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Gauging Google's Gaffes

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the hire-a-demon-to-beat-back-hell dept.

140

conq writes "BusinessWeek has a piece looking at some of the recent faux pas of Google and what implications they might have. The articles's conclusion: They should hire a chief marketing officer to avoid such gaffes. From the article: 'Recent missteps that have whipsawed or irked investors include the inadvertent release of sales projections and an agreement to censor its own search results in China. Then on Mar. 8, Google used a vaguely worded blog on its site to disclose a settlement of as much as $90 million in a case concerning click fraud. That came days after the company said the case was without merit and told investors the impact of click fraud on advertisers is immaterial.'"

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140 comments

Conspiracy (3, Insightful)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894889)

Call me a conspiratorialist- But I think that things like the "accidental" release of the slides showing the planned online hard drive backup thing, are planned.
And another thing- They may or may not be a great company- I am not here to argue that, but they are made up of people- and as such, mistakes will be made.
The real question is, is it hubris to think that google can do what it wants, instead of what wal street wants, and still stay so valuable (on paper)?

Re:Conspiracy (2, Interesting)

master_gopher (864996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894929)

The mistakes made as a result of not having a chief marketing officer are to be expected - but not so much as the mistakes made as a result of being a company of human beings. More important are the policies themselves (Re: China, etc) which have much more real effect on the company's users and shareholders than their marketing division does.

Re:Conspiracy (1)

irtza (893217) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894974)

As for the value of the company, that depends on who owns it and what's on the agenda. As long as the majority shareholders have made clear that they have no intention of compromising on principle for profit that remains the objective of the company, but as soon as walstreet types take over the board that may all change.

Its this reason that I tend to never become too attached to a publicly traded company. As long as shares are trading, its objectives will be traded with it. So long as its bylaws are what they are and enough people stay on the board (or like-minded people buy into the company) they can remain (if you believe they are) a company of principle.

For example, everyone remembers the departure of Jobs from Apple. That sort of thing can occur at google and now you have a "new" company. Other notable exammples would be the turnaround of IBM.

Its for these very reasons that I advocate the creation of "good company" trading cards. It would be utterly cool and a great way to waste time. Every year you make 1000 limited addition cards for each company and if you think they will be good you buy the card and can trade them. I'm sure someone more creative than me will be able to turn this into some sort of game and childrens cartoon too. We can train a whole generation of people to play this game then we turn them loose on the stock market. Imagine it... wallstreet types will never be able to predict the market as little bastards say, "ah, but I am holding 2000 microsoft stocks and will attack you with monopolist pricing!"... it would be absolutely brillian.... now hopefully this post is coherent enough for some people to understand and incoherent enough that people don't try to stop me.

Re:Conspiracy (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895411)

As for the value of the company, that depends on who owns it and what's on the agenda. As long as the majority shareholders have made clear that they have no intention of compromising on principle for profit that remains the objective of the company, but as soon as walstreet types take over the board that may all change.

Which is why it's lucky that none of Google's shares are vote-thingy (I'm not a stock expert, but I've read here on slashdot enough that Google's shareholders get no say on anything about Google, because the shares don't give them the power to vote on anything Google does. If you've got some sources to the contrary, I'd love to see them).

Re:Conspiracy (1)

irtza (893217) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895692)

very good point I googled (love using it as a verb) for stock types and found this link [thinkquest.org] that seems to explain things... now I have no clue as to the reliability as I just followed the first link on this [google.com] page.

Now, I didn't verify the types of google stock issued, but still if it is publicly traded, someone has to own the common stock that has voting rights, and someone will most likely sell those at some point

Read the prospectus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14896158)

"I googled (love using it as a verb)"

hey, you fucking ignorant moron (love using it as noun!) - read the prospectus. Google's voting stock is owned by the company's executives, it's not public, and so they're not accountable to anyone.

That would have taken 30 seconds of research

You must be a blogger.

Re:Conspiracy (1)

HolyCrapSCOsux (700114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895604)

That would be cool! Player 1 "My 'Google Seeker(tm)' - 3 information points, 1 capitalist point 4 multinational points. Played in the back row - HAHAHA I beat your Microsoft Slug!" Player 2: " OHO! I counter attack with my 'IP Attourney Leech(tm)'"

Re:Conspiracy (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894991)

No, the real question is- do they care? There has been no voting stock issued, the founders still own the company. The company is making millions. In reality, the price of stock has no effect on a company unless the people making decisions want to dump their ownership for cash- stock sales give no new cash to the company. In fact, google has billions in the bank. Since I don't think Larry and Sergey want to sell their holdings entirely anytime soon, I don't think they give a shit about the share price. They're already millionaires on what they already sold, they don't need to care about short term profit/loss.

Re:Conspiracy (3, Insightful)

general_re (8883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895133)

They still have a fiduciary duty to the other shareholders, and given the explosion of shareholder lawsuits over the last few years, they'd be wise to care at least a bit - "I got mine so fuck you people" is not going to fly.

Re:Conspiracy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14895893)

They also need to maintain the value of stock options issued to employees in order to maintain employee retention. If their stock price drops, the options will become worth less/nothing, and they'll face the same problems Microsoft faced when their stock price became stagnant.

