DOG (Distrust/Disdain of Google) moves in

Fear Of Google. FOG. It’s all over the blogs today. I just got done reading my feeds and here’s the posts that have FOG all over them:

Mary Jo Foley: Google is failing the Microsoft litmus test.
James Robertson: Is Google Big and Stupid Already?
Sebastien St-Laurent: Does Google Have a Double Standard?
Todd Cochrane: Google is Buying FeedBurner, this is pure Evil!
Philipp Lenssen: Is the Google Video PlusBox Fair?
Shelley Powers: Your Life, Googled.
Scott Karp: Google’s Video PlusBox May Be Its Most Disruptive Feature Ever.
Janet Driscoll Miller: What the Heck is Google’s Business Plan?
OpenDNS Blog: Google turns the page … in a bad way.
Danny Sullivan: Google & Dell’s Revenue-Generating URL Error Pages Drawing Fire.

More of the Dell and Google thing is being talked about over on TechMeme.

Actually, I think FOG is changing into DOG. Distrust/Disdain Of Google. What do you think?

Me? Google is too secretive. Too unwilling to engage. Too aloof. Oh, and Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, has lost touch with how normal people think (if these quotes are correct, and that’s a big “if”). If they are correct I think it’s evidence that he’s been hanging around too many advertising execs lately. Their goal is to put impulses into your mind so you take certain actions (like buy Diet Coke instead of Diet Pepsi). Believe it or not advertising execs talk like that. So, when Eric is reported to have said, during a visit to Britain this week: “The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’” we all get a little freaked out. We don’t want Google to know that much about us.

Or do you?

Also, the secrecy at Google is rubbing off on its PR in other ways — when we meet Google employees at events like Maker Faire (I met several on Saturday) and many of them can’t tell me anything about what they do beyond “I work in networking.”

It’s these personal interactions that make us mistrust what’s going on inside Google. They are building the world’s most fantastic advertising engine but they won’t explain a little bit about who they are, and what they are doing to make our searches better? To be fair, I also met Matt Cutts there and he’s very open about what he’s doing, but Google really needs to open up a bit more.

If I were working in PR there, I’d invite in regular bloggers (not just A-List egoists like that Scoble guy) and let them talk to the engineers so they can see what the engineering intent is when they are doing things that are tracking us. And stop talking like an advertising executive. More and more of my friends are getting freaked out by just how much data Google (and other advertising based companies) are collecting and the inferences they are starting to make about the kind of people we are.

I saw lots of reactions to Feedburner’s purchase by Google decrying that Google will know what feeds they are subscribed to.

I think Google has to be very transparent, very warm, and very open when it comes to privacy and the data it’s collecting on all of us and to many of us it’s coming across as closed, cold, and opaque. That leads to bad PR. Bad PR — if continued unabated — leads to government action. Just ask my friends at Microsoft.

Is that what Google wants here?

126 thoughts on “DOG (Distrust/Disdain of Google) moves in

  1. You know, I read that as a job pitch…

    Tote the shaky cam around to John Carpenterish white hair and cobalt-eyed Engineer Cultists, but free lunches made by a chef, hey…

    Channel 666? ;)

    (I doubt Google’d ever do that, and the USA Government won’t bounce, as they have their NSA fingers in deep. Now the European governments, that’s a differing story…)

  2. You know, I read that as a job pitch…

    Tote the shaky cam around to John Carpenterish white hair and cobalt-eyed Engineer Cultists, but free lunches made by a chef, hey…

    Channel 666? ;)

    (I doubt Google’d ever do that, and the USA Government won’t bounce, as they have their NSA fingers in deep. Now the European governments, that’s a differing story…)

  3. I love Google and there stuff. I will continue to use their stuff until either there is something better or they piss me off. Right now i am happy with their products especially Gmail.

  4. I love Google and there stuff. I will continue to use their stuff until either there is something better or they piss me off. Right now i am happy with their products especially Gmail.

