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Can We Trust Google?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the what-the-goog dept.

Google 239

theodp writes "Google worries go mainstream this week in TIME's cover story, Can We Trust Google With Our Secrets? Touted as an 'inside look' at how success has changed Larry and Sergey's dream machine, the piece offers some interesting tidbits but in the end is pretty much a softball effort that even toes the mum's-the-word line on the relationship between Larry Page and 'blond, blue-eyed force of nature' Marissa Mayer. Guess it's the least Time Warner could do after pocketing $1B of Google's money."

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YES (0, Offtopic)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705177)

I would trust google with my mothers vagina

Black (2, Funny)

ticklish2day (575989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705178)

Do Larry and Sergey always dress in #000000?

Re:Black (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705265)

Do Larry and Sergey always dress in #000000?

For you, #000000FF.

Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (4, Insightful)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705179)

People need to understand the fact that executing a search on the Internet is akin to yelling out to the world, "Hey world, tell me everything you know about xyz".

You cannot expect the people who hear your call and help to fulfill your request to not make a note of it, and possibly associate your request with your current IP address.

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (2, Interesting)

The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705218)

People need to understand the fact that executing a search on the Internet is akin to yelling out to the world, "Hey world, tell me everything you know about xyz".

No, it's not. My family/friends/neighbours don't know I was looking up -- well, never mind what I was looking up, but they don't know about it. So Google knows about it, and Google ties it to my IP address. Now if they wanted to they could go to the ISP, and get my name and address. Or I guess the ISP could be monitoring me.

But it's not the same as asking the world something, it's more like asking a particular person. Specifically, it's like asking someone you don't know.

What's the difference? Well I don't care if Google knows what I was searching for, it doesn't embarass me. If people I knew knew what I was searching for, it would be a different story completely.

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (1, Insightful)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705255)

No, it's not. My family/friends/neighbours don't know I was looking up -- well, never mind what I was looking up, but they don't know about it. So Google knows about it, and Google ties it to my IP address. Now if they wanted to they could go to the ISP, and get my name and address. Or I guess the ISP could be monitoring me. But it's not the same as asking the world something, it's more like asking a particular person. Specifically, it's like asking someone you don't know. What's the difference? Well I don't care if Google knows what I was searching for, it doesn't embarass me. If people I knew knew what I was searching for, it would be a different story completely.

You're interacting with the Internet community by asking for search results. That makes your request a public act, akin to posting a request on a bulletin board, please call 555-1234 with information about xyz. It's just more efficient when there's a company that has already indexed all the answers.

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705380)

"You're interacting with the Internet community by asking for search results. That makes your request a public act, akin to posting a request on a bulletin board, please call 555-1234 with information about xyz. It's just more efficient when there's a company that has already indexed all the answers."

It is not a public ACT, you are not asking the internet community, you are asking a specific company a question. it is not available for anybody to see what you asked and if it was people would probably not use search engines as much as they do, this is no more a public act than walking into your chemist and asking whats the best medication for that nasty itch you can't quite get rid of. sure you asked it in a public place but that doesn't give your chemist or google the right to tell the world what you asked.

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (2, Interesting)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705399)

And I suppose that if I use the phone to call my friend, using the PSTN, that's also a public act? After all, anyone could listen in and eavesdrop on our conversation. It's just more efficient when there's a government agency that has already indexed all the conversations [nsa.gov] .

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (2, Insightful)

RobinH (124750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705290)

No, it's not. My family/friends/neighbours don't know I was looking up

Well, they may not know that you went down to the grocery store and yelled out to the stock boy, "hey, what's the price on radishes today?" But you wouldn't consider that private, would you?

The internet is a public network, and the data is not encrypted as it travels over 20 or so computers on its way from your computer to google and back. That request you made for donkey porn is most definitely public knowledge unless you took measures to protect your privacy.

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705581)

Well, they may not know that you went down to the grocery store and yelled out to the stock boy, "hey, what's the price on radishes today?" But you wouldn't consider that private, would you?

What are you talking about? Those aren't even close to the same thing, and the fact that you try to compare "what's the price on radishes today" to "donkey porn" shows you probably know there's a difference.

Here, let's try your analogy. Go down to the grocery store and yell out to the stock boy asking him about donkey porn. OK, now do a Google search for donkey porn.

So. Which one's more public? Which one brings embarassment for you? Which one is easily traced to you? Which would you prefer to do? (Neglecting the fact that with one you will likely receive images of "donkey porn"... whatever that is.) Suppose a private citizen is out to tarnish your reputation. Which will they have the ability to check?

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (1)

virtualsid (250885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705600)

I think the article title is misleading. It should be 'privacy' not 'secrets' IMHO. Surely you don't put your actual secrets on some Google site, and if so, why?

Sid

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (5, Insightful)

Churla (936633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705247)

Well...

Not associating your search requests to an ability to identify and track was the way of search engines in "the days of yore". (which in internet standard time means less than a decade ago). Now a days the ability to track searching and spending habits on the web is exactly what makes companies like Google worth so much because it's how they target ads. Ads based on what you search for. And if a computer program is taking cycles to figure out what on line purchases go best with a search for "Teri Hatcher swimsuit malfunction" you can bet a programmer wants to make sure it's coming back with the right results, which means logging it somewhere.

