This article strikes me as another slow drumbeat on an issue that has to be both frustrating and impossible to own for Google. The headline: “Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent” implies ulterior motives and wrongdoing. In fact, it’s standard operating procedure for companies who run ad networks, and has been for a very long time. However, now that the guv’mint is involved, SOP is no longer AOK. The lede:
Several Internet and broadband companies have acknowledged using targeted-advertising technology without explicitly informing customers, according to letters released yesterday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
And Google, the leading online advertiser, stated that it has begun using Internet tracking technology that enables it to more precisely follow Web-surfing behavior across affiliated sites.
Or, put another way, Google bought DoubleClick, and DoubleClick uses tracking cookies. Yawn, right? Except….the rest of the world is catching on to the Database of Intentions, and the dialog as to what it means is just getting under way. The heat is being turned up, slowly but surely, and Google has to be careful to not be seen as the water in a boiling frog syndrome.
Here are the documents from the House Committee investigating online data practices.
Because Google Maps is not very good. At the real world. And while Google is trying to fix that by allowing map editing, I don’t sense Google will be very good at fostering and nurturing the kind of communities that will allow Maps to self correct.
Put another way, because Google is not very good at communities that self-correct into reasonable quality, and if it’s going to realize the vision it might (of turning the entire world into, well usable data) it’s going to have to get a lot better, a lot faster.
Allow me to explain. In the next post. I promise…
Old news, but I am still behind: A post from Yahoo on early apps from their BOSS platform. These four examples are not particularly amazing, but point to what might be done with some more time and development…
The New York Times mines a very old vein.
Watch out, it might yet surprise us…
One of the news items I missed while I was away was the launch of Google’s VC business. Not sure if anyone made the connection, but Google has already been in the VC biz, though in what might be called “very late stage”: They invested $1 billion in AOL back in 2005, mainly to protect the distribution that AOL provided Google (and keep it from going to Microsoft or Yahoo).
At the time, I suggested that Time Warner spin AOL out and let it go public on its own. Since then, Time Warner has managed to, well, pretty much bleed AOL out.
Yesterday, however, Google acknowledged that the investment, on its own merits, was not quite working out.
Way back when, Larry Page thought it would be a cool idea to know what sites were linking back to any particular page you might be on while browsing the Internet.
In order to scratch that itch, he had to build a graph of the web. That graph became BackRub. But the product never became anything. Instead, he and Sergey realized that the index they had created was an excellent search engine.
That engine became Google.
But….I still want BackRub.
Really, wouldn’t it be cool to know who was linking to any particular page you were on? Why isn’t anyone making this available as widget? Anyone know of anybody doing it?