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Google's CEO Clears the Air

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the there's-a-lot-of-fog-out-here dept.

147

prostoalex writes "Google CEO Eric Schmidt sat down with PC Magazine to discuss some of the current issues swirling around Google, such as China and censorship, growth of the video content on the Internet, Microsoft's planned move into online ads, working with AOL and Internet neutrality." From the article: "Schmidt was quick to say that the acquisition of Writely was not meant to create a competitor to Microsoft Office, which he said solves a complicated and important problem of work productivity. Writely is a server-based editing system where you can move your files around, he said, and there are places where a rich text editor is useful in Google."

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Similar article on the BBC (5, Informative)

Paul Townend (185536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944499)

I suspect that this BBC article:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4816848.stm [bbc.co.uk]

was made based on the same meeting....

Re:Similar article on the BBC (1)

__michikal (959040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944777)

OMG! 'Tis a dreaded DUPE !

Creepy: (4, Interesting)

naught (16634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944501)

from tfa: "He said Google ads are very targetable, because Google knows a lot about the person surfing, especially if they have used personal search or logged into a service such as Gmail."

not to mention possibly what crimes you've committed. i find myself suddenly not wanting to ever search on the word 'torrent' again.

Personal info as target (5, Insightful)

msbmsb (871828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944570)

Also from the article: Schmidt said he saw Writely and other server-based tools as another way to collect and organize the world's data. "All the world's information includes personal information," he noted.

I was a little surprised to not see anything else in there really about privacy concerns, except that users "need to trust that the information won't be abused by Google or by governments".

Re:Personal info as target (1)

Andrzej Sawicki (921100) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944781)

Which means this is a PR interview, one in which you just do not mention the bad stuff (as in giving no authorization for some questions.)

Torrents are not illegal. (4, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944597)

Torrents are not illegal.
The bittorrent protocol is not illegal.
The bittorrent method of distribution is not illegal.
Torrent websites are not illegal.

The distribution, without permission, of files that fall under current copyright is illegal in most, but not all, places in the world.

Furthermore, searching for torrents of files that fall under copyright is not illegal. Downloading the torrents themselves might be illegal, I'm not sure. Downloading the copyrighted material itself, without permission, is always illegal. This has nothing to do with it being a torrent.

I'd say you can safely search for "torrent"...

Re:Torrents are not illegal. (2, Insightful)

naught (16634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944788)

all of those things are true. however, if you were a media lawyer, which words in someone's google search history would you be looking for? whether the purpose you're using them for is illegal or not, the path is the same.

Re:Torrents are not illegal. (2, Insightful)

soupdevil (587476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944832)

Those of us who want to clear the good name of Bittorrent should do things like seed our favorite Linux flavor [ubuntu.com] , and get our music from places where artists share freely [jamendo.com] under the Creative Commons license.

Re:Torrents are not illegal. (1)

xiando (770382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944847)

I'd say you can safely search for "torrent"...

Hear, hear! Best post I've read in a long time. torrents are as you correctly mention both safe and legal. Well, safe to the extent that some of the factual objective information about 911 and other issues available at http://torrentchannel.com/ [torrentchannel.com] may break big holes in your "safe" (illusion) of reality, but hey. Truth is good for you.

Re:Torrents are not illegal. (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945149)

So you're saying that torrents aren't just for the movie channels, you can get the Public Access channel as well? Thanks for the warning!

Downloading torrents is not illegal either. (1)

jeroendekkers (803638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945676)

Downloading torrents isn't illegal either. At least not here in the Netherlands, and AFAIK it's the same in most European countries. That's because things our copyright laws (or actually author's rights) forbid is publishing and making copies and you aren't doing any of those things when you're downloading. Uploading is the thing that's forbidden here.

Re:Creepy: (2, Insightful)

xiando (770382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944826)

i find myself suddenly not wanting to ever search on the word 'torrent' again.

BitTorrent is a LEGAL protocol. It can also be abused, just like http and ftp. In light of reality, your statement is like saying "I'll never browse the web again" (yes, there are websites with illegal content, but that doesn't mean you should stop using http..). It should also be mentioned that a lot of the documentaries available using BitTorrent goes against everything the government and predominant media would have people believe - and THAT'S in reality why the protocol is being demonized!

It's about information control, NOT "pirated movies" as the mainstream media would have people think.

Re:Creepy: (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944883)

Let's be real, the vast, vast majority of torrent traffic is freeloaders participating in illegal piracy. A torrent on PirateBay is getting a lot more traffic then torrents for some rinky-dink Ubuntu ISO or free concert MP3 from some unsigned local band.

Re:Creepy: (1, Interesting)

xiando (770382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945044)

Let's be real, the vast, vast majority of torrent traffic is freeloaders participating in illegal piracy. A torrent on PirateBay is getting a lot more traffic then torrents for some rinky-dink Ubuntu ISO or free concert MP3 from some unsigned local band.

That's a myth. And movies at PirateBay like http://thepiratebay.org/details.php?id=3412481 [thepiratebay.org] "911 - Alex Jones: Martial Law 911 Rise of the Police State HQ" are legal to download, mr. Jones actually encourages everyone to share his movies. And there are many more sites where you can download using BitTorrent legally, like http://hardcoretorrents.com/ [hardcoretorrents.com] if you want adult entertainment. Seriously. BitTorrent piracy is a myth. Yes, there are a small percentage of files pirated using that protocol, just like http, ftp, e-donkey and other file transfer protocols can be abused.

I've yet to see any real numbers showing that "piracy" is the main usage for the BitTorrent protocol.