As much as we all have loved them we need to accept that the glory days of the internet being a warm protective cloak of anonymity are coming to an end, much in the way that "mundane less adventurous settlers" made law enforcement tame the wild west. Our mundane settlers are arriving, and they don't like that those guys get to wander around without fences and rules and nice tidy guarantees of safety. Profiteers are arriving and learning that selling fences (firewalls) , cattle brands (DRM) , even making people show papers at the coach stop (electronic ID tracking) make money.

Then again, maybe I'm the crazy one...

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (4, Interesting)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705273)

As much as we all have loved them we need to accept that the glory days of the internet being a warm protective cloak of anonymity are coming to an end, much in the way that "mundane less adventurous settlers" made law enforcement tame the wild west.

Speak for yourself. I am warm and comfortable in my own cloak of anonymity, with my own level of protection, and I realize that one simple mistake could compromise one of my identities, and possibly my entire house of cards. It's complicated, but you can remain anonymous on the internet.

It takes some effort to do it properly, just like anything else in this world.

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705375)

It's complicated, but you can remain anonymous on the internet

You tell then Tim! Thats the way they roll in Boise, Idaho!

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705635)

And if a computer program is taking cycles to figure out what on line purchases go best with a search for "Teri Hatcher swimsuit malfunction" you can bet a programmer wants to make sure it's coming back with the right results, which means logging it somewhere.

You're one of those guerilla marketing types, aren't you. Your job is to suggest tantalizing Google search topics so that they can sell more advertising.

...curse you, now I've got to open a new tab for Google.

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705680)

How depressing. Although you deserve the Best Analogy of the day award, apt, accurate, and offering insight beyond the scope of the initial discussion.

terrible analogy. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705424)

What a terrible analogy. No one but Google hears your request, not everyone in the whole world. This is important because there's an expectation of privacy between you and Google (well, there WAS before all this NSA wiretapping came to light). I wouldn't even rule out the possibility of curent, or future privacy laws preventing Google from tying you to your requests, and selling that information. I'm fairly certain that the phone company is prevented from selling the records of who you call and when. (I could be wrong on that with all the telecom de-regulation).

Re:Can we trust google with our "secrets"? (1)

Ravenscall (12240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705476)

The issue goes deeper than just web searches though. Google is working on an entire suite of products to index and share data, and if you use those products, they have total access to that information. If they have total access, that is one more point of data loss or leakage, as not only do you need to worry about your security, but if Google is ever compromised, then that data could be stolen. Also, do you have enough faith in Corporate America that they are going to keep your deepest, darkest, most classified documents mum forever? And even if they do keep it secure, what safeguards do they have against rogue employees?

NOOOOO!!!! (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705182)

never trust any company

Re:NOOOOO!!!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705520)

never trust any company

Only trust your goverment.

Google is... (0, Troll)

LeddRokkenstud (945664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705184)

Google is actually controlled by the government, and is used to spy on millions of computer users a day. It tracks everyone's IP addresses and checks to see if they're looking for kiddie porn, illegal downloads, or trying to communicate to make terrorist plots.

Gotta love it. (5, Interesting)

imboboage0 (876812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705185)

Here's everything you can read. Unless you're a subscriber to TIME.

It's time to make some big decisions, so the Google guys are slipping on their white lab coats. After eight years in the spotlight running a company that Wall Street values at more than $100 billion, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are still just in their early 30s and, with the stubbornness of youth, perhaps, and the aura of invincibility, keep doing things their way. So the white coats go on when it's time to approve new products. For a few hours, teams of engineers will come forward with their best ideas, hoping to dazzle the most powerful men...

TIME Magazine subscribers, log in here to continue reading


Personally, if GMail, Google Search, Image Search, and Google Desktop are results of things done their way, I'll take more of it; I use all of those on a regular basis.

Re:Gotta love it. (3, Informative)

tuomasr (721846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705193)

Here's everything you can read. Unless you're a subscriber to TIME.

Or if you click through the ads, you can read the whole article. No subscription necessary.

Re:Gotta love it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705242)

Or if you click through the ads, you can read the whole article. No subscription necessary.

Seeiming only if you enable cookies, which coicidentally has a lot to do with the topic of the article.

Re:Gotta love it. (1)

imboboage0 (876812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705361)

Sorry, didn't see that through the unnecessary sea of ads. ;)

Can we trust any corporation? (5, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705192)

That is the real question.

After several stories written recently about companies having their customer databases compromised, can we really trust any company to keep our data secure?

I would say no.

Re:Can we trust any corporation? (1)

post.scriptum (953120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705201)

Exactly. If you want to be anonymous on the internet, stop using the internet.

Re:Can we trust any corporation? (1)

The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705231)

Can we really trust any person? After several stories about people ratting their accomplices out, I would say: no.

Re:Can we trust any corporation? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705314)

Oh, you could not say it better. The problem is not Google, the problem is Corporations. The way our economy works is what makes "people" do wrong.

I have always thought that Coroporations are kind of self consious monsters that created by the current capitalist model. It is not only in IT, all kind of Corporations end hurting basic human values in exchange of more profit for shareholders and, although the people working on those corporations are not "bad" per se, their actions joined with thousands of other coworkers create the evil consience that moves corporations.

