google watch

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gram swaraj
google watch

Is google getting too big? Too powerful?

How much do you rely on google, for email, discussion groups, video, etc?

google as big brother :

Quote:

It's not that we believe Google is evil. What we believe is that Google, Inc. is at a fork in the road, and they have some big decisions to make. This Google Watch site is trying to articulate and publicize the situation at Google, and encourage more scrutiny of their operations. By doing this, we hope to play a small part in maintaining the web as an information tool that is more useful for the masses, than it is for the elites.

That's why we and over 500 others nominated Google for a Big Brother award in 2003. The nine points we raised in connection with this nomination necessarily focused on privacy issues:

http://www.google-watch.org/

gram swaraj

Google distorts reality, Austrian study says. September 30, 2007

by Prof. Hermann Maurer, editor and co-author, 187-page study from Graz University, Austria.

Quote:
A research team...argues that Google is turning into a new version of George Orwell's "Big Brother" - creating unacceptable monopolies in many areas of the worldwide web...It is dangerous enough that single entity such as Google is dominant as a search engine, Maurer and his co-writers say, but the fact that Google is operating many other services and is probably colluding with still further players was "unacceptable". ..."Google is massively invading privacy," the study said with the company knowing more than any other organization about individuals and companies, but not bound by national data protection laws. ... the search engine could potentially turn into the world's largest detective agency, the Austrian researchers warned, using the data it was collecting from its users via its applications. Even if Google did not use that potential now, it might have to do so in the future in the interest of its shareholders...Most material written today was in some way based on Google and Wikipedia - and if those did not reflect reality, a distortion was possible, the researchers said, recalling biased contributions frequently placed on Wikipedia. ..."Google's open aim is to know everything there is to know on Earth," the researchers concluded. "It cannot be tolerated that a private company has that much power: it can extort, control, and dominate the world at will."

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gram swaraj

Creepy gmail

Quote:
Google's policies are essentially no different than the policies of Microsoft, Yahoo, Alexa and Amazon… It's amazing how a vague privacy policy, a minimalist browser interface, and an unconventional corporate culture have convinced so many that Google is different on issues that matter…Google uses the term "governmental request" three times on their terms-of-use page and once on their privacy page. Google's language means that all Gmail account holders have consented to allow Google to show any and all email in their Gmail accounts to any official from any government whatsoever, even when the request is informal or extralegal, at Google's sole discretion. Why should we send email to Gmail accounts under such draconian conditions?... …Google has not even formally stated in their privacy policy that they will not keep a list of keywords scanned from incoming email, and associate these with the incoming email address in their database. They've said that their advertisers won't get personally identifiable information from email, but that doesn't mean that Google won't keep this information for possible future use. Google has never been known to delete any of the data they've collected, since day one. For example, their cookie with the unique ID in it, which expires in 2038, has been tracking all of the search terms you've ever used while searching their main index….
 For more information (on the same page linked above)

Your cookie tastes better to Google with your email address

Thirty-one organizations urge Google to suspend Gmail

Privacy? Who cares about privacy?

Gmail and the privacy issue: a FAQ with more links

Mark Rasch: "Google's Gmail: spook heaven?"

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture

I don't use Gmail (though I do have a couple of dormant addresses I have registered but never give out to anyone). I also don't "Sign In" to Google, which would allow it to build a dossier on my web searches.

Google is a fantastic search tool that makes the internet much easier to use, but it is a real threat to privacy.

gram swaraj

This company may harm your Internet Google and its "safe browsing" database February 3, 2009

Quote:
On an issue as important as malware, the public interest demands that this information be shared openly, and evaluated openly by independent researchers. If Google disagrees with this notion, then it might be better if they discontinue their research. Their motives are suspicious. Why should they bother with all this research on harmful sites, when adding the option to disable JavaScript in the Chrome browser — an option that's always been in all other browsers — would probably do more for safe browsing in the long run than their entire database will ever do? 

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Sven Sven's picture

gram swaraj wrote:
 

How much do you rely on google, for email, discussion groups, video, etc?