Stock options are still a popular tool to lure and maintain valued employees within the tech industry. How many of Google's key people will look for greener pastures without proper incentive to stay?

Re:Conspiracy (1)

MacJedi (173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896157)

Stock options are still a popular tool to lure and maintain valued employees within the tech industry. How many of Google's key people will look for greener pastures without proper incentive to stay?

While your point is well made, and valid for most of the industry, I'm not sure that it (yet) applies to Google. My anecdotal evidence is that people go to work for Google with the knowledge that they are going to make less than they could get at a typical tech company in SF and the surrounding area, yet they still do it.

Re:Conspiracy (2, Insightful)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895054)

if you think google does any other than try to maximize its profits, you are mistaken. public corporations simply do not do anything but exactly that. public corporations are owned and by investors that have one single goal.

i'm really sick of folks thinking that google is some sort of atruistic entity fighting for superior technical solutions. nothing could be further from the truth. i think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg here.

Re:Conspiracy (4, Informative)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895216)

"public corporations are owned and by investors that have one single goal."

Not at all. investors, like any other large group of people, have lots of diverse goals. In practice though you can't satisfy all of these goals. Most are mutually exclusive to some extent. So it comes down to the least common denominator - max profits - like you said. It is the nature of corporate law that is the problem here, not the investors.

Re:Conspiracy (0)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895602)

public corporations simply do not do anything but exactly that. public corporations are owned and by investors that have one single goal.
You are mistaken. Public corporations can have many goals, and profit is usually one of them -- but there is no law requiring this. It all depends on the articles of the company. There is no legal reason why I could not form a company whose goal was philanthropic works and sell stock on one of the exchanges (there may be practical reasons why this would not work). To take a more relevant example, how many companies went through IPOs during the dot-com boom, saying that profits would only appear in the mysterious future?

Secondly, you refer to "profit", but what is mean by this? Profit this quarter? Profit in 5 years time? 10 years? Those controlling Google can easily argue that they have a goal to maximise profits, but that their means to achieve this requires reducing short term profits in favour of greater long term profits.

Re:Conspiracy (2, Interesting)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895840)

Public corporations can have many goals, and profit is usually one of them -- but there is no law requiring this.

people invest in for-profit companies to make money. it's not a law (duh), but that's the whole purpose of a for-profit corporation: to make money. if corporations, as part of their marketing (read: propaganda) make you believe that they have some other interest in mind, well, it worked on you. i have no doubt there are some people on google's board of directors that believe in the free exchange of information, but those people do not control the direction of google. it's survival of the fittest and darwin in action. if those people did control google, google would go out of business. the path of maximum profits and doing the "right thing" may overlap sometimes, but not always.

what really cracks me up is that things like ipods and OSX have become almost a political philosphy to people. folks, it's a PRODUCT. you've been brainwashed into thinking that it defines who you are and what you believe in. well, the end result of your "beliefs" is higher profits for a few people at Apple Corp. i'm using Apple here, but the same thing applies to google. there's nothing wrong with mutual benefit. who cares if google is making a profit it it helps you? i agree, but please let's not pretend that google is some friendly group of people that have our best interests at heart.

Those controlling Google can easily argue that they have a goal to maximise profits, but that their means to achieve this requires reducing short term profits in favour of greater long term profits.

yes, so?

Blah, blah, blah, profits, blah. Blah. (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896021)

A company can declare itself a for profit organization only to differentiate itself from other kind of organizations for a myriad of different reasons.

The goal of the company may not necessarily be to make a profit, but it may be convenient to define itself as capable of doing so.

Re:Blah, blah, blah, profits, blah. Blah. (1)

LegendLength (231553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896460)

The goal of the company may not necessarily be to make a profit, but it may be convenient to define itself as capable of doing so.

It is purely academic though isn't it. The original point was that their far overriding goal is to make money (like 99% of other companies).

Re:Conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14896483)

people invest in for-profit companies to make money. it's not a law (duh), but that's the whole purpose of a for-profit corporation: to make money.
I think that you need to pull yourself out of the argument sketch [mindspring.com] .

All you have done is ignored my points, re-iterated your original point and thrown in one or two gratuitous ad-hominem attacks.

Those controlling Google can easily argue that they have a goal to maximise profits, but that their means to achieve this requires reducing short term profits in favour of greater long term profits.

yes, so?

Try reading my post and attempting to understand it. You might find that taking a sentence out of context (as you did above) makes it more difficult to understand, so I would advise against this.

My point is that companies do not exist solely to make a profit. Many companies have other goals that are listed in their company articles and prospectuses. If people invest in such companies without understanding the companies' goals and expecting them to pursue short-term profits at the expense of all other goals, then they may well be investing foolishly.

Re:Conspiracy (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896517)

Well what public companies can or cannot do is arbitrary. What is in google's company constitution and in the prospectus when the shares where first issued is all that counts. I don't remember any legally binding statements about it's altruistic status.

They quite simply put it out to IPO when it would produce the best return for the initial investors, just after what was most likely it's maximum period of growth, with it's best revenues to date, just prior to both MSN and Yahoo both making a big push to regain lost market share and revenues.

