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Dvorak on Google and Wikipedia

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the looking-for-strings dept.

Google 449

cryptoluddite writes "PC Magazine has an article by John C. Dvorak expanding on the community discussion of Google's offer for free web hosting of Wikipedia. Those against the deal point out that Google may be planning to co-opt the encyclopedia as Googlepedia (by restricting access to the complete database). In a revealing speech given by the Google founders, Larry Page says he would 'like to see a model where you can buy into the world's content. Let's say you pay $20 per month.' Should public domain information be free?" It's a pretty scary scenario painted, but one can hardly take a speech from 2001 as serious evidence these days. Update: 02/16 20:16 GMT by T : This story links inadvertently to the second page of the column; here's a link to the first page.

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449 comments

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677745)

FP 1101

Harsh on Google (4, Insightful)

Cracell (788266) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677747)

Google wouldn't be like msn and only show certain articles, plus that wouldn't work with wikipeida since it's user made/edited

"should public domain information be free?" (5, Insightful)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677942)

Regarding: "should public domain information be free?"...

Public domain information is already free (free as in speech), but that doesn't mean that somebody can't also charge for it.

It's no different than the GPL -- also free as in speech, but not necessarily free as in beer.

Re:Harsh on Google (3, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11678010)

"Google wouldn't be like msn and only show certain articles"

Oh really? And how do you know that? Just because you know that Google isn't an EVIL company like Microsoft?

keyboard? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677748)

dvorak - is he the guy that invented the keyboard?

Re:keyboard? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677763)

Nah that's the guy that built the daleks.

Re:keyboard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677951)

What's Hertzfield got to do with this?

Nice one John (0, Offtopic)

Metal_Demon (694989) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677755)

You were supposed to keep a low profile, now Jason is gonna whack you for sure.

I take issue with the submitter (3, Insightful)

Biff98 (633281) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677756)

Wow --

"It's a pretty scary scenario painted, but one can hardly take a speech from 2001 as serious evidence these days."

That's horrible.

Re:I take issue with the submitter (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677783)

Actually, that's not the submitter. In a slasdot article, the text in italics is what was submitted, the regular text is what the editor added on. In this case, Taco.

Re:I take issue with the submitter (1)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677804)

That's not from the submitter. The submitter's comments are in italics. That quote was CowboyNeal's editorial comment...

Re:I take issue with the submitter (1)

jdog1016 (703094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677949)

Well that's true, but, why is CowboyNeal approving stories in which the basis is 4 years old?

Re:I take issue with the submitter (1)

strelitsa (724743) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677935)

I agree. Just think - Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Pericles' funeral oration to fallen Greek warriors in the Peloponnesian War, and JFK's "We Choose To Go To The Moon" speech - all consigned to the dustbin of history by one arbitrary pronouncement on the part of one self-important pundit. Way to go, dude.

Does that sentence mean that we should disregard all speeches spoken before, say, June 14 2004? What is PC Magazine's cutoff date here?

Contract? (5, Insightful)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677757)

Wouldn't Wikipedia take measures to ensure nothing bad happened? I mean, that's what contracts are for...

Hmm (1, Insightful)

megla (859600) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677766)

Great, more giant monopolies. Google seem to be attempting to become the Microsoft of the internet. At least they're being open about it I guess.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677851)

They are also not being uncompetitive. They are simply providing tons of services and spreading like mad.

Re:Hmm (4, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677924)

What does Google have a monopoly on? There are other search engines I can easily use. Maybe you should look up the definition of monopoly?

AT&T historical archives... (1)

Vexler (127353) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677771)

I wonder if this would be a viable strategy for SBC to adopt with regards to AT&T's historical archives. It is absolutely true that AT&T's archives would serve a much broader purpose than mere technological curiosity, but SBC may decide that it does cost them to maintain the entire collection.

Somebody hid Google's don't (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677773)

Look's like somebody covered up google's "don't" during the office remodel.

Macistani

Google trying to strip away MS's dominance? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677776)

And this is another thing they can leverage in their war against MS... Next up, a total web-based OS (Firefox/Linux backend?)... Would be interesting to see where this is going; someone needs to stand up to the behemoth that is Microsoft, for the sake of all mankind!

