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Coalition of the shilling
January 23, 2012 11:21 AM   Subscribe

Focus on the User, Google! says a coalition of engineers from Facebook, Twitter and Myspace. They have created their own 'Don't be Evil' bookmarklet to rearrange Google's social search results to remove G+ bias, using Google's own APIs. Caution: Bookmarklet does not work with IE or in areas without Google's new social search features. May choke smaller ferrets.
posted by Sparx (91 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
The day Google and Facebook are owned by the same company is going to be the day the Internet dies.

And by "dies" I mean "is accessed only by those who can figure out alternate DNS, Tor, etc"
posted by DU at 11:25 AM on January 23, 2012


I work in online marketing, and I can't quite grasp why everyone is so up-in-arms about the integration of G+ data into search results. For one thing, for the past year, ever since the launch of Instant, Google search results have been tailored to specific users anyway (that's wy I use Cognito mode to do "real" searches for information). In this case, barely anyone I know has actually adopted G+. The people who have adopted G+ barely use it, so I never get any G+ results in my search data.

On an intellectual level, yeah, I get the hate, but practically speaking, this change is not a big deal if you are already comfortable with the Google search "product". People who are not comfortable with Google are going to use Duck Duck Go.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:26 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bye Bye Miss American Pie?

Anyhoo, back to the FPP, I was please to see the first sentence. Thanks, Sparx, while I go RTFA and hope they finally listen.
posted by infini at 11:26 AM on January 23, 2012


I can understand why you wouldn't like it if you were Facebook, Twitter and Myspace.
posted by the jam at 11:35 AM on January 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


DAMNIT SPARX DON'T CHOKE MY FERRET!
posted by Sfving at 11:37 AM on January 23, 2012


Danny Sullivan's writeup is more detailed than Battelle's and has a lot of information on exactly what the bookmarklet is rewriting.

This tool is brilliant, both technically and as a PR move. As a longtime Google fan (and former employee) I'm both impressed and appalled at how aggressively they've refocussed the company around Google+. I think they've gone too far in many places, particularly the search results.

The coverage is also interesting because a lot of Google experts and insiders are weighing in. Battelle wrote an early book on Google and had lots of inside access. Sullivan has been covering the search business better than anyone for years and has a lot of deep access inside Google. They're both fans of the company, and both are troubled.

A lot of Facebook engineers are former Google, too, and I have to believe this tool was built in part with knowledge of how Google's various search subsystems fit together. Nothing trade secrety, it's all public products, but it's a pretty sophisticated thing this bookmarklet is doing.
posted by Nelson at 11:40 AM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't get the google hate. If FB/Twitter wanted to be in on the indexing, they'd be in on the indexing. Google only indexes sites that want to be indexed.
posted by mullingitover at 11:40 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


And will they also offer one to extract facebook's databases from the middle of every goddamned thing i click on that site?
posted by rmd1023 at 11:41 AM on January 23, 2012


Isn't that what Google is doing? Focusing on the user? Focusing way too much, of course.
posted by steamynachos at 11:41 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Myspace still exists?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:43 AM on January 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well I guess they do focus on the user - but on the user as a purveyor and/or consumer of ads, and not the user as a user of social media/networks. And yeah G+ is confusing and seems kind of deserted, unless all the cool people are off in a secret corner having a cool party without telling anyone else.
posted by carter at 11:43 AM on January 23, 2012


Oh and some weird G+ fallout - Picnik got sold to Google, presumably to bolt onto Picassa and G+ (good luck w/ that), and will no longer be part of Flickr. Flickreenies (?) are understandably upset.
posted by carter at 11:45 AM on January 23, 2012


carter: "And yeah G+ is confusing and seems kind of deserted, unless all the cool people are off in a secret corner having a cool party without telling anyone else."

Isn't that the entire point of circles?
posted by danny the boy at 11:46 AM on January 23, 2012 [11 favorites]


To use (more of) my words, I have like a hundred followers I have never met and no connection to, and most are probably spam accounts. They never see a single update from me, though I have been using G+ a fair amount since launch.
posted by danny the boy at 11:48 AM on January 23, 2012


And finally, we're really throwing the word 'evil' around quite a bit, aren't we? Like of all the things Google has done, promoting G+ results in search is not even top 20
posted by danny the boy at 11:49 AM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Isn't that the entire point of circles?

Sigh. I guess so. I guess I'm saying that all the cool people are off somewhere else and not telling me about it ...
posted by carter at 11:49 AM on January 23, 2012


Twitter's deal with google expired over the summer. They have been wrangling ever since.

Twitter isn't simply something that can be crawled. They generate millions of pieces of content a day. Until the agreement expired, they were included in google realtime search.

All this is just posturing, they just need to hash out a new agreement.

Picnik got sold to Google

Picnik got sold to google in 2010! Long enough for Y! to build a replacement. They are going to rely on a competitor's service then cry when they get locked out ?

And yeah G+ is confusing and seems kind of deserted, unless all the cool people are off in a secret corner having a cool party without telling anyone else

I have over 2000 people in various circles, I have Larry Page, Sergei Brin etc. I just created a new circle today for Obama.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:50 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised if Myspace outlived Google+. They're throwing all the resources of the world's most powerful internet company into trying to make it ubiquitous, and people just don't want to use it.

It's the Poochy the Rockin' Dog of social networks.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:52 AM on January 23, 2012 [16 favorites]


I just created a new circle today for Obama

Say "hi" for me.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:53 AM on January 23, 2012


Google bought Picnik almost 2 years ago, and has been pretty well integrated into Picasa for a while now. I don't imagine it'll be very difficult to move that over to G+. I understand Flickr users getting upset, but the writing's been on Yahoo's wall.

Personally, I love the inclusion of G+ into search. I follow (circled) a Chrome engineer, and if his profile comes up next to any results, I know that something decent is probably behind the link. Same thing with Android developers I follow. Tying the results to someone I trust adds credibility. You can also opt out.

I can see why Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace are against this. I just don't really see the downside for users. Whether or not you're using G+, how does this hurt your results?
posted by VoteBrian at 11:54 AM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


So far there has be a strange of people on G+. It is all techies, even Tom of myspace fame posts on G+. They are very active.

here is the whitehouse's g+ page. Obama is going to be doing a hangout on g+ monday jan 30th
posted by Ad hominem at 11:57 AM on January 23, 2012


Google's question should be this: why do people (my friends, family) still email links to each other instead of using G+.

Until they figure that out...
posted by stratastar at 11:58 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Umm, y'all know that Google is closing Picnik?
posted by symbioid at 11:59 AM on January 23, 2012


Battelle's earlier post about Google's avoidance of engagement data for Google+ is also interesting, which includes this link in the comments:

Google Now Forcing All New Users To Create Google+ Enabled Accounts

Whether [they're] looking to create a new account for YouTube, Gmail, or any other Google product, new Google users are facing a new requirement: the creation of a Google+ enabled profile with any account....Previously, an existing email address or setting up a Gmail account would allow users to set up an official Google Account. Now a name, Gmail username, Google+ account and gender are required...

So now all new YouTubers, Gmailers and Google Account holders will be part of Google+. This will be a controversial move seeing that Google has come under heavy anti-trust fire with the new “Search Plus Your World” feature.

posted by mediareport at 12:01 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whether or not you're using G+, how does this hurt your results?

Real-Life Examples Of How Google’s “Search Plus” Pushes Google+ Over Relevancy
posted by mediareport at 12:04 PM on January 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


yeah G+ is kind of like the advogato of the modern web. Everyone identified all sorts of problems with slashdot and k5 and thought "we need a big heap of code and technical gimmicks to fix all this" and created avogato. All the cool people jumped on boards because it had X Y an Z features. The vast majority of people stuck it out where they were, because that is where they were already.

I Like G+ but I use is as a professional development tool, to raise my profile as a technologist, not as a tool to share cat pics.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:05 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Google's question should be this: why do people (my friends, family) still email links to each other instead of using G+.

My pet peeve is people (even in the same city! with access to a landline!) who want to use Skype, but cannot figure out how to use the damn program. Hi Mom! Hi Dad!
posted by KokuRyu at 12:05 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I just don't really see the downside for users."

So, I search forperson X and instead of getting the twitter account that they use constantly, I get the G+ account that they last used 2 months ago and you don't see why this is bad for me? It's bad for me because I can no longer trust Google to give me the most relevant results for information. Google has, in this way, shown its willingness to put its finger on the scale in order to unfairly weight its own services over those of others.

Perhaps Google the social-network company is great, but Google the search company just became a lot less great, and that both are the same Google is a clear conflict of interest for the search side of the company.
posted by oddman at 12:07 PM on January 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't know about G+ or social search or whatever, I just want to know one thing:

Does Bing or DuckDuckGo search for the thing I actually typed in and not some bullshit it thinks I meant instead?
posted by Legomancer at 12:12 PM on January 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Since the G+ results are formatted differently from the regular search results, I wonder how many people will mentally skip over them to the regular results, as if they were Google ads (which I assume, like me, no one reads)?

Also, a Facebook bigwig admonishing Google "not to be evil" is quite rich indeed.
posted by aught at 12:13 PM on January 23, 2012


So, I search forperson X and instead of getting the twitter account that they use constantly, I get the G+ account that they last used 2 months ago and you don't see why this is bad for me?

I don't know if you're conflating search results with the sidebar suggestions, or if you're seeing something I'm not, but if we go by Danny Sullivan's tests in mediareport's link, they don't seem to be returning G+ links beyond adding the author icons. Is that the issue?
posted by VoteBrian at 12:16 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I had no idea Picnik was "part of Flickr"! I have a paid account at Flickr and I use it a lot. I have no registered account at Picnik and I use it a alot! I never saw that the two were connected in anyway. How odd--or unobservant. I just loaded the website, fixed the picture, saved it back to the dropbox directory (or harddrive directory or flashdrive) that the image was in, and moved on to use the image where I wanted it. Sometimes Flickr, yes, but not always.

Why I used Picnik was a) it loads faster and is simpler than photoshop so it served my needs and b) it did not fucking require another goddamn account and another fucking password. I used Picnik and recommended Picnik precisely because it was not integrated with something I neither wanted nor needed it integrated with.

I don't use picasa because a) I dislike the interface and b) that's not how I use my email account/address/identity.

end rant about the loss of Picnik.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:24 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Slightly off-topic, but for those of you mourning Picnik, Aviary remains a good alternative.
posted by jbickers at 12:28 PM on January 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


KokuRyu: "My pet peeve is people (even in the same city! with access to a landline!) who want to use Skype, but cannot figure out how to use the damn program. "

In their defense, Skype for all of its wonderfulness is a pain in the ass to use in a lot of ways. Example: how do I find all the people in my address book who are already on Skype? I can't do it in the desktop client; I can do it on the phone client, but searching through my address book on the phone frequently crashes it. If people I know have multiple Skype accounts, how do I know which one they use? Why does it seem like some users are in my contacts list, then revert back to "pending request"? Why does Skype keep a separate "Skype" list for users on Skype and an "Address Book" list for people whose phone numbers I have? How do I edit my status on Skype? (Hint: it's called a "mood message." What's a mood message? Hell if I know).

These are all the sorts of things that might prevent, say, the user familiar with AIM or G Chat from easing into Skype right away.
posted by Apropos of Something at 12:35 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


VoteVrian, did you see the video in the second link of the post? That's where I'm drawing my view from.
posted by oddman at 12:41 PM on January 23, 2012


Legomancer: "I don't know about G+ or social search or whatever, I just want to know one thing:

Does Bing or DuckDuckGo search for the thing I actually typed in and not some bullshit it thinks I meant instead?
"

duckduckgo says they don't "bubble" you

I'm seriously thinking of using them.
posted by symbioid at 12:46 PM on January 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


says a coalition of engineers from Facebook, Twitter and Myspace

... snicker snicker ....
posted by Afroblanco at 12:46 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, yes, you and the engineers from Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace are conflating search results with sidebar suggestions.

First, your example was searching for a person and getting less than relevant results. The video shows a search for cooking, which returns regular Google results for cooking, but also ads a sidebar where Google is pushing their G+ service. So Google suggested that you might be interested in Jamie Oliver's G+ page.

As far as I'm aware, the search results for "cooking" hasn't changed. So you're complaining about the sidebar suggestions. So how is this any different from the Ad results in yellow at the top? Google has clearly separated them out from the standard search results. I still don't see the outrage.
posted by VoteBrian at 12:52 PM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


duckduckgo says they don't "bubble" you

I'm seriously thinking of using them.


I've been using DDG off-and-on lately. So far, they seem to be pretty solid. I don't think they crawl nearly as much of the web as Google does, but that's just a matter of time, I suppose.

There is also Scroogle, a service that SSL-searches Google so you remain anonymous. Google has a habit of blocking Scroogle, though, so sometimes you have to wait for Scroogle to jump to a different server (or whatever they do to get around the block).
posted by Thorzdad at 12:53 PM on January 23, 2012


I don't understand why this isn't being offered as a Greasemonkey script, so you can avoid having to click on the bookmarklet again if you leave and return to Google. Also, they could make it IE compatible if they were willing to have the bookmarklet inject the script off a third party server. This is one of the longest bookmarklets out there; much too long for IE's 500 character limit.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:54 PM on January 23, 2012


The problem with G+ is that Google entered a mature market without a game-changing innovation.

Google's typical app development approach is to throw something half-baked out there, make it accessible to a select few, slap a "beta" label on it, and then develop iteratively while the userbase grows through invites. This never had a chance to work in the social networking space. It's too much of a mature market. Facebook has nearly a billion users. If you want to win people over, you need to do more than just not be Facebook.

The most original thing about G+ was circles, which turned out to be useless because they didn't give you any sort of "venn diagram" ability to include circles in other circles. This meant you could develop some sort of involved taxonomy for your friends, but you would have to maintain it all by hand. This was tedious and time consuming, especially when you had to wait for their dumb little animations to finish.

Furthermore, the "exclusive invites" thing was a terrible idea, because there was only really a brief window of time when people actually cared about G+, and Google should have made the most of it. Although I guess they probably hoped that wouldn't be the case.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:57 PM on January 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if Myspace outlived Google+. They're throwing all the resources of the world's most powerful internet company into trying to make it ubiquitous, and people just don't want to use it.

It's the Poochy the Rockin' Dog of social networks.


I don't think you get it. Google = Google+ (as mediareport already linked). There is no difference. How much you use the social-network features is up to you, but you WILL be a part of Google+, whether you like it or not.

Google's question should be this: why do people (my friends, family) still email links to each other instead of using G+.

Indeed. As soon as Google figures out how to connect Gmail and G+, things should take off. I can't believe there's no button to email someone from Google+ (unless I'm missing it.)

If you want to win people over, you need to do more than just not be Facebook.

Not if you already have Search, Gmail, and Maps.

Give Me Back My Google
posted by mrgrimm at 1:01 PM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't get the complaint about not including the facebook / twitter page for X. I'm almost never looking for those; if I want them it is trivial to find them. I guess they could provide the icon rainbow sorted by some activity measure for most things they provide a G+ link for. The examples provided are all pretty meaningless.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 1:14 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


When their search becomes dysfunctional, its the long slow sad decline into nothingness.

I find myself going to bing often in sheer frustrationl.

Not to mention the irony of their continual suggestions to plus this or plus that when they've still got my profile blocked. You'd think an algorithm would note that aspect, no?
posted by infini at 1:17 PM on January 23, 2012


"Focus on us, Google!"
posted by steamynachos at 1:19 PM on January 23, 2012


I can't believe there's no button to email someone from Google+ (unless I'm missing it.)

If you have included non-G+ users in a circle, and then post to that circle, G+ offers to email your post to those non-G+ users.
posted by Jpfed at 1:19 PM on January 23, 2012


I understand almost all of the issues folks have with G+ (even if I don't have allbof them) but I want to find someone on Twitter, I just seach Twitter. Call me old fashioned I guess. So for me, not seeing the Twitter results in the Google results is a feature, not a bug.

For me, I've yet to have any issues with search results, and considering how many times I use it daily, it surprises me that others do. All that said, if this just means I'm slow, I appreciate those sounding the alarm against the degredation of the tool, even if it seems at worst 'much ado about nothing' and at best, a cautious overeaction. And if I turn out to be wrong in two years, I'll appreciate it even more.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:29 PM on January 23, 2012


a Facebook bigwig admonishing Google "not to be evil" is quite rich indeed.

Because THEY want to be the evil ones. Like the popular kid in High School who was an ass to others.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:30 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh and some weird G+ fallout - Picnik got sold to Google, presumably to bolt onto Picassa and G+ (good luck w/ that), and will no longer be part of Flickr. Flickreenies (?) are understandably upset.

Is that where all the REALLY AWESOME photo tools that just popped up on G+ came from? Because they're REALLY AWESOME AND MAKE ME HAPPY all caps style.

I love google+. Love it even more since I finally made an apps account. The web integration is great and seamless. My writing group has weekly meetings on there, and lately we've been using hang outs to have teleconferencing "write-ins" and my productivity has tripled. It's just a great service, and, of all the social networking sites I've been on (which is . . . most of them), easily my favorite.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:34 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


So for me, not seeing the Twitter results in the Google results is a feature, not a bug.

Not so fast... and here's where I hate how that video and people here are trying to portray the situation. If you search for "cooking", there are no Twitter or Facebook links for Jamie Oliver. If, however, you search for "Jamie Oliver", the first group of results are to his personal website, then a wikipedia page, Twitter, IMDB, and Facebook pages. The people in the video are complaining that Google isn't recommending Jamie Oliver's Twitter page when you search for "cooking".
posted by VoteBrian at 1:42 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you have included non-G+ users in a circle, and then post to that circle, G+ offers to email your post to those non-G+ users.

That's not what I want to do. I want to send a private message from myself to another Google user.

The most original thing about G+ was circles

Nah, hangouts. Circles was just a variation of Facebook lists reversed.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:49 PM on January 23, 2012


The people in the video are complaining that Google isn't recommending Jamie Oliver's Twitter page when you search for "cooking".

It would probably help if he put "cooking" in his Twitter profile. ;)
posted by mrgrimm at 1:52 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love google+. Love it even more since I finally made an apps account. The web integration is great and seamless. My writing group has weekly meetings on there, and lately we've been using hang outs to have teleconferencing "write-ins" and my productivity has tripled. It's just a great service, and, of all the social networking sites I've been on (which is . . . most of them), easily my favorite.

I've never understood how (intelligent people, mostly) can see the evil of facebook, but dive straight into google with their eyes shut. Google is moving from what was once simply a great search company, to a company wanting to own everything you do so they advertise you 24/7. Eventually, they will own you, and moving away will be more trouble than it's worth.

And if you want to see your favorite startup die, let google buy them.

I was once a huge fan of gmail, and still am in many ways. But I recently stopped using it. I'm seeing more and more people moving away from google, and I hope that continues.
posted by justgary at 1:58 PM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


a company wanting to own everything you do ...

... do willingly on their free service, that is. World of Warcraft isn't much different there.

and is that even true, anyway?

Google+ & Content Ownership: A Non-Issue?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:05 PM on January 23, 2012


I've never understood how (intelligent people, mostly) can see the evil of facebook, but dive straight into google with their eyes shut. Google is moving from what was once simply a great search company, to a company wanting to own everything you do so they advertise you 24/7. Eventually, they will own you, and moving away will be more trouble than it's worth.

I don't care that facebook is evil. I care that facebook sucks.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:07 PM on January 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


If you have included non-G+ users in a circle, and then post to that circle, G+ offers to email your post to those non-G+ users.

That's not what I want to do. I want to send a private message from myself to another Google user.


If the user has it enabled, there's a 'Send an Email' button beneath your profile photo on your g+ profile page. You can limit who sees that button based on circles or make it public.
posted by Sparx at 2:11 PM on January 23, 2012


Aviary remains a good alternative for those who like to unzip kittens.
posted by unknowncommand at 2:18 PM on January 23, 2012


carter: "And yeah G+ is confusing and seems kind of deserted, unless all the cool people are off in a secret corner having a cool party without telling anyone else."

Isn't that the entire point of circles?


It is where the jerking is done. Or so I am told...
posted by srboisvert at 2:25 PM on January 23, 2012


Hehehe. It's so funny, seeing all this flufflerow. Like people think Google and Facebook et al. are actually on opposite sides or something.

I mean, c'mon. Here we've got a handful of companies, who between them have amassed databases comprising enough detail on every internet user to pretty much reconstitute our entire lives. They know who our friends and family are, our spouses, our illicit lovers, our drug dealers, and every little secret we've ever marked "private" or chatted covertly about - information that didn't have to be gathered, because we were kind enough to volunteer it. Massive, massive amounts of information, all neatly stored and just waiting for someone with enough computing power and a decent knowledge of regexes and/or SQL to grep it all, and use it for their own benefit.

Y'all really think that isn't going to happen? (I personally reckon it's been going on since the start, but then, I'm kinda pessimistic that way.)

I give it MAYBE ten years before Googlefacebook or their descendants stop obeying laws and start issuing them - and that is an optimistic estimate. Basically, at whatever point society starts relying on the internet to the point that it literally cannot exist without it, government becomes meaningless: whoever owns the internet, owns the world.* It is absolutely not possible that I am the only person in the world to have realized this; it is absolutely not possible that there are not people and entities working their butts off to prepare for that opportunity. That's not tinfoil-hat stuff - just a realistic expectation of human nature.

Privacy died before the turn of the century, and has decomposed so thoroughly that even the bones have crumbled to dust: there is literally nothing left of the horse to beat. In exchange, we have "convenience" - or at least, what we've been led to believe is convenience. There's no point arguing the matter anymore - it's a done deal, it's over.

Personally, I'm just hoping that the reigning corporation is more of a Google than a Facebook or Microsoft - they may be evil, but they're generally more useful. As for the rest, well, I'm kinda old and I don't have kids, so, not my problem. But it does turn life into an even more interesting screenplay, watching all this shake down. These are some times to be living in, lemme tell ya.
posted by mie at 2:25 PM on January 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'll merrily continue ignoring them all.
posted by aerotive at 2:31 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gosh, mie, you don't think there's the slightest chance you're being just a little bit overwrought, do you?
posted by kjh at 2:34 PM on January 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


I switched to DDG for general search a few months ago, and I'd definitely recommend it to technical users (mefi readers all included). Day to day the thing I appreciate most over Google search is how it doesn't decide to search for something different to what I typed because it thinks that's what I meant to type - something Google does a lot now.

(The !bang shortcut syntax is pretty great too, !so for stackoverflow, !auk for amazon UK, etc. I still find myself using Google for UK-specific content, but I do it via DDG with the !guk shortcut.)

Regarding "don't be evil", considering Google could easily be very very evil indeed with our personal data I think it's good that they've shown so much restraint so far. Greater public awareness and pressure against such changes will help slow the descent so this tool is good from that perspective, but I think serious competition in their core areas of competency from less-"evil" companies would do more to help and DDG is a great example of that.
posted by dickasso at 2:36 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


mie, all Google cares about is selling you fucking soap. And that's basically it. They want to sell you socks. Detergent. Nosehair clippers. Shit like that. They don't want to know who your dealers are, because, from my experience, Googlers have no trouble finding drugs.

(I mean, just look at Google Buzz, amirite?)
posted by Afroblanco at 2:38 PM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


there is literally nothing left of the horse to beat

argh
posted by brain_drain at 2:49 PM on January 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Google is shuttering Picnik and moving many features to Google+

Google+ adds pseudonyms - sort of.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:53 PM on January 23, 2012


Google is moving from what was once simply a great search company, to a company wanting to own everything you do so they advertise you 24/7. Eventually, they will own you, and moving away will be more trouble than it's worth.

Oh NO! Google might advertise to me?! My life is ruined!! All I have left is a hollow shell of financial comfort, a good job, loving family, all my stuff, and easy free access to information! .... Come to think of it, owning one of my many email addresses and the privileged location of being my default page is so far from owning me, I can't even imagine what you think you're talking about.

I really don't see the problem with Google's advertisements. The service has to be supported somehow, and in a world of banner adds, flash adds, pop-ups, pop-unders, and pop overs, tv commercials, movie previews, billboards, radio ads, etc. google has by far the LEAST annoying ads in the world. Google shows me subtle, not-annoying ads for things I might actually like, and provides a service far more valuable to me in return. No other web service (except for wikipedia) provides so much value at so little cost.

all Google cares about is selling you fucking soap.

If google wants to sell me soap, I'm fine with that. It'll be quality soap that smells exactly the way I prefer. I don't have to buy it. I don't even have to look at it unless I want to. In return for being told about soap I'll probably like in a way I don't have to pay attention to, I get pretty good search and mail service. It's worth it to me. Doesn't have to be worth it to you, but I'll think you're a fool to turn down a deal like that unless you give me a much better reason than "I might be told unobtrusively about soap."
posted by yeolcoatl at 2:54 PM on January 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


And really, as much as I resist the pull of Gov't conspiracy theories, the real threat to your privacy is the PATRIOT ACT and the US's frankly toothless data protection laws. It's the reason a lot of EU companies don't want to use US-based cloud service providers. US companies aren't forced guarantee the safety of your data, or that it won't be snooped as part of some alleged "terrorism" investigation. Oh, and SURPRISE! The PATRIOT ACT is being used for all kinds of shit.

But even then, I'm more concerned about plain old ordinary incompetence -- some employee accidentally leaving a flash drive somewhere -- or even a halfway-successful social engineering attempt.

"Never attribute to malice what could more easily be explained by incompetence"
posted by Afroblanco at 3:09 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't care that facebook is evil. I care that facebook sucks.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi


Facebook sucks for you. For others, it's does exactly what they want it to. Google plus is changing every week. It might suck for you in a year. But it's going to have to suck REALLY bad for you to move from it.

Putting all your eggs in one basket on the web is bad news. That's been shown over and over again. You'll eventually see that.

... do willingly on their free service, that is. World of Warcraft isn't much different there.

Yep, it's free. And? To be effective it's got to be free.

and is that even true, anyway?

I'm not talking about owning in a 'they'll take your pictures' deal. I'm saying if you depend on on google for everything (they now own picnik? Cool!) you're giving up freedom, because the price and effort to move is simply too much.

Google plus doesn't even want you to use email. They'll just take that over for you.

Oh NO! Google might advertise to me?! My life is ruined!! All I have left is a hollow shell of financial comfort, a good job, loving family, all my stuff, and easy free access to information!
posted by yeolcoatl


Well aren't you adorable. You are google's wet dream. You're doing their PR work for them while spouting a bunch of nonsense. You're either very young or incredibly naive. Keep up the good work sport.
posted by justgary at 3:29 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Google used to have the world's best search but they are drowning in feature creep. I don't even mind the ads, I mind that they are just continually trying to herd me into places I don't want to go - like Buzz and Google+ - and give me the search results they think I want.

I have a real name gmail account that I use for business and a mjjj gmail that I use for silliness and general nonwork web stuff that just doesn't mix well with my not-so-fun button-down corporate clients.

Google falls over itself trying to get me to merge my accounts. If I am signed into gmail under my work name, Google keeps hounding my work self with "are you madamjujujive on Flickr and do you want to claim that account?" "Are you madamjujujive on YouTube?" and trying to have me claim & merge things.

I am solving this by using gmail and work searches exclusively with Chrome which I keep open all day. But I also keep FF open all day for bookmarks, and use Bing and DDG for almost all searches. I will probably jettison my mjjj gmail, and migrate away from the other over time. I was the ultimate Google fan girl, and I am slowly but surely moving out of the marriage. Google, I am just not that into you anymore, you only think about yourself.

Why can't they give us a plain vanilla "no bubble" results search option - I would even pay for that.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:36 PM on January 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


Facebook sucks for you. For others, it's does exactly what they want it to.

Yeah, sure. Feel free to add "for me" to any of my statements of subjective opinion.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:40 PM on January 23, 2012


Google falls over itself trying to get me to merge my accounts. If I am signed into gmail under my work name, Google keeps hounding my work self with "are you madamjujujive on Flickr and do you want to claim that account?" "Are you madamjujujive on YouTube?" and trying to have me claim & merge things.

Yep. Hate hate hate that shit. It's why I don't have a Flickr account anymore. But, you know, yeolcoatl would probably love it. It's the "one size fits all and we know your size, dammit" approach from Google that's grown really annoying.
posted by mediareport at 3:46 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


justgary: "Well aren't you adorable. You are google's wet dream. You're doing their PR work for them while spouting a bunch of nonsense. You're either very young or incredibly naive. Keep up the good work sport."

...
posted by danny the boy at 6:12 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whatever happened to the promise of semantic search? Wasn't everyone hot for that about five years ago? I'm just sayin'.
posted by gusandrews at 7:00 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


madamjujujive: Google keeps hounding my work self with "are you madamjujujive on Flickr and do you want to claim that account?"

Mediareport: Yep. Hate hate hate that shit. It's why I don't have a Flickr account anymore.

What are you guys talking about? Flickr is owned by Yahoo, not Google.
posted by ericost at 7:19 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nah, kdh, 'cuz I really don't care. Every generation and century has its evil overlords working overtime to seize power, and sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. Either way, life goes on, sometimes better, sometimes worse, and people bitch about it no matter what. We are what we are; it's inevitable.

But it amuses me, this talk of "privacy". I'm thinkin' the last time anything resembling privacy truly existed in the US, at least, was maybe the 1800s sometime. Maybe it makes us feel better to quibble over details of a shadow of a thought that disappeared in practice before we were born... but it's self-delusional, at best. We have no privacy; we are open books; might as well get used to it.

I used to know a guy who I'm not in touch with anymore, because he lives in an unspecified location that he won't tell anybody, lives a cash-only lifestyle, won't have a driver's license or use the internet AT ALL because he Does Not Want The Government To Know Where He Is. That? That would be overwrought. I am aware. Difference.

And Afroblanco: yes, Google wants to sell me soap. That's it, precisely. They want to persuade me to buy soap. They want to manipulate me into buying the soap that they want me to buy. That is, in fact, the nature of sales: manipulating other people into buying what you want 'em to buy, whether a product or an idea. And that is precisely what makes the whole thing so dangerous. Google can pinpoint and profile me and determine which search results they think I might want to see, and calls this "helpful" behavior. Which it is... right up to the point where Google (or someone else in a similar position) decides they want to sell me something - and has the ability to do it so seamlessly and invisibly that I think it's my own idea (something else that the advertising industry has been working feverishly toward for years and years and yeeeeears).

I remember when browser cookies were such a volatile privacy issue that major websites were having Serious Meetings about whether the use of cookies was ethical (and more importantly, whether users would boycott their sites). Now? Yeah, unless it's a site specifically devoted to privacy concerns, just try to find a major website that doesn't use 'em. Little by little, bit by bit, the unthinkable becomes normal. On the other hand, those eeeeevil privacy-stealing cookies are responsible for, um, more or less MOST of the interactivity on the web (okay, not responsible for, exactly, but I'm not finding the word - required for?) so does it really matter? As always, it depends who you ask.

But awareness does not constitute irrationality. I still use Google, and Gmail, because it's convenient - and because I'm well aware that it's too late; the degeneration of privacy has happened, and I can't change that, so eh, might as well go with the flow. At the same time, I've been reorienting my life as much as possible away from the internet, because I think there might be a point within my lifetime when it will be advantageous to be one of the few people still capable of doing so, and it's never a bad idea to be prepared for contingencies, even really weird and extreme ones. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to enjoy in the meantime all the conveniences that the lack of privacy has bought me.



TL:dr; I'm too lazy to be a real conspiracy theorist, so I just do it part-time as a hobby. ;)



...oh, and brain_drain: uhhh, I was... literally beating the dead horse in a figurative manner? *wince* You're right; I'm sorry.
posted by mie at 8:05 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


justgary:
You'll eventually see that.
condescending, bro
posted by i'm offended you're offended at 9:35 PM on January 23, 2012


Microsoft's clueless, Yahoo's rudderless and sinking fast, Facebook is a hellish nightmare become fact, and Google's turning into exactly what we'd all feared it wouldn't.

Seems like the time is ripe for a cleansing fire to purge the old growth and create space for some new green shoots.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:45 AM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


ericost, Google does indeed try to get you to claim and connect non-Google accounts - it is beyond annoying. I finally found a place to disable this "helpful" feature.

It would be one thing if Google sent a message or hint "Did you know you can connect other social accounts like Flickr and Twitter to your Google Account? Learn how." But instead, I kept getting these creepy messages asking "Are you madamjujujive on Flickr" etc. and I had to waste my time trying to figure out how to disable that. To make matters worse, sometimes Google even suggested people/accounts that were not even me - wonder what would have happened if I claimed them?
posted by madamjujujive at 4:17 AM on January 24, 2012


madamjujujive: where do they hide the settings to disable this?
posted by rmd1023 at 5:12 AM on January 24, 2012


And how come Google never asks me if I'm funny?
posted by infini at 6:28 AM on January 24, 2012


Actually, in my case, it *was* Yahoo bugging me to integrate my Flickr account with other stuff that got me to drop Flickr, so apologies for the confusion.
posted by mediareport at 6:58 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks madamjujujive! I get it now. I thought it was trying to get you to "merge" your account, not claim it and/or link it to your g+ account.

mediareport, gotcha!
posted by ericost at 9:56 AM on January 24, 2012


There's an interesting analogy between Google+ in 2011 and Microsoft Internet Explorer in 1995. Both companies didn't understand a new technology, then they turned on a dime and embraced the new market. Microsoft ended up on the losing end of an anti-trust investigation. What's going to happen to Google? (Forgive the self link, but more detail on my blog).

I've been reading a lot of criticism from former Google employees about the new Search+ integration. It's mostly private, so I can't quote it here, but a lot of former insiders aren't happy about the new direction. That's got to be true internally too, I wonder how much internal stress there is.
posted by Nelson at 10:06 AM on January 24, 2012


ericost, I would maintain that it's a little more than just suggesting I claim my accounts since it is happening across identities. Presumably, these could be two separate accounts living at the same IP address, a husband and wife, for example. The contact lists have some similarities, but are largely different. Why is google asking work Julie if she is mjjj, and if she wants to be linked to mjjj accounts? Would they do the same with spouses who share a computer?

Plus, I find it chilling that I was sometimes asked if total strangers' accounts are mine. Could I click and claim their social accounts as mine in Google's eyes? I didn't try.

I also occasionally sign in to a business client's Google account to view adwords or analytics. I picture those clients being asked if they are madamjujujive, too!

I wasn't all that worried about privacy issues with Google until all this social media crap.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:27 AM on January 24, 2012


Yeah - this whole G+ thing is a clusterfuck that goes against the original/authentic geek character of Google. I had a few people on G+ when I was on there who were on the inside and they were totally against the real name policy. I bowed out of G+ due to the combo of shitty service (sorry, I still love my LJ, though it looks like they're gonna fuck us over this year to "get more US users") and poor UI/functionality. I was hoping it would be more like LJ w/personal blog posts, but so many people treated it as an FB/Twitter clone. Don't get me wrong, there were some great posts, but the UI itself never lent itself to a social network/blog platform like LJ... So those two factors led me to resign in disgust.

Anyways, it would not surprise me if the old guard Googlers are really disgusted w/Google right now. Maybe the geeks involved in coding the tech love it, but I have a feeling they see the direction and forced integration and attempt to dominate the market and force the users into a certain way feel that it goes against the whole "geek" spirit that I always perceived Google to embrace (Linux, etc...)

I seriously loathe Bradley Horowitz and that other guy who was also trying to tell us to just calm down, that we'd love it.

Fuck you guys. I can't believe that less than a year ago I was a staunch defender of Google but now I could give a rat's ass what happens to 'em. The only sad thing is that compared to a lot of other big tech companies, they're *still* doing better than them in terms of mostly being not-quite-as-evil, so I reluctantly support them even while opposing the stupid and idiotic moves they make. I guess I still have a soft spot in my heart because I do see them as the last large 'net company that still has a bit of that hacker ethos in it, but everytime I see something coming from them these days I see it slipping further and further away.
posted by symbioid at 10:27 AM on January 24, 2012


(Forgive the self link, but more detail on my blog).

"I have an interest in Twitter, a social media company."

You don't say?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:39 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


original/authentic geek character of Google

Isn't that just mythology? The whole point of Google was to create a dominant Internet search/data business. Why else would they even need a motto like "Don't be evil"? Didn't they come out of Kleiner Perkins? ... Hacker ethos? More like MBA ethos.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:46 PM on January 24, 2012


Google is now pulling some variation of the Facebook cookie shit - they've split all the cookies up for remembering to keep you logged into mail in about 6 cookies (I've been cleaning cookies 5 or 6 times a day for a bunch of reasons) and even though I keep the ones where I want to stay logged in (metafilter for eg) Firefox asks me every time if I want to remember it - doesn't show up automatically filled in like it used to just about a week ago.

They're getting "stickier" and I'm this close to doing what I did to Yahoo about 4 or 5 years ago - change the browser home page away to something bland.

All the while they've got my profile blocked and apparently now you need an ID proving the nym is yours.

Something to do with Ducks you say?
posted by infini at 12:56 PM on January 24, 2012


mediareport, gotcha!

Um, ok, I guess? Being stupid and misremembering Yahoo's pushy attempts to force me to integrate accounts as coming from Google, which is now doing the same thing? Sure. Ya got me. Sorry again for being stupid; I let me long-standing mistrust of Google color my memory.
posted by mediareport at 3:51 PM on January 24, 2012


This really deserves its own post to the blue, but Google announces privacy changes across products; users can’t opt out. From Google's blog post: " if you’re signed in, we may combine information you've provided from one service with information from other services".

it's not clear to me exactly how much of this is a change on Google's part and how much is just them clarifying current policy in response to FTC requests. Hopefully some good analysis is forthcoming.
posted by Nelson at 4:35 PM on January 24, 2012


Oops, my bad, this news does have a post on the blue.
posted by Nelson at 4:49 PM on January 24, 2012


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