Re:Creepy: (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945227)

Come on now, just open your eyes. I know you have an agenda to push, but really.

Re:Creepy: (2, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945508)

That's a myth.

Can't argue with that kind of research! Especially the way you find one single freely released movie. Wow! That totally removes the other 99.9% of PirateBay's illegal piracy, including their "Piracy is great!" t-shirts.

Seriously. BitTorrent piracy is a myth. Yes, there are a small percentage of files pirated using that protocol, just like http, ftp, e-donkey and other file transfer protocols can be abused.

A "small percentage?!" ROFL! The majority of Bittorrent traffic, like the majority of eDonkey traffic, is illegal piracy. Not only has this been proven before, it's just plain common sense. Which do you think you'll find more sources for in an ED2K search--a Linux ISO or the latest #1 music album? For every legal tracker, there are 100 illegal ones.

Talk about spinning for an agenda, man.

So what? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945085)

If you have not noticed, all the adds are targeted at you. I have done some experiments in the past to see who is doing what. Yahoo, MSN, and Google have figured me out even though I clean up the system (i.e. cookies, cache, ip, etc) and a short time later they can figure it out. As long as you have some variable (ID, cookie, cache, ip) fixed, you will be tracked to some degree. One thing that I did find out is that Google is more widespread than MS or Yahoo. They basically are able to track you faster. But it is still the same in the end.

molesting 18 MONTH olds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945432)

Earlier this week the Feds broke up an international child (by child i mean 18 month old infant!!!) porn ring, where they were showing live molestations of an 18 month old. Google does not want to comply with that? They were assisted by countries around the globe. But they have no problem with china. Wow, now i am glad that i don't own their stock!! (unlike the founders of this site, based on number of google articles)

Re:molesting 18 MONTH olds (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945592)

Google does not want to comply with that?

You fall into the trap of using one extreme example while ignoring all the likely abuses that could occur (and have occurred in the past) when the government gets their hands on information they shouldn't have. It's one thing to cooperate with an investigation, but quite another to turn over everyone's search information for a government fishing expedition.

Google Acqusistions (3, Interesting)

Grant29 (701796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944508)

Google keeps acquiring lots of small companies. Who wants to bet that these things are all inteneded for a much larger product that we all assume? Looks like they could eventually captalize on many different markets. Search will probably eventually become what they're least known for.
--
Find the best price at PriceAge.com [priceage.com] . Price Comparison, Coupons, Reviews, specs, and more!

Re:Google Acqusistions (1)

naught (16634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944567)

fun speculation, along the same lines: http://poynterextra.org/epic/ [poynterextra.org] .

Re:Google Acqusistions (1)

jakeweston (785112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944680)

Search will probably eventually become what they're least known for

But search needs to get much better soon too. We need a leap equivalent to the leap from pre-Google to Google. Something that begins to understand what it's reading, knows the difference between an article text and the clutter around it. Can differentiate between the word 'review' and an actual review. Get's you closer to what you want without wondering which combination of serach terms will cut out the crap at the top of the results. If someone sent me a link tomorrow that did some of that I'd probably never go back to Google. While they're spreading out, their core is looking increasingly fragile.

Re:Google Acqusistions (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944995)

I disagree that search really needs to get that good. When I search for something at the moment, I find that I always get what I want on the first page.

I think any search engine that attempts to "understand" what is meant by pages and queries will end up returning goofy results for the vast majority of queries.

Re:Google Acqusistions (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945294)

Search will probably eventually become what they're least known for.

Well, maybe, but if so it won't be any time soon.

Sure, maybe they have some killer app in mind, but it ain't necessarily so. I mean, you can't just glom the products of a whole bunch of different companies into the next killer app.

It may be more about intellectual property. Motivated tea leaf readers may want to search through patents the acquired companies held.

It may also be that they have a cash burning a hole in their pocket, and as they can't push the accelerator on search much harder, they may as well buy some expertise in other areas. It is fun to speculate though.

Re:Google Acqusistions (2, Funny)

saifatlast (659446) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945343)

Engaging in some baseless speculation about Google's intent, eh? Count me in.

I hear they're working on a line of cars. They'll be free to use, but you have to allow them to track your wherabout at all times, as well as the contents of everything in your car.

whats a google? (-1, Offtopic)

Dragoonkain (704719) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944516)

please?

I don't agree totally... (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944535)

"The technology we have is incredibly empowering to citizens," he said. For all the countries we don't like, he suggested we might their change behavior more by giving their citizens PCs, fast connections, and access.

It doesn't empower citizens of countries that do everything they can to proxy out that information. While I 99% agree with what Google did in China, I don't agree that giving citizens PCs, connections, and access will stop their governments from doing what they do.

Fuck, the USA is supposedly "free" and "open" and we have quite a bit of the population with access and yet we just let our leaders take FAT SHITS in front of our faces and then smile when they waft the stentch towards us.

Re:I don't agree totally... (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944651)

In a democracy, if people aren't upset about what their leaders are doing and they're not uninformed then the only logical conclusions left are that they 1. Do not care or 2. Approve.

Re:I don't agree totally... (-1, Troll)

xiando (770382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944928)

In a democracy, if people aren't upset about what their leaders are doing and they're not uninformed then the only logical conclusions left are that they 1. Do not care or 2. Approve.

"There is an apathy that is running rapid in this country, that is deadly. Whether or not there are aliens, we are truly now at this moment a nation of sheep." --William Cooper - Download and view "Secret Government" http://torrentchannel.com/new_world_order_and_the_ alien_agenda [torrentchannel.com] , you'll be amazed. That 20 year old quite is getting more true and relevant by the minute. Welcome to "The World As Described in the Book 1984", in case you haven't noticed, you're already there and you've been there a while..