Hookay! There goes my good favour... (2, Insightful)

aendeuryu (844048) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677777)

In a revealing speech given by the Google founders, Larry Page says he would 'like to see a model where you can buy into the world's content. Let's say you pay $20 per month.'

For a company that claims they are endevouring to never be evil, this strikes me as a pretty evil bait-and-switch type scheme to me.

I think I'm going to start checking out Yahoo's search engine. Not because I think I'll ever prefer it, but because I think I'd better start getting used to it, just in case.

Re:Hookay! There goes my good favour... (3, Interesting)

Mr Guy (547690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677847)

In 2001, that was still a cutting edge idea. People knew there was a way to make everything accessable, but weren't entirely sure what revenue model could support that.

$20 a month was (and is) a small price to pay for everything, if "everything" is correct and up to date.

I'd certianly pay a subscription for Google now, because their service is of value to me.

Re:Hookay! There goes my good favour... (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677886)

it's not that small of a price....thats half my ISP cost - for something i will probably use a couple times a month (more if i am in research). As for evil - google is a company trying to increase their profit margin...that is why i always said - these guys are not angels they are in it for money.

Re:Hookay! There goes my good favour... (1)

holden caufield (111364) | more than 9 years ago | (#11678007)

...and yet, I don't happen to see that "subscriber" asterisk next to your slashdot uid. I guess this content isn't worth money to you?

For those who will respond I'm not a subscriber either, I never volunteered $20 a month for content that is (and should remain) free.

yep, yahoo has never screwed anyone over. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677870)

First rule about public businesses (-1, Troll)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677778)

Trust them with one job and one job only: maximising profits for their shareholders.

I'm sorry google but you lost favour with me when you sold out. Your now a money grabbing company like any other. Keep your damn hands of wikipedia.

Simon.

Re:First rule about public businesses (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677818)

And put your damn hands into a grammar checker, for this guy.

Re:First rule about public businesses (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677832)

What exactly are you throwing a hissy fit about? By sold-out, do you refer to google becoming publically as opposed to privately traded?

Re:First rule about public businesses (4, Insightful)

Peyna (14792) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677853)

As opposed to private businesses which have no interest in maximizing profits?

Private business have different motivations. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677945)

I own a business, and maximizing profits is no where on my list. I make enough money to pay my employees and myself. We all get a reasonable job so we don't have to go through life miserable, and we get to eat and have places to live. I could make more profit, but that would have an adverse effect on my employees lives, so I don't. If I were the CEO of a public company, I would not have that option, shareholders demand that nothing matters but short term profits.

Re:First rule about public businesses (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11678009)

If I'm running a business and have only a couple dozen highly intelligent investors funding me, I have a good chance of convincing them my business will do much better in the long term if I don't bleed the customer dry for short term profits and returns. My intelligent investors who don't plan to cash out in the next couple years will like this since they get long term returns on their investment. However, when I go public, whoever wants to may buy part of my company. I may end up with thousands of investors who don't give a shit about long term profit as long as they can sell their stock for a profit next week or next year.

Re:First rule about public businesses (3, Insightful)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677932)

You are a hippie idiot. Any company is a company to make MONEY, not to serve some general good. Guess what, even Kaiser and Cancer treatment places are there to MAKE MONEY, not for any other purpose. Maybe the people working there do so out of the "kindness of their heart," but that is not the intent of the organization as a whole. Same with Google. Same with Slashdot. And same with anything else.

World Domination (2, Funny)

ph34r_Hk (770765) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677781)

Google's one step closer to taking over the world now...

Re:World Domination (1)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677939)

Now all they need is sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their heads.

Google alrealy has a working profit model. (5, Insightful)

dj_tsd (548135) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677784)

Just hosting Wikipedia would work with google's already profitable model. Why would they bother creating a fee based model for a community product?

Re:Google alrealy has a working profit model. (1)

anum (799950) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677993)

It would only work with the existing model if they put adds around the articles. Would you trust an entry on, say Miami if there were travel company adds around it? Maybe, maybe not. It could work.

