The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, September 22, 2008

Google's idea of free speech
Tom Smith

Google has relented and will let anti-abortion groups advertise using "abortion" as a key word. Before, they only let pro-abortion groups do that. Why is Google changing its position? Because of a lawsuit.

Now do you see why I think it is a really bad idea to let them do a deal with Yahoo that will give them a 90 percent grip on advertising on the web? Think about a company that even starts out refusing to sell advertising for a political cause they don't like in the US, at the same time, mind you, that they do whatever the secret police in the People's Republic of China ask of them. And consider Google has said, or so I have read, that they want to be the gatekeeper of all information on the planet. One naturally thinks, they must mean by that something far less sinister than that sounds. Or rather, one hopes so.

As some readers of this blog will know, I know a bit about search technology and the search industry. I know there are a million ways search can be used to craft information, push and pull the user, and manage behavior. If Google is not managing its algorithm and advertising software to push its political vision and well as push users to websites that increase advertising revenue, I would be deeply shocked. It would be like a hundred naked teenagers trapped on a tropical island for month not discovering sex. Possible, but very unlikely, given the opportunities. BTW I fully expect an Obama DOJ would promptly stop looking into anything Google, perhaps on First Amendment grounds, as it would involve peering into the sacred precincts of the Googleplex, from whence many miracles of funding come.

They ought to call themselves "Gaggle".

AND read this very smart post, about why Google is against other people's intellectual property rights. Property is theft. Now hand over yours. Or how about -- Information wants to be free. It's only advertising that wants to be paid for.

| Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Google's idea of free speech
Tom Smith


Amen! I've been harping on this for some time, and the usual response I get from friends and acquaintances involves various calming phrases, with the words "paranoia" and "medications" mixed in.

I don't see how they can NOT do this, human nature being what it is.

What's worse is that society has formed a group conception of the googling process as a completely neutral, unbiased, "untouched by human hands" pure math equation instead of the completely subjective "what shall we decide is important today" vetting process that it really is.

Best evidence of this: think of how often we see various happenings or topics ranked in social importance, with the metric being "google A, and then google B; see how many more times B comes up than A." This can only be a valid method of comparison if the process itself is neutral. It's not, but everyone assumes it is.

Posted by: bobby b | Sep 22, 2008 7:02:46 PM

Here's to Google and its stockholders suffering intense, prolonged pain. Here's to a forward P/E of 9 and stock price of 200. The guys are walking proof that fascism is a phenomenon of the left.

Posted by: PD Quig | Sep 23, 2008 6:06:04 AM

The first tip off to the sinister workings inside the Googleplex can be found in Google's public offering documents, where they pledged to "Do no evil".

My experience has been that people who are actually "doing no evil" don't need to advertise that they won't do it, they just "do no evil" as a matter of living their lives. In fact, someone who says this kind of thing should not be trusted to do it.

Don't think for a second that the Googlers are any better than the Chinese Communist Party or any other power/money hungry entity. Consolidate and maintain absolute power. Use that power to collect as much money as possible and enforce your viewpoint on others -- by inclusion OR omission of information.

Posted by: Concerned Citizen | Sep 23, 2008 10:51:05 AM