free html hit counter More Google News - John Battelle's Search Blog

More Google News

By - April 04, 2007

First, they finally gave me a Google Desktop for the Mac. But I will be honest with you. I am not eager to have Google scan my desktop and organize my information. It’s not that I don’t trust the folks at Google, the people I know there are all high integrity and I’m convinced their values pretty much mirror my own. It’s that I don’t trust Google, the corporation. Am I alone? Or a paranoid freak?

And in the spirit of helping the web be more efficient, and therefore make more money for everyone (including Google), the company announced Website Optimizer.

Website Optimizer, Google’s free multivariate testing application, helps online marketers increase visitor conversion rates and overall visitor satisfaction by continually testing different combinations of site content (text and images). Rather than sitting in a room and arguing over what will work better, you can save time and eliminate the guesswork by simply letting your visitors tell you what works best.

Free multivariate testing

Website Optimizer is a self-service application designed to give marketers full control over testing. Not only does Website Optimizer – integrated into AdWords – test messages on all site traffic (not just AdWords traffic), but it also works alongside Google Analytics and all third party site analytics packages.

This one I think I’ll be testing!

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6 thoughts on “More Google News

  1. david says:

    why exactly don’t you trust them? what exactly would they do with this info?

    If you are paranoid about this I don’t understand how you can possibly use a credit card. that information is much more useful, bought and sold by many companies, and more susceptible to being used for fraud. Your fears seem misplaced.

  2. John, Thanks for the news on the desktop search. I’m a recent Mac convert and I miss the desktop search it’s better than spotlight.

    If you want to start using Website Optimizer may I recommend you take a look at the seven freebies we’re offering to support the Google launch at

  3. Dr. Pete says:

    If the claims about website optimizer are true, it’s a surprisingly advanced tool. I’m very eager to see it; even though it’s geared towards the marketing community, multivariate methods are also highly relevant to usability testing. I have a feeling there will also be a whole market for helping clients sort out how to use it, as it’s hard to do that kind of testing right, even with a decent tool.

  4. JG says:

    It’s not that I don’t trust the folks at Google, the people I know there are all high integrity and I’m convinced their values pretty much mirror my own. It’s that I don’t trust Google, the corporation. Am I alone? Or a paranoid freak?

    John, have you seen the film “The Corporation (2003)”? If not, I suggest you rent or buy it, and take the time to watch it. It is a fascinating exploration of the questions you are asking and the insecurities you are expressing.

    I am with you on this one. I have many friends and associates at Google. I trust these people and I respect their integrity. But as a whole, some of the things I have seen Google “the corporation” do really shock my sensibilities. How is it that the individuals in a corporation can be so upstanding, but that the corporation as a whole can behave so.. pathologically?

    Sometimes I wish I had studied organizational behavior, just so I could understand it all better. I don’t think it is just Google; there is no reason to single them out. I think it is related to the nature of the modern corporate structure. And I wish we all understood it better, because I think we all, even the folks inside Google, want to make the world a better place.

  5. mb says:

    John, I’m with you on the fear that big organizations, however well intentioned, will ultimately abuse the trust placed in them. Since your clickstream, search history, credit record, phone calls and emails all traverse corporate- or government-controlled networks, they’re vulnerable.

    But in the case of Google Desktop, this product sends no data to Google unless you specifically request it to. You can’t accidentally send your hard-disk contents, or even an index of your PC, to Google.

    From the Google Desktop Privacy FAQ:

    1. Does Google Desktop share the contents of my computer with anyone?

    No. Your Google Desktop index and copies of your files are currently stored only on your computer.

    2. What does Google Desktop do with the information on my computer?

    Google Desktop stores copies of the items it finds on your computer’s hard drive … Your Google Desktop index and copies are currently stored only on your computer …

    (Though that word “currently” makes it sound like it may not always be true!)

  6. franck says:

    you’re not a paranoid freak, i also did not want to keep on using google desktop; what the f***?
    they propose us to manage each document we have? who will they sell these data to?