It has very little room to move in the tech market for growth with out competing against it's own customers. MSN is unlikely to dominate, nor will Yahoo but with out doubt all three fighting hard for the same market will increase competition and drive down revenues.

Especially as a lot of advertisers will have to pay all three to ensure effective market penetration, they will be squeezing down on how much they a willing to pay and will be taking a harder look at how effective their marketing choices are. Combine this with the rise in local regional search sites who know their market better and the bigger search utilities will have to reduce charges to retain relevance.

Re:Conspiracy (1)

bitflip (49188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895208)

Yes, people make mistakes. Google, however, has enough of a cash flow that they shouldn't be making amateurish mistakes like these. One every so often - sure. A string of them? No excuse.

Re:Conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14895843)

I'm starting to think the real conspiracy is by Wall Street against Google. Especially when I read that their deciscion to cooperate with the Chinese government was a mistake or something. That wasn't a mistake, that was a neccesary and decent business descision. Because if google didn't agree to that, then some other company would do it, like Microsoft, and make all the money in the new market. It's also funny how the hipocrites who complain about that being evil, don't seem to have a problem continuing to buy computers that are largely made in China. It's okay if THEY can save some bucks supporting a repressive regime, but not okay if Google makes a few bucks.

Anyway, I think Wall Street is attempting to pressure google into yielding up the reigns of control to the share holders. I mean really, these so-called "gaffes" are extremely minor in the big picture, and hardly the type of thing that should call for handing over vast power over the company to wall street. Yet, that is exactly how the media seems to be portraying this. Why?

Search took... (3, Funny)

master_gopher (864996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894891)

...0.07 seconds, + another 20 while we took out the ones you weren't supposed to know that we just found for you.

Panty Bind (4, Interesting)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894913)

Recent missteps that have whipsawed or irked investors...

I think statements by Google have made it clear that they will not be playing the normal Wall Street Game. What's really going on here is that because of this, Wall Street is getting its collective panties in a bind. I for one am enjoying the show. Google should just keep doing what it wants and ignore the people in New York who seem to think they can't be ignored...

Re:Panty Bind (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14895056)

Google should just keep doing what it wants and ignore the people in New York who seem to think they can't be ignored...

Ahh, so they should continue to misrepresent information to shareholders? They should reap the financial benefits of the system but not be held accountable by the same system? Remember, "the investors" aren't just the guys trading in NY, there are tons of folks and organzations that invest other folks money that are also "investors" and they are being just as irked and feel like Google is not operating is a straight forward manner.

It continues to amaze me that crap that Google does is seen as innovative and being a maverick shaking up the establishment, but the same deeds done by other companies would be universally condemned. If M$ did similar stuff everyone would be all up in arms. It's funny what cult of personality will do for you, that and a catchy tag line "do no evil". Reminds me of the schlocky 80's flick where Dolf Lundgren plays the alien that blows people away while stating (quite deadpan may I add) "I mean you no harm". I picture Dolf with the words "Google" tatooed to his head and all the gFanBoys drooling while mesmerized and chanting "I mean you no harm" while Dolf casually blows them into oblivion, all the while the other gFanBoys stating that "he must of deserved it".

Re:Panty Bind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14895237)

mod the parent up. if the shareholders.. who OWN part of google would like to have guidance.. then google should give them a clue as to whats going on.. if they really care to "do good" or whatever slogan they rally around.

google is just another company trying to make a buck. "doing good" is just a a marketing tool that they can't seem to follow any more.

Re:Panty Bind (2, Insightful)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895844)

By and large it is not the shareholders that are asking for guidance, it's financial advisors looking for guidance. Google issued statements on what they will and will not do before the stock was available public, so if people bought stock without looking at these statements, then they don't have anything to complain about. The people who bought stock second hand from those that actually got in on the IPO (back when it was what... $50 a share?) have even less to complain about, as they should have actually taken a look at the terms that Google set forth and what rights the initial stockholders were allowed to transfer.

Re:Panty Bind (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14896436)

You are an anonymous jackass who stubbornly refuses to learn the rules of the capital market. No one forced you to buy, no one is forcing you to hold. Stop braying and sell the stock, jackass.

Re:Panty Bind (2, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895400)

The shairholders walked into this FULLY INFORMED, or at least the should have. Google said they would not be giving guidence in the treditional way that Wall Street has become accustom. None of this should come as a surprise. There has bee full disclosure, and now that a few of the buyers don't like the situation, they want to change the rules.

Re:Panty Bind (2, Informative)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895950)

>The shairholders walked into this FULLY INFORMED,

Read the parent post again.

there are tons of folks and organzations that invest other folks money that are also "investors" and they are being just as irked and feel like Google is not operating is a straight forward manner.

I would be too. $90 million dollar settlement is at least noteworthy and should be professionally communicated to the shareholders. Comments like "Guess if I'm talking about revenue or market capitalization" from one of the CEOs is just being arrogant.

I'm not sure where the IPO document Google said that they would act in an irresponsible way to people who hold their shares.

