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March 9, 2005 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Man takes apart Google's cookie - Google bites man.
posted by iffley (84 comments total)

 
In the old Soviet era... they would have just airbrushed him out of the photo.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:53 PM on March 9, 2005


Hehehe - the phrase "whoops" springs to mind, as does the image of the Monty Python foot coming down to squish... :-)
posted by Chunder at 2:56 PM on March 9, 2005


Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence. Surely we haven't forgotten the Abu Ghraib image search controversy already?
posted by Galvatron at 3:00 PM on March 9, 2005


I wonder if Google would be willing to erase my old girlfriend.
posted by alms at 3:03 PM on March 9, 2005


He's right though. "greg duffy" is the first return on both yahoo and msn. It's nowhere to be found on Google.

It could be incompetence or malice; both are bad. I am genuinely hoping its the former, otherwise R. Mutt's comment is very apt.
posted by vacapinta at 3:06 PM on March 9, 2005


In Communist Russia, Google finds you.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:09 PM on March 9, 2005


Obviously, the right to be listed accurately on Google should be written into the constitution.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 3:21 PM on March 9, 2005


Obviously, the right to be listed accurately on Google should be written into the constitution.

Nobody is saying that. But if this is true, it does make a compelling argument as to why one company should not act as the sole gateway to the Internet.

Also, I don't find it ridiculous that as the Internet becomes more and more important, that access to it (yes, I know they're not blocking the site but they control the card catalog) should not be mediated by a private for-profit company. If we have a Library of Congress, then why not a government-sponsored search engine?
posted by vacapinta at 3:28 PM on March 9, 2005


Google, when ask for comments, said they were too busy doing evil at the moment.
posted by Mick at 3:30 PM on March 9, 2005


Whooooa, vaca, no way man.
posted by NickDouglas at 3:35 PM on March 9, 2005


Three words: lotta money involved
One evil: zealot level brand defence

You getting wiped outta internet by the prestigeous Google: priceless !
posted by elpapacito at 3:36 PM on March 9, 2005


Very, very bad decision by Google. They should be fixing their service, not trying to remove things from search results.

I agree 100% with Vacapinta. But it shouldn't be a Government entity, it should be a non-profit with a board of directors, and total transparancy. Many companies that depend on Google for a large part of their business would be glad to fund it, as would governments, etc.
posted by chaz at 3:38 PM on March 9, 2005


This reminds me of some story I heard about Wal-Mart selling a book entirely about how Wal-Mart is evil and destroying America.

Basically, it's good business sense to not give much attention to your detractors. However, the problem is that Google is an index of information unlike any other, and there's a certain level of trust involved. If Google were in any other business, this would be an excellent maneuver. However, their reputation and unique field means things like this happening can be very, very bad for Google.

This is a face-off between Google's desire to index information on a truly frightening level that governments would love to have and popularly demanded transparency. I'm worried here on a different level. If Google is able to track so much information with unique signatures and such heavy aggregate data, what companies or governments would want that data, and what would they do for it?

Google provides a lot of great services... but are we signing over a little more than we bargained for?
posted by Saydur at 3:49 PM on March 9, 2005


Well, what should he expect? Do you think google wants their algorithms released like this? Fuck'em.
posted by graventy at 3:49 PM on March 9, 2005


As long as you have an independent entity doing the searches for you, you're going to surrender some of your control over the searches to it. So Google shut out a page that was talking about something they'd rather not be public information - that's Google's prerogative. Maybe not good PR but its up to them.

