly is eventually going to get cut.

Re:Google Do Do Evil (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44857671)

Right, Google's problems with evil are more on the ad side. They had to pay $500,000,000 as a penalty to the Department of Justice to keep Larry Page out of jail [wsj.com] when Google was knowingly running ads for drug dealers. [wsj.com] (It wasn't about "Canadian pharmacies"; Google was caught in an FBI sting operation involving a fake representative of a Mexican drug lord.)

After that, Google started checking out advertisers in the drug area more closely. But they continued to run ads for fake "foreclosure prevention" services and other rather flaky outfits.

Google's advertiser vetting is very weak. They don't even check whether there's a real business behind the ad. We used to run an automated check on this, and for about 36% of Google advertisers (by domain name), there was no identifiable real-world business behind the ad.

Re:Google Do Do Evil (4, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#44857991)

Right, Google's problems with evil are more on the ad side. They paid extortion to the tune of $500,000,000 as a penalty to the Department of Justice to keep Larry Page out of jail when Google offended the pharmaceutical industry cartel. That amount was sufficient to match the bribes paid by the pharmaceutical industry, and since it shut down most internet pharmacies being found via google, they didn't pursue the matter further.

There, fixed that for ya.

could he be referring to the fact of no servers (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857413)

on google Fiber? because to me, that's reasonable.

Re:could he be referring to the fact of no servers (1)

Chemisor (97276) | about a year ago | (#44857785)

So evil is ok as long as it's reasonable?

Yaaay! Bashing strawmen is fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857859)

So, GP said it's evil but he's ok with it?

Re:could he be referring to the fact of no servers (2)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#44858003)

So evil is ok as long as it's reasonable?

Well, a TOS statement that has yet to be enforced against anyone on the assumption that the customer also isn't evil is a hell of a lot less evil than an asymmetric rate for upload/download speeds or upload caps as a technical enforcement measure.

PS: Got your own ISP to lift their RIAA/MPAA imposed download cap yet?

Re:could he be referring to the fact of no servers (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44858437)

The problem is that opting out of the ToS is a non-starter in many areas. Around here I get two viable choices for internet, I have to sign with one of them if I want to have an internet connection and I don't have the opportunity to negotiate the terms of the agreement.

What we really need is for the courts to start recognizing that these aren't contracts, these are demands placed on people with limited options and in some cases all of the options contain the same fine print.

Re:could he be referring to the fact of no servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44858817)

Do they also forbid you to rent a VPS?..

While "no running any servers whatsoever!11" is dumb (and usually not enforced - my log collecting mail server at home's running for years without complains from ISP), I know there's difference in traffic between business and home use. If your neighbor starts selling VPN access stuffing the tubes so that your Internet slows to a crawl, you sure won't be pleased.

Re:could he be referring to the fact of no servers (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44859439)

If they wouldn't oversell their capacity to such a drastic degree that wouldn't be a problem. Bottom line here is that the ISPs aren't exactly writing the ToS in a neutral fashion, they're writing it in a way that disadvantages the subscriber and where the subscriber has basically no say other than to opt out completely.

Right now, I can sign with Comcast, that can't keep a stable connection; Centurylink that's OK, but slow; Hughes Net, which has satellite latency and Clear that has it's own bandwidth problems.

Now, if I had real choices and the contracts were more dissimilar it would be different. But, the ISPs oversell their capacity and fail to do anything to make things better. Meanwhile I have the choice of a 5mbps uncapped connection or one that's somewhat faster but has a cap below what I use some months.

Or it could be the opposite. (2, Insightful)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#44857429)

It could be that the incentive to do evil is stronger in competitive markets. It would seem the incentive to to whatever it takes to be profitable in competitive markets would be even stronger.

Whether a company decides it's a better strategy to be more competitive by trying to attract more customers by offering superior products (including ideologies like green, ethical, etc) or finding legal or illegal ways of exploiting society for higher revenue seems incidental.

I am not saying google is good or evil. I am only saying that I don;t see the rationale to necessarily be good in competitive markets and bad in noncompetitive markets. If anything being bad in any sphere would seem to nullify Google's image as an ethical company and ruin any advantages such a reputation would have in markets where ethics were it's primary selling point.