But that thought is too deep for this article and people on slashdot, as for the article's title question (mind you if I did not read TFA is because It seems I need to pay to read it... is OSDN affiliated in some way with Time Warner now?) I say, that is not the *right question*, the question to answer is *What can I trust to google?*, will you trust your browsing history?, will you trust your personal email?, will you trust you buying?.

Personally, I trust my email and search history. I do not trust my computer information (other than browser and OS used) as I do nto use Google Desktop. I do not trust my buying habits as I do not use froogle, (I use ebay =o) ). And I do not trust my personal communication (skype/msn Messenger).

I trust that to different corporations, and even, I do not care about that, as I think my information is not relevant in any way. The most naughty things you can get from my information is that I love to see lesbian sex, I hate DRM and I download for piratebay... oh , and maybe that I read slashdot from time to time.

Re:Can we trust any corporation? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705376)

"But that thought is too deep for this article and people on slashdot" oh yes because it's such a deep thought that when you put pure profit first, then your employees will suffer..

What do corporations have to do with it? (4, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705409)

There are plenty of "non-corporate" entities (in the sense that most people on slashdot use the term "corporate") that are in receipt of your private data and information about your history.

Your dentist's office? Your kids' family-run daycare facility? The obscure regional charity to whom you donate things (like money)? The alumni association that actually directly debits your checking account every quarter? The small professional newsletter that has all of your correspondence? The online forum that seems too small-time to worry about, but which knows every search string you've ever entered while engaged in some flame-war about USB vs. Firewire?

There are plenty of people who through simple incompetence (to say nothing of malice) can use or let go of information about you, your family, and your dealings with the world. "Corporations" actually have more at stake, in terms of their public reputation, stock price, etc., when they make a big mistake. A small-town doctor's office with copies of your checks, links to your prescription and insurance info, etc., is much less likely to be well firewalled or even thinking, beyond locking the closet with the file server, about true security.

To say nothing of the corner restaurant that recently hired some new waiter that's been mag-swiping credit cards after serving you your pasta. Dumb and unethical people operate at all levels of organization, both personally and professionally. I do hosting work for all sorts of individuals, groups, non-profits, and businesses. Believe me when I say that the larger businesses are way more focused on keeping your data battened down than are the others, even though things like messages and credit card numbers flow just as readily into the hands of the smaller, looser, less capable entities every day.

Re:What do corporations have to do with it? (2, Interesting)

TerminalWriter (953282) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705690)

I fully agree. I wait tables at a second job. One evening a lady said that she wanted to pay with a credit card, but since she had been the victim of credit card fraud a couple times, she wanted to swipe the card herself because her bank recommended her to do so. I let her swipe it, but let her know, that it would make little difference. That I can pull up any transaction made under my name in the restaurant computer. So it probably would deter a server to a target less likely to be monitoring their credit card transactions, it really does little to enhance any security. Think of the weakest link, and they are ususally ones with the greatest access. Servers in the restaurant get access to all their guests' credit card data. The janitor has the keys to every office in the building, so he can clean them. True security is a fallacy in the information age.

Do no evil...to our shareholders (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705494)

See, they're just using a slightly shortened version of their REAL motto.

-Eric

Can we trust slashdot? (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705197)

This article is stupid gossip with almost no content. I don't really care who's dating who. I expected an honest article Google's business dealings, not something lifted from Star Magazine about how Brad is mad at Angelina.

Re:Can we trust slashdot? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705220)

My mistake. I missed the "read this article for free" on the Time website. I still think that the gossip column link ads nothing to the story.

Re:Can we trust slashdot? (1)

Stuy 2 MIT (317723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705228)

I mostly agree. What's most frustrating is the horrible misleading title.. Not at all what one would expect after seeing it.

Re:Can we trust slashdot? (1)

Spud Stud (739387) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705450)

This article is stupid gossip with almost no content. I don't really care who's dating who. I expected an honest article Google's business dealings, not something lifted from Star Magazine about how Brad is mad at Angelina.

The article may seem that way, but it does provide an opportunity to discuss the trustworthiness of Google; a subject that bears serious consideration, especially in light of their surprising stance on China.

I, for one, do not trust Google. More importantly, though, I do not trust the U.S. government, which has the power to peel open Google and scoop out anything and everything they have on record about the use of their services. And as the U.S. edges slowly toward tyranny through devices like the War on Terror, the question becomes more and more dire. I mean, does it really take much to imagine the Department of Homeland Security incrementally broadening what defines a "domestic terrorist"?

I honestly don't see how Google's business model of collecting specific user data for use in targetted advertising can be made to not leave users vulnerable to an over-reaching government.

Re:Can we trust slashdot? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705481)


More importantly, though, I do not trust the U.S. government, which has the power to peel open Google and scoop out anything and everything they have on record about the use of their services.


Well that's true of any US company, why is Google special? Yahoo has tons of peoples mail, Amazon has your entire book buying history. Is it just because Google is the biggest, and the fear is that the US government will target the biggest companies that have the most information, then data mine their records for "terrorist"? If that's your fear, maybe you should be putting all your information outside the country where the US government can't get at it. Then make sure you access the data using strong encryption.