Re:I don't agree totally... (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945175)

Wow, 1984 had aliens? There must have been a revision since I read it - I don't remember MiniProbe.

Re:I don't agree totally... (0, Flamebait)

user317 (656027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944658)

Well I disagree completely.

Schmidt said that personally (not as a Google executive) he was instructed by the example of Cuba. He said the embargo there hasn't worked, with Castro still in power, and with the Cuban people living with technology form the 1950s

So Mr. Schmidt, would you rather have a Cuba that is armed with 21'st century technology, nuclear, bio and chemical wmd capable? The point of the embargo was to contain Castro's sphere of influence, and it worked better then most have anticipated. Giving China technology will only make a stronger China, a China that is communist, a China that is ruled by a party that has killed more people then the National Socialists of Germany and the Soviet Comunist party of USSR combined.

Overall he said, the advertising industry in china is quite nascent, so there are very small amounts of revenue at stake

Then wtf are you doing this? Grow some balls and use technological/buisness means to empower the people of China, there is no reason why you have to deal with the goverment. If Lenovo wants to advertize in Google, they better let Google return unrestricted results in China. At this point in time, Google can hurt chineese buisnesses in the US more then China can hurt Google's buisness in China.

Re:I don't agree totally... (2, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944669)

in front of our faces and then smile when they waft the stentch towards us.

Well, to give them some credit, it did say the Google CEO cleared the air. ;)

Re:I don't agree totally... (1)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944999)

You're wrong. of course it will help. Most people in repressed societies are very interestedi n the political process - and take interest in voting, etc., even if it is life threatening. Thus, the access to information is of importance to them.

The united states sports a pretty low voter turnout in national elections, and even lower turnout in local and state elections. It's the mark of a decadent society, I guess. We're so spoiled and well off collectively that we don't vote. In fact, the powers that be now count on young folks not voting, and factor it into the election process.

So our leaders take "fat shits" as you put it, on our faces because we let them. Maybe repression is what's warranted to mobilize and reinvigorate an overstimulated and jaded populace.

Simple Survey (4, Insightful)

webword (82711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944543)

Do you trust Google less today than one year ago?

Feel free to explain why. My point of the "survey" is that I think people trust Google less now than in the past. It is taking more and more effort for Google to keep the hearts and minds of the world. There is more speculation. There are more conspiracy theories.

Re:Simple Survey (3, Interesting)

ajs (35943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944598)

I trust any company less than the identical company with 100 fewer employees, so my answer to that question would have to be "yes". However, I'd also have to point out that when compared to ANY OTHER FOR-PROFIT COMPANY OF ITS SIZE, I trust Google far, far more. This relative trust is highly significant to Google's business, and until they do something to violate that trust (no, censoring Chinese content doesn't violate that trust because it provides more information to the Chinese than they would have had if Google had refused), I will continue to use their products over Microsoft's, Yahoo's and their other competitors'.

Re:Simple Survey (1)

bigpicture (939772) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945117)

In the end it is all about "intention", and a hundred different people can interpret a hundred different intentions, from single behaviour by anyone else.

But only the person who exhibits the behaviour knows for sure what the intention behind it was, and only time will tell if it's results are positive or negative.

Also a hundred different people will have a hundred different opinions on the nature of "evil". But one thing is for sure, unless something is a stated intention, it can't be linked to a resulting behaviour. "Do no evil". I will also continue to use Google, unless they really break my trust at a personal level.

Re:Simple Survey (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945255)

"This relative trust is highly significant to Google's business, and until they do something to violate that trust..."

I've been standing right here in front of Google with my pants around my ankles for a long long time, and they still haven't done anything!! They're wearing T-Shirts that say 'Do No Evil', so I'm put at ease. Anyway, until they take advantage of this situation, I'm going to trust them! Yessiree, I'm going to wave my bare bottom at them until they do something to betray my trust. Wow, I sure am getting comfortable in this position. Oo look! My friends are joining me! They didn't believe me when I told them they all wear Do No Evil shirts.


Yeah, yeah, I know. This post will get modded down to flames. I understand. The thing is, by the time Google abuses your trust, you'll have handed them over all of your searches, emails, and instant messaging chats. All of these will be wrapped up into a nice neat package with your easily identifiable username. The more time that goes by, Google fans parroting "Do No Evil" will have sucked more users in.

I like Google. I use GMail for less-than-personal email. I use their search engine many times a day. But there's no way on Earth I'm subscribing to the "I'm just grind my ass against them until they take advantage of me!" mind-set. Google is a for-profit company that a good chunk of the internet is dependent on now.

Yes. (0, Flamebait)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944619)

Yes, as they used Digital Rights Management on Google Video. This shows they don't care as much about their customers as they claim to.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14944739)

Did you have to put your comment through de-l33T before you posted? So you don't like GHoogle because they will not facilitate your pirating?

Re:Yes. (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944834)

I hope you're just trolling. How would selling me non-DRM videos be facilitating me "pirating"? I can get the videos off bittorrent if I want to not pay for them, but I really do *WANT* to *BUY* them from Google.

Wait, only not (2, Insightful)

Vlad2.0 (956796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944874)

Your argument (if you can call it an argument) doesn't make sense, and here's why:

Other companies (hereafter, content providers) supply video and whatnot for Google to display on Google Video. Content providers own this content, but don't want to pay for a distribution system when one (Google Video) is already in place. At the same time, content providers don't want to give their stuff away for free (a la your typical Google Video clip). Like any company they want to make a profit and protect *THEIR* content.