  5. Size is not the issue. It’s their attitude. Typical of liberals they feel they are superior to us and should be able to do things that are clearly immoral.

    Remember Taiwan? They used to be a country ’til Google erased them.

    Remember civil rights? So do I, then Google decided that selling out to Communist terrorists by giving them info on dissenters. Their response? Ooooops! Yea a little torture is o.k. IF you are Google.

  6. Size is not the issue. It’s their attitude. Typical of liberals they feel they are superior to us and should be able to do things that are clearly immoral.

    Remember Taiwan? They used to be a country ’til Google erased them.

    Remember civil rights? So do I, then Google decided that selling out to Communist terrorists by giving them info on dissenters. Their response? Ooooops! Yea a little torture is o.k. IF you are Google.

  7. The problem about one company growing too large seem to solve itself when it becomes too large it seems it parts having a hard time nowing what the other part is doing thus dissolving since it starts to loose direction. Look at Microsoft they seem to get more and more desperate as open source is growing.

    A new way to blog using Google Notebook and Tumblr…
    http://internettime.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=656824%3ABlogPost%3A2630

    Or do you fear the Google bug will bite you?

  8. The problem about one company growing too large seem to solve itself when it becomes too large it seems it parts having a hard time nowing what the other part is doing thus dissolving since it starts to loose direction. Look at Microsoft they seem to get more and more desperate as open source is growing.

    A new way to blog using Google Notebook and Tumblr…
    http://internettime.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=656824%3ABlogPost%3A2630

    Or do you fear the Google bug will bite you?

  9. I agree with Paul, I get much more traffic from Google than the other search engines, bar none.

    In my opinion, Google, as a company, will still try to acquire organizations that make sense for them to acquire–like feedburner. There may be a point in time where the US Government steps in and does something.

    As marketers and business owners, I think we fear life without Google more than just the fear of google.

  10. I agree with Paul, I get much more traffic from Google than the other search engines, bar none.

    In my opinion, Google, as a company, will still try to acquire organizations that make sense for them to acquire–like feedburner. There may be a point in time where the US Government steps in and does something.

    As marketers and business owners, I think we fear life without Google more than just the fear of google.

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  12. @JIM (#15)
    You said, “Although let’s be real, all of the search engines. I remember that MSN, Yahoo, and Excite gave info to the gov’t without fighting, while Google apparently did fight against it. And let’s not even get into their conduct in China.”

    Maybe Google fought ’cause it’s run by the government. Get it? It’s trying to gain your trust so that you’d dump more of your personal info into Google and other services that they run. How gullible you are. Sad.

    Isn’t it odd that Google was THE ONLY company allowed to keep their users’ info and not give it to the gov?

  13. @JIM (#15)
    You said, “Although let’s be real, all of the search engines. I remember that MSN, Yahoo, and Excite gave info to the gov’t without fighting, while Google apparently did fight against it. And let’s not even get into their conduct in China.”

    Maybe Google fought ’cause it’s run by the government. Get it? It’s trying to gain your trust so that you’d dump more of your personal info into Google and other services that they run. How gullible you are. Sad.

    Isn’t it odd that Google was THE ONLY company allowed to keep their users’ info and not give it to the gov?

  14. @ JIM You said, “Although let’s be real, all of the search engines. I remember that MSN, Yahoo, and Excite gave info to the gov’t without fighting, while Google apparently did fight against it. And let’s not even get into their conduct in China.”

    Maybe Google fought ’cause it’s run by the government. Get it? It’s trying to gain your trust so that you’d dump more of your personal info into Google and other services that they run. How gullible you are. Sad.

    Isn’t it odd that Google was THE ONLY company allowed to keep their users’ info and not give it to the gov?

  15. @ JIM You said, “Although let’s be real, all of the search engines. I remember that MSN, Yahoo, and Excite gave info to the gov’t without fighting, while Google apparently did fight against it. And let’s not even get into their conduct in China.”