Re:Panty Bind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14896402)

I am ashamed to know this, but the quote is actually "I come in peace" which happens to be the title of this afront to all that is good in the world.

Re:Panty Bind (4, Insightful)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895097)

If more compainies start doing this, analysists will be out of a job, and need to learn calculus first. A lot of analysists just do seat-of-the-pants based on reports. Google isn't giving them any material, which stabalizes GOOG.

I too am enjoying the show. (1)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895139)

I am enjoying the show because the volatility may give me the ability to pick up shares when they dip to a reasonable level.

However, itt will (IMHO) take a lot more bad news and uncertainty before this (great) company's stock is at a valuation commensurate with future cashflows and risks.

Best,
Paul

Re:I too am enjoying the show. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14895641)

I am enjoying the show because the volatility may give me the ability to pick up shares when they dip to a reasonable level.

Yeah, I might be willing to take a flier on a few hundred shares at $0.01-$0.05/share, too. GOOG is nothing but bubble.

Re:Panty Bind (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895901)

>What's really going on here is that because of this, Wall Street is getting its collective panties in a bind.

I really don't think that Wall Street cares either way.

There are loads of companies that don't "play by Wall Street" rules. Sometimes its because the company doesn't think that guidance is worthwhile to the long-term care of the shareholders, other times it because they don't give a flying-crap about anyone including the shareholders.

If Google wanted to not "play by Wall Street" why do they have Google Analyst Days?

Google's Hiring (5, Informative)

Slipgrid (938571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894920)

Don't know if they advertise their "chief" positions, but it looks like they want a whole marketing department [google.com] .

Re:Google's Hiring (2, Interesting)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895088)

My mother is working for google marketing "unofficially."

I sent her a new computer with a firefox homepage of her shiny new google account. She is seriously computer illiterate and already she has fallen in love with it. (she used to have mail.com - ugh!)

Now she wants all her friends to use gmail. It's kinda cute.

If Google's Hiring it's their new place in Fremont (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895408)

nope, that's for people in Fremont, the fun part of Seattle, where they are buying a property about a block from my house, near the Fremont Fire Circle.

pay no attention to the marketing folks, they aren't of concern.

It was on one of the Microsoft blogs today. With a news item in the business pages of the soon to be web-only Seattle PI [nwsource.com] .

Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationship (5, Interesting)

keilinw (663210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894935)

Gone are the days when Google was just a tadpole startup company with little more than a unique name. Over the years, the company has proven its worth time and time again with technology advancements cool new features. Until very recently I too was a hardcore Google fan... I was in love with the company that vowed to change the world, and succeeded.

We're all familiar with the recent news about Google's policies on privacy, finance, and the Department of Justice. And, it has admittedly made a few mistakes. But who are we to argue? Isn't the company successful? Aren't they doing what the set out to do -- change the world? In a nutshell: YES... I may be disappointed that Google does things a little differently than I expected, but isn't the end result that I have cool new and "free" technologies... and isn't their stock still work a lot more than their IPO days?

All of these thoughts are SOMEWHAT comforting... but I've started to develop somewhat of a love / hate relationship with them. Very recently (a few days ago) I fell into some sort of keyword promotion site over optimization scam. There is a company that wrote code that a person can insert into their websites in order to "show the location" of who's browsing their sites. This code had a cleverly embedded keyword in it that made a vague reference to "MySpace.com." As a result of including such code on my site, I was getting A LOT of Google hits.. and people were asking me how they could do the same thing. I answered by posing a copy of the code on my website... and then I got hit by a Google Site Ranking Penalty... something that I did not know even existed! Now, I am trying to recover my site's ranking and I'm not even sure how to do this.

Prior to this experience I thought Google was great... but it appears to me that much of their company is "automated" and that my site somehow tripped some automated flags and hence automatically punished me... for something someone else did. So, in the end isn't it Google's responsibility to protect the small end user from abuses of their automatic systems?

I personally won't suffer any great loss from my sites loss in status, but its just that -- a loss in status... and frankly its quite annoying. Luckily for me there were a few lessons learned:

1. I enjoy posting on Slashdot more than on my blog because people actually read it.
2. I know know how to avoid Search Engine Optimization Errors.

So, there you have it... that's the story of my love / hate relationship with Google.

--Matthew Wong
http://www.themindofmatthew.com [themindofmatthew.com]

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (4, Insightful)

pilkul (667659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895048)

So you used dishonest techniques to increase your pagerank on Google (you claim unintentionally, but that's irrelevant) and Google knocked your site off its listing as a result. I don't see what the problem is.

You have a "love/hate relationship" with Google because you're running a website. My experience is that it's mainly webmasters and advertisers that have any dislike of Google, because they're so relentless at protecting the interests of their users.

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (2, Interesting)

keilinw (663210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895166)

Actually I don't see a problem with Goolge penalizing for using dishonest techniques... and quite frankly I'm happy that they did because I got to learn something new... and I have something interesting to write about :)

You are right, the only people who really have a "beef" with Google are the stock brokers, web site operators, and anyone whos privacy might be at stake...but in the end, I still love the company.