I only use Google for web searches because it is a superior search engine.

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Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Ze

Google is also attempting to buy the past by taking control of the once-free web site that was digitizing vast numbers of old newspapers, formerly-Canadian paperofrecord.com. The large archive of history covering everything from the Toront Star to Yukon papers to Australian and Mexican dailies is no longer available for free. If google can't sell it, they'll buy it and take it offline. 

 http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/news/thread?tid=1c47e6d29331dc2c&h... 

NorthReport

I like the fact google is challenging microsoft because I thoroughly dislike microsoft. If google can put microsoft out of business I'll be a happy camper.

Go Google Go!

Sven Sven's picture

NorthReport wrote:

I like the fact google is challenging microsoft because I thoroughly dislike microsoft. If google can put microsoft out of business I'll be a happy camper.

Go Google Go!

I don't disagree with that.  Competition is fundamentally good.  And, to be able to effectively compete with Microsoft, a company needs to be large and powerful as well. 

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Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

gram swaraj

Sven wrote:
to be able to effectively compete with Microsoft, a company needs to be large and powerful as well.

so...does a corporation need to be unethical to compete with another unethical corporation?

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http://www.gandhiserve.org/information/questions_and_answers/faq7/faq7.html

gram swaraj

Reading the google watch site (linked above), it seems despite its hip ethical image, google inc. functions pretty much like any exploitative, cutthroat corporation. NorthReport, Sven, have you ever looked through David Korten's When Corporations Rule the World? Why must we rely on private corporations to provision so many of our wants and needs?

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http://www.gandhiserve.org/information/questions_and_answers/faq7/faq7.html

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Henry Porter: Google is just an amoral menace

Quote:
Google presents a far greater threat to the livelihood of individuals and the future of commercial institutions important to the community. One case emerged last week when a letter from Billy Bragg, Robin Gibb and other songwriters was published in the Times explaining that Google was playing very rough with those who appeared on its subsidiary, YouTube. When the Performing Rights Society demanded more money for music videos streamed from the website, Google reacted by refusing to pay the requested 0.22p per play and took down the videos of the artists concerned.

It does this with impunity because it is dominant worldwide and knows the songwriters have nowhere else to go. Google is the portal to a massive audience: you comply with its terms or feel the weight of its boot on your windpipe.

Despite the aura of heroic young enterprise that still miraculously attaches to the web, what we are seeing is a much older and toxic capitalist model - the classic monopoly that destroys industries and individual enterprise in its bid for ever greater profits. Despite its diversification, Google is in the final analysis a parasite that creates nothing, merely offering little aggregation, lists and the ordering of information generated by people who have invested their capital, skill and time. On the back of the labour of others it makes vast advertising revenues - in the final quarter of last year its revenues were $5.7bn, and it currently sits on a cash pile of $8.6bn. Its monopolistic tendencies took an extra twist this weekend with rumours that it may buy the micro-blogging site Twitter and its plans - contested by academics - to scan a vast library of books that are out of print but still in copyright.

One of the chief casualties of the web revolution is the newspaper business, which now finds itself laden with debt (not Google's fault) and having to give its content free to the search engine in order to survive. Newspapers can of course remove their content but then their own advertising revenues and profiles decline. In effect they are being held captive and tormented by their executioner, who has the gall to insist that the relationship is mutually beneficial. Were newspapers to combine to take on Google they would be almost certainly in breach of competition law.

 

gram swaraj

Creep mail: If you search google while logged into a gmail account, someone can know what you are looking for.

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http://www.gandhiserve.org/information/questions_and_answers/faq7/faq7.html

gram swaraj

I used to be able to find and watch the band Anti-flag's official video "One trillion dollars" on youtube no problem. It seems to have been removed. Is the content too honest, especially in the current financial climate?