Re:Can we trust slashdot? (1)

Spud Stud (739387) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705626)

Well that's true of any US company, why is Google special? Yahoo has tons of peoples mail, Amazon has your entire book buying history.

Why is Google special? Because typing a keyword into a search engine should be a one-time, throw-away event. Purchases, by their nature, are recorded and tracked in a number of ways, and e-mail persists, at least long enough to be POP'ed and deleted (I don't use web-based mail except as junk collectors).

Keeping a record of what a person searched for (i.e. what a person was thinking at a given point in time) provides an opportunity for terrible misuse by criminals or, much worse, by the government.

Re:Can we trust slashdot? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705664)

Sure, I think you're right. I just think there's a lot of potential for this kind of nonsense to take place with any company. MSN, yahoo, hotbot all are search engines too. I'm sure the book buying history of the entire US (Amazon) is of interest to the government.

Re:Can we trust slashdot? (1)

mrjatsun (543322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705591)

What??? Brad is mad at Angelina? When did that happen??

Shake the 8ball (0, Redundant)

eSavior (767078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705210)

Interesting topic, I predict much trolling on both sides.

Can we NOT trust Google? (1)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705212)

It seems that lately the honeymoon effect of Google is wearing off. They've been around a bit, and while they offer great products, it's finally possible to voice concerns, valid or not.
Personally, I like Google. If I have something that no one else (including Google) needs to see, I use this concept called ENCRYPTION.

Also, Google DOES occasionally make errors, and thankfully glaringly obvious ones:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&saddr=trabue +rd,+columbus,+oh&daddr=Vine+St,+Cincinnati,+OH+45 219&ll=39.60992,-83.894348&spn=1.487494,2.576294 [google.com]

Googling Google (4, Interesting)

stuffduff (681819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705214)

If you google Google you will see a list of critics, detractors and alternatives, after a few pages of Google top ranking itself. While there are some crackpots there is also some pretty interesting stuff; certainly worth the effort.

Re:Googling Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705303)

Try Googling for "-Google". Just one term. -Google.

Then try
-bob
-dave
-reverse -engineer

One line at a time.

There seems to be some reverse ranking somewhere. I can't figure out what it is yet, though.

Mod Parent Up (1)

Majikk (60247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705487)

That's pretty cool!

Re:Mod Parent Up (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705637)

Indeed, google is watching you, the results you get from a -something query at google are based on you IP address search history. Try for example the two same queries,

-mn

With and without Tor-Privoxy (or any other proxy) and you will see the differences.

It is interesting to see what *they* infer about you uh?

p.s.
You can't post to this page.
Haha, slashdot vs Tor anonymizer

Why would you? (5, Insightful)

tuomasr (721846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705216)

First of all, I think the link to the article is misleading. Okay, I didn't read all ten pages but did it actually discuss whether or not we can trust Google with our secrets? Or did it actually talk about Google's current trend and their "Do no evil"-vision.

Secondly, why would you trust a third party with your secrets? "Hey John, I got this really secret business plan that must not under any circumstances fall in to the wrong hands. I'll use my web-based free e-mail address to mail it to the necessary people and not use our secure corporate network instead." "Yeah, good idea."

Stupid, I say. If it's a secret, keep it a secret.

Re:Why would you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705683)

Stupid, I say. If it's a secret, keep it a secret.

Mod points to the one that reffers me to the person that said a quote something like:

"Do not ask me to keep a secret after you told it to me if you did not have the will to keep it in first place"

short sellers are bribing corpwhorate media? (0, Troll)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705217)

looks like the short sellers are planning to make a fortune on google's slide. Live by the corpwhorate media bribe, die by the corpwhorate media bribe....

Re:short sellers are bribing corpwhorate media? (1)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705331)

while i own jan07 puts you cant really put this as short sellers dream - in fact past page two or page three its really just a bubble era puff piece. No mention of adsense competitors, no real discussion of what would have to be true to support a PE that high. I bet more casual investors read it as buy, it certainly is quite complimentary in it's explanation of the corporate environment. Even to go as far as asserting that appearing to have no set strategy is really just a ploy to confuse everyone. One comment has a 600 price target for the end of the year.

Sure there are a lot of shorts but Time Warner is long.

Trust? (2, Informative)

musonica (949257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705224)

I'd like to think these guys are generally good, although the worrying issue is that they are basically a corporation, with the prime directive of making money. Lets hope social conscience stays a reality in google hq.

The other worrying fact is they are so hugely resourced (and unlike m$ seem to get projects working reasonably well), woe and behold any small developers working on something that is in their "sites" so to speak! Monopolies are not a good thing...

Re:Trust? (1)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705404)

Exactly! Their mission is to make money. We're already seeing the erosion of the "social conscience," particularly regarding operations in other countries. From the stock reports, it looks like their stock is finally going to be moving downwards to be more in line with a normal P/E, and it'll be interesting to see how that affects their actions.

What has been bothering me about Google for a while is that no one there seems to be stopping to think about consequences and addressing them. More often I get the feeling that they're falling prey to the "This sooo cool! Let's release it!" syndrome, without anyone saying "Wait a minute..." The prime example is the Google Desktop adding in a "between computers" mode, which saves on Google's computers. Neat idea, but was it really needed? Did anyone there actually think beforehand about addressing obvious issues like privacy and security? Apparently not, judging from the flood of CYA statements out of them.