Soon there won't need to be a Google.com... we already have Google apps, which you can search directly from. How long before independent apps (not web-based) which search multiple engines, sort the results, etc, all based on settings you choose? They're probably out there right now. The information is there, and eventually it will be within our power to access it without the help of companies like Google, who now wield a huge amount of power. To make decisions about regulating the internet before it is a mature creature would be hasty.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:51 PM on March 9, 2005


Isn't Google updating their indexes at the moment. I tried searching for Greg Duffy and all i got was a site selling tinfoil hats.
posted by seanyboy at 3:58 PM on March 9, 2005


I remember awhile back reading that Atrios was de-googled for a day. It may just be a blip in the matrix.
posted by jefbla at 4:04 PM on March 9, 2005


Technically, he's still there.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 4:04 PM on March 9, 2005


Btw, does this mean that "Greg Duffy" Googles himself at least once every day? Do people check their Google rating on a daily basis?
posted by R. Mutt at 4:04 PM on March 9, 2005


Google provides a lot of great services... but are we signing over a little more than we bargained for?
posted by Saydur at 3:49 PM PST on March 9 [!]


Thank you Saydur..

There ARE ways around things like this...
I, myself have not bought anything from a Wal*Mart in over 2 years.. Isn't Google the Wal*Mart of websites? Just like Home Depot is the Wal*Mart of wood (Owned by the same parent company...?)
Quit using the service of markets you question. It doesn't work with governments, but it does for some reason with dollars..
posted by Balisong at 4:08 PM on March 9, 2005


I've long maintained (on Slashdot) that it's just not prudent to trust any company, including Google. What I had especially in mind was Google's logging of searches, but blacklisting a site is as insidious.

Every time I've posted that to Slashdot, I'd get modded down as troll or a reply calling me a Chicken Little, telling "Google isn't evil".

And I agreed, Google isn't evil. Not now, anyway. But all that data means a lot of power, and even if all the people holding the data are always saints -- not too likely -- hackers and crackers and governments will inevitably want access and inevitably, throughout hook or crook, infiltration or legislation, get that access.

I wonder what the Google fanbois have to say now.
posted by orthogonality at 4:09 PM on March 9, 2005


I want a t-shirt and some pens.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:21 PM on March 9, 2005


Google is google is google, as a user you have the choice to use it or not, this is just another piece of information to put in the "not" category. Welcome to the democracy of the internet superhighway, enjoy your stay - here is your brochure:

Personally, I don't particularly care (AT ALL) that this dudes site has been "like totally, blacked out" by evil google's OWN site. I'm sure you'll be able to find him on another site like yahoo.com or icerocket or something...

Why the hell should I lose sleep over some 733t hackzors college boy who's given the finger to google and had the same done to him? They could have gone all lawsuit on him, but they didn't, they simply blocked him. Which they have every right to do because it's their site, which they paid for which they run, which they're doing so in their best interests. Google is not god, most detractors of google agree, but suddenly expect Google to be altrustic and "American Way" when somebody attacks it. Which somehow doesn't quite equate in anybody's logic set.

Around the world, people are getting killed and tortured everyday. Giant shifts in climatic change, man-made or not is happening around the world with huge repecussions for all living things on this stupid rock.

This shit is not even small fry... it's freakin microscopic plankton.

Get a goddam sense of priority.
posted by JGreyNemo at 4:32 PM on March 9, 2005


You know, the only thing that would really satisfy open-information advocates is some sort of decentralized search engine, the bittorrent of web crawling if you will.

you'd design your own ranking algorithm based on what you want to find, and anyone could create front ends to it. I have no idea how one would do that, but it seems that we'll continue to face these problems until something like that is in place.
posted by verb at 4:39 PM on March 9, 2005


Try googling for any phrase in the article greg duffy wrote.

Your search - "teh wrath of teh google." They have billions of dollars - did not match any documents. .

Unusual, no?
posted by dash_slot- at 4:42 PM on March 9, 2005


Around the world, people are getting killed and tortured everyday. Giant shifts in climatic change, man-made or not is happening around the world with huge repecussions for all living things on this stupid rock.

Yeah. Metafilter has threads about those too. Maybe you should try one. This thread happens to be about Google possibly blacklisting someone.

Get a goddam sense of priority.