Or it could be just a PR based charity move. Think Walmart and local community charity. Walmart gives money away, no stings attached all the time. The only thing they ask in return is good will from the locals (i.e. more shoppers). Soon they have recouped the charity money and then some.

Google may be trying to buy back some of the good will they lost by going public by helping the "online community". I think they are just trying to wave that "Don't be evil" flag to ensure people don't leave just because they "sold out". Interesting that we immediately (and appropriately, IMHO) assume that there will be negative repercussions BECAUSE they are now a public company (must appease the shareholders).

If handled correctly this could be in Wikipedia's favor. Or, and this may be the first time I have ever agreed with Dvorak, they might just kill it accidentally.

Oh great. (5, Funny)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677788)

What do we do if Google turns evil?

Re:Oh great. (4, Funny)

grazzy (56382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677821)

When my friend. When if not already.

Re:Oh great. (3, Funny)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677830)

Bomb them, of course!

Sorry, I've been watching too much C-Span.

Re:Oh great. (1)

NardofDoom (821951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677859)

Create a secure P2P internet by invitation organized by volunteers and running on stolen bandwidth?

Re:Oh great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677887)

Well at least there is still Booble [booble.com]

Simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677952)

Read or hear about it, and try the link suggested as an alternative and enjoy. Then we can all giggle like school girls over our lattes as we watch its stock drom from $200 to $2 in an afternoon. Seriously, the barrier for entry is pretty significant hardware wise. But getting people to switch isn't. Can anyone here remember the search engine they used before google without saying, "Oh yeah" is a wistfully distant tone?

There could be (5, Insightful)

Exter-C (310390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677790)

This is something that will be very interesting. The information in wikipedia should be available to everyone for free. There could be an interesting situation where people could subscribe to a service to have no advertising. That way it would pay for the wikipedia services to continue running, while still providing the benefit to the community. I know I use online services reguarly and its something that I would pay a nominal fee for without complaining to much.
However it must have both free and subscription based services for it to be a viable system.

Re:There could be (5, Interesting)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677826)

Is IMDB the model for Wikipedia going forward?

Free not-necessarily-accurate data for everyone, fact-checked and extended commercial data for some?

Wikipedia needs hosting help, but... (3, Insightful)

guitaristx (791223) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677797)

Lots of people know that Wikipedia hasn't had the server power to keep up, but a pay-for-service model isn't the answer. A free web-based encyclopedia is what makes wikipedia so great.

Licensing? (5, Insightful)

Omicron32 (646469) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677799)

I thought the content on Wikipedia was licensed under a free, open license? How can Google "revoke" that to do this?

Re:Licensing? (5, Insightful)

maztuhblastah (745586) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677934)

They can't...but has that ever stopped Dvorak from one of his "predictions", i.e. Wild Ass Guesses (TM), before? Seriously, this guy is just a pundit. He makes his living by spouting off stupid, controversial crap...that's the only reason that he's published: controversy == readers/sales.

Bottom line: again, Dvorak's talking out of his ass, just like when he claimed that there were almost no linux applications that could run on the PS2, he's making an uninformed guess based on something he heard somewhere.

Re:Licensing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677997)

They wouldn't necessarily have to revoke the license to do this, since it should still be entirely possible for other people to mirror the content, but if the primary source of up-to-date changes is Google's version, then that's where most people will probably go for updates... unless an organization that actually cares about wikipedia steps in and creates a "fork" of it, at which point Google might decide it's not worth the bother.

even if it became a "premium" service,we'd survive (4, Interesting)

humuhumunukunukuapu' (678704) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677800)

It's not like Wikipedia is the only place to get information on the internet [and don't forget that real world out there].

if someone ruins it, sure it is a shame, but something else will pop up to replace it. The internet is just a big game of whack-a-mole, no matter if you are the RIAA, the Feds, a kiddie porn fiend, or a information seeker.

It's kind of the whole point...

Is this just alarmist talk from a doomsayer? (5, Informative)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677817)

hose against the deal point out that Google may be planning to co-opt the encyclopedia as Googlepedia (by restricting access to the complete database).

Can they do that? The wikipedia is governed by the GNU Free Documentation License . . .wikipedia details here [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Is this just alarmist talk from a doomsayer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677947)

If Google buys wikipedia, why wouldn't they be able to change the licensing?