Are licensing rights being used to control content?

see anti-flag's video "one trillion dollars" on myspace

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 http://www.gandhiserve.org/information/questions_and_answers/faq7/faq7.html

It's Me D

I only use google as a search engine and reading this I'm glad. However I have a hard time believing that my hotmail account is any better Undecided

Gram do you have any advice for avoiding these companies as much as possible? Whats a good alternative web-based email provider?

NorthReport

Google to limit free news access

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8389896.stm

Fotheringay-Phipps

Well, that was quick. From cheeky upstart to bloated monopolist in a few short years.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/28/opinion/28raff.html?_r=1

Ironic how much Google has become like Microsoft, using its size to crush rivals, releasing strategic rumours of new services to discourage competitors, and buying innovation as its in-house processes become increasingly sclerotic.

thorin_bane

Corporation nothing more needs be said. It's in their charter to earn profits at all costs. It is worse than slavery because slave owners were responsible for their slaves health and well being as it served their bottom line, corps aren't. Money is the only thing that matters. Not to offend cultures that were slaved, but at this point it is all cultures being enslaved to the wage(pitifully falling every year).

Remember right wing idiology states "you are responsible for yourself" so you can't just blame someone else, it obviously must be you.

gram swaraj

It's Me D wrote:

 

Gram do you have any advice for avoiding these companies as much as possible? Whats a good alternative web-based email provider?

I'm not expert on that, I was kinda hoping for answers to the same question from other babblers. Google books has to be watched too.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..for some time now google has been fostering a cozy relationship with the CIA. below is a link to democracy re: google. i use google for email, blog, photo, reader and search and now i want to end this relationship.

..question: where can i set up house for each of my needs that is left friendly? 

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/7/30/google_teams_up_with_cia_to

milo204

anyone been following the new google/cia program?  

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/7/30/google_teams_up_with_cia_to

how bout the google earth thing where they basically wiretapped all the wifi signals from houses they passed by, recording the data and saving it in massive databases?

(edit) sorry, i just repeated the above post.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Gmail Gets Dialed Up a Notch With New Calling Feature

Quote:
Google users can now make phone calls directly from their Gmail inbox, the company announced Wednesday.

The new feature is fully integrated into the Google Chat interface that’s already in Gmail, and users can search their Google contacts and make phone calls to those people the same way they can currently launch a chat session or a video chat session.

Pricing is cheap — calls to the U.S. and Canada are free, and PC-to-phone calls to dozens of countries around the world are only two cents per minute. If you’re routing Google Voice to your mobile phone, rates for calls to the United Kingdom, France, India, Spain and Mexico are all under 20 cents per minute.

“We went through a couple of exercises when figuring our how to price it,” says Google product manager for group communications Craig Walker. He says they wanted to make it competitive with other PC-to-phone technologies, like Skype.

 

 

Gmail Phone Calls Are All About Facebook, Not Skype

Quote:
The move has prompted some to speculate that Google is going after Skype, but the real target here isn’t a cheap telephony company — it’s Facebook.

While there’s no reason to limit this to Gmail users, Google is looking to cement both Gmail and Google accounts as central to web user’s experiences. That’s why Google didn’t release a standalone application today — which would have signaled an assault on Skype.

Instead the new service is intended to play to Google’s current successes, namely Android phones — which integrate closely with Gmail and Google Voice — as well as set the stage for Google’s rumored fall launch of a social networking service to compete with Facebook.

bravebeing

I wouldn't worry too much about Google - their previous transgressions like when they were doing their google maps and ended up with lots of personal information from people's computers and how they have colluded with the Chinese government by agreeing to censored searches has put a lot of people's backs up.

Like every great empire, Google will no doubt fall at some point, to be replaced by someone else, likewise with Facebook. The problem is, Pandora's box is open now. We will never get some kind of ethical search engine that does not seek to use our personal information and search preferences in order to earn themselves bucketloads of money. You cut off the head of Google and another one will grow, it will just be called something else.

Fidel

[url=http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/exclusive-google-cia/]Exclusive: Google, CIA Invest in ‘Future’ of Web Monitoring[/url]

Ignore the gobbledeguk. They intend to