Wow. Overdramatic much?
posted by eyeballkid at 4:45 PM on March 9, 2005


MSN finds it. Hmm, am I gonna have to start saying "just fuckin' MSN it"?

Hope not.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:46 PM on March 9, 2005


Why the hell should I lose sleep over some 733t hackzors college boy who's given the finger to google and had the same done to him? They could have gone all lawsuit on him, but they didn't, they simply blocked him.

JGreyNemo: Anyone can sue anyone else for anything they want. It's very unlikely that this guy broke any laws, in fact the DMCA explicetly gives you the right to discuss copyright workarounds, as long as your discussion dosn't compile and run out of the box. But by all means go ahead and bow down to your corporate masters, the bullwhip of the lopsided lawsuit cracking menacingly above your head. They do it because they love you.

Anyway, this isn't about wether or not Google has the legal right to do this, it's about wether or not Google should do this. And if they do anyway, should we continue to prase them as the second comming of jesus in corporate form, the greatest "Don't Be Evil" company EVAR. Should we continue to use their search engine even should we keep saying "google this, google that."

The answer, I think, is No.
posted by delmoi at 5:06 PM on March 9, 2005


Around the world, people are getting killed and tortured everyday. Giant shifts in climatic change, man-made or not is happening around the world with huge repecussions for all living things on this stupid rock.

And yet you take the time to read and comment on a thread about Google?! Shame on you!

...why not a government-sponsored search engine?

I really hope that was a joke.


If Google censored its results, then chances are they will do it again. If it does become a habit, then they will become just another search engine, instead of the uncontested leader.
posted by Bort at 5:08 PM on March 9, 2005


Bah. From Google's own site on Google Corporate Philosophy:
6. You can make money without doing evil.

See? Nothing to worry about.
posted by spazzm at 5:08 PM on March 9, 2005


MSN search has given me better results for technical queries lately. (Like java API function names, and such) Google will usualy return a forum page discussing it, while MSN will bring up the specification page.

Verb: I'd worry that a decentralized search system would be swamped by spammers.
posted by delmoi at 5:09 PM on March 9, 2005


...why not a government-sponsored search engine?

I really hope that was a joke.


I'll stand by my general intent in saying that although I do agree more with what chaz said.
posted by vacapinta at 5:20 PM on March 9, 2005


Let's face it -- Google is a private company. It can do what it wants, and its only duty is to look out for itself. That's just the way things work.

That being said, Google's not doing itself any favors by acting in this way. I for one don't think I would have read Duffy's story, if it weren't for Google taking those steps.
posted by clevershark at 5:32 PM on March 9, 2005


Ever since the IPO they seem to have taken a turn away from "make money without doing evil."
posted by caddis at 5:32 PM on March 9, 2005


Just out of interest, say I'm the Senior Executive in Charge of Evil at Google. I see this guy's site, and in my imperious and Machiavellian way, I decide I want to airbrush it from the internet. How exactly do I go about that? Can I just wave my hand, click my fingers or press a big "DELETE FROM WEB" button? How about all the people linking to that site, using that term - do they get canned too?

I know Google does blacklist various sites for a range of reasons - I was just wondering how easy it is for them to add a site to that list, and to keep it and references to it off the search results. There's a lot of people here who seem to be assuming that, because Google's such a behemoth, it's pretty easy for them to be Evil if they feel like it. Given the malice v. incompetence debate, it'd be interesting to know how accurate that perception is.
posted by flashboy at 5:44 PM on March 9, 2005


Why not just use Google for regular searches, and use something else for searching for Google-haters?
posted by graventy at 5:45 PM on March 9, 2005


Hmm. I just googled for "metafilter" and got nothing.
posted by jimfl at 5:48 PM on March 9, 2005


Ever since the IPO they seem to have taken a turn away from "make money without doing evil."
posted by caddis at 8:32 PM EST on March 9 [!]