Re:Is this just alarmist talk from a doomsayer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11678005)

No, because the article copyright is owned by the contributors, not Wikipedia. Only the contributors can change the license on the content.

Re:Is this just alarmist talk from a doomsayer? (3, Informative)

tdvaughan (582870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11678014)

Since the copyrights are owned by the people who contribute to the articles, Google would have to contact each of them and ask them to relicense their contributions under a less permissive one. It's a bit like when that dude asked if a Linux kernel snapshot could be released under a BSD license for $50,000. Not going to happen.

'Twould be a pity (2, Interesting)

banana fiend (611664) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677819)

IF (and it IS an if), google do start restricting and charging - it would be a pity.

This information was collected for free, and would be disseminated at a cost. While this has been done before (volunteer organisations are not new) - it would probably lead people away from making the effort in the next thing that comes along and is "by the people for the people"

Do no evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677823)

Let's not speculate on what they're planning. I hope that whatever it is they are going to do doesnt leave a "dependency" situation. And above all it should be possible for others to download and re-use all the content.

Wikipedia needs an endowment of a 10 to 15 million dollars or more.

Are there are millionaires out on slashdot willing to do it?

I'm waiting to see if google becomes an example of a "benevolent corporation". Pipe-dream I'm sure, but all the years of crack smokin's gotta pay off someday.

This is why Jimbo didn't want the details to leak (5, Informative)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677831)

Speculation runs rife. I guess security through well... not very obscurity's bound to get someone chatting in the end.

The deal in the short to medium term with wikipedia is expected to be the provision of about a dozen caching servers. No actual database work would be done by google. There is already a small (3) squid [squid-cache.org] cluster in Paris [wikimedia.org] that does this for users in the UK and France saving on some transatlantic bandwidth.

hmmm (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677833)

It's a pretty scary scenario painted, but one can hardly take a speech from 2001 as serious evidence these days.

*insert Bush comment about hunting down Osama Bin Laden here*

Hey, you're right!

Page would be unlikely to charge (3, Insightful)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677835)

It would smack of 'evil' in contradiction to his company's motto. More likely, he would use it, like Google News, as a draw to Google, gaining mind-share, and indirectly boosting revenues.

Whether Wikipedia should accept is another matter. I don't think that they should. It's much easier to appear independent if you have to pay your way, and for an encyclopedia, appearing independent is really pretty important.

Re:Page would be unlikely to charge (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677980)

Storing customer's e-mails even after they've deleted them is just as "evil," because they could easily become the subject of a subpeano or discovery in a lawsuit.

Google does a lot of evil things. Just because they slap on a motto claiming otherwise doesn't make it so.

An answer to his question (5, Insightful)

eseiat (650560) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677840)

Should public domain information be free?

Yes, yes it should indeed be free. Information is the essential ingredient to the advancement of society. This is why public libraries, schools, and lectures were created, so that information could be dissemenated to all individuals who actively sought it out for themselves and for their children. Charging $20 a month for access to information is an outrageous idea and is particularly frightening when uttered by an individual whose company holds the key to so much of the electronic information on the web. I think if they continue with his "vision" of the future, Google's usage will plummet quite rapidly.

Hasn't the Open Source community taught anyone the value of free information exchange??

Re:An answer to his question (3, Insightful)

Mr Guy (547690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677917)

Look where the quotes end. HIS vision at that time was that Google would be able to answer any question, at any time, as fast as you asked it. Think of Google even more than Google is now (staggering). Google that can answer questions like Ask Jeeves tried to. Google that can, perhaps, anticipate your next question. Google that not only references what's available, but makes educated guesses at what isn't available (Your result turned up no matches, perhaps you meant... or Your result turned no matches, your local library has a book...) and is able to provide you with what you probably really meant in a nonobtrusive manner (You searched for Chinese restaraunts near you, look at the bottom of the page for reviews of these restaraunts).

Google has already done amazing things with aggregating data that is useful to the searcher. If they could take it much farther, $20 a month would be a small price to pay.

Re:An answer to his question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677920)

OS is about "free as in speech" not "free as in beer."

Re:An answer to his question (2)

SpongeBobLinuxPants (840979) | more than 9 years ago | (#11678008)

First off, I am against charging $20 a month for info. But Google isn't the first to do this. There are websites that will charge you for your credit report, in my state you're allowed to see your credit report free every 6 months. They also charge an extra fee for seeing your credit score. Public court records are also sold on the internet. So, yes, it is bad for google to want to charge for something that is free, but they are definately not the first company to come up with this idea.

Groups is Great! (1)

glenrm (640773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677848)

What is this Dvorak smoking? Is his article old, because I see Groups on the start page of Google and I logged in and used it yesterday to find some code on making Windows Z-Order behave and making transparent windows without the Platform SDK installed. His other complaint that Groups is in Beta is bogus too, when you consider that a Google Beta is more like a released product from other companies, hell it is better then most companies version 2.0 of a product. Then there is the whole Google is company so they are going to make stuff suck, doesn't he get it the whole Google biz model is based around not sucking (being evil, etc.). Of couse some of my complaints are invalid if Google responded to Dvorak column by focusing on groups again, hard to tell without dates on stuff like his column or in the /. post...

Dvorak knew a little about computers (1, Flamebait)

Steepe (114037) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677862)

back in the 80's, He hasn't been that smart or up to date since.

I wouldn't take anything he says too seriously.

Google Groups is still Usenet... (5, Informative)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677868)

As I understand it, Google Groups is just one more interface to Usenet, like zillion others offered by ISPs, schools, and other servers. The propogation mechanism of messages is still the same, and they just offered a way for people to access News using a web based interface (lots of other sites offer this) rather than through a regular News reader (rtin, etc).

I'm fine with Google offering a faster mirror/interface to Wikipedia, because mirroring of information is always good. From the last /. article on the subject, I gathered that Google would offer their faster processing power and ub3r bandwidth to Wikipedia....but that doesn't necessarily mean they get to hijack the content....they'd just provide a faster way to get to information that's mirrored elsewhere.

Should public domain information be free? (1)

gnat_x (713079) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677869)

Of course.

Public domain information is only as useful to society as people can access it. You cannot have an Open society without access to the public domain information.

Charging for public domain content makes access a privelege for those who can afford it. Public domain information must be easily available to *all* of the public, or else its not public domain.

And since libraries (particularly in US public schools) are divesting in books, and investing in technology, but they generally cannot afford access to pricey information bases.

This data needs to be kept freely accessable.

Free and Clean (-1, Troll)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677871)

Wikipedia should remain free, but it should also be removed from its root of a pornography peddling company.

As much as I love the Wikipedia project (and I do), I can't participate or recommend it in anything other than offhand speech until it is separated from the smut.

I know that it takes many steps to get from Wikipedia to the morally repugnant business, but it's still a large issue for me and for many others.

Re:Free and Clean (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11678013)

I don't particularly understand your reasoning. Are you saying that since the founder of Wikipedia also has a pornography business, Wikipedia is thusly tainted and cannot be recommended by you or others to information seekers?

If so, why? I've never been browsing Wikipedia and stumbled upon pornography. I'd been using Wikipedia for about a year or so before I even found out its founder has an adult business.

But, if you're going to make that judgement for a community resource such as Wikipedia, do you do it with other businesses as well? It's been said recently that the consumer electronics industry is driven largely by what the adult industry needs in such devices (camcorders, DVD standards, etc.). Do you hold these companies to the same standard and refuse to purchase or recommend their products if they have any ties to adult oriented business?

Just sayin' ...

Mark Jen article gone... (1)

atlacatl (161963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677872)

As policy has it, all references to Mark Jen will be purged :) Mark Jen @ wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Free public domain information (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677877)

Sure public domain information should be free, as in belonging to the public domain. However, if someone hosts that information on their servers and provides interesting/useful means of searching and accessing that info, they're within their rights to charge for it. I don't just mean legally, but ethically too. At that point, they aren't charging for the info, they're charging for the service.

If it's not worth it, don't pay for their service, and find another means of accessing that same info. (If it's public domain, someone else is bound to have it.)