    Maybe Google fought ’cause it’s run by the government. Get it? It’s trying to gain your trust so that you’d dump more of your personal info into Google and other services that they run. How gullible you are. Sad.

    Isn’t it odd that Google was THE ONLY company allowed to keep their users’ info and not give it to the gov?

  16. Robert I do think its a reaction to Google except for the studpi pr stuff..

    I think its a natural reaction and concern about web 2.0 and upcoming web 3 technology as far as what are our privacy rights and how do we control them and give them away when we want to..

  17. Robert I do think its a reaction to Google except for the studpi pr stuff..

    I think its a natural reaction and concern about web 2.0 and upcoming web 3 technology as far as what are our privacy rights and how do we control them and give them away when we want to..

  18. Martin: I think its because Google’s market power puts in a position to weild undue influence on the net. Its shaping up to be a nice replay of MSFT’s desktop OS monopoly experience from years gone by.

  19. Martin: I think its because Google’s market power puts in a position to weild undue influence on the net. Its shaping up to be a nice replay of MSFT’s desktop OS monopoly experience from years gone by.

  20. I still have to ask- why does Microsoft get a pass for buying an ad agency (AvenueA/Razorfish)(conflict of interest) and Google get crucified for buying an ad serving software/network company (content agnostic)? If Google had bought aQuantive the world would be in speculation meltdown.
    Reminder: Live Search is an advertising business- do they really think their customers want them in a competing situation by going direct to clients via AvenueA?
    And another shot: Universal Search is the big story no one is covering well.

  21. I still have to ask- why does Microsoft get a pass for buying an ad agency (AvenueA/Razorfish)(conflict of interest) and Google get crucified for buying an ad serving software/network company (content agnostic)? If Google had bought aQuantive the world would be in speculation meltdown.
    Reminder: Live Search is an advertising business- do they really think their customers want them in a competing situation by going direct to clients via AvenueA?
    And another shot: Universal Search is the big story no one is covering well.

  22. … if all they’re going to use it for is to target advertising better.

    I’d rather that than some of the other things people want to use our data for.

  23. … if all they’re going to use it for is to target advertising better.

    I’d rather that than some of the other things people want to use our data for.

  24. Anyone who uses gmail, Google desktop or Google’s SaaS applications is getting what they deserve. That goes for Google search as well.

    Is it that addicting that we can’t just move to another search engine? There are choices…..now I’ve made mine.

  25. Anyone who uses gmail, Google desktop or Google’s SaaS applications is getting what they deserve. That goes for Google search as well.

    Is it that addicting that we can’t just move to another search engine? There are choices…..now I’ve made mine.

  26. I guess people are scared about google holding up so much of our information exactly because google tells us that they’re holding that information.

    I’m sure MSN, Yahoo! and other huge volume site also track behaviour. Think about the potential of websites like Facebook, MySpace etc. which have more info about us than Google (just my guess). One more thing to worry about when the bigger companies gobble up these community spaces – private information.

  27. I guess people are scared about google holding up so much of our information exactly because google tells us that they’re holding that information.

    I’m sure MSN, Yahoo! and other huge volume site also track behaviour. Think about the potential of websites like Facebook, MySpace etc. which have more info about us than Google (just my guess). One more thing to worry about when the bigger companies gobble up these community spaces – private information.

  28. This is one of the reasons I believe in returning the power of the search engine to the user. I’ve been programming a search engine that spiders information on topics of interest to you and stores it on your own machine for some years now. It’s due to go gold this year so wish me luck :)

  29. This is one of the reasons I believe in returning the power of the search engine to the user. I’ve been programming a search engine that spiders information on topics of interest to you and stores it on your own machine for some years now. It’s due to go gold this year so wish me luck :)

  30. @8,

    I know somebody that used to work at the NSA and only left recently, and I know they aren’t happy with Matt Cutts. They probably aren’t very happy with Google either.