The best you can hope for with any publicly held company is amorality. It can only go down from there. The shareholders demand that profits be maximized (whatever that means to them). If the company "does no evil," they only do so when they think it will maximize profits. If a CEO suggests "doing no evil" because it's good for humanity but at a harm to profits, he/she gets thrown out pronto. So, we the consumers always have to keep this in mind as it is part of the capitalist, free market system. "As you know, you get your search results from the search engine you have, not the search engine you might want or wish to have at a later time."
posted by a_day_late at 5:56 PM on March 9, 2005


Google isn't evil. Not now, anyway. But all that data means a lot of power, and even if all the people holding the data are always saints -- not too likely -- hackers and crackers and governments will inevitably want access and inevitably, throughout hook or crook, infiltration or legislation, get that access.

What do you want?

Information.

Whose side are you on?

That would be telling. We want information... Information... INFORMATION!

You won't get it!

By hook, or by crook... we will.

I am not a number. I am a free man!
posted by gd779 at 6:12 PM on March 9, 2005


" Hmm. I just googled for "metafilter" and got nothing."

Hey! You're right!

And did you know "gullible" is not in the dictionary?
posted by spazzm at 6:45 PM on March 9, 2005


The best you can hope for with any publicly held company is amorality.

Wrong!

A company can do very well by doing good. Google is a prime example. Of course their search results were among the best, but they attained cult status by rising above the fray. If they let their ethics slip, they will be staring MSN search straight in the face while at the same time flushing a tremendous amount of customer trust and goodwill. Acting responsibly builds strength for the long term. Selling your ethics short for a quick profit, is like taking a loan against customer goodwill. Eventually you become despised. You might become big and powerful enough that it matters not, like Microsoft, but eventually even the mighty fall. Acting ethically builds trust and customer goodwill which can be tapped during tough times.
posted by caddis at 6:47 PM on March 9, 2005


...why not a government-sponsored search engine?

I really hope that was a joke.

I'll stand by my general intent in saying that although I do agree more with what chaz said.


I just can't see how a government or non-profit run search site can compete with the features and advances a for-profit site would generate.

Now, if you are talking about something like the hardware being payed for by a group of corporations, and the software being done through an open-source initiative - then you would have something interesting...
posted by Bort at 7:46 PM on March 9, 2005


Here is an article about an open-source search engine in the works called Nutch. It looks interesting, though they unfortunately do not plan on hosting it in a non-profit way.
posted by Bort at 8:00 PM on March 9, 2005


They used to say, "The Internet interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it."

Wonder if it's still true?
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:30 PM on March 9, 2005


Here's a little tutorial i wrote on configuring firefox so it disposes the eternal google tracking cookie every session.
posted by skallas at 9:18 PM on March 9, 2005


So, any reporter bother to ask Google about this one? Let's hope it's a reporter with a brain and the ovaries to use it sharply.

Google-worship really does suck, you know. The fact that a private company sits at the heart of the current iteration of the 'net is such an obvious problem for any vision of an open future that it's astonishing anyone who professes to love the open source movement (let alone builds a project like the Creative Commons) would fail to see it. And yet many high-profile 'net personalities are among the last to acknowledge that the centralization of power Google represents is highly problematic. Cory of BoingBoing has been particularly quick to pooh-pooh critics who raise the point, if I recall correctly.

It's a bizarre form of blindness, y'all. Always has been and always will be. But trusting Google to do the right thing for the forseeable future is hardly a substitute for creating a truly open and vibrant internet.
posted by mediareport at 10:12 PM on March 9, 2005


*puts JGreyNemo on the list*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:21 PM on March 9, 2005


Anyone else try Googling "gregduffy.com"? Just like the Kuro5him thread says, you get a message, "Sorry, no information is available for the URL gregduffy.com." Here's a documentary screenshot.

I'm at a loss to understand why a site that's currently live (I just checked) is producing a Google result like that. I understand from past Google thread experience that the tinfoil hat accusations are on the way, but I'd love to see a sensible explanation (or two) for the above phenomenon in between the dismissive insults. Thanks.
posted by mediareport at 10:33 PM on March 9, 2005


Interestingly enough, if you put in: "greg duffy" google, you do get links to blogs which link to the hack and the hack is mentioned within the page description.

