"Daniel Brandt, who operates Google Watch, believes the problem is that Google has 'no awareness of (its) responsibility to the public sphere. Geeks rule, libertarianism is cool, and the only thing governments do is meddle and regulate. That's the way Google sees the world.'" Google's big. Google's the best at ...(Read more...)
"has no awareness of the problems..." - Oh my, then the laws to protect children from NAZI symbols and sex-pages which are in action a long time now in Germany and to which Google signed a contract to follow those laws, are nothing?
The problem of this well-intentioned act of self restriction is that google said it would follow the recommendations of the "Jugendschutz-Ministerium" (Bureau of Youth Protection) and delete pages that the department things are dangerous. However, the crux in this is not that it tries to block these pages, which is well inside their power as a private enterprise, but the connection with the government and that there is no list which shows the pages that are blocked or the reasons why. Such an agreement is a powerful tool in the hands of a socialist government, because don't let yourself be fooled, the internet = google.
So, in Germany we are already one step ahead in "protection and awareness of the public sphere!". I always liked the idea that the internet were for geeks, fans, stupids, intelligents and even crazy or mean people, because it was more real a "universe" than the political correct real-life...
Google is entrepreneurial but they--or at least the company's top policy setters--may not be so libertarian. E.g., compare the number of sponsored links that pop up when you plug "porn" into the Google search engine to the number when you plug in "guns" or "ammo." A libertarian outfit would not systematically refuse ads for the means of exercising one's self-defense rights. The point of the post may be true--there is that disturbing historical trend of the most successful companies become targets. Indeed, already Google has been threatened with legislation because of some features of its Gmail, a service which nobody has to sign up for who does not wish to.
Actually Google are not making a lot of money - not nearly enough to justify their position as the world's largest media company by stockmarket value. This crowd are larger than Time Warner, Disney and Viacom, with annual sales of just 3.2bn!! And all that revenue is solely from advertising...people like Brandt are the least of their worries.
Ha! If you read the Wired article, you'll actually find this tool half-rooting for Microsoft to destroy Google. I am sure that in the unlikely event this occurs, Daniel Brandt will found MicrosoftWatch, and more than likely ask "How did Microsoft get so powerful?" Bah! I think the term "asshole" is appropriate here.
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