I think all companies try to be profitable and ethical. Where these 2 ideals are in conflict some companies have a higher willingness to overlook ethics in favor of profit. I don't think market competition is as relevant a factor as this article implies.

Human flourishing is the ultimate "profit" (3, Insightful)

Drinian (621383) | about a year ago | (#44857511)

Generally speaking, it's almost always more profitable in the long run to be ethical. As in most things, there are exceptions. Also, profitability has to be thought of in a broader way to accurately understand this issue. Human flourishing is the ultimate "profit" which includes wholeness in relationships which is always destroyed by being "evil".

Re:Human flourishing is the ultimate "profit" (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#44858745)

It depends on how you view your ingroups and outgroups. If your ingroup is the whole world, then the most profitable thing to do is to be a socialist/philanthropist. If your ingroup is your family and your fellow shareholders, then ethics may not play such a big part in your ability to be profitable.

By vowing not to be evil, Google is effectively claiming a larger ingroup than is typically expected of a corporation.

Many people are perfectly content with their flourishing coming at the expense of the misery of other less fortunate people.

Re:Human flourishing is the ultimate "profit" (2)

Drinian (621383) | about a year ago | (#44859743)

It is true that people may be content to advance at the expense and misery of others. In fact, it is rather common today, even in cultures that have a history of other-centered ethics (virtue), to glamorize such behavior (precisely because in those cultures there is an active abandonment of the foundations that produced them). And it is all done with the logic you suggest: "What is me and mine is right and good."

The problem with that is how we treat the one is how we will treat the many, and people know this. So, if you can abuse someone we both think is in our mutual "outgroup" I quietly know that you have the capability to do it to anyone, even those in your "ingroup" which includes me. "Us four and no more...and it might only be three of us."

Evil has a corrosive effect that cannot be limited to my "enemies." That's why integrity really does matter.

Re:Human flourishing is the ultimate "profit" (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#44860721)

So, if you can abuse someone we both think is in our mutual "outgroup" I quietly know that you have the capability to do it to anyone, even those in your "ingroup" which includes me.

This is probably true of shareholders in a company who find themselves with common interests for the moment. I think there is probably a deeper bond between other sorts of ingroups. I wouldn't assume that a man would be willing to murder his own son, because he was able to murder a stranger for money. I wouldn't assume that a soldier would be willing to kill his fellow soldiers because he was willing to kill an enemy soldier.

Re:Or it could be the opposite. (1)

Holladon (1620389) | about a year ago | (#44859805)

Exactly. Trying to tie this to "competition" seems like trying to force it into a preconceived argument when there's a much, much simpler explanation: Google, like all companies, tries to minimize its costs and maximize its revenues, and it's done so while more or less keeping its nose fairly clean vis-a-vis the consumers of its products and services. Having a good image all-around, sure, tends to give you a slight edge in any market with any competition -- including, by the way, the employment market, which, even in an economy as shitty as this one, is by definition ALWAYS competitive absent legalized slavery. But expanding into a relatively less-competitive market doesn't result in a cost-benefit analysis whereby you are suddenly more willing to tarnish your brand; the obvious explanation for the different position on net neutrality is that, as an ISP, Google now has costs that are directly impacted by net neutrality, rather than only benefits. If you change the cost/benefit analysis for a given policy position, hey how about that, you may find that you now come down a different way on it. It's nothing to do with "competition" and everything to do with a completely different type of business. Google wouldn't magically not care about the possible burdens of net neutrality as an ISP if there were many more ISPs out there competing with it.

Ethics? Evil? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#44857453)

Such words have varying definitions by person, your evil may be my good.

Re:Ethics? Evil? (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44857507)

Exactly. You're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. That's what I learned from Star Wars.

*facepalm* (-1, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44857455)

"Writer and activist Cory Doctorow says competition keeps Google behaving ethically because...

Because the paid shill has conveniently omitted the possibility of collusion and/or conspiracy. And there have been plenty of examples where corporations in this industry have colluded with each other to price fix. In fact, during the analog to digital TV transition, the prices were over double what they should have been. The government is, you know, thinking about, maybe, possibly, getting around to investigating that, you know, someday. Don't hold your breath.