Come on, people! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677880)

The submitter obviously drew a paralell between a speech given 4 years ago and Google's actions today. Just because Google once want to charge people $20 for some webservice, dosen't mean that they're robbing us of Wikipedia! Sometimes, goodness is just goodness, and charity is charity, even (Shudders) with Big Business. Maybe, just MAYBE, Google is trying to help them out?

Free VS paid content (1)

Dekks (808541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677892)

I suspect they would have something like the normal wikipedia, and then on some articles have a "premium content" which is written by a professional researcher and all sources verified. Right now wikipedia is great but you can't use it as a source in a paper/essay without going out and checking all the facts yourself as well (which isn't nessercarily a bad thing). Having a free publicly written entry, with a link to a paid guarranteed accurate entry wouldn't be so bad. Then again what do I know, maybe google will say first 5 entry views a day are free and $20 a month after that.

John C. Dvorak is an idiot. (0)

rogerwong (104575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677893)

John C. Dvorak's opinions haven't been relevant since the mid 1990's. Now that we all have access to information via the Internet, Dvorak's opinion columns amount to little more than an angry man's rantings -- Slashdot has made him obsolete.

What (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677895)

At first the ability to search Usenet was on the Google home page. Then it disappeared, and now it's on a subpage that you have to dig
Eh? Google Groups is still on the front page, as far as I can tell (albeit google.co.uk) What's he talking about.,
and the search totally stinks.
That's true, though.

Having said that, Dvorak's article seems to have little point, and even less evidence to back up his opinions. It's pretty sad when a smart guy is reduced to shouting "Doom! Woe! The end of the World!." The fact he does it in the bilge-ridden pages of PCMag, just makes it worse.

Google baaaaaad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677897)

Ok, so does this mean Google's bad now ?

Here's A Wikipedia Business Case for Ya (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677898)

Keep it free. No ads either.

But... "premium members" get access to a version where the articles written by agenda-driven lunatics are color-coded in a red font and the stuff plagiarized and submitted by high school kids on a dare is in blue.

Whaddya think?

The real worry (1)

L.Bob.Rife (844620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677899)


Google realized long ago that per user fees would never work in the search engine business, and it would never work for a wiki either.

What is worrisome is what exactly will they sell? Maybe it would be moderately benign like text ads on associated topics. Or maybe they will sell the ability to lock a topic to a business, to ensure 'competitors' don't tarnish their image?

One thing is for sure, google is way too smart to try to charge consumers for access, they charge businesses for advertising.

How to Stop it . . . (5, Insightful)

Dausha (546002) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677900)

First, if the relationship between the Wikipedia and Google can be properly maintained, and boundaries established, I think this is a good thing for the Wikipedia.

People are fearful that Google will attempt to co-opt the Wikipedia. That's what is apparent in the Dvorak article. However, what Wikipedia needs is a slick lawyer to write a contract between Google and Wikipedia. (IANASL)

1. Google will host the Wikipedia as a donation.
2. Google will not restrict access to the Wikipedia except as mutually agreed upon by both parties, and a public page to explain what restrictions and why. At no time will restrictions be based upon subscriptions or charges.
3. Wikipedia will put a slick Google icon somewhere on the page to say "thanks Google for hosting us."
4. This agreement may be terminated with fair notice to the other party at any time.

If Wikipedia is able to maintain its autonomy, and the relationship is clearly labelled a donation of server space, then I think the Wikipedia could be hosted on Google.

DON'T PANIC (4, Insightful)

Quinn_Inuit (760445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677901)

First, Wikipedia is licensed in such a way that, if I want a copy of the whole thing to fork it, they have to give it to me. If someone doesn't like where it's going, they can start up their own. The GNU FDL isn't perfect, but it'll work as advertised.

Second, Google may just want to be in on the ground floor if and when Wikipedia decides to allow Adsense-type ads.

Third, companies do often do charitable things. It's a tax write-off.

Given those three things, I recommend that some commenters pay attention to the big, friendly letters in the subject line.

google^8 (1)

chalkoutline (854917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677905)

"Actually, Google provides search over about 1.3 billion web pages... it actually doubles roughly every year." wow, that's pretty impressive, if they said that in 2001. I mean, in 4 years it's gotten eight times bigger. They've surpassed themselves!

hold on; i'm retarded (1)

chalkoutline (854917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677943)

um, ignore this, i slept through high school math.