So Google has a choice: They can either 1) Accept the content providers content with the provision that
they include DRM to protect said content, or 2) Not offer the content at all. Period.

Since Google would probably like to turn a profit on things like Google video (duh), they choose option #1. Sadly the software is XP/2000 only (which makes me sad), but their *requirement* to protect the content is understandable.

I don't see how you connect this to a trust issue. It's not Google's content to trust you with. It is the content provider's content and their decision of wether or not to trust you. So if you have a trust issue with anyone, it's with the people who own the content. In this case, don't shoot the messenger.

Now, with Gmail on the other hand...

Re:Wait, only not (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944936)

They should have picked #2. They should have stood up to the companies and allowed any video that doesn't use DRM. Eventually, some content producers would go along with it, and others would be forced to in order to compete.

Google are a huge company, now. Don't make excuses for them and try to tell me that they're getting pushed around.

I do like everything else Google is doing (except China, which I'm undecided on), and so I like them in general, but I was disappointed that they caved in and put DRM into Google Video. They did not have to. Other (new!) content producers would create and sell TV shows through them if they current ones refused to.

Re:Simple Survey (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944620)

Do you trust Google less today than one year ago?
No.

There is an automatic distruct of anything larger that us, so a lot of the problems with google retaining its trust is simply its size. This seems to be outwayed by public probing though, as the larger something gets the more the public will probe any irregularities. Just look at Microsoft, sure it does some bad stuff, but it did the really nasty stuff when it was small and noone was watching.. The public eye after the trial has really forced them to straighten up their act in many ways.

Re:Simple Survey (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944644)

Do you trust Google less today than one year ago?

I don't trust corporations, ever. Yes, that means Google too!

My point of the "survey" is that I think people trust Google less now than in the past.

If by "people" you mean Slashdotters and general conspiracy theorists and paranoid tin-foil hat wearers (that's me too, FYI) then yes, I agree. If by "people" you mean the general computer-using public, then no. They don't have a clue.

Is Google "less evil" than any other corporation out there? That I don't have the answer to. Perhaps they are just able to make shit look and smell like roses better than everyone else.

Re:Simple Survey (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944646)

Trust doesn't matter to me, to be quite frank. I don't use Google's services, for the most part; I have a CGIproxy script which displays Google ads with served pages, and I have a couple of mostly unused GMail accounts which now act as nothing but spam traps. All I do with Google, really, is search. And that's only a couple of times a day.

Anyway, I find it very hard to "trust" a corporation. No corporation can trust you, and so I refuse to trust them back.

Re:Simple Survey (1)

4e617474 (945414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944705)

Yes, actually I do. I trusted them implicitly before. Maybe a year isn't quite far enough to go back but two, three, sure. They were a neutral, common-carrier kind of utility that didn't care what you did or what you found. Sure, they had ads that would display alongside what you actually searched for but it wasn't hard to buy an innocuous explanation when that was as far as it went. When people posted a way to steal credit cards using the service, they started filtering the results, but it was the exception that proved the rule.

But then there was Gmail. Yahoo! Mail would display completely random ads in their email to avoid even the appearance of intrusion, but Gmail has links to get-rich-quick schemes while I'm trying to write to the guy at the staffing agency who reviewed my resume. Google Desktop search was less of a security threat than the paranoid imagination of the technically illiterate might imagine, but less secure than billed. They went to China, and we're supposed to believe they said "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it" when it came to actively participating in censorship and repression - as if they didn't know how that was going to play out. And then there's cowtowing to the Church of Scientology of all people when they get a DMCA complaint.

I more or less trust Google. I still use them every day, and probably will unless I see some compelling reason to trust them any less than anybody else. I used to able to trust Google more because I was able to talk about them in absolutes. I don't see all the air-clearing in the world putting the genie back in that bottle.

Re:Simple Survey (2, Interesting)

Halo- (175936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944721)

Do you trust Google less today than one year ago?

Yes, I trust Google a little less today than a year ago, but only slightly. Overall, I trust Google far more than any other company of decent size.

The reason I trust them less, is because they have grown larger, and are expanding. It is easier to "not be evil" when you have a smaller number of employees and a smaller number of projects. As Google grows, they will inevitably hire some people who are willing to take greater liberties with their user's trust than they have in the past. Usually these people are MBA-type weenies who believe that making money is the only reason to do something. I'm sure Google isn't very receptive to this type of attitude presently, but as they grow it becomes easier for little factions to develop within the organization undetected. Couple this with the pressure on the bright developers to not have their latest spin-off fail, and things might get interesting. The idealists can't watch everyone all the time (and nor do they want to)...

As I said, it's not that I don't trust Google, it's just that I worry their size and increasing outside pressure may lead to some slippage of their internal culture and ethics.

Re:Simple Survey (1)

scwizard (941758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944765)

Yes

Click fraud, DRM, "rich media ads".

Re:Simple Survey on trust... (1)

xiando (770382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944895)

"We are moving to a Google that knows more about you." -- Google CEO Eric Schmidt, speaking to financial analysts, February 9, 2005, as quoted in the New York Times the next day.

I use scroogle a lot: http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm [scroogle.org]

It searches Google for you but doesn't give them more information about me. Not that they don't already know way too much...

I have no reason to not trust Google. However, I also don't have any reason to trust them. And I generally don't trust anyone, specially if they employ (former, but as we all know nobody really leaves the intelligence community) NSA people and almost brag about how much information they are collecting about their users.