I don't think you'll find very many people here that believe that the government and large corporations aren't in bed with each other. Money talks. So, I gotta ask, Mr. Doctorow... how much did they pay you to talk about how Google can't possibly be evil, when the evidence for your position is so pathetically underwelming? Perhaps Google is a special little snowflake that somehow wouldn't engage in the kinds of unethical behavior that almost every other Fortune 500 company did? Perhaps you believe that mass-collusion between corporations and the government isn't possible... and there's another explanation for the current global recession?

Because if you can, step forward and collect your Nobel prize on economics. Otherwise, the door is on your left. Don't let your paid-off ass hit it on the way out.

That ship sailed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857527)

"competition keeps Google behaving ethically"

? I thought that ship sailed as soon as the "Do No Evil" paint dried.. Or at least after they hired their first of many "ex" NSA members...
 

How to remain Google... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857535)

...after hiring so many people coming from other companies that never though being evil was something to be avoided?

Not to pick on Microsofties, but how many of them can you hire without turning your company into Microsoft?

Strong competitors are really important (2)

iampiti (1059688) | about a year ago | (#44857547)

And that's why is so important that a company has strong competitors. If they don't, they have fewer incentives to be ethical.
I love Android, but Google needs strong competitors so that they make it good for consumers and not only good for themselves.

Re:Strong competitors are really important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857621)

Good point.

However the majority of Fandroids out there want to see NO competition. i.e. they want Apple, BB and MS to die a horrible death.
The totally grok the mantra 'Google Can do no wrong. Google is Good. Everyone else is Bad.;

If that happens then no one will be able to do anything on the internet or on thei phone without the Chocolate Factory knowing all about it and advertising it to you.

I remember this story (3, Insightful)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44857599)

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/07/30/2322253/google-argues-against-net-neutrality [slashdot.org] its a dupe. Its the same dumb points from anonymous cowards. Google want to charge businesses for attaching servers to the internet...and yet this has been twisted into a Net Neutrality argument, by changing the definition of Net Neutrality "discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality [wikipedia.org] . I'm just shocked its not an Ars Technica...maybe they are still defending the iPhone launch.

Re:I remember this story (1, Informative)

jdogalt (961241) | about a year ago | (#44858017)

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/07/30/2322253/google-argues-against-net-neutrality [slashdot.org] its a dupe.

The original complaint I filed with the FCC, then the Kansas Attorney General, and then back to the FCC is here-

http://cloudsession.com/dawg/downloads/misc/kag-draft-2k121024.pdf [cloudsession.com]

Another slashdot echo of the EFF's take is here-

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/08/13/2148245/eff-slams-google-fiber-for-banning-servers-on-its-network [slashdot.org]

Its the same dumb points from anonymous cowards.

Ad hominem much tuppe666? My name is Douglas McClendon.

Google want to charge businesses for attaching servers to the internet...and yet this has been twisted into a Net Neutrality argument,

Here is my twist, I'll just post a paragraph from 10-201 (aka 'Net Neutrality')

FCC-10-201 Paragraph 13 (see appendix B for the entirety) ...
(Under Section Heading:)
The Internet’s Openness Promotes Innovation, Investment, Competition, Free Expression, and Other National Broadband Goals
13.
Like electricity and the computer, the Internet is a "general purpose technology" that enables new methods of production that have a major impact on
the entire economy.(12) The Internet’s founders intentionally built a network that is open, in the sense that it has no gatekeepers limiting innovation and
communication through the network.(13) Accordingly, the Internet enables an end user to access the content and applications of her choice, without
requiring permission from broadband providers. This architecture enables innovators to create and offer new applications and services without needing
approval from any controlling entity, be it a network provider, equipment manufacturer, industry body, or government agency.(14) End users benefit
because the Internet’s openness allows new technologies to be developed and distributed by a broad range of sources, not just by the companies that
operate the network. For example, Sir Tim Berners-Lee was able to invent the World Wide Web nearly two decades after engineers developed the
Internet’s original protocols, without needing changes to those protocols or any approval from network operators.(15) Startups and small businesses
benefit because the Internet’s openness enables anyone connected to the network to reach and do business with anyone else,(16) allowing even the
smallest and most remotely located businesses to access national and global markets, and contribute to the economy through e-commerce(17) and
online advertising.(18) Because Internet openness enables widespread innovation and allows all end users and edge providers (rather than just the
significantly smaller number of broadband providers) to create and determine the success or failure of content, applications, services, and devices, it
maximizes commercial and non-commercial innovations that address key national challenges -- including improvements in health care, education, and
energy efficiency that benefit our economy and civic life.(19)

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-10-201A1_Rcd.pdf [fcc.gov]

by changing the definition of Net Neutrality "discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org] . I'm just shocked its not an Ars Technica...maybe they are still defending the iPhone launch.