I'll trust Google to do web searches, show me maps, and search USENET archives. Anything else, they have to show me they deserve my trust, and so far they haven't done a good job.

Does going public effect the level of trust? (4, Interesting)

plebeian (910665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705232)

I was wondering if anyone else questions the value of Google as a publicly traded company. As a private company the company could afford to take more idealistic stands and just work through the backlash. Now that they are beholden to a bunch of fickle investors that over emphasize the bottom line. Does "Don't be evil" take a back seat to making profits?

Re:Does going public effect the level of trust? (1)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705306)

Does "Don't be evil" take a back seat to making profits?

If you are a public company you have to make profits over everything else, in fact it is your only purpose.

IMHO Google are OK, but sooner or later they will have to give up the "Do no evil" mantra.
Moving into China is a case in point, as a private company they could have walked away, they still would be making massive profits without China. However as a public company they are obliged to move in and comply with the government, for not doing so would be a criminal act (failing to act apon something they know will increase the profits/share price of the company). Its ironic that by going onto the stockmarket (going all out Capitalist), they were forced to aid Communism.

Re:Does going public effect the level of trust? (1)

FuzzyFox (772046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705590)

Since when is not making money a Criminal Act?

You mean if I buy stock in a company and they fail to make a profit, I can put them behind bars? Awesome!

Re:Does going public effect the level of trust? (1)

The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705646)

If you are a public company you have to make profits over everything else, in fact it is your only purpose.

OK, but doing something that the public objects to will (ideally) cause the public not to use your product any more. Right? So, really, the most profitable thing to do is follow the morals of the public. And the corporations can't break the law, right? Who (ideally) makes the law? The people, right? Wait, so aren't consumers responsible for the actions of the corporations they support?

At least somebody's asking the question at all. (3, Insightful)

javaman235 (461502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705239)

Private centralized search engines are a threat to free speech if the world becomes too dependant on them. Its not such a big deal now, but I think we need to think about it as sites like Google become integrated into more and more applications, like Firefox.

Divide this up (5, Insightful)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705240)

Can We Trust Google With Our Secrets?

So far Google has been dealing with two different sets of data through its products:

1. Our (seemingly) anonymous search queeries, through Google search.

2. Our private documents, through Google desktop search.

What do you trust Google with?

So far, they have said no to the US government to keep your #1 private.

If you haven't opted in to #2, then so far you haven't even exposed yourself to the issue of trust with Google beyond 1.

People in China, of course, have a different form of trust relationship with Google for #1.

Those are 3 separate issues.

Re:Divide this up (1)

InsaneGeek (175763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705312)

#1 is defintely *not* anonymous, your IP is recorded and they've got you at your ISP, cookies can tie you across sessions.

The only anonymous thing google is doing is not giving out combined results results to the gov for basically a survey request (i.e. how many people searched for "big boobs" in the past 3 months). They resisted giving that government the anonymous information, but I can tell you that when the gov has a subpoena with specific request for the searches from IP at Time on day they comply and hand over your private information without much of a problem.

Re:Divide this up (1)

hublan (197388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705574)

The only anonymous thing google is doing is not giving out combined results results to the gov for basically a survey request (i.e. how many people searched for "big boobs" in the past 3 months). They resisted giving that government the anonymous information, but I can tell you that when the gov has a subpoena with specific request for the searches from IP at Time on day they comply and hand over your private information without much of a problem.

Um, yes. Because there's a vast gulf of a difference between an actual case before a judge underlying the reqeust and what is basically a puritanical fishing expedition by the Justice Department.

Can we trust Time magazine (5, Interesting)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705245)

This is offtopic, and I don't mind much if it is modded as such, or even flamebait (because it is prehaps needlessly political). That said -

As a geek I love Wikipedia and how the net has given me information at my fingertips. A few sites have censored themselves, but the Google cache usually reveals this. Very gratifying. But now that Google has become so dominant, and is helping China to censor stuff from their citizens, do they really deserve our trust? Can we really trust ANY online media? If we don't have hardcopies, how can we guarantee that information isn't altered or wiped out for ever? In 1984, there is a whole ministry that works with throwing stuff into "the Memory Hole" that the regime doesn't like. Now it might be possible to do it with a press of a button.

A pretty nasty example of this comes from Time magazine itself:

A composition instructor at the University of California at Irvine got a disturbing email from a friend who was searching Time magazine's digital archives looking for a certain article written by George Bush Senior and his Defense Secretary, Brent Scowcroft. In that article, the two men purportedly explained why they decided not to occupy Iraq in 1991. Their reason was that such an action would have exceeded the UN's mandate to remove Iraq from Kuwait , and would have destroyed the precedent of an international response to aggression. They went on to argue, in the March 2, 1998 article, had they chosen to occupy Iraq in 1991, the US would probably still be occupying a bitterly hostile land.