It's like.. They slam in your face WE ARE BIG BROTHER and then add BUT IT'S ALL GOOD, YOU SEE; WE'RE NOT EVIL! Honestly!

Re:Simple Survey (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945067)

I trust Google more now than a year ago. Why? Evidence. We've gone another year without them screwing me over. We all do business with many corporations every day (banks, phone companies, etc.). Sometimes they screw us over, sometimes they "play fair."

Google has never done anything to bother me. They offer me quality products (search, Gmail) at a reasonable price (I look at a few ads). The evidence so far is that they treat me well... so my trust in them has grown. (As compared to, say, Sony.)

Re:Simple Survey (1)

spagetti_code (773137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945069)

I think google is still trying to do the right thing. But I trust the government to do what governments the world over do - spy on its citizens, reduce our rights, be more invasive in our lives and so on. Hey if you've got nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear... right?

So I think that no matter what google tries to do or be - they are a gold mine of data. The government tried to get some data in the public eye, and got rebuffed. I believe that they will get whatever they want from google soon, but you wont know. How can you stop a government that can enact a law that means you can be
a) held without trial
b) that libraries can be forced to hand over your data, and gagged be gagged (sorry about the lame PDF) [aclu.org]
c) that search and seizure can be enacted without judicial review [eweek.com]

And dont forget good ol torture (but hey - it didn't happen on our soil, so its ok. Even if we organised and supported it.

So - I trust google to be as good as they can. But you can't fight the government that makes the rules.

If I were in to conspiracy theories - I'd suspect that this was just a front, and the govt already has plans to use existing laws to simply retrieve the data in the name of anti-terrorism, for the safety of the fatherland (I mean the homeland)...

Re:Simple Survey (4, Interesting)

MrNougat (927651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945077)

I would say that over the last year, I have seen Google put in some interesting situations. They've made those situations fairly public prior to deciding what to do about them, taken time to make a choice, chosen what could arguably be the lesser of evils, and made that public, too.

Examples: Google gets beat up all the time for tailoring its web searches to suit the Chinese gov't on google.cn. What about Yahoo [yahoo.com.cn] and MSN [msn.com.cn] ? I'm sure that they tailor search results at teir China sites, too. Google gets beat up for having to turn over data to the Justice Dept, and yet they're the only ones who made any noise about it. I'm sure those same requests were made of other search engines, and that those engines happily turned over the requested data without informing the public at all.

Do I trust Google more now than I did a year ago? Yes, I do. Because they are public about situations of which the public should be aware, while their competitors are uncannily silent.

Re:Simple Survey (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945213)

Yes. Now that they went public. They have to answer to shareholders (and to the gov't apparently), not the community.

Privacy concerns (5, Interesting)

Baseball_Fan (959550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944575)

One thing that will increase advertising effectiveness, he said, was better targeting of ads. He said Google ads are very targetable, because Google knows a lot about the person surfing, especially if they have used personal search or logged into a service such as Gmail. This he said was true not only of text ads, but for display ads and eventually for video ads as well.

Am I the only one who does not like Google collecting surfing habits or using email to decide what ads to send my way. What other ways can this information be used? Will Google one day sell this information to employers? Will there be enough data that Google can link surfing habits to a real person, not a virtual internet user?

Will credit card companies and banks join a data mining company to share collected information?

Can people imagine if their bank, ISP, and employer joined forces to paint a complete profile of a person? Can that data, when taken as a whole, be used to predict things like how much a person will cost in health insurance, and that data be used to not hire a person?

Re:Privacy concerns (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944637)

As you point out, it really depends on what they do with that data. It would be very nasty if they started selling it, but it appears that, at least for now, they intend to keep it to themselves.

Re:Privacy concerns (3, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944698)

There are already a number of companies building profiles of data about everyone and selling it. Unless we get privacy laws passed (fat chance) this will continue. So your bank, ISP, and employer will be collaborating on building a profile of you and they almost certainly will use it in hiring decisions. When employers become large and consolidated, the only way to bargain fairly is for labor to organize and consolidate. This leads to some serious inefficiencies and lots of room for corruption, but it is not like their are any better options.

Re:Privacy concerns (3, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944924)

Am I the only one who does not like Google collecting surfing habits or using email to decide what ads to send my way.

Yes. You're the only one who has ever had any misgivings over it. I'm so glad you finally said something, because certainly nobody else has ever thought it before.

Seriously - is your tin foil covering your entire body now? Or are you just that much of an egotist?

Will Google one day sell this information to employers?

Not without either violating their privacy policy [google.com] or significantly changing it. But don't let that get in the way of your paranoia.

Will credit card companies and banks join a data mining company to share collected information?

No [equifax.com] that [transunion.com] would [experian.com] never [choicepoint.com] happen [consumerdebit.com] .

Sorry, I was too lazy to link every single letter to a different data mining company, otherwise I could've included ones that operate predominantly outside of the US (although the big 3 all have non-US operations).

Your concerns on this issue are about 50 years out of date. And, somehow, I doubt that you know that much about the system as a whole either (and yes, I do).

Can people imagine if their bank, ISP, and employer joined forces to paint a complete profile of a person?

A rather large amount of that information, particularly the financial data, is already available. See above. If I pull a report on you from the credit bureaus then I can already tell a great deal about you -- where you live, how badly you are in debt (or if you're not), how much you're paid (roughly), possibly what kind of car you drive.

Can that data, when taken as a whole, be used to predict things like how much a person will cost in health insurance, and that data be used to not hire a person?

