Bracing against the wind  

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Is Google becoming evil?

It was my prediction that the moment Google went public, it had started down the road to the dark side. It's just the nature of public companies to gradually absolve themselves of all personal responsibility for their actions. Now you can use this handy tool to graph Google's descent into the abyss.

There are many critics of Google. The site, Google Watch is often quoted. But it's clear to me that the arguments and documents on that website are anything buy clear. The site Google Watch Watch which claims to refute the arguments at Google Watch, is similarly flawed in it's reasoning. And yet both are frequently cited by journalists and bloggers in articles about Google. Including myself. Why?

Google's system, without intention, does the following:

  • favors large corporate entities with big advertising budgets. Corporate press releases and public interviews generate highly-rated inbound links.

  • buries sites critical of popular companies, products and people. Popular sites fill up search result pages with existing references. People search for these sites are likely to find these references and quote them - further shoring up a defense against criticism.

  • renders new, innovative, internet sites, however valuable, nearly impossible to find. Google has no review system for incorporating new sites into its directory. New sites must rely on paid ad inclusions, or favors granted by webmsters of other popular sites, to be seen.

  • favors sites, people and topics that are negatively controversial This same argument can be squarely and confidently leveled at any centralized media distribution system. Google Watch is poorly written, but it is sensationalist. Sensationalism sells.

Over time, it's seems like the nature of having a "monolithic" search company that it will become "evil", in the sense that these types of self-reinforcing imbalances will only grow over time.

A simpler way of looking at it is that Google, by centralizing traffic, makes the Internet into TV. And TV is a well-known evil.


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