And here, I will emphasize a quote from Vint Cerf, about what IPv6 _ought_ to enable on the internet-

"
At Google we believe IPv6 is essential to the continued health and growth of the Internet and that by allowing all devices to talk to each other directly,
IPv6 enables new innovative services. ...
http://www.google.com/intl/en/ipv6/ [google.com]
"

Finally, I'll go back to quoting the actual Net Neutrality rule I accused GoogleFiber of violating (10-201 again, see .gov link above)

"
ii. No blocking.
Fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block
lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services;
"

Me, running a videogame server connected to my endpoint of the internet, *is a lawful service running on a non-harmful device". If Google wants to claim that I'm taking up too much in bandwidth resources, they are free at any time to stop committing the longstanding advertising fraud common in the residential ISP industry known as "unlimited bandwidth / no caps". There is a limit, there is a cap. Selective enforcement of vague ferengi print is how they enforce it. This also IMO has the side effect of chilling home served competitive services that might in fact prove more secure from eavesdropping than GMail and GoogleHangouts.

Go Die Troll.

Re:I remember this story (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about a year ago | (#44859077)

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/07/30/2322253/google-argues-against-net-neutrality [slashdot.org] its a dupe. Its the same dumb points from anonymous cowards. Google want to charge businesses for attaching servers to the internet...and yet this has been twisted into a Net Neutrality argument, by changing the definition of Net Neutrality "discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality [wikipedia.org] . I'm just shocked its not an Ars Technica...maybe they are still defending the iPhone launch.

Seems like it fits Net Neutrality perfectly to me. Google is discriminating based on content, right?

If Google is universally looking down on servers, they're going after people hosting things from Starcraft servers to running Bittorrent, right? If those are allowed behaviors, then they're discriminating based on type of content.

Google basically said "If you run a Starcraft server, that's ok. If you run an HTTP server, shame on you!" The irony is that an HTTP server is probably lower bandwidth than the other kinds of servers they allow. That's the sort of discrimination an "evil" company would do just to profit more of business use, the sort of thing that's not really grounded in common sense.

Re: I remember this story (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about a year ago | (#44860523)

The thing about the no servers policy isn't about the letter of the law, it's the spirit.

I used to work for a few ISPs, and the point of the server clause isn't to bust people for running generically anything termed, "server", it's a matter of managing use scenarios(a home user maxing out bandwidth 24/7 is generally a bad idea), and service expectations. Last thing anyone ever needs is for some idiot to call the support line bitching that he's losing business because residential service conked out(this is so frequent it's a joke among some folks I know), too.

Maybe the rules should be more specific about use case and so forth, but it's rarely if ever enforced. Only when you're caught running a BitTorrent tracker or something does it ever really get used.

Re: I remember this story (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about a year ago | (#44860529)

Just to be clear about the comment about people losing money, this usually refers to people doing eBay, or some scam or another. It's never been a case where service was used to host servers.

Google moved into Internet service provider .. (1)

codeusirae (3036835) | about a year ago | (#44857627)

'Where they operate in narrower, less competitive markets — like where they’ve become an Internet service provider, for example — they abandon those commitments.'

Like where, give examples ...

you dont take over the world by.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857643)

starting off with saying "Ok here is our plan guys step 1: search, step 2: ?, step 3: world domination.

Domestic Surveillance Market? (2)

cookYourDog (3030961) | about a year ago | (#44857645)

Can we consider Google of being 'good' in the crowded market of domestic surveillance?

Except He's Wrong (2)

brit74 (831798) | about a year ago | (#44857649)

Except that I don't recall any of the telephone companies stopping the NSA. And it's been claimed that Qwest lost out on US government contracts because it put up resistance to the US government.