Not bloody likely. Even in Right to Work states you'd have a hard time pulling that one off. You might try, but if you were ever found out then you'd lose far, far more in legal bills than you'd ever gain in insurance savings. Not to mention that you'd get your ass sued off for invasion of privacy -- no matter what waivers you had employees (or potential employees) sign.

Re:Privacy concerns (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945286)

"Can people imagine if their bank, ISP, and employer joined forces to paint a complete profile of a person? "

Of course not. We're protected by a three-word corporate tag-line!

I think PC Magazine needs an editor... (0, Offtopic)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944672)

I think PC Magazine needs an editor...

"Overall he said, the advertising industry in china is quite nascent, so there are very small amounts of revenue at stake...He said the embargo there hasn't worked, with Castro still in power, and with the Cuban people living with technology form the 1950s."

sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14944673)

"Writely is a server-based editing system where you can move your files around."

I've been using 'computer networks' for this purpose for the last 17 years.

Excuse me... (-1, Flamebait)

cultrhetor (961872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944691)

Did he use M$ Office and "productivity" in the same sentence? I thought being productive meant "producing output", not struggling with ninety thousand features that nobody uses. Autocomplete, autoformat, auto-this, and undoing, stopping auto-whatever, takes bloody forever. I stopped using Office years ago, and don't regret it a bit. Since when did building on top of old, crappy code count as "innovation?"

I'm not sure I'm the biggest fan of OpenOffice.org - sometimes it's a bit too big; however, there are enough open source apps that run independently (AbiWord for wp, etc.) that I'm confident that I'll never have to give Bill Gates another dollar.

Re:Excuse me... (1)

The_Quinn (748261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945025)

I thought being productive meant "producing output", not struggling with ninety thousand features that nobody uses.


I guess that would make you the 'unproductive nobody' when using office. I personally am a 'productive somebody' when I use it.

meh (1)

popeguilty (961923) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944695)

Does anyone actually see themselves using Writely? Why not just use a local text editor and copy/paste to email? I guess I just don't see myself getting any use out of this, and therefore don't see myself having my privacy invaded by it.

Usage model (1)

Augusto (12068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944786)

You're right, I don't know if there's really demand or market for something like this. However, when you think about other tools google has like gmail and even creating pages, at least this type of web based editor might enrich those products.

It would also be great to be able to edit a document even when you're in a remote terminal, and prevent that remote document from being stored in an untrusted computer.

At the end of the day, I think the ideal is a local editor, but Office / Word is so expensive, you can see were a common online tool (free) would be great for sharing these documents in a more open way.

Re:meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945031)

That makes sense in the abstract, but for many actions that are small and potentially frequent it is just easier to use the supplied editor. The small/frequent operations need something where the software can supply the same, easy to say "yes/no" or a sentence or two without having to dredge up one's favorite word processor and copy context over, edit, then copy context back.

Sure, it may only take another 30 seconds, but if you were only going to spend 30 seconds on an item anyway, measured over a number of small items, that ends up being a pretty big hassle.

Re:meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945198)

I can think of dozens of places I could either use such a tool personally, or implement it for one of our clients. Personally, we have a large repository of client documentation that is currently written in MS Word and stored on one of our local servers... When we're on-site the only way we have to remotely access our documentation is through a VPN connection, and sometimes the locally installed router does not allow VPN connections. Having a truly on-line documentation store would be very handy.

We have a number of clients who have piles of standardized forms that everyone uses... Or who are supposed to save everything to a fileserver for nightly backups... Or who are using some kind of a centralized document store already - and something like Writely could very easily replace several thousand dollars worth of hardware and software for them.

Re:meh (1)

InsaneGeek (175763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945429)

So let me get this straight you are wanting to take your corprate documents that have value in them, put them out on some website that you have no control over, owned by someone else, managed by someone else, has no document destruction policy because you have to start up a VPN client to get at them?

How about this... do what everybody else has been doing for years. Put up your own web/ftp server put the docs onto it and you can control who has access to it, when it get's shreaded, etc. Google with writely is about the worst corporate solution out there. Just think of the confidential information held in your client documentation!

Re:meh (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945211)

I compose all of my personal email inside of the Gmail interface. It has a spell check, and it autosaves drafts, which were my two big objections to the process. Now I don't see a need to compose email in one program just so I can copy it to another.

Re:meh (1)

popeguilty (961923) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945757)

Which reinforces my point: why would anyone use Writely?

Misinstructed by the example of Cuba (2, Insightful)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944713)

To those who talk about embargoing filtering technology to China or other regimes that restrict political information, Schmidt said that personally (not as a Google executive) he was instructed by the example of Cuba. He said the embargo there hasn't worked, with Castro still in power, and with the Cuban people living with technology form the 1950s.

This is a tad self-serving. The Cuba embargo has failed to bring down Casto because domestic Cuban opposition has been crushed. It is non-existant due to fear, just like China. The Cuban standard of living continues to slouch to the 19th century because their economy is subject to the manipulations of one man! What is the US, as home to 10's of thousands of Cuban refugees, supposed to do? Prop Casto up? At least the US government has the guts to treat Castro like the pariah he is.

Mr. Schmidt's high thinking solution is nothing more than to act as the Maoists information jailer, or worse, be their stool pigeon. Hard to see how that leads to a better future in China. But ofcourse we know Google is not operating will the goal of higher ethics. They are making a buck. Do no evil?

Re:Misinstructed by the example of Cuba (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14944831)

Mr. Schmidt's high thinking solution is nothing more than to act as the Maoists information jailer, or worse, be their stool pigeon. Hard to see how that leads to a better future in China.

It is equally as hard to see how google NOT being present leads to a better future in China. I would argue that nothing some internet search company does is going to affect politics as usual in China, so let's all just gain a little perspective here.

