free html hit counter June 2007 - Page 4 of 11 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Your Email Safer Today

By - June 20, 2007


Ed Felten reports on a case decided by Federal Courts today:

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday, in Warshak v. U.S., that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their email, so that the government needs a search warrant or similar process to access it. The Court’s decision was swayed by amicus briefs submitted by EFF and a group of law professors.


This is not a general ruling that warrants are required to access electronic records held by third parties. The Court’s reasoning depended on the particular attributes of email, and even on the way these particular ISPs handled email. If the ISP’s employees regularly looked at customer email in the ordinary course of business, or if there was a written agreement giving the ISP broad latitude to look at email, the Court might have found differently. Warshak had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his email, but you might not.

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Google And Politics

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Google has a new policy blog (check out last weekend’s NN post), and I love the opening line of this post:

This year we’ve invited all the presidential candidates to come visit Google…

I know they stole that plan from FM, of course. We’ve invited them all to come to Sausalito for sushi and a drink at the local dive. I wonder which invite they’ll accept…

Yahoo and MySpace

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I dunno. At first blush, it makes no sense to me (TC). If it happens, I hope they put someone in who can really lead….

Why give away 25% of your company to get something when you have a new CEO, an embattled image, and freaked out senior staff? It would smack of desperation, would it not? And I thought Murdoch viewed MySpace as critical to Newscorp’s future?

More Traveling

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I’m headed to Washington for a day to join the IAB, I am on the board there now. Let me know if you all have any issues the IAB might address….

More G Acquisitions in OfficeLand

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From the Google blog:

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve acquired the assets of Zenter, a company that provides software for creating online slide presentations.

You’ve heard us talk a lot about using the web to improve group collaboration and information sharing. These days, when you create a document — whether it’s a text document, a spreadsheet, or a presentation — you usually want to share it, collect feedback, or communicate about it in some way. We on the Google Docs & Spreadsheets team focus on making this experience easier and more powerful for you. In particular, we’re working to add presentation-sharing capabilities to Google Docs & Spreadsheets, and we’re excited about the addition of Zenter’s technology and team to that effort.

Fighting the Power?!

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Now really, Wired. I’m so proud of being part of the founding of this great brand, but honestly, guys, I’m not “fighting the power.” I’m asking a question.


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Marc is writing up a storm on startups. This post really resonated (why not to do a startup) and in particular, this passage:

You will flip rapidly from a day in which you are euphorically convinced you are going to own the world, to a day in which doom seems only weeks away and you feel completely ruined, and back again.

Over and over and over.

Oh man, yes.

Just Asking…

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I’ve found myself more and more wary of doing things that I’d like to do with Google applications simply out of some primal, lizard brain fear of giving too much control of my data to one source. It’s not that I don’t trust Google, it’s not that I don’t like the applications, it’s that I’m worried they might fall to some ill use, out of the control of the current brand as I’ve come to understand it today. Or perhaps it’s deeper than that – I simply can’t let too much of my online life run through any one control point, regardless of who it is.

Already, Google has my feed (through Feedburner), a portion of my business( through Doubleclick, which serves some of our ads at FM), most of my search history (I use Google more than any other engine), and another portion of my business (we use Google for backfill ads at FM). But yesterday I decided not to run Google Calendar for something business related, even though it would have been perfect for us, and earlier we decided to not run Google spreadsheets, because we didn’t want “Google” to have access to sensitive competitive information. I still use some Google services for other portions of the work I do – like planning conferences, for example.

But I have noticed that I’ve hit, perhaps, my “Google saturation point.”

How about all of you? Has this issue crossed your mind?

Update: Matt writes: given Google’s strict privacy policies, I wouldn’t worry about something like using Google Calendar or Gmail. I’ll check if someone at Google can talk a bit somewhere about the protections we have in place for data like that.

I would love to see the text applying directly to that, Matt. I recall the overall TOS for an account, but they include text like this:

11.1….By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

11.2 You agree that this licence includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.

And I recall Google’s privacy policy, which includes this:

# We may use personal information to provide the services you’ve requested, including services that display customized content and advertising.

# We may also use personal information for auditing, research and analysis to operate and improve Google technologies and services.

Well, that’s pretty broad, Matt. What if you use the data an entrepreneur gives you about his new startup, say through Analytics or Calendar, to make your competing service better?

FaceBook as the New Google

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Well, perhaps really, the new (anti) portal. Paul posts a portion of an email from an ex-Googler who left for Facebook.

A couple of months ago, after three years as a Google product manager, I decided to leave for Facebook. I am writing this note to spread Good News to all the friends I haven’t already overwhelmed with my enthusiasm: Facebook really is That company.

Which company? That one. That company that shows up once in a very long while — the Google of yesterday, the Microsoft of long ago. That company where large numbers of stunningly-brilliant people congregate and feed off each other’s genius. That company that’s doing with 60 engineers what teams of 600 can’t pull off. That company that’s on the cusp of Changing The World, that’s still small enough where each employee has a huge impact on the organization, where you think about working now and again, and where you know you’ll kick yourself in three years if you don’t jump on the bandwagon now, even after someone had told you that it was rolling toward the promised land. That company where everyone seems to be having the time of their life.

I’m serious. I have drunk from the kool-aid, and it is delicious.

The fellow goes on to ask folks to join him at Facebook.

We’ve all been thinking about Facebook a lot lately, and many of us have been using it, as it’s impossible not to thanks to the onslaught of industry folk who are giving it a whirl and inviting you in. It’s a slick application and the open approach to plugins is brilliant in its simplicity. But the real question, if the future of the site is as a next generation “anti-portal” is to address the question of how to appropriately integrate the conversation of marketing into the site.

That’s a question I’ve thought about a lot, as those of you with patience for my ramblings know. I’m looking forward to using Facebook more, as I figure the more I use it, the more ideas I might have to share here.