Matt Wong
http://www.themindofmatthew.com [themindofmatthew.com]

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (1)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895880)

I think the thing is that Google doesn't publish what they consider right or wrong. This dude didn't lose anything, but imagine that your business hinges on whether people can find you via google.

Competitors do LOTS of things via google to fuck over your company. They click your ads (this is more prevalant in yahoo, though, where people can see what you pay per click), they get pissed and report you if your webpage is higher on search rankings.

I work for a firm that gets all its business from our Google ranking. We have spent dime zero on advertising, instead we have a well described webpage.

Google's hypocracy is that they DON'T want you to do anything to get higher on their search results, yet people who DO get higher are rewarded with better business and therefore , a higher ranking.

And the thing is, we got booted off, and we weren't using any deceptive techniques. Not that we'd know what google would consider 'deceptive', since google doesn't publish its standards. Yet google respects blogs attacks on information by doing nothing about googlebombing blogs. If google wants the most accurate search results, they sure have a weird way of showing it: No open documentation on standards, allowing tainted results to be displayed, and using capricious methods to reset pageranks.

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (-1, Flamebait)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895167)

My experience is that it's mainly webmasters and advertisers that have any dislike of Google, because they're so relentless at protecting the interests of their users.

like their relentlessly protected the interest of their chinese users?

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (-1, Flamebait)

keilinw (663210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895614)

like their relentlessly protected the interest of their chinese users?

A word of advice: if you want to make a point, perhaps you should learn to write properly. In case you didn't understand that I'll rephrase.

Learn how to fucking write.

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (1)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896508)

so, you feel it necessary to use profanity because because someone typed a word incorrectly. yep, you made your point alright.

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (3, Insightful)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895878)

like their relentlessly protected the interest of their chinese users?

Google made compromises which they felt were in the best interest of the Chinese Users. Their options were 1)be banned by the chinese government or 2)censor the results. Now google censors the results, but at the very least tells the users that results are being cesored per Chinese Law. This is information that, as far as I know, other search engines do not reveal. Letting the Chinese people know which information is being censored is the first step in getting that censored information to them, as it will spark curiosity in the rebelious who know that something is wrong with the system, and now have actual evidence.

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (0, Flamebait)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896537)

right. okay. it was about helping the chinese users. it wasn't about keeping their access to an advertising market where they stand to make billions of dollars. nothing like that at all.

if google cared about freedom of speech, they'd have said f-u to china and their censorship. of course, i would not have in any way expected them to do that considering that they are a for-profit corporation with investors that expect them to make money.

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (4, Informative)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895120)

Over the years, the company has proven its worth time and time again with technology advancements cool new features

really, like what? web-based email? instant messaging? web-based maps? a search engine? i hate to tell you this, but all of this was done 5-10 years before google existed. granted, google has (mostly) made advancements in these areas, but please, let's not pretend these ideas are "new".

everything google does is available elsewhere, and in a form such that the quality of our lives would not significantly change if google dried up and died.

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (2, Insightful)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895196)

Well, Google bought and monopolize huge Usenet archive that goes back years and years. So it would such if google dried up and died. Actually, since they're really keen on all kinds of other publishers 'giving it up for the public good' they should do as well. I would think a ten volume DVD-ROM set would probably cover the Usenet archive (minus binaries) up 'til about 1998 or so... So google should release that, to anybody who wants to buy a copy. At a reasonable 'people friendly' price... What does a Ten DVD box set cost at WalMart again???

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14895201)

gp said "cool new features"

you complain that they are just old apps despite google's improvements (thus they gave them new features)...

there is a big difference between new features and new apps, so it begs the question, why did you post and arguement if you were agreeing with the gp?

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (1)

keilinw (663210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895212)

You're absolutely right.. in fact, I'd probably have more free time if I didn't waste so much time in front of the computer.... if I'm not on Google or using one of their tools, then I'm talking about it... oops.. and so are you!

But, don't forget that even if the world would continue on its path...we still enjoy the products the company produces... I mean, after all if we took away cars we still have bikes right?

--Matthew Wong
http://www.themindofmatthew.com [themindofmatthew.com]

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14896028)

I think cool new features is a very accurate statement. Thanks to Google, now every significant webmail provider has increased storage. Thanks to Google, instant messaging is starting to become more open. Thanks to Google, web based maps are a lot more usable with many new features (hybrid maps with both satellite and road overlays). Thanks to Google, there's a more viable video distribution method available now. Most importantly, all of them are offered for FREE.

Google proved that Yahoo, MSN, etc. could do many of the advancements (since now virtually every Google feature is copied), but they didn't because they did not have real competition amongst each other yet. Whether or not you like Google, they have pushed others significantly to actually innovate.

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (1)

LegendLength (231553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896450)

... with technology advancements cool new features.


... let's not pretend these ideas are "new".

Not only are they 'new' to Google (very acceptable usage of 'new' by the GP post), they are also new to search engines in general.

everything google does is available elsewhere, and in a form such that the quality of our lives would not significantly change if google dried up and died.

Did anyone come close to claiming such a thing? Certainly not the post you replied to.