If they're trying to disappear him, they've done a bad job removing the links which are one or two hops away and they've left the descriptions intact, making his work quite easy to find.
posted by pandaharma at 11:56 PM on March 9, 2005


stop looking yourself up in google.... problem solved
posted by Satapher at 12:33 AM on March 10, 2005


Mediareport -

That's really odd and probably the best proof that this was intentional. The robots.txt on my site blocks all search engines, yet even searching for my URL doesn't produce the "Sorry, no information is available" message, it lists my website.
posted by exhilaration at 10:10 AM on March 10, 2005


This could lead to a new game of cat & mouse. Let's say you want to talk about Google, but want to avoid the use of the word "Google" because Google is clearly filtering on it. You could come up with an alternate spelling (or alternate code word that would MEAN "Google") but that will only remain effective until Google adds the code word or alternate spelling to its Watch List.

Any ideas?
posted by spock at 10:54 AM on March 10, 2005


i wonder if he could buy an adsense ad on the side...
posted by edmo at 10:54 AM on March 10, 2005


I just checked google and Greg Duffy's Hacking Google Print article is the number 1 result on a search for "Greg Duffy"
posted by Foaf at 11:45 AM on March 10, 2005


Indeed it is.

And check out this link that I got as an associated textad:

Is Greg duffy innocent?
posted by vacapinta at 11:48 AM on March 10, 2005


Cadis: A company can do very well by doing good. Google is a prime example.

This does not contradict my original point. Companies will do good when it's good for their bottom line. No conflict there. The conflict only arises when profit is at stake. Keep in mind that Google is only recently a publicly held company. Over time, the original founders lose power and interest in the company and the corporate types and board take over. That's when you see this phenomenon at it's peak. Also, note I wrote amoral, not immoral. Companies don't generally go out and try to do evil but if something is legal and it maximizes profit, the stockholders/board will demand it and it will be done. Justification will provided as needed. For example, we have to do it to be competitive because everybody else is doing it.
posted by a_day_late at 11:58 AM on March 10, 2005


that text advertisement just disappeared.
posted by edmo at 12:10 PM on March 10, 2005


that text advertisement just disappeared.

Most likely, he just used up his page impressions for the day.
posted by vacapinta at 12:13 PM on March 10, 2005


I talked to someone from our crawl group. Here's what he said:

"His site has been unreachable from time to time. The most common case appears to be failure to resolve DNS for his site. The last time we tried to crawl his homepage (and many other pages on his site) was on the 6th of March and were unable to get access on multiple tries. Since we are unable to get his homepage, we were unable to determine outgoing links and gradually lost coverage.

We have had the homepage in the index in the past (as recent as Feb 24th)."

So no need to pull out a conspiracy theory on this one.
posted by GoogleGuy at 12:28 PM on March 10, 2005


And check out this link that I got as an associated textad
That'll be me.
posted by seanyboy at 12:54 PM on March 10, 2005


uh huh... http://www.gregduffy.com/2005/03/10/1110478090008.html
posted by edmo at 12:54 PM on March 10, 2005


Jesus, people now think I'm some corporate lickin mofo.

Look kids, I like to think, (there's the problem right there...) that I'm neither part of the left or right circle-jerk that seems to divide the deep blue Meta. You may think otherwise, and you're absolutely entitled to your own opinion.

For people who are still really shaken up by this issue

Greg Duffy the world still cares

Starvos: Do I get a free gold plated bracelet for being on your list? If not... what is this list? And more importantly can I arrange to accrue more fabulous frequent flyer points by being on it?

