free html hit counter It's Unnerving | John Battelle's Search Blog

It's Unnerving

By - February 22, 2008

Tactic or honest response? Sergey on Microsoft:

“The Internet has evolved from open standards, having a diversity of companies,” Brin told The Associated Press after the event. “And when you start to have companies that control the operating system, control the browsers, they really tie up the top Web sites, and can be used to manipulate stuff in various ways. I think that’s unnerving.”

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  • Jack

    … “And when you start to have companies that control the operating system, control the browsers, they really tie up the top Web sites, and can be used to manipulate stuff in various ways. I think that’s unnerving.”

    So he thinks its unnerving when companies can control/ manipulate top web-sites?

    Well I thinks its scary/unfortunate that his company uses a black-box (page-rank et al) to tie up every web-site for approx. 60% of queries!?!

    Pot: “kettle == (#000000 || rgb(0,0,0)”

  • JG

    “And when you start to have companies that control the operating system, control the browsers, they really tie up the top Web sites, and can be used to manipulate stuff in various ways. I think that’s unnerving.”

    You mean like how there is now Google analytics tracking cookies on almost every non-Google-owned web page that I visit? And how if it’s not a Google tracking cookie, it is a soon-to-be-Google DoubleClick tracking cookie? And how Google then uses the information it gathers from those tracking cookies to “manipulate stuff”, i.e. change the ranking on SERPs and monitor my behavior to manipulate the ads shown inside of Gmail and such.

    Oh, and how when I accidentally type in a keyword to my URL bar in Firefox (instead of into the search bar), it doesn’t warn me or anything.. it automatically goes out and does a Google search? Without my permission? And I cannot for the life of me figure out how to turn that behavior off or switch it to another search engine? Is that what you mean by controlling the browsers?

    Or how about how the Google toolbar, which comes pre-installed with a new Dell computer. That toolbar scans the content of a web page, and adds links to keywords, where links did not exist before, doesn’t it? It even does this manipulation for “top Websites”, does it not? (At least it did the last time I looked into it. Someone let me know if this behaviour has changed..?)

    Yeah, it’s unnerving indeed, Mr. Brin.

  • Mark Murphy

    “You mean like how there is now Google analytics tracking cookies on almost every non-Google-owned web page that I visit? And how if it’s not a Google tracking cookie, it is a soon-to-be-Google DoubleClick tracking cookie? And how Google then uses the information it gathers from those tracking cookies to “manipulate stuff”, i.e. change the ranking on SERPs and monitor my behavior to manipulate the ads shown inside of Gmail and such.”

    Disable cookies in your browser. Or block Google’s cookies. Firefox has some built-in tools for this, and there are 28 extensions (addons.mozilla.org) to assist in cookie management.

    “Oh, and how when I accidentally type in a keyword to my URL bar in Firefox (instead of into the search bar), it doesn’t warn me or anything.. it automatically goes out and does a Google search? Without my permission? And I cannot for the life of me figure out how to turn that behavior off or switch it to another search engine? Is that what you mean by controlling the browsers?”

    Google does not own Mozilla. Please direct your complaints to the Mozilla Foundation.

    “Or how about how the Google toolbar, which comes pre-installed with a new Dell computer.”

    Add/Remove Programs is your friend. It might also go away if you decline the license agreement that appears on first boot, though that might just be for Google Desktop Search — I forget.

  • http://www.saran945.com saran

    laughing laughing…
    that’s honest response but Google talks about Open Standards?
    Open means not only making common agreement that enable communication.
    open means freedom
    open means transparency
    open means respect others
    open means maximum choice
    etc

    Are you following any of the above?
    Can user download ALL their data from Google cloud?
    Could Google publish their algorithm? How the organic works?
    Do users have wider choice when it comes to Search?
    Google, are you really serious about click fraud? It is going to reach 28% by end of 2009.
    Users are allowed to make comments in Google blogs?
    Why are you interested in DNA data?
    Are you not spying each and every company in the world?

    “they really tie up the top Web sites, and can be used to manipulate stuff in various ways”
    This is a true statement, we need lot of innovation and competition, if Google really worries then they should innovate, invest in R&D.

  • SR

    “… they really tie up the top Web sites, and can be used to manipulate stuff in various ways. I think that’s unnerving.”

    Yes, Mr. Brin. I couldn’t agree more. But, in case you haven’t noticed, you are describing exactly what your company has become. Your hypocrisy is, to borrow your word, unnerving.

  • JG

    Disable cookies in your browser. Or block Google’s cookies. Firefox has some built-in tools for this, and there are 28 extensions (addons.mozilla.org) to assist in cookie management.

    So what you are saying is that there are ways for the user to defeat this Google manipulation. So what? The fact that I have to modify my browser, the fact that it is possible to download additional software to plug up these Google cookie holes, doesn’t change the fact that those holes are there to begin with.

    That’s like saying it is ok for Windows to be a virus security nightmare… because you can always download antivirus software to plug up the holes. The existence of antivirus software doesn’t excuse Microsoft. Nor should the fact that I can plug Google holes excuse Google.

    Google does not own Mozilla. Please direct your complaints to the Mozilla Foundation.

    From TechCrunch: “The Mozilla Foundation (which shepherds the development of the Firefox browser) released its financial statements today for its 2006 fiscal year. Its revenues were $67 million, and 85 percent of that (or $57 million) came from the Google search box that comes as a default on every browser.”

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/23/google-continues-to-bankroll-mozilla/

    Ok, so Google doesn’t own Mozilla. But 85% of Mozilla’s revenue comes from Google. You don’t have to own something to control it. Or to tie it up, so that only your option and not a competitor’s is available.