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (1)

AlterTick (665659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895820)

There is a company that wrote code that a person can insert into their websites in order to "show the location" of who's browsing their sites. This code had a cleverly embedded keyword in it that made a vague reference to "MySpace.com." As a result of including such code on my site, I was getting A LOT of Google hits.. and people were asking me how they could do the same thing. I answered by posing a copy of the code on my website... and then I got hit by a Google Site Ranking Penalty... something that I did not know even existed! Now, I am trying to recover my site's ranking and I'm not even sure how to do this.

You need to make your page relevant to recover your ranking. The penalty you received was google's way of saying your shouldn't be ranked that high. If your ranking is even lower than it was before the "myspace" thing boosted it, well, then maybe that's the price you pay for saying "hey guys, here's how to sucker pagerank" instead of "hey google, pagerank is being suckered by something on my page".

Re:Google's Philosophy: a love and hate relationsh (1)

JacksBrokenCode (921041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896381)

Prior to this experience I thought Google was great... but it appears to me that much of their company is "automated" and that my site somehow tripped some automated flags and hence automatically punished me... for something someone else did.

Wrong, dude. Nobody else put the code on your site, you did. The fact that you didn't check the code first to understand what it was doing is not Google's fault. Instead of being pissed at Google for this, you should learn to double-check code that you get from other people

Good Google (4, Insightful)

Device666 (901563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894949)

How can a company which is depending on the advertise business, stockholders and operation on world level between all the cultural disputes (China) stay an not evil company? Who decides: the clients, a nation or the stockholders?

Besides that, what good is a google application which shares as a unwanted side-effect sensitive business documents without the knowledge of the respected companies?

When it comes down to money,some evil stockholders, countries or clients will take on the power game. And I guess it will heappen when google has a real bad financial quarter. So we have to wait for that for a while I guess. We'll see how google will evolve.

Re:Good Google (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895386)

They cannot.

The convergence of Internet and Advertising is evil.

However, some of the loudest voices on slashdot these days are people who make a lot of money directly or indirectly due to advertising on the Internet. It isn't the old days anymore. . .

Re:Good Google (3, Informative)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895539)

The shareholders have no say whatsoever with Google, as the shares are non-voting. The shares held by the insiders have 10 times the voting power of the public shares.

gaffawing at unprecedented evile's foibles (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14894984)

it would be pathetically patentdeadly comical if it weren't so fatally dangerous to many of US/yOUR planet/population.

all they want is... everything. at what cost to US? not a pretty picture at all. quite infactdead from our viewpoint.

for many of US, the only way out is up.

don't forget, for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way) there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/US as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile will not be available after the big flash occurs.

'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

parent irrelevant (1)

master_gopher (864996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895010)

... is there some law that says that to post on /. you have to use as many /'s as possible? The word "or" still exists for a reason.

Google Print (4, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894989)

Google Print is a good example of this. I'm participating in it as a publisher, and it's been a mess. They've gone through so many conniptions trying to avoid getting sued that it's crippled the program. Nobody uses it, because it doesn't show up in normal google searches anymore.

CMO? Of course! (4, Insightful)

uradu (10768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14894998)

Because--as we all know--companies that do have Chief Marketing Officers never commit any PR gaffes. You can never have enough management!

I'm to blame (4, Funny)

vinn (4370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895007)

Years ago I realized I had terrible luck with stocks. I learned all kinds of stuff like P/E ratios, etc, etc. But more than anything, I just had bad luck. Well, it's been quite a few years since I've invested directly in a stock. I had some cash laying around in a money market and decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy some Google stock - mostly because I really believe in what they do. Well, that was when the stock was at $390 (60x earnings... ow) Therefore I'm certain you can all blame me for the recent performance.

Stock Investing (1)

MonkeyCookie (657433) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896210)

Stick with it. Google stock may not continue to rise at an astronomical pace, but it's still a growing, profitable company. In the long run, it will be worth it.

I find that as a stock investor as long as you invest in healthy, profitable companies, stocks may falter from time to time, but you will do well in the long run. Google stock may be out of fashion right now (good time to buy), but I have confidence that its continuing profitability will pay off in the long term. BTW, by "long term" I don't mean a year or two, but five years or a decade.

The time to bail is not when a stock price plummets, as that can be caused by undisciplined investors acting on whims, but when the entire company is in serious financial trouble (GM).

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14895017)

I wasn't aware that BusinessWeek had hired John C. Dvorak.

Seriously guys, I know we've all been shaken somewhat by this huge google backlash, but isn't this a little much?

Please, they sold out to the Chinese (1, Interesting)

RedHatLinux (453603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895021)

to make money for their stockholders, because that what they are required to do as corporation.

Remember folks, Do No Evil is a marketing slogan, not legal contract.

Re:Please, they sold out to the Chinese (1)

Krusau (960398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895190)

You do realize that you are grossly oversimplifying the issue don't you?

I propose you be added to the 'mindset of a political hack' category, because your knee-jerk reactionary antics aren't helping anything.

You realize (1)

RedHatLinux (453603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895552)

that they are a corporation, whose some purpose is to make money, right? Look, I am aware that they put out some fantastic spin on the issue, such as alerting Chinese users that they are being censored.

