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Intellectual Property

My Washington Times Op-ed on Google

The Washington Times published my op-ed on why you can't trust Google Inc., which highlights two of the main themes, privacy and property rights, of my new book: "Search & Destroy Why You Can't Trust Google Inc."

  • Please see the op-ed here.
  • Please see my book site here.

Announcing My New Book: Search & Destroy Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.

I've long thought there was a big untold story about Google, essentially a book all about Google, but told from a user's perspective, rather than the well-worn path of Google books told largely from Google's own paternal perspective.

 

 

 

Given that Google is the most ubiquitous, powerful and disruptive company in the world, it seemed logical to me that users, and people affected by Google, had a lot of important and fundamental questions about Google that no book had ever tried to answer in a straightforward and well-defended manner.

Google vs Apple: How Business Models Drive Disrespect vs Respect for Privacy

How business models are aligned or not with users' privacy interests, will be spotlighted at the Senate Judiciary hearing Tuesday on "Protecting Mobile Privacy" featuring Google and Apple officials as witnesses.

 

  • Expect the term "privacy conflict of interest" to become more common and important as companies who don't work for users, hurtle into the future increasingly tracking, analyzing and using users' private information and behavior without users' meaningful consent.

 

While the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy will hear from both Google and Apple witnesses on how their companies handle users' WiFi location data, their testimony will provide stark contrast in the companies' privacy conflicts of interests.

Google vs Apple concerning alignment with users' interests:

First, 97% of Google's ~$30b in annual revenues comes from advertisers, whereas ~99% of Apple's ~$87b in annual revenue comes directly from customers who buy and use Apple's products and services.

 

Google's Anti-Management Bias Problem

In a remarkable admission for a senior public company executive, Google Chairman and longtime former CEO Eric Schmidt told Gigaom: "At Google, we give the impression of not managing the company, because we don't really. It sort of has its own borg-like quality if you will. It sort of just moves forward."

If the executives ultimately responsible for "managing the company" to ensure it proactively respects users' privacy, vigilantly guards against security and data breaches or property infringement, is not really "managing the company," it now makes sense why Google has so many privacy scandals, and security and property infringement problems.

Generally protecting privacy, security and property rights are not engineering goals unless company management and managers have internal control and management focus, systems, processes, and procedures to ensure they are a priority to engineering teams.

Google's lack of interest in management execution is evident in Google's:

 

Google's "Copyright School" Tacitly Admits Liability in Viacom vs YouTube Case

Ironically Google's new "Copyright School" to better educate YouTube users of copyright law and responsibilities, slides Google down the slippery slope of tacitly admitting liability for copyright infringement in Viacom's billion dollar infringement suit against Google-YouTube.   (See Politico's story.)

There are two big takeaways from Google's new "Copyright School."

First, Google continues to basically blame users for copyright infringement while absolving itself of mass facilitation of copyright infringement.

The big open question here is does Google have a "copyright school" for its YouTube engineers/employees and have any of them attended it?

  • It is telling that whenever the company that claims to work for users, gets in trouble, its users' fault not Google's.
  • (Doesn't this sound eerily like Google implying Google's China's security breach was the fault of users not being careful enough?)

Second, why didn't Google do this shortly after it bought YouTube over three years ago?

Key Questions for Google's New CEO Larry Page

When the world's most powerful company gets a new CEO for the first time in a decade, everyone naturally has a lot of questions.

 

  • When new Google CEO Larry Page decides to become accessible to people outside the insular Googleplex, here are some key questions to ask Mr. Page about: priorities, management philosophy, privacy, antitrust, intellectual property, and social responsibility.

 

 

Priorities:

Is Google Android a Counterfeit Operating System?

Three completely different entities, coming from three very different perspectives/motivations, are all making the same charge against Google: that Google forged their work and stole/misused their property in creating its world-leading Android mobile operating system.

Google's 'Algorithmic Hand' Proves an Unstable Market Mechanism

Google's biggest-ever reordering of its search results this past week to reward what Google believes is high quality content and punish low quality content prompted an public epiphany this week that Google has the market power to effectively pick winners and losers in the online content market.

 

 

There are two big takeaways from this public epiphany that "Google is the de facto web content market:"

 

  • First, Google's "algorithmic hand" largely has supplanted Adam Smith's "invisible hand" market mechanism to pick web content winners and losers; and
  • Second, Google has proven to be a highly unstable, unpredictable and capricious economic platform/mechanism for online content entrepreneurs and businesses to try and build a successful and sustainable business on top of.

 

Preview Google's Apology for Collecting Kids SS#s

See a preview below of Google's likely official public apology for collecting kids' partial Social Security #s and other private information -- without the permission of their parents.

Per Google's Official Blog:

"We are deeply sorry, very very sorry, and even oh-so-sorry for collecting partial social security numbers, date and place of birth on kindergartners and grade schoolers participating in the Doodle-4-Google contest.

Mobile Content: Google's Commons vs. Apple's Market

Mobile content producers do not have a truly competitive choice between Google's 10% fee One Pass service and Apple's 30% fee subscription service, as much as they have a value system choice between Google's Internet commons model and Apple's property-rights-driven market.

 

  • Google's One Pass offering looks eerily like its Google TV offering, where major video content owners faced the platform choice between dumb content and Content is King."
    • Given that choice, content-is-king-oriented owners broadly rejected Google's property-hostile, dumb-content system/model.
  • As mobile content providers and carriers threatened with "dumb content" and bandwidth/spectrum commodification from Google's "free" commons model assess their real long term strategic competitive and value-creation options, they will increasingly look toward, and forward to, the nascent Microsoft-Nokia alliance offering and RIM's offering for content-is-king allies and true competitive choices.

As much as Google tries to fool Little Red Riding Hood content owners that their Grandma always had such big eyes and big teeth, most mobile content providers will spot the Google commons wolf in disguise.

 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths