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. Google is just like any large corporation, no better, no worse. They may dominate search at the moment, but I expect that will change over the years as search engines become more niche and specialised. It wasn’t hat long ago that Alta Vista was the dominant player. then Yahoo.

  2. Google is just like any large corporation, no better, no worse. They may dominate search at the moment, but I expect that will change over the years as search engines become more niche and specialised. It wasn’t hat long ago that Alta Vista was the dominant player. then Yahoo.

  3. Can’t wait til Google buys Accutracking.com. Not only will they know everything we do online, but soon will know everywhere we go….

  4. Can’t wait til Google buys Accutracking.com. Not only will they know everything we do online, but soon will know everywhere we go….

  5. We blogged about this back in February… this is a trend that has been slowly growing for probably the better part of a year now.

    Here is the round-up of concerns about Google up until Valentines day this year:

    http://www.nonlinear.ca/blog/index.php/2007/02/14/google-backlash-approaching/

    Between the large number of recent acquisitions and the increasing centralization of Google’s services, there seems to be more and more people expressing concern at the amount of clout one company should hold.

  6. We blogged about this back in February… this is a trend that has been slowly growing for probably the better part of a year now.

    Here is the round-up of concerns about Google up until Valentines day this year:

    http://www.nonlinear.ca/blog/index.php/2007/02/14/google-backlash-approaching/

    Between the large number of recent acquisitions and the increasing centralization of Google’s services, there seems to be more and more people expressing concern at the amount of clout one company should hold.

  7. It is inevitable that after a company gets so big the conspiracy theorists and “haters” come out of the woodwork and talk about how they “used to be great” and how they’ve “sold out”. All of this is right on time as expected and quite boring. The sooner you realize google doesn’t care about your stupid information other than to better its business the better you’ll all be. get a life and find something worth while to complain about.

  8. It is inevitable that after a company gets so big the conspiracy theorists and “haters” come out of the woodwork and talk about how they “used to be great” and how they’ve “sold out”. All of this is right on time as expected and quite boring. The sooner you realize google doesn’t care about your stupid information other than to better its business the better you’ll all be. get a life and find something worth while to complain about.

  9. Wow, this post sure attracts the nutcases:

    “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.”

    You give the government far too much credit. Are you really talking about the same government that has intelligence failures all the time and goes to war over it?

  10. Wow, this post sure attracts the nutcases:

    “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.”

    You give the government far too much credit. Are you really talking about the same government that has intelligence failures all the time and goes to war over it?

  11. Paczkowski over at Digital Daily has a great take on this as well. Definitely worth a read.
    It wasn’t so long ago that Google was a company that could do no wrong. “Everyone loves Google,” Wired wrote in 2001. And at the time, it was true.

    Not so today. The company’s enormous success and relentless pursuit of new markets has inspired some in the entrepreneurial culture that produced it to take an evil-empire view of the search-engine phenomenon–one that’s increasingly echoed in the media. To wit, a rather hysterical front-page story in the (London) Independent draws some rather unoriginal comparisons between Google’s efforts to organize the world’s information and Big Brother’s efforts to control it.

    Comparisons like these are inevitable, especially when your chief executive has a penchant for making unwittingly Orwellian statements (”We are moving to a Google that knows more about you,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Feb. 9, 2005) and
    The European Commission’s advisory group on privacy protection is demanding an explanation of your data retention policies. But to see it featured so prominently in the mainstream press–yes, even the press abroad–does seem to suggest that Google is heading for a negative media cycle that might possibly shake up mainstream attitudes about it. Certainly, The European Commission Friday said its advisory group on privacy protection has sent Google Inc. a letter demanding an explanation of the search engine’s privacy policies.
    http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20070524/i-am-locutus-of-goog-resistance-is-futile/

  12. Paczkowski over at Digital Daily has a great take on this as well. Definitely worth a read.
    It wasn’t so long ago that Google was a company that could do no wrong. “Everyone loves Google,” Wired wrote in 2001. And at the time, it was true.

    Not so today. The company’s enormous success and relentless pursuit of new markets has inspired some in the entrepreneurial culture that produced it to take an evil-empire view of the search-engine phenomenon–one that’s increasingly echoed in the media. To wit, a rather hysterical front-page story in the (London) Independent draws some rather unoriginal comparisons between Google’s efforts to organize the world’s information and Big Brother’s efforts to control it.

    Comparisons like these are inevitable, especially when your chief executive has a penchant for making unwittingly Orwellian statements (”We are moving to a Google that knows more about you,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Feb. 9, 2005) and
    The European Commission’s advisory group on privacy protection is demanding an explanation of your data retention policies. But to see it featured so prominently in the mainstream press–yes, even the press abroad–does seem to suggest that Google is heading for a negative media cycle that might possibly shake up mainstream attitudes about it. Certainly, The European Commission Friday said its advisory group on privacy protection has sent Google Inc. a letter demanding an explanation of the search engine’s privacy policies.
    http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20070524/i-am-locutus-of-goog-resistance-is-futile/

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