But that will only last as long as the PRC regime decided to allow it. Then, Google will bend over, and sell out again.

Re:You realize (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895776)

Their purposes are clearly stated in their charter. Feel free to look it up, and reply with a report on what you find. (I honestly don't know, but I suspect it isn't as clear cut as "making profits")

Re:Please, they sold out to the Chinese (1)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895558)

Ah, so letting the Chinese censor Google themselves, as well as degrading the performance of the service in the process, was a better solution? Looking at everything as black and white (or good and evil) without acknowledging the grey areas in-between is an indication of a simple minded person.

Re:Please, they sold out to the Chinese (3, Interesting)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895617)

Sold out to the Chinese? How so? They aren't preventing Chinese people from getting to google.com, China may be, though. All they did was add servers in China that make trade-offs: you get better, faster access to our site, but we filter some results (and tell you about it).

they are required to do as corporation

Typical ignorant statement repeated ad nauseum by Slashdot socialists. It's wrong on so many levels. You guys like to think that a corporation is legally required to do whatever it takes to make a profit, and you're flat out fucking wrong about that point. But you just never let it go. One of these days you should take Economics 101.

Remember folks, Do No Evil is a marketing slogan, not legal contract.

Actually it's a mission statement, which most companies have. Theirs is just succinct. Good and Evil is black and white. Operating your servers in China is a shade of grey. They never said Don't Be Grey, they said Don't Be Evil. Just because you have a problem with something doesn't make it evil across the board.

I think the China move was a smart one, I don't have a problem with it. Then again, I seem to be one of the few that can look past the B.S. and see what they actually did -- added some services for Chinese users, while leaving existing services alone. If that's evil, call me Darth Vader.

Re:Please, they sold out to the Chinese (1)

Fanro (130986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895748)

They aren't preventing Chinese people from getting to google.com

Actually they do: if google can detect your country, you get redirected to the url of your country. I am pretty sure this is the same in china as it is in my country.

This will also change the results you get: the french google will return results in a different order than the german or the english one, apparently some sort of positive bias for the right language

There are ways around this (very annoying) redirect, but they are not easy to find for the uninformed.

Re:Please, they sold out to the Chinese (1)

The Cydonian (603441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896052)

There are ways around this (very annoying) redirect, but they are not easy to find for the uninformed.
You just click that big bright link titled as "Go to Google.com"?

Re:Please, they sold out to the Chinese (1)

Fanro (130986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896274)

You are right, I just deleted my cookies and sure enough that link is there.

Could have sworn it wasn't there the last time I had to change this thought. might be my memory.

Oh, a "Google done bad" story. (5, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895036)

Great. It's been a while since I read 750 comments with the words "don't be evil."

Let's change it up then.... (1)

Drogo007 (923906) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895470)

One comment with 750 "don't be evil."'s

******
Lameness filter encountered.
Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition. Comment aborted.
******

Ok, ok - so that was going to be 750...

Google investors should blame themselves... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895039)

Does anyone believe that it's reasonable for a technology ccompany stock price to continue shooting straight up without falling down at some point? Investors should be disappointed. Not in Google but themselves for riding the rocket without wanting to suffer the crash as fuel runs out.

Regarding click fraud... (4, Interesting)

Josh teh Jenius (940261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895095)

What I can't understand is how it is legal for Google and Overature to continue downplaying the effects of click fraud.

Here is one such effect: I recently spent $150 on an advertising campaign, without finding a single sale (I usually get 5-10 for $150). Later I found out why: an ex-employee who had since become a competitor already knew all of my "favorite" keywords, and was working diligently to click every ad he could find. But what happens when someone applies a DDoS-technique to click fraud? At what point would Google and Overature have no choice but face this issue head-on?

Using only IP logs and a date stamp, any "PHP-for-dummies" graduate could eliminate 90% of click fraud overnight. With the amount of data Google has, I simply *have* to think they already know the average time "between clicks" for any given keyword/ad placement anyway, and how often the same IP will "normally" click on the same ad. Anything outside those "norms" should go unbilled. It's not as if Google is facing any variable costs per click (nominal at best).

I don't want to believe that Google and Overature are "evil". However, I'm not really sure what alternative makes sense. Consider: Google and Overature currently have the power to (1) bill clients whatever they want (2) settle lawsuits with more ad credits and (3) use "leading technology" to justify absurd market-caps, only to turn-around and plead helpless to stop "click fraud".

Be 100% honest for a second: if *you* were in *their* shoes, would you run to the press and say "something must be done!" or would you walk directly into an attorney's office and ask flat-out: "How much should I take before I retire?".

Re:Regarding click fraud... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14896162)

s/Overature/Overture/g

Re:Regarding click fraud... (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896368)

>Using only IP logs and a date stamp, any "PHP-for-dummies" graduate could
>eliminate 90% of click fraud overnight. With the amount of data Google has,
>I simply *have* to think they already know the average time "between clicks"
>for any given keyword/ad placement anyway, and how often the same IP
>will "normally" click on the same ad. Anything outside those "norms" should
>go unbilled. It's not as if Google is facing any variable costs per click
>(nominal at best).