Eyeball: Yes I'm being dramatic. Where would internet arguments be without the melodrama of a semi-anonymous handled-rant. Perhaps you dropped your brochure....
posted by JGreyNemo at 2:16 PM on March 10, 2005


So no need to pull out a conspiracy theory on this one.
posted by GoogleGuy at 8:28 PM GMT on March 10 [!]


That's what they told you,
posted by dash_slot- at 4:07 PM on March 10, 2005


no need to pull out a conspiracy theory on this one

...said the completely anonymous poster. LOL.

So anyway, now that Googleguy's shown himself to be a completely worthless source of information about anything to do with Google, here's an honest question:

Do you think any employees of Google have tried to use my MeFi user page to dig into my Google cookie history, in order to find out more about a person who's posting sharp criticism of the company's ridiculously unquestioned data-mining capabilities?

No, seriously. Honest question.
posted by mediareport at 8:51 PM on March 10, 2005


posted by GoogleGuy at 12:28 PM PST on March 10

You paid $5 to Matt for this?
posted by calwatch at 9:56 PM on March 10, 2005


GoogleGuy posted on K5 too. The one on K5 is legit. I have no idea about here, but considering it's more or less the same comment, I assume it's the same guy.

You may all remove the tin foil now. Especially you, mediareport.
posted by rusty at 4:05 AM on March 11, 2005


Especially you, mediareport.

Whatever, rusty. Be sure to read the comments from vacapinta, orthogonality and delmoi again. For the record, Greg stands by his response to the DNS claim:

My DNS is hosted professionally (and externally) by Affinity Internet and has successfully served over 10,000 visits in the past few days along with successful crawls from many search engines. My server's uptime is 243 days.

And no one, anonymous or not, replied to the simple question he asked GoogleGuy in the comments at his site: "But seriously, I'd like to know how you guys ended up with multiple DNS errors when everyone else got in just fine ..."

I'd honestly like to see your response to that, rusty. Bottom line so far is that the only person from Google who's been willing to go on the record and state that no action was taken against Greg's site is an anonymous poster who posted one message and avoided answering a simple direct question. Sorry, but that seems weird to me, even as Greg graciously tries to resolve the episode.

The fact that after the story spread Google started returning gregduffy.com again doesn't close the questions this incident has left hanging (cf. Greg's question above). It also doesn't diminish the spotlight this incident throws on the larger issue of the lack of accountability of a private company like Google to do something like shut out a site.

By the way, rusty, I'd like to ask how you know for sure (and you do seem sure) the GoogleGuy on K5 is legit? Seems to me he's a brand-new anonymous poster with a total of one comment at the site, just like he is here. Look, I believe GG probably works at Google, too, but if people from Google want to post at communal sites, claiming to speak for the company, doing it anonymously is just bullshit.
posted by mediareport at 5:43 AM on March 11, 2005


Kind of what mediareport said.

I don't think a tinfoil hat accusation is waranted. Greg seems to have a legitimate accusation. Many of us here were interested in following up on it in a reasonable manner. To do the opposite is to encourage people to just accept blindly that Google will "do no evil" which seems distasteful to me. Accountability is a good thing.

Also, I'll assume that when rusty says "legit" he means that (since he can check) the Googleguy's IP is from Google. Thats all well and good but the answer still doesn't quite fit with what Greg says about his own crawler logs.

So, the issue is moot now but I'm still glad that there are people willing to consider and discuss these things reasonably without either extreme accusations of "Google is evil" (I don't beleive that) or "tinfoil hat!" (which is an attempt to cut off conversation)
posted by vacapinta at 2:48 PM on March 12, 2005


Well, if we're talking conspiracy theories, here's an alternate one:Or not.
posted by boaz at 5:34 PM on March 12, 2005


Or not.

Why don't you ask him, boaz, and see what he says in response. I mean, if you're going to float an accusation like that, the least you can do is float his reply, too.

The *very* least, I'd say.
posted by mediareport at 10:22 PM on March 12, 2005


He says: "I wish people would put the conspiracy theories to rest." Sounds like a good idea to me.
posted by boaz at 9:20 AM on March 13, 2005


Uh, you didn't show him the accusation you posted here, boaz, which was what I asked you about. But now that you've changed your concern, I'll happily try to respond.