The article, in today's light, seems like a clear rebuff to junior's invasion. But the article is gone. It's no longer in Time's digital archives - as if it never existed. The Irvine instructor decided to charge her students with the task of verifying the existence or nonexistence of the article. As it turned out, the article was in fact real, and was still archived by a number of subscription-accessed library research databases - but it was no longer in the Time archives. Interestingly, none of her digital-age students thought to look for the paper copy of the magazine in the library. The instructor did, finding not only the missing article, but also finding that editors changed the titles on many of the articles remaining in the Time archives.

Time's post-facto editing is especially disturbing since it shakes the very foundation of library sciences. An archive is a collection of past works. By definition it must be left intact. Archive managers have no right to edit history. In this case, Time blew their chance to censor this story in 1998.


The whole article I quoted from is here [mediastudy.com] .

Re:Can we trust Time magazine (4, Insightful)

bjschrock (557973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705351)

Sounds more like a legal problem than a censorship issue, although maybe I'm not paranoid enough. If you try to find the article now you get this text:

The page you've requested is an excerpt from a book by Brent Scowcroft and George H. W. Bush titled A World Transformed, which appeared in the March 2, 1998, issue of TIME magazine under the title "Why We Didn't Remove Saddam". It has been removed from our site because the publisher did not grant us rights to sell the piece online through the TIME archive.

From http://www.time.com/time/magazine/1998/dom/980302/ special_report.clintons_29.html [time.com] .
You can find the article online several places, just not at Time's site. http://govsux.com/didnt_remove_saddam.htm [govsux.com]

Re:Can we trust Time magazine (1)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705387)

Well done. I wish I could say I already knew, and was testing if the Slashdot mod system could be trusted. But I didn't know, I was just lazy and hadn't done the research.

Kudos.
Ok, now my original post REALLY deserves negative mod points. :-)

Can We Trust Google? (0, Troll)

RokcetScientist (900414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705246)

Of course not! Google is BIG, it's a company, and its American!

Yes, sure! (2, Funny)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705259)

Giving 100% trust to a company that has a track record of kowtowing to oppressive governments... what can possibly go wrong?

Re:Yes, sure! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705328)

Whoa, so you can now have a "track record" of something just by doing it once?

If Google has a "track record" of kowtowing to oppressive governments, then I have a "track record" of getting laid. Wow, I feel so proud all of a sudden.

The simple and non-conspiratorial answer... (5, Insightful)

rindeee (530084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705261)

...is no. YOU cannot trust anyone other than YOU with YOUR secrets. Why would we be concerned with whether or not we can trust a commercial organization such as Google with our secrets? If you use Google's tools, as I do, and love them, as I do, don't have an expectation of privacy even if it is stated. If you need privacy, have a separate computer or a separate boot instance on your computer (bootable ISO perhaps) and keep things compartmentalized. Google has some awesome tools for day to day computing and it's silly not to make use of them. The inclusion of your "secrets" is not a requirement nor is it wise.

Can we trust google? (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705263)

No.

But why would we need to trust google anyway?

Google does it's job and does it well, but if you need secrecy, you shouldn't trust anybody that doesn't have a personal gain in keeping your secret safe.

If Google were to go bankrupt if it ever revealed my secrets, I'd trust them. But not any sooner.

Re:Can we trust google? (1)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705429)

If Google were to go bankrupt if it ever revealed my secrets, I'd trust them. But not any sooner.

Your criterion for trust level is extremely low. For many people who create and destroy corporations on the fly the bankrupt is quite not a taboo. So, your statement is more about a worthlessness of your secrets than about trust.

Re:Can we trust google? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705508)

Then what criterea would you use?

Toes the line? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705267)

Okay, so some blog has a conspiracy theory about how Google are censoring the press over who one of the founders dates, and suddenly Time magazine is "toeing the line"? Did you ever consider that maybe, just maybe Time magazine doesn't give a flying fuck who dates who? Seriously, so two Googlers are getting it on - does it really matter?

I'd also like to point out that Google or a rogue Google employee could alter the Adsense Javascript to steal your cookies, as the Adsense Javascript, like most third-party Javascript, executes within the security context of your domain. Everybody who uses Adsense trusts Google to a certain extent.

Short Answer (1)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705268)

The short answer to this question is: yes, for now

For now because right now the stock price is up high (even though its value is questionable). When Google's stock price is underperforming the market, or even losing, how easy do you think it will keep to the "do no evil" mantra.

The real question, do you want to trust a company which currently has a P/E ratio of 72?

No. (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705274)

Once a company goes public they are no longer at the helm, no matter how well intentioned their initial goals were they are no longer. Boards of directors, shareholders, etc. only care about bottom lines and profit... not furthering the good of anyone. Don;t kid yourselves, Google is far from its humble Uni. beginnings and it will never go back.

I trust them as far as I can throw 'em.

Secrets? (4, Insightful)

cazbar (582875) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705283)

Better question, who's putting their secrets on web pages that Google can index? These are web sites. They are supposed to be publicly available.

Re:Secrets? (1)

Stoopid-Guy0 (814282) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705355)

GMail, search queries, Google Maps, Google Translate, the list goes on and on. Google offers many services which invite personal information or secrets to be revealed unto itself.

In communist China (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705297)

Google searches you.

Secrets? (4, Interesting)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705308)

Just curious, but what exactly are these all so precious secrets that need protecting.

Obviously, if you're living in Area 51 this doesn't apply. But for the vast majority of people what do we really have that is so important.

