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Conflict of Interest

Do Google/SaveTheInternet support discrimination against Google's competitors?

It will be very interesting to learn if Google and the SaveTheInternet crowd truly believe in opposing discrimination on the Internet or whether they employ "situational ethics" and only oppose alleged Internet discrimination by their political opponents.

  • In other words, should net neutrality only apply to network providers, and not application, service and content providers like the FCC's net neutrality principles says?

    • "consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers."

A recent Penn State study:  Determining Bias to Search Engines from Robot.txt, highlights that Google benefits from discrimination against smaller competitive search engines because websites block access to those search engines robots that crawl the web to find what users are searching for. 

Study shows websites deny Google competitors web-crawler access to their sites

Have Penn State researchers stumbled upon a Google-DoubleClick anti-competitive smoking gun?  

PCWorld flagged some very troubling new research findings pertinent to the FTC/EU reviews of the Google-DoubleClick merger by Penn State researchers in its article "Google Favored By Web Admins."  

  • Penn State researchers: "Web-site policy makers are playing favorites, and Google is the big beneficiary, say Penn State researchers."
  • ""We expected that robots.txt files would treat all search engines equally, or maybe disfavor certain obnoxious bots, so we were surprised to discover a strong correlation between the robots favored and the search engines' market share," said C. Lee Giles, the David Reese Professor of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State who led the research team that developed BotSeer, in a statement."

 Why is this significant?

Googlers -- the new nobility -- taking elitism to new heights

I thought you might enjoy the latest evidence that Googlers think of themselves as special, better than the rest of us, a form of American nobility, the elite of the elite. 

From the recent Newsweek article: "Google goes globe-trotting":

  • "Google is like Fantasy Land," says APM David Hammer, 24, who hails from Newton, Mass. "You're one of the chosen people." (bold added)
    • "the chosen people."  ...in a Googlers own words.  Hmmmm. I thought that moniker was already taken, and as I remember, it was not self-granted.  
  • The Newsweek article continues: "Actually, it's like being one of the Lost Boys from "Peter Pan.""
    • For those of you who didn't remember them like me, the lost boys were immortals who lived in Neverland with Peter Pan... By the way, isn't Michael Jackson's estate called Neverland? 
  • The article then described: "At headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Google has 17 no-cost dining areas, each focused on a specific cuisine, including Asian fusion vegan and tapas. There are swimming pools, health clinics, beach-volleyball courts and massage rooms."

This Newsweek article preceded the precious front page New York Times story of today: "Google Options Make Masseusse a Multi-Millionaire."

Guardian reports: "Google Earth used to target Israel" with attacks -- Google's increasing liability...

The British paper, The Guardian, reported recently that: "Google Earth used to target Israel."

  • "Palestinian militants are using Google Earth to help plan their attacks on the Israeli military and other targets, the Guardian has learned. Members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a group aligned with the Fatah political party, say they use the popular internet mapping tool to help determine their targets for rocket strikes."  
  • "It is not the first time that Google has been accused of unwittingly abetting the activities of militant groups or terrorist organisations. In January, British officials claimed that insurgents sympathetic to al-Qaida were using aerial photography in Google Earth to locate potential targets inside British bases around the southern Iraqi city of Basra."

What is really scary about this coverage is the chillingly "open" video by the Guardian next to the written story that shows (about two-thirds of the way through the 4 minute video) how the "Palestinian militant" actually targets rocket attacks on Israel using Google Earth -- ostensibly to try and terrorize, kill and maim Israelis within Israel.  

In another similar high profile problem, Google Earth was also careless in releasing restricted photos of the White House roof on Google Earth. 

Googlegate? The Examiner documents Google coverup of close Google-Moveon.org relationship

The plot thickens. Robert Cox of The Examiner has produced another must-read piece uncovering much more detail of the closeness of the Google-Moveon.org relationship: "New questions raised on Google, Moveon.org relationship."

  • The piece documents a detailed timeline of the infamous Moveon.org New York Times' General Betray-us? advertisement and then Google's subsequent efforts to help and protect Moveon.org from anti-Moveon.org advertisements on Google. 

What's new and fresh in this piece is the very detailed timeline that connects-the-dots of all of the coverage to assemble a compelling chonology that shows how Google did not follow its own policies and procedures, or even trademark law and practice, in order to censor other's free speech that would be critical of their close political ally Moveon.org.

Google's problem with having an algorithm for a soul...

Kudos to the Wall Street Journal for a highly-illuminating page-one story: "Google under fire over controversial site" because it provides a rare window into the soul of the company who's purported company's motto is "Don't be evil." 

At its core, Google is a "math cult" of mathematicians/computer scientists whose core belief is that most any problem can eventually be solved by one of Google's cutting-edge computer algorithms. 

  • Google algorithmic prowess and focus has built the world's best search engine algorithm, with 400 plus variables, and it has also built the world's best online-advertising algorithm business, producing revenue growth twice that of its industry.
  • Moreover, Google co-founder Sergy Brin has said the "perfect search engine would be like the mind of God."

A big theme I have written about with Google is that it has a culture of "innovation without permission" which I have translated to mean there are few internal controls or little adult or human supervision at Google.

The Wall Street Journal article provides an outstanding case study of this point -- that Google cares little about the non-algorithmic aspects of technology and/or business.

Let's see how principled Google's Open Internet Coalition is on protecting free speech

How timely for the Google-backed Open Internet Coalition to be writing Congress asking for Congressional hearings on allegations of censorship of free speech on the Internet.

Google bans Senator Collin's anti-Moveon.org ads -- Google's "Free Speech" double standard

Robert Cox, the Founder and President of the Media Bloggers Association, a non-partisan professional standards group, reports that Google has blocked the running of U.S. Senator Susan Collins' anti-Moveon.org ads on Google.

  •  "Internet giant Google has banned advertisements critical of MoveOn.org, the far-left advocacy group that caused a national uproar last month when it received preferential treatment from The New York Times for its “General Betray Us” message."
  • "The ads banned by Google were placed by a firm working for Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ re-election campaign. Collins is seeking her third term."

    Google has a particularly tortured concept of "free speech" if it is willing to editorially ban Republican speech that opposes its most important and high-profile lobbying ally in the net neutrality fight.

Unsolicited advice for Frontline Wireless' new Open Access Advisory council

Reed Hundt's Frontline Wireless,  is reportedly forming a high-profile "Open Access Advisory Council" for the 700 MHz spectrum auction, which includes "net neutrality" term-coiner and celebrity Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu.

I have two pieces of unsolicited advice for Frontline's new advisory council."

Google's "G-Phone" an alligator versus bear fight?

Google's long rumored Google phone
or GPhone project has attracted a lot of comment and chatter, but not a lot of
good analysis to date. One big exception is a very good article last week by
Miguel Helft of the New York Times: "For
Google, Advertising and phones go together
."

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