I think Greg's in an odd position and doesn't want to spread rumors. Fair enough. I also think his rather obvious overstatement of the questions some of us have been raising is a bit off-base. We've established that there remain unanswered questions about what really happened, and that the only word we have from Google about the episode has come secondhand from an anonymous person inside the company. That still leaves open, for just one example, the possibility that a Google employee or two might have acted to limit access to Greg's site without high-level authorization. I'm not saying it happened like that, just that there's plenty of middle ground between the "innocent if bizarre technical error" and "Mountain View Lair of Doom" scenarios. There's nothing unreasonable or conspiratorial about attempting to sort that one out.

And, of course, regardless of what we learn about Google and gregduffy.com, there are legitimate questions remaining about private companies' committment to truly open searching (what Greg calls "the general 'what if' of the issue" just after the sentence you quoted). Unless you're asserting that Google does not occasionally limit search results based on its own criteria, and that those kind of limits raise concerns about freedom of information on the net, I'm not sure what your point is.
posted by mediareport at 3:44 PM on March 13, 2005


...and that those kind of limits *do not* raise concerns about freedom of information on the net...
posted by mediareport at 3:44 PM on March 13, 2005


*sigh* I knew I should have included the sarcasm tags.

Anyway, consider these two interesting factoids straight from Mr. Duffy:
  1. The googlebot stopped spidering gregduffy.com on Feb. 28
  2. Greg Duffy posted his Google 'hacking' article on March 4.
Feel free to add 2 + 2 on your own, and inform me whether you also come up with 4. Knowing my luck, Google's precognitive search engine goes into beta right after I post this. ;)
posted by boaz at 4:13 PM on March 13, 2005


Yeah, I'd agree your sarcasm was crappily done. But your selective approach to facts is even worse.

1. The googlebot stopped spidering gregduffy.com on Feb. 28

But continued returning his site as the top result for "Greg Duffy" as late as March 7.

2. Greg Duffy posted his Google 'hacking' article on March 4.

But it wasn't posted at K5 - a site that almost certainly has a much bigger audience than Greg's own - until March 8. That night, Greg noticed that his site was no longer the top result for a search of his name. You still want to try dismissing the suspicions with your two carefully chosen "factoids"?

Give me a break, boaz. Like Greg, I've been careful from the beginning to say I don't have enough information to know for sure what went on, but your patronizing attempt at dismissiveness is laughable. For the record, Greg's skepticism continued *despite* the fact that he knew the spidering stopped on Feb 28. Hell, he wrote this *just below* the two factoids you cite:

Google is a corporation, and they of course have the right to remove whatever they want from their search results. I'm not sure if that is what happened, but the circumstancial evidence is building up with no response from them yet. Except for, ahem, 'GoogleGuy'.

Wait, boaz, there's more. The page you so selectively quote also notes that the googlebot "successfully crawled" gregduffy.com on Mar. 8, 9 and 10th. But at 1:33am on the 10th, Google was still telling the world, "Sorry, no information is available for the URL gregduffy.com." This at a time when many other search engines were crawling his site successfully and returning it first in searches. No sir, nothing to question there.

Whatever the outcome of this bizarre and intriguing episode, the larger issues it raises won't go away anytime soon. So, next time, boaz, try not to be so damn clumsy and patronizing when distorting and dismissing the Google skeptic argument. We'll all benefit.
posted by mediareport at 5:21 PM on March 13, 2005


The page you so selectively quote also notes that the googlebot "successfully crawled" gregduffy.com on Mar. 8, 9 and 10th. But at 1:33am on the 10th, Google was still telling the world, "Sorry, no information is available for the URL gregduffy.com."