Google CEO as secretary of state (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944884)

It is equally as hard to see how google NOT being present leads to a better future in China.

Ah honesty. If Mr. Schmidt had suggested this I would be more impressed. Ofcourse my 'jailer' question still stands. The role of Google CEO is not enought for this egomaniac. He really wants to be Secretary of State. Perhaps he will sober up when Google's stock price has fallen a few hundred more points.

Re:Google CEO as secretary of state (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945113)

The role of Google CEO is not enought for this egomaniac. He really wants to be Secretary of State. Perhaps he will sober up when Google's stock price has fallen a few hundred more points.

Sounds like you've got some kind of problem with Schmidt that is beyond the current discussion. Whether he's an egomaniac or not really doesn't have anything to do with whether Google should do business in China or not.

Re:Misinstructed by the example of Cuba (1)

mattkime (8466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944871)

>>The Cuba embargo has failed to bring down Casto because domestic Cuban opposition has been crushed.

Still, the embargo has done nothing to get Castro out of power. Nothing. Nada-nada-limonada.

>>Mr. Schmidt's high thinking solution is nothing more than to act as the Maoists information jailer, or worse, be their stool pigeon.

Do you really belive that name calling is going to bring clarity to the situation?

China is communist. Accept it! We can trade with them or not. The lowering of trade barriers can also lower cultural barriers.

Re:Misinstructed by the example of Cuba (3, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944876)

While the analogy is a bit of a stretch, the Cuban embargo is still a collosal failure. It hasn't achieved its objective, and doesn't show any signs of doing so in the forseeable future. Why not end it? Just to avoid giving Castro the satisfaction and PR? That's an awfully petty reason to keep a neighbor impoverished.

I would think that free trade and closer US/Cuba ties would help the anti-totalitarian interests there in the long run.

Re:Misinstructed by the example of Cuba (-1, Flamebait)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945479)

Don't worry. After Castro dies of old age, Hugo Chevez will take his place. No, seriously! Watch him try it, and we will kick Hugo right in the ass.

Ohhh Noooooos, that might mean the use of EVIL USA empire controlled military *sarcasm*

Re:Misinstructed by the example of Cuba (1)

anaesthetica (596507) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944967)

The Cuba embargo has failed to bring down Casto because domestic Cuban opposition has been crushed.

This is incorrect. The Cuban embargo failed to bring down Castro because it was a unilateral embargo. The Soviet bloc and even Europe traded with him to keep his regime afloat. While one would expect that of his Soviet bloc comrades, it was refreshing to see the Europeans express their solidarity with the Cuban dictator.

Likewise, Google doesn't want to unilaterally exclude itself from a market, while its erstwhile cousins Yahoo! and Baidu et al take up where it leaves off.

Don't forget Canada (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945014)

I agree with what you say, and don't forget Canadians to whom Cuban freedom is less important than cheap prostitution and a vacation in the sun.

name a successful embargo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945807)

I sure can't.

I can name lots of failures: Iraq, Burma, Cuba ...

Re:Misinstructed by the example of Cuba (3, Insightful)

KingJoshi (615691) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945009)

Insightful? More like flamebait.

First, you said yourself that "the Cuban standard of living continues to slouch". Don't you think the embargo is partly to blame? Don't you think that possibly lifting that embargo would help those very same people? And doesn't that mean the plan is a failure?

I'm sure Google has many Chinese researchers. And I'm sure most Chinese people in China would prefer to have Google with censoring then no Google (as those are the only two options really). So you're condemning Google for offering a service in China which also explains that the results are censored (which most other search engines there don't do) when that action does no harm to you and benefits the Chinese, yet you want them to not offer the service which would have no affect upon you and not benefit the Chinese either. Really easy for you to decide no?

Re: Cuba- But switching to Linux (1)

Alterion (925335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945281)

Actually cuba is switching to LINUX.. it was on digg apparently to rid them of the influence of the capitalist pig. :D

Re:Misinstructed by the example of Cuba (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945300)

If the Americans wanted Castro out, thet would have done what they did to Allende in Chile and various other leaders of other countries. Maintaining the status quo has more to do with cash flow than nay kind of ideology. Somebody is propping Castro up. He simply wouldn't be there otherwise.

Re:Misinstructed by the example of Cuba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945330)

"At least the US government has the guts to treat Castro like the pariah he is."

You mean like toppling Saddam Hussein?

Ah, yes. Castro isn't on Hussein's level. He's just a corrupt commie, so we'll just add some nice trade embargos so they can't take the first step to stabilizing a decent economy by selling their agricultural products.

If the US gave a damn about Cuba or the Cuban people, we'd have spec ops forces in there shooting the shit out of the man within an hour. It's more convenient to simply let the embargo ride.

Our farmers are happy, cubans living in the US are happy for some stupid reason ("Yah! You're not getting rid of Castro! Go Republicrats!"), we don't get whined at by the rest of the world for invading yet another country...

Google's ways... (2, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944723)

> ...the acquisition of Writely was not meant to create a competitor to Microsoft Office...

This is how they denied the Gmail in the first place. They even denied working on Google video at first...what haven't they denied in the past and then lived to defend when products came to the market?

This is one situation where I do not belive what the CEO says.

They (Google), could sell a Google Appliance (with Writely installed), that wirelessly allows users to access Writely and other services. This can be a very useful thing for medium sized companies in that they will not have to install any software on their individual systems. Now, when it comes to Writely, I wish there was a way I could move a table to anywhere in the document being edited. Google should improve on this and solve other bugs too.