The big one is of course salary, I know a lot of people who are really secretive about this one. Why? Who cares - it's really only interesting if your raking it in - in which case it's probably published in some kind of company return - or your making the same as any other joe schmo and it's published in some crappy salary review (or close enough).

Second one, deepest emotions/thoughts. Either you've put the on the web through a blog or you've not told anyone - in which case until Google Brain comes out, that's where they're staying.

Third, opinions. Everyone thinks that their opinions are unique. Bad news folks they're not, you share them with millions of others - no one cares.

Fourth, shopping habits. So what if the local supermarket knows I buy bread, cheese and eggs. And if they use that information to sell me stuff I want - well all the better.

I'm sure there a loads more types of secret but I'm just at a loss to know what the big secrets that Google can possibly know that we all need to get upset about the erosion of our civil liberties.

Of course, if you are living in a police state and you risk death if the government figures out your real intentions, then this is obviously important. But what do you care, your living in a police state!

Re:Secrets? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705613)


The big one is of course salary, I know a lot of people who are really secretive about this one. Why? Who cares - it's really only interesting if your raking it in


Imagine your next Job interview: "Well Mr. PinkyDead I see that at your last job you were making only 40,000 a year, but yet your salary requirements for this job is 60,000. We don't feel we need to pay you much more than your last job, so we're offering 45,000. Take it or leave it."

You may not care if your next door neighboor knows how much you make, but there's a hell of a lot of people and entities I don't want to have that information.


Third, opinions. Everyone thinks that their opinions are unique. Bad news folks they're not, you share them with millions of others - no one cares

Fourth, shopping habits. So what if the local supermarket knows I buy bread, cheese and eggs. And if they use that information to sell me stuff I want - well all the better.

And should both of these be recorded in databases, and sold to just anyone who wants them? I sure as hell don't want some company data mining my book buying history and trying to figure out if I'm a good credit risk. Or the US government does some idiotic high error rate data mining and identifies me as a potential terrorist because I bought "George Bush is a big dumb moron" and humus at the grocery store. Or maybe keyword searches in your email. "Sir, we found 1000 instances of the word breast and pussy in your email, we think you're a serious pervert and sex offender. We've gotten a warrant to search your house based on this information."

Re:Secrets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705622)

Salary is only a secret at dipshit companies that pay vastly different amounts of money for people doing the same job.

Here's a hint: incentive should be BONUS, not salary. Give bonuses for projects delivered fully QA'd and on-time. But give all your engineers basically the same starting salary.

Must be my imagination (2, Interesting)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705322)

There sure does seem to be a lot of anti-google, bang on google and tear them down articles about google here of late. I wonder why that is. Maybe something to do with Microsoft's efforts to enter that area? Naw. Bill wouldn't get all his "journalists" to orchestrate some kind of media blitz. That would be unethical wouldn't it? Let's see, what's the motto of google? Ah, "do no evil"? Hm.

Not to pick on Billy Boy. I trust no corporation, not even google and their reassuring motto. Ultimately a corporation answers to the shareholders and eventually, regardless of a companies motto, promises, etal ...... the shareholder wins out. It's that simple really. Of course their motto is broad and non-specific enough that it gives them lots of leeway. No evil indeed. From who's point of view, or in what country or.... insert your own.

And so we have some "dirt" about of all things dating. Now that's really hitting the bottom of the barrel here. Of course with such a gossip rag as "Us" its only natural the article be 80% old biddy tongue wagging and 20% anything of substance.

As for Googles decision regarding China. Well lets see here. Your in a foreign country doing business and some are getting wrapped around the axle cause that business follows that countries rules, policies etal? What the hell is the matter with you snot nosed little whiners? What would happen if a foreign company started violating our rules here in the US? I think you knuckleheads need to get a grip on reality. We may not agree with China's policies and I'm sure they take objection to some of ours. But no sovereign nation has the right to tell another how to run their business.

Sure, Why Not? (1)

ShakiirNvar (904354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705324)

Out of all of the major Search/Email companies, Google seems to be the one with the best intentions. I haven't yet had a problem with anything Google has done and I see no harm in indexing the world. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be able to log onto Google and actually find the information I want, without having to go through all the dud results first :)

Call me when you're done confessing to Google (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705326)

"pretty much a softball effort"

Of course it is. It's Time.

excerpt from "Animal Farm": (5, Insightful)

Kiyyik (954108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705343)

"In the morning, they noticed a change. The writing on the wall at company headquarters had been changed; it now read:

'An Animal Shall Do No Evil ....to excess'."

Who do you need to trust? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705360)

The question isn't only whether or not you trust Google. Or any company, for that matter.

There are many companies (ISPs, telcos,...), people (admins, ...) and the governments of their countries involved, all of them can snoop and pick at your traffic.

And here we are, sitting and wondering if you can trust Google with your private information when we're sending it unencrypted across wire that can easily be tapped. It's kinda like wondering if your can trust your steel doors when your walls are made of plywood.

Not worth it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14705367)

Ten pages of interview with the buzzword trust used to create a very weak air of intrigue. It's a PR piece. The part about trust is thrown in there to try and add some zest to the plain fact that Google has marched in, set up camp, and dominated nearly everything it gets into without any serious hiccups.