Google already does this, it's in their anti-fraud documentation. I would think as an advertiser concerned about fraud, you would have read it already. Plus, you should already be comparing your own logs to what google is charging you. If you did, you'd have noticed that the # of clicks they charge you is less than what appears in your logs.

You do have some sort of tracking to differentiate between paid and unpaid traffic, don't you?

Eh, I disagree with TFA (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895109)

Analysts and marketing gurus say that when it comes to communicating with the public and shaping its image, Google has some growing up to do. "It's inevitable that at some point [Google's technological edge] is going to be neutralized, and online search is going to become a Pepsi-and-Coke market -- that's when marketing becomes much more important,"
Except... Google is (currently) like Wal-Mart. You can't afford not to do business with them.

I don't think it's inevitable at all. As long as Google's results are relevant, there is no incentive to switch. Google makes sure you've got no reason to switch, by introducing a million and one free extras to tie you into their web.

G-mail, Google Talk, Google Chat, Google Calendar, Google homepages, Google maps... and they're still innovating.

Re:Eh, I disagree with TFA (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895405)

Webmail, online chat, online calendars, maps and homepages are google innovations????

Re:Eh, I disagree with TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14895592)

I believe the grandparent means they've made innovations in those areas, not that they've innovated the entire thing. I mean, you can't deny that they've made some pretty damn big innovations in the areas of webmail, online chat and maps. Their personalised homepages, while perhaps not terribly innovative, were implemented well. As for their calendar... we'll have to wait until it's released (can't tell much from a few screenshots)

Re:Eh, I disagree with TFA (1)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895620)

No, the ideas aren't, but what you said is about as dumb as saying OS X doesn't contain any innovations because its just an Operating System. Gmail contains the conversation view, which I consider very innovative. I like the labels concept. Gmail was the first webmail service which I could stand to use (and now like better than traditional mail clients).

I'll give you chat, Gtalk is pathetic. Calendar I haven't seen yet, so I won't comment. Their mapping tools (Earth and Local) are pretty neat, and I have yet to find any competition with as many features (don't even get me started on Windows Live Local, what a POS, doesn't work outside the US).

Are you trying to say that you can't innovate in old markets, and move those markets forward? Cause that would be a pretty dumb thing to say IMHO. Does that mean Tivo wasn't innovative because TV had been around for years? What about eBay....auctions have been around for many years?

Selling shares was a mistake (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14895130)

Google went public when it became a corporation and sold shares on the open market. They now have an implacable stakeholder, the share owners. Their duty (by law) is now to maximize shareholder value. They can no longer behave as they did previously. If they think they can they should consider the example of Conrad Black who was brought low by the shareholders of Holinger.

Corporations generally behave like psychopaths. The people running them may be wonderful decent people but the corporations still behave in an anti-social manner. It will be not too many years before "Do no evil" becomes just a pleasant corporate memory.
(/rant)

Fuck Wall Street. (3, Insightful)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895150)

Playing the Wall Street Game isn't Google's game.

Just be glad, Wall Street, that they even let you in to play.

Re:Fuck Wall Street. (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895320)

Just be glad, Wall Street, that they even let you in to play.

Even the Google fanboy in me would be hard pressed to attempt an argument like that... It's the other way around.

Okkaaaayyyy (0)

Coppit (2441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895234)

Yes, Google will hire a mouthpiece as soon as they get tired of swimming in money. Sheesh. If the market wasn't happy with them, their stock price wouldn't be astronomical.

Naive (2, Insightful)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895424)

It's sort of naive to assume that these things are 'gaffes'. There is no reason to believe that they are not all intentional.

The article is saying these gaffes are hurting google, but personally, I'm not seeing google hurt at all... Maybe they are alot smarter than they are getting credit for.

Chief Marketing Officer? (1)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895485)

but why? And who is to say or can claim with any degree of certainty that these "gaffes" were bona fide, that is truly inadvertent? Yeah, let me think, a 100MM dollar company with 5000+ employees, committing public "gaffes"... well, they must be drinking gasoline at Google! Please... I'd treat it more as mooning than anything else.. they're trying to get attention. Maybe they're expecting a worse (downward) plateu than they were hoping for in their stock price.... All those paper millionaires would like to cash in too, ya know, if they can get a cold chance....

Chief Marketing Officer (0)

Traa (158207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14895557)

I hate marketing guys too, but suggesting that Google should have a Chief Marketing Officer to officialy lie to the public about what they do is laying it on pretty thick as to what that position is really all about.

As far as I am concerned the people at Google should continue to do the best they can without the help of trained professionals in the art of making stuff sound better then it is.

Seems like someone needs a job... (2, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896204)

Earlier this week suggestions that Apple needs a Security Czar, now that Google needs a CMO. Next week: Microsoft needs a good CEO, CTO, CSO and CMO, RedHat needs a Chief Hackers Officer and Novell a Kernel Czar.

I am also looking for a job, but I'm not suggesting new (unnecessary/redundant) jobs to any company's I would like to work at.

You know (1)

Kittie Rose (960365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14896597)

It's occurred to me that everytime I use google, it can't help me find the one thing I want online; common sense.
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