TANSTAFL (1)

radar2k2 (632371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677912)

Asking if "public" information should be "free" starts the discussion off on the wrong foot. A more useful question is: "Who should pay for it and how should they pay?"

Public information is paid for by income tax, sales tax, property tax, use fees, and so on. It isn't free.

Re:TANSTAFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677954)

Public information is paid for by income tax, sales tax, property tax, use fees, and so on. It isn't free.

That's not always true. For example .. when I tell someone the sky is blue, I am not charging them for it. I am providing it to them for free at no cost to them. If I stayed quiet it would cost them the same amount as if I had told them it or not. See I'm giving you (and the public) this information for free.

That's just my 2 cents.

another Gracenote? (1)

Sebby (238625) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677918)

I wouldn't want to see another company appropriate free work from volonteers like the @#$%@ at Gracenote did with FreeDB.

SCO already tried to 'pull a Gracenote' and it's not unreasonable to think others (not necessarily Google) would try the same with Wikipedia

CDDB not FreeDB (1)

Sebby (238625) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677944)

ooops got them mixed up....

Usenet... (2, Interesting)

MrBandersnatch (544818) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677921)

Still IS on the front page of google...well 1 click away. And the search is still perfectly usable...what IS Dvorak on about?

While I will agree with him that DejaNews should NEVER have ended up in the hands of a corporate entity when the oportunity came for it to enter public hands; google havnt done a bad job of maintaining it. Its just a pitty no-one has come up with a service to compete with Google on that level since it COULD be a lot better.

Oh Dvorak (1)

bbzzdd (769894) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677925)

Can't take anything he says without a grain of salt after all the time he spent pimping OS/2 and declaring the "Death of Apple [pcmag.com] " every other week.

someone has to pay for the bandwidth (1)

dmh20002 (637819) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677930)

And it appears most of the 'it has to be free' crowd don't want to be the ones to pay. if you haven't made a dontation to wikipedia [wikimediafoundation.org] , then you need to shut up.

Dirty tricks 101: quotes out of context (5, Informative)

saddino (183491) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677933)

In a revealing speech given by the Google founders, Larry Page says he would 'like to see a model where you can buy into the world's content. Let's say you pay $20 per month.

The only thing "revealing" about that article is that Page continues "Somebody else needs to figure out how to reward all the people who create the things that you use. " In other words, what Page would like to see is a system where "users" pay for accessing content and "contributors" are paid for providing it.

This /. story could have equally read "Does Google Want to Pay Wiki authors?" but of course, that would have derailed cryptoluddite's agenda to smear Google.

To the editors: when you see the words may be planning, just ignore the submission in the future. TIA.

Re:Dirty tricks 101: quotes out of context (1, Offtopic)

wonderwidget (625200) | more than 9 years ago | (#11678012)

I agree...somewhat. I think if we step back from this just a bit and look at what this really entails, we will see that it isn't such a horrible idea. For example, look at Napster, Real Rhapsody, etc and realize that all they are doing is charging a month fee for access to music content. If the service fee that google is suggesting included legal use of text, photos, video and music leveraged on a global scale, $20 seems a fair price.

Google ruined Usenet?!? (1)

oasisbob (460665) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677940)

Anyone actually read that article and notice where Dvorak tries to blame Google for ruining Usenet? (Indeed, most of the article.)

Google still has to explain to the community what happened to Usenet. People still recall how DejaNews, one of the great resources of the Net, began as a large database of every Usenet post ever made in a massive archive.


I remember when I heard that Google bought Deja -- I was estatic. Deja by that point really blew, and the Google interface was much better. Don't tell me that the old Deja crap was better, it's not.

At first the ability to search Usenet was on the Google home page. Then it disappeared, and now it's on a subpage that you have to dig for, and the search totally stinks.


WTF? The Groups link is still present on the main site. And it works, say what you will about the new interface "improvements." However, even if you don't like the new interface -- how the hell do you read that as "Google is going to ruin Wikipedia?"