What could be more boring than a business history without any serious scandal?

The simple answer (1)

Council (514577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705369)

Can We Trust Google?

No. They're run by people, and they're unpredictable, and they could one day decide to do something pretty bad.

But it's convenient to do so, so we take the risk and have fun arguing to ourselves one way or the other, making arguments that make us feel more secure or more paranoid, depending on which frame of mind we tend toward in the first place.

One-Stop Spying for the Government (0, Troll)

scruffy (29773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705405)

Keeping all our data on Google will make it easier for the government to spy on all of us and save us from ourselves.

The Real Question is... (1)

szrachen (913408) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705459)

Can we trust OURSELVES!??!?!!?

Dun Dun Daaaaaahhhh!!!

Ben says it best... (3, Insightful)

corellon13 (922091) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705498)

"Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead." - Benjamin Franklin

Simple answer: no. (4, Interesting)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705512)

Long answer:
  • I do not trust the US Government.
  • The US Government, using the Patriot Act can subopena my secrets from Google without my knowledge or consent.
therefore
  • I do not trust Google.

Re:Simple answer: no. (1)

barrkel (806779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705619)

Definitely. And anyone with a variation on "but if you don't have anything to hide, you've got nothing to fear", well, everybody has at least something to hide. And even then, "evidence" could be fabricated.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? The USA is due a real scandal on data privacy: not just identity theft risk like the leaking of credit card details, but a real miscarriage of justice. It's just a matter of time, and better laws won't come until after the scandal.

Tell you what Zonk, (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705514)

The question is so much of a no-brainer I could write the entire discussion to go along with it myself.

The only thing you people would have to supply are such delightfully insightful crap comments like "I would trust my mother's vagina with Google" or on "the Soviet Google they inspect mother's vaginas".. That is the really challenging part.

No, we cannot trust google (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705545)

Google has saved all search queries, timestamped and IP-logged, since the dawn of time. Google has also demonstrated a complete willingness to furnish access to this database to the government at any time the DoJ wishes.

So, the short answer is, no, we cannot trust a company that will harvest our private information and turn it over to the current fascist administration on a whim.

It makes no difference (3, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705598)

Because chances are in your lifetime, ownership of that data will change hands.

If nothing else, the current management will die.
You cannot see into the future ergo you cannot trust it to act with benevolence toward you.

Trust no public company (2, Interesting)

Bombula (670389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705650)

Faith in Google is misplaced. Google is now a publically traded company, meaning it is owned by shareholders and ruled by the bottom line. Translation: you can kiss the precious "Do No Harm" clause from their mission statement goodbye.

Hmmm, let's see ... storing all user info in a searchable database on Google's servers (including all documents on users' computers if Google Desktop has its way) is in the best interest of:

a) The users, who pay nothing;

b) The advertisers that have made Google a $150 billion company;

c) The shareholders;

d) The CIA and NSA.

Do the math people.

What's going on? (5, Insightful)

cyranose (522976) | more than 8 years ago | (#14705660)

Here's what I think is going on. It's not about Google and China or Google and Trust. It's about Google and the US government. Google stood up to the Bush Justice Dept over search records. Today, generic ones, tomorrow maybe more specific ones.

The result? A large stock slide and all this speculation on how Google is "not to be trusted." It smacks of Bush tactics -- turn your enemies strength into a weakness. Trust = mistrust, Bad = good, etc...

Was Time a big supporter of the War in Iraq? Is Time hammering on the latest Bush scandals in anything more than a typical corporate media lipservice kind of way?

And can anyone explain why Google had a sudden, one-time tax hit that no one else predicted? From what I understand, if not for this 40% tax hit in the last quarter, Google would have beat its Wall St. estimates by a penny or two at least. How is it that analysts didn't see the tax hit coming and yet everyone jumped on Google's sudden "big miss?" Is it possible the tax hit was something the IRS "figured out" after a call from the WH?

And what exactly is behind all this "Google is really evil with China" crap? Sure, no one outside the Chinese gov't wants censorship there. But it's China that's censoring. Google has to place physical servers in China to offer any level of quality service due to China's meddling with Google.com and other sites. Servers in China are subject to Chinese law, no matter what anyone might want. So it's a choice between self-censoring by law and crappy service.

For those of you who'd choose "no service" do you practice what you preach? I hope you don't use Chinese products, electronics, clothing. And if the measure of business ethics is whether a given government has done wrong, then why don't you protest all of the other companies that do business with China, or all of the other countries that do wrong, including, at times, the US? Should Google pull out of the US market over Iraq, or secret torture, or unwarranted wiretapping? They tried to stand up to the Bushies, and look what happened so far...

Oh, it's becuase Google said something about evil. Well, I never took "don't be evil" to mean Google had to be the world's Mother Theresa. No one expected them to donate all their profits to starving children, did they? Or to avoid all advertizing because ads are largely misleading (why else would anyone buy this crap?) "Don't be evil," to me, meant "don't be microsoft"--don't screw your competition--play fair and win on the merits. And they've done just that. They label ads, they even label when they're censoring in China, which is about all one could expect.

Bottom line: don't trust Google with your sensitive data. Don't trust anyone. Don't even put it where people can steal or subpoena it. Common sense.
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