CEO trying to have it both ways- (2, Insightful)

Tominva1045 (587712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944728)



This CEO is trying to have it both ways- support the stock holders desire to grow the company by putting the company foot in China (hoping for future business opportunities) while trying to not tick-off the Western world user-base.

It's quite Ferengi of him- and I respect that.

Plus watching him juggle all these balls at the same time is quite entertaining.

Clears the air? (0, Offtopic)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944764)

I thought that was Steve Johnson [epa.gov] 's job.

So the mark of the beast... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14944771)

is a gmail account.

It's always been about the business. (2, Insightful)

ah.clem (147626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944857)

"He said the decision of how to act in China was "one of the most controversial decisions the company has ever made," and it took over a year of internal arguments before the company came out with its policies. "It is a hard call, but it is a clear call" to do business in China, he said, and do as the Chinese government requires it to."

And again, greed wins out over morality. Do business, no matter what the cost. What a sad fucking state of affairs.

ah.clem

Re:It's always been about the business. (3, Insightful)

why-is-it (318134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944969)

And again, greed wins out over morality. Do business, no matter what the cost.

But Google is a publicly traded company now, and there is no place for morality. The board is obligated to act in the best interests of the shareholders. Since there is money to be made in China, Google follows the official party line.

I'm far too cynical to be disappointed any more. Corporations exist to make money and limit the liability of the owners. I'd say that they would kill people if it paid well enough, but we already know about the tobacco industry...

Unfortunately, morality, ethics and integrity are empty rhetoric, the real goal is to enhance shareholder value.

Is Eric Schmidt still around? (4, Funny)

why-is-it (318134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944867)

Is Eric Schmidt still around? I thought that Steve Ballmer was going to f*cking bury him!

Apparently, he did it once before...

Disappointment sets in (4, Insightful)

eSavior (767078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944913)

In a related area, Schmidt said that while the two companies weren't going to offer full interoperability between their instant messaging networks anytime soon, users could expect a single tool that give you access to both Google Talk and AIM in ways similar to how Trillian treats multiple IM networks.
I really hoped all the interoperability talk meant more than a multiprotocal client. It would have been nice for google to put up a jabber server that would allow the jabber world to instant message AIM users say via @aim.com addresses (I hear Apple's iChat works like that). Oh well, thanks google for adding nothing to the instant messaging landscape that gaim/trillian/etc didn't add years ago.

Re:Disappointment sets in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945183)

The "single tool" that is being described sounds like Meebo.com, a very recent, VERY slick AJAXy web-based multi-network IM tool. It is basically like a web-version of Trillian.

Future Google buyout? It certainly follows the model---small group of highly talented programmers, excellent UI design, demonstrated technical depth.

Google great for the environment too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14944966)

Google just keeps getting better and better, now they're evening clearing the air we breathe!

An Open Question: (3, Insightful)

Vlad2.0 (956796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944971)

Why do companies absolutely insist on keeping records of everything? (I make (temporary) exceptions for the following: backups, absolutely non-identifable data for site monitoring and traffic flow, and security logs).

If I ran an ISP/Service provider and a customer clicked the delete button I'd make sure that stuff was either erased immediately or very very soon (such as a cron job which expunges selected emails every half hour). I can understand logging something like, safe, people trying to telnet or SSH into a system of mine, but not every page view of my site. Why bother? Is it a legal requirement? Are they just trying to cover their collective asses? Sounds like a shitload of work for absolutely zero payoff (other than pissing your customers off...which really isn't a payoff at all.)

Re:An Open Question: (1)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945140)

Google's engines go through your deleted email too in order to more effectively target you with advertisements. Google wants to know everything about you, and deleted mail is just as interesting as undeleted mail.

How about saying protecting out Privacy (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945027)

writely is great - but I suspect it's just something they needed to put a positive story out there - while they continue to fight the government over releasing our information.

Keep fighting, Google - the Bush administration sucks.

Is google racist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14945080)

The article says, "Overall he said, the advertising industry in china is quite nascent, so there are very small amounts of revenue at stake, but what is more important is giving the Chinese people access to as much information as possible as quickly as possible."

So does that change Google's mission statement to, "To index the world's information and serve portions of it up to you depending on your race"?

There's a very simply logic here that I think Google is failing to see. Once they became a for profit publicly traded company they became evil because they had to serve the greatest sin ever: greed. Sorry Google, you're evil. It's okay. You can come out with another cool map of some planet that will make you millions, or something.

Re:Is google racist? (2, Interesting)

Xeger (20906) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945455)

Actually, it changes Google's mission statement to, "To index the world's information and serve portions of it up to you depending on your culture, locale and in some cases, restrictions imposed by local government."

Google doesn't care about the color of your skin, they care about the language you speak and the laws governing your usage of the Internet. In both cases, they care about these things because it lets them continue to deliver pertinent information. If they run afoul of Chinese government's censorship policies, China will cut off access to their servers plain and simple.

While we're on the subject, let's all take a moment to remind ourselves that race is a cultural construct rather than a biological fact. Consider, for instance, that black natives of the West Indies and black natives of Australia share NO common ancestry going back 100,000 years, yet they are both labeled as being of the "black" race.

Of course, that doesn't keep people from discriminating based on race ... it just makes the foolishness and stupidity of their prejudice all the more poignant.

Click fraud? (1, Insightful)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945222)

Apparently these "journalists" didn't bother bringing up important issues like click fraud [washingtonpost.com] . I suppose though, they are as much a part of the conspiracy to defraud advertisers and shareholders as Google and the people operating the clicking bot nets.
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