Summary of the article: Google ruined my Usenet, I'm gonna blame them on Usenet being marginalized. Usenet, Google groups sucks, la, la, la. Wikipedia is in bed with Google, Google is a corporation! Bad, bad, bad!!!

John Dvorak (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11677972)



John Dvorak: Completely wrong on shit since 1980-what?


Seriously, this guy needs to STFU. He was fun to listen to 15 years ago in PC Magazine.

Crippling Arthritis? (1)

scottking (674292) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677973)

What the hell is Dvorak babblin about? I don't see any "digging" necessary to search Usenet. There's a Groups link right on the google.com main page...

Does Dvorak have crippling arthritis that prevents him from moving his mouse to the Groups link and clicking it?

I think the guy is starting to lose it.

Where to start? (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677984)

I'm getting ADD trying to figure out where to begin to start responding to this -- Dvorak's claim that Google is somehow responsible for the demise of Usenet as a result of their ownership of the DejaNews archive is so moronic that I can't bring myself to move on to the Wikipedia issue.

It seems obvious enough to me that DejaNews/Google Groups has kept Usenet far more prominent than it would have been otherwise (Dvorak doesn't seem to get that the archive isn't ownership of Usenet itself), but given that he's claiming that Groups isn't linked off the Google front page at all, why bother arguing details.

Whatever. If dumbasses who have seen Star Wars too many times enjoy droning on about how Google used to be Good and Not Evil, but is now Evil, who am I to argue? At any rate, Wikipedia isn't going anywhere.

Dvorak is stale (5, Insightful)

BrK (39585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677992)

15 or so years ago Dvorak had some insightful articles, even if they didn't always come 100% true. Nowadays he's another has-been from a past era trying to pimp his FUD and general tech conspiracy theories. IMO, if you steadily bet AGAINST Dvorak you'll come out ahead over the long run.

In the days of 10Mhz 286's I used to really enjoy John's columns. Now, I don't know if I've just gotten smarter, or he's gotten dumber (heh), but I can't remember the last time he didn't seem like a technology lunatic to me.

Should public domain info be free? (1)

Asprin (545477) | more than 9 years ago | (#11677998)


I'm *not* necessarily taking Google's side here, just playing devil's advocate to see what happens with the discussion.

IANAL, but free (beer) != free (unencumbered). An encyclopedia might be PD, which means there are no restrictions on copying or using it, but you still may need to pay some sort of money to acquire the material. You *are* paying for your internet connection to get to the webopedia, right?

Likewise, IIRC, Dover Books [doverpublications.com] makes money by reprinting old textbooks that have gone PD after their copyrights expired, but you still need to pay to get a copy because there are printing costs, etc.

Land Grab (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11678001)

This is just like what happened to the CDDB (Compact Disc DataBase). It was open source, public server, free client. Millions of us entered our CD data, in exchange for access to everyone else's data, for free. Then the founders sold the operation to GraceNote corporation, which took it proprietary, and slapped licensing restrictions on access, protected by secure login - locking out all the "owners" of the shared data we'd entered.

Some other people cloned the DB server into FreeDB [freedb.org] , and jumpstarted it by datamining the CDDB server while it was still publicly accessible. We'll probably need to do that with Wikipedia. How big is it? Since "Content is available under GNU Free Documentation License", we should take a page from the FreeDB folks who saved our data from privateering clutches. How big is Wikipedia, in GB? Sounds like a job for BitTorrent, or perhaps Archive.org, or maybe a more passive archive, which would redistribute it only if access is restricted. Just distributing copies of the valuable data we've all produced would probably preempt Google, or any other "benefactor" from taking Wikipedia private. Let's not repeat the history that stole from us.

"serious evidence" (4, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11678011)

As serious evidence? No. But thanks for the commentary.

No, what it is telling of though, is the mindset at Google at the time of writing. This little insight is important now because it's quite possible that their end goal is to monopolize information in such a way as to extract their income from it.

As they've recently made copious amounts of money and gained incredible power, it's quite possible its gone to their heads. Let's not paint them as a humanitarian group just because we like them: they are a company, after all, and have the same potential for evil that Microsoft (or any large company or government) has and does demonstrate.
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