When Qwest refused the NSA’s illegal request that it hand over its customers’ data without a warrant, the NSA wasn’t happy. According to former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, the government hit back for the telecom’s refusal by denying them lucrative contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/qwest-ceo-nsa-punished-qwest-refusing-participate-illegal-surveillance-pre-9-11 [eff.org]

Here's the thing: when there is competition, the government can play favorites with whoever does their bidding best. Remember the whole Yahoo-China thing? China could kick Yahoo out of China so Yahoo had to roll-over so that they could keep their marketshare. And Yahoo fought against the NSA in court as well, but they lost. What did Marissa Mayer say about that again?

"Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer said she feared winding up in prison for treason if she refused to comply with U.S. spy demands for data. Her comments came after being asked what she is doing to protect Yahoo users from "tyrannical government" during an on-stage interview Wednesday afternoon at a TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/09/12/yahoo-ceo-fears-defying-nsa-could-mean-prison/ [foxnews.com]

* Congrats, Cory. You've gotten on Slashdot several times in the past few weeks. Remember: it's important to keep your name in the news so that you can sell more books. Too bad your analysis is overly simplistic.

Re:Except He's Wrong (1)

cookYourDog (3030961) | about a year ago | (#44857741)

Absolutely frightening.

Re: Except He's Wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857943)

Completely agree. This guy obviously hasnt been payimg attention to Google if he thinks they do no evil.

Two examples off the top of my head:

1. The whole wardriving saga with their mapping cars. They claimed ignorance, but anyone working in software knows that code isnt accidentally written. Most programmers dont spend so much time on a feature such as that unless he is getting paid to.

2. The drug store sting against the google advertising business.

Re:Except He's Wrong (2)

west (39918) | about a year ago | (#44857983)

Cory's service to the community is not in providing nuanced analysis of issues. It's using his fame to bring issues to light that would simply be ignored by the more mainstream community.

We've got dozens of people with blogs to provide cogent, deep analysis. We've got precious few people with enough name recognition that they can get important issues put on the agenda.

I love in-depth policy analysis, but I'm well aware it's the kiss of death if you want to actually get things done in the real world. Simply put, nuance makes things too complicated for those who have only the slightest of interest in issues that we consider important - and they're the ones that make the decisions.

Re:Except He's Wrong (2)

casings (257363) | about a year ago | (#44858009)

Cory's service to the community is not in providing nuanced analysis of issues. It's using his fame to bring issues to light that would simply be ignored by the more mainstream community.

And how exactly is that relevant here? You think the community needs another Google circlejerk?

Re:Except He's Wrong (1)

west (39918) | about a year ago | (#44859273)

Sorry, I should have quoted the relevant line I was responding to.

Congrats, Cory. You've gotten on Slashdot several times in the past few weeks. Remember: it's important to keep your name in the news so that you can sell more books. Too bad your analysis is overly simplistic.

Evil = Capitalist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857673)

.. when the raison d'etre of *any* organisation is based upon a capitalist structure, i.e ."lets make more money than last year.." - Google being a defacto entirely capatilistic enerprise after their flotation - yup, then ethics goes out the window first. The rules of capitalisatism simply do not allow them to act otherwise.

just one thought (0)

FudRucker (866063) | about a year ago | (#44857687)

what part of "Spying for the NSA" is not evil?

In what parallel universe is Google still consider (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857689)

In what parallel universe is Google still considered not evil. It has rapidly become deeply so, in a very MS-like way ironically enough.

For one thing its entire business model is based on rigging a supposed "auction" for ads. AdWords is an auction where you don't know the rules, the rules are always shifting, and you don't quite understand what you're bidding for. You can't bid your way to the top of Google's search results page.

Then, like Microsoft, it aggressively clones competitor products and gives its own versions away for free to crush competition (Android, Google Reader etc. etc.) When it has killed a market (Reader for instance) it moves out leaving the wrekage in its wake.

Add that the company unfairly and illegally used its dominance in search to promote its own products over those of competitors. Its Street View cars surreptitiously collected private internet communications — including emails, photographs, passwords, chat messages etc. etc.It aggressively avoids paying tax. There's the whole China thing. And so on.

Pretty damn evil, I'd say.

I figured Google would turn out to be more evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857821)

I figured Google would turn out to be more evil, simply because they said they wouldn't be. Most corporations don't try to snow you about that right out of the gate. EVERYBODY is evil; but a real sociopath manages to convince people they are saintly. Once that ideas is fixed into enough pretty little heads, you can get away with a lot more...