Here's a quick test for you: Go look up Metafilter, a site that is certainly spidered every day, on Google and check out the cache; you'll find (if you hurry) that it's *gasp* from Friday (at 4:59 PM PST to be precise). Yes, that's right; it actually takes days for a spidered copy of even a popular site like MeFi to show up in Google searches.

The rest of your accusations "questions" are equally spurious, like 'questioning' whether Microsoft programmers corrupted someone's Windows XP install simply because it happened the day after he wrote about an MS hack (when it also happened, say, 8 days after his hard drive started making loud clicking noises ;) ). If you still can't figure out why Google's not jumping up to answer you officially, you really need to step back a bit. You know, like Mr. Duffy already has.
posted by boaz at 7:44 PM on March 13, 2005


Thanks for the spidering 101 lesson, but you're still ignoring the facts you can't explain, boaz. It may take three days for a spidered MeFi page to update in Google's cache, but we don't get "Sorry, no information is available for the URL metafilter.com" during that time. We're still waiting for an explanation of why Google wasn't returning Greg's site after a search for his name during a period when he says his server had no downtime and all the other major search engines were finding it just fine. I've been asking for a possible scenario to explain that - nonhysterically, thank you - for days. Instead of answering it, you sling snark and distort my argument. Fuck that. There's obviously more going on than the delay between spidering and showing up in search results, and asking these questions - while keeping the larger issues beyond this particular episode in view - hardly deserves the kind of dismissive scorn you're using here.

Anyway, while we're raising reasonable questions about [cough] the most ridiculously overhyped public company since Krispy Kreme, here's another one I've been wondering about that will probably get another tinfoil hat accusation from you:

Google's privacy policy states, "We do not rent or sell your personally identifying information to other companies or individuals, unless we have your consent." That same policy, of course, considers your computer's IP address to be "non-personally identifying information." Does this open a space for Google to legally share/trade/sell your computer's cookie history to others without notifying you? Is it possible Google is doing that already, without fanfare? Those histories are a data-mining gold mine, after all. I find myself wondering just how tough it is for data-miners to cross-reference enough IP addresses to individual users to create a brand-new, exceedingly valuable database.

Is it naive to think Google - now facing pressure to meet Wall Street earnings expectations - is completely ignoring that business opportunity?

Or is just asking the question akin to [sob] making "accusations" like a big meanie?
posted by mediareport at 11:14 PM on March 13, 2005


you're still ignoring the facts you can't explain, boaz

There are facts involved? I was not aware. All I see is someone making shit up and then putting question marks at the end so he can call it raising questions. Which is entertaining in a Rush Limbaugh-esque "It coulda happened" sorta way, but doesn't really tell us anything about Google one way or the other. Well, except that they have a stalker.
posted by boaz at 12:42 AM on March 14, 2005


There are facts involved?

Yeah, the absence of gregduffy.com from Google's results would qualify.

God, just once I'd like to have a conversation with you, boaz, that didn't degenerate into aggressive idiocy. Maybe next time.
posted by mediareport at 7:49 AM on March 14, 2005


I wonder if you are truly unaware of the irony of, in a thread you entered by accusing of blindness anyone who doesn't a priori agree that Google is a huge problem, turning around and complaining that it has degenerated into aggressive idiocy. It sure did, mediareport, the second you first posted.
posted by boaz at 3:36 PM on March 14, 2005


Yep, I've been aggressively idiotic throughout this entire thread. Ya got me.

Jesus, boaz, get a grip.
posted by mediareport at 7:52 PM on March 14, 2005


Wow, and I thought I did sarcasm poorly. You need a new hobby(-horse) bad.
posted by boaz at 8:14 PM on March 14, 2005


Aw, fuck. You gave me nothing there, man. Here I'm trying to keep the flirtatious tit-for-tat going, and here you're falling asleep on the job. Sharpen up, ya fucking galoot.
posted by mediareport at 8:37 PM on March 14, 2005


Sweet dreams to you too.
posted by boaz at 8:51 PM on March 14, 2005


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