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And Google Knows…

By - September 08, 2008

….that what it knows is scary. Hence, this move. From the post on the Google Blog:



Today, we’re announcing a new logs retention policy: we’ll anonymize IP addresses on our server logs after 9 months. We’re significantly shortening our previous 18-month retention policy to address regulatory concerns and to take another step to improve privacy for our users.

And The Worm Slowly Turns

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If you don’t think this is keeping the folks up late at night over at Google, you’re wrong. And if they are NOT up late at night, sell your shares. From the Journal piece:

The Justice Department has quietly hired one of the nation’s best-known litigators, former Walt Disney Co. vice chairman Sanford Litvack, for a possible antitrust challenge to Google Inc.’s growing power in advertising.

Mr. Litvack’s hiring is the strongest signal yet that the U.S. is preparing to take court action against Google and its search-advertising deal with Yahoo Inc. The two companies combined would account for more than 80% of U.S. online-search ads.

Have you read John Heilemann’s excellent book on the impact of the Microsoft anti-trust deal on that company’s culture and business? It’s worth another look. Yeah, it’s called…Pride Before the Fall.

Link to Many

By - August 19, 2008

Tim brings up a very good point here. In short, he’s worried about the second click issue, write large (yep, I just linked to myself).

I’d like to put out two guidelines for anyone adopting this “link to myself” strategy:

1. Ensure that no more than 50% of the links on any page are to yourself. (Even this number may be too high.)

2. Ensure that the pages you create at those destinations are truly more valuable to your readers than any other external link you might provide.

The web is a great example of a system that works because most sites create more value than they capture. Maybe the tragedy of the commons in its future can be averted. Maybe not. It’s up to each of us.

Privacy: The Frog Boils, Slowly

By - August 12, 2008

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.

The kicker:

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.

Google-Viacom Suit Gets Interesting

By - July 04, 2008

The ruling yesterday on the merits of Viacom’s data requests is worthy of review. Ars has more here. I am preparing for a vacation and can’t elaborate, but trust me on this one…