Re:I figured Google would turn out to be more evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44863675)

"You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to, so that when they turn their backs on you, you get the chance to put the knife in."
Pink Floyd

Good or Evil ... (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44857855)

... I'd just be happier if I could get Google to serve up search/result pages without suggestions, instant, sidebars, Javascript, safe search etc... Sure, I'm able to kill most of that using cookies, Proxomitron (strip code, bake cookies...) and NoScript but it's a PITA. I just want simple Google searches w/o all the crap. Just my $.02.

Re:Good or Evil ... (1)

iampiti (1059688) | about a year ago | (#44863845)

I'd be happy to pay for their services (search/gmail/drive...) if that guaranteed me that they don't store any info about me and that doesn't feed AdSense, and I get no ads. Just put a reasonable price on it and I bet many people would pay

Nice theory, but is it practiced? (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#44857893)

A couple of non-nerd friends and I were talking a few weeks ago, and the topic of various Internet services came up. Without any prompting from me, both of them (one an Android user, the other a dumbphone user) mentioned that they were trying to get away from Google services like Gmail, Google+, GTalk, and even Android because of the creepy factor with how Google is using their data these days. No mention of PRISM or the NSA or the like until after I asked about it. They were simply bothered by the fact that they were being tracked as much as they were by Google.

Now, I know an anecdote does not a trend make and that we can't extrapolate to the population at large, but still, having non-nerds both aware of and caring about this stuff enough to vocalize their desire to leave a company's products behind is pretty damning, and I was shocked to hear them volunteer that opinion, since I had thought that nerds were the only ones who cared enough about the topic to suggest taking such action.

but then again... (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about a year ago | (#44857985)

competition keeps Google behaving ethically because it believes there are benefits to be had.

perhaps it's the fact that they started the company under the mantra of "don't be evil." come on, Microsoft had to compete when it started out and they did a lot of douchebag things. remember how windows 3.1 wouldnt run on DR-DOS because MS sabotaged it. [theregister.co.uk]

David Cole and Phil Barrett exchanged emails on 30 September 1991: " "It's pretty clear we need to make sure Windows 3.1 only runs on top of MS DOS or an OEM version of it," and "The approach we will take is to detect dr 6 and refuse to load. The error message should be something like 'Invalid device driver interface.'"

so dont tell me that competition keeps businesses honest because it's the biggest load of bullshit i've heard in a long time. there is plenty of competition in the tech market and everyone seems to be going with the sue the competition into oblivion form of competition. microsoft has their smartphone OS but everyone is using Android so they decided to extort money from everyone. [google.com]

Google is honest because it was the plan from the very start.

Ask Skyhook Wireless... (1)

Rational (1990) | about a year ago | (#44858217)

...whether Google behaves ethically. I frequent the BoingBoing site, so I'm used to Doctorow's inane drivel, but this probably takes the biscuit.

All good people work to promote trust (1)

bug1 (96678) | about a year ago | (#44858315)

No company or individual can "do no evil" when living under the thumb of "security" agencies that demand they betray the trust of their customers/friends, under penalty of treason.

Public relations (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#44858485)

Evil versus non-evil is image, not morality. A positive image is an asset in a competitive situation, but irrelevant for a monopoly. Evil without being caught is just as good, but Google understands the Internet well enough not to try that.

The basic fallacy of a market economy (1)

funky_vibes (664942) | about a year ago | (#44859335)

Isn't this the basic fallacy of capitalism where competition keeps corporate behaviour in check.
But of course no solution is offered for when a company reaches near dominance in one area, not to mention multiple areas.

Communist argues for free markets (-1, Troll)

hessian (467078) | about a year ago | (#44861675)

Known Communist Cory Doctorow, who has spent most of his life misleading people about the threats they face and been proven wrong almost every time, now channels Ron Paul and tells us the markets prevent evils.

Yep, credible.

Hmm, maybe it's not as complicated as it looks (1)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | about a year ago | (#44861959)

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity". Maybe Google just sucks at being evil [xkcd.com] ?

Hardest problem (1)

obtuse (79208) | about a year ago | (#44863571)

I have often said that this is the hardest problem Google faces: How not to be evil, and how to make that an ongoing legacy. It's just possible as long as the founders retain control, but after that it becomes truly hard.

Assuming they take this seriously, I hope they dedicate resources to this, and do not underestimate the complexity of the problem.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>