  31. @8,

    I know somebody that used to work at the NSA and only left recently, and I know they aren’t happy with Matt Cutts. They probably aren’t very happy with Google either.

  32. The problem here is Google’s fundamental business model – scavange people’s data and sell that data to other people for the highest price they can get. This is far, FAR more pernicious than Microsoft (which is not to say MS wouldn’t do it, too, if given a chance…). Google doesn’t care what it collects as long as it is sellable, thus, it has no respect for my privacy or intellectual property rights. If it can pry the data away from me, they’ll use it as they see fit.

    I’m less concerned by government using this info (Yes, Darth Cheney & Co. wish to take over the world, but they are incompetant jerks) than I am by large corporations doing so, with special concern for financial & credit services and for medical & insurance services. The answer to both of these is regulation of the services and how they can/cannot use the information.

    For example, medical insurance should not be in private hands. Profit margin requires denial of service and reduction of care. My father-in-law died of a treatable but fast-growing cancer last year because the insurance company would not approve treatment in time and the medical facilities would not treat him without insurance *even when we said we would pay cash up front.* This situation has to be eliminated, and that means public insurance for all citizens.

    In terms of credit & finance, they should be required to get our permission prior to using our data and the consumer needs 24/7 free access to all of their data, with the ability to get bad data changed. We nearly lost a mortgage last week because TransUnion decided my husand was dead and flat out told him that it was not their problem if they reported bad info. Kind of hard to get credit when your FICO is 0, ya know?

    We can’t put the information genie back in the bottle, nor would we want to. Powerful search capabilities help the public, too. The point is to control the (ab)use of that data.

  33. I hope they don’t do something silly like use RSS to determine search rank.

    Let’s say there are only two blogs in the world:
    Jennifer Lopez Blog with 8 zillion subcribers
    Growing Corn In Iowa 199 subscribers.

    Let’s assume that the Growing Corn in Iowa posts on corn in every post, and last week, Ms. Lopez ate an ear of corn. I’d hate to see that post show up as more relevant for the term corn – but I could easily see how this could go down this path.

  34. I hope they don’t do something silly like use RSS to determine search rank.

    Let’s say there are only two blogs in the world:
    Jennifer Lopez Blog with 8 zillion subcribers
    Growing Corn In Iowa 199 subscribers.

    Let’s assume that the Growing Corn in Iowa posts on corn in every post, and last week, Ms. Lopez ate an ear of corn. I’d hate to see that post show up as more relevant for the term corn – but I could easily see how this could go down this path.

  35. The problem here is Google’s fundamental business model – scavange people’s data and sell that data to other people for the highest price they can get. This is far, FAR more pernicious than Microsoft (which is not to say MS wouldn’t do it, too, if given a chance…). Google doesn’t care what it collects as long as it is sellable, thus, it has no respect for my privacy or intellectual property rights. If it can pry the data away from me, they’ll use it as they see fit.

    I’m less concerned by government using this info (Yes, Darth Cheney & Co. wish to take over the world, but they are incompetant jerks) than I am by large corporations doing so, with special concern for financial & credit services and for medical & insurance services. The answer to both of these is regulation of the services and how they can/cannot use the information.

    For example, medical insurance should not be in private hands. Profit margin requires denial of service and reduction of care. My father-in-law died of a treatable but fast-growing cancer last year because the insurance company would not approve treatment in time and the medical facilities would not treat him without insurance *even when we said we would pay cash up front.* This situation has to be eliminated, and that means public insurance for all citizens.

    In terms of credit & finance, they should be required to get our permission prior to using our data and the consumer needs 24/7 free access to all of their data, with the ability to get bad data changed. We nearly lost a mortgage last week because TransUnion decided my husand was dead and flat out told him that it was not their problem if they reported bad info. Kind of hard to get credit when your FICO is 0, ya know?

    We can’t put the information genie back in the bottle, nor would we want to. Powerful search capabilities help the public, too. The point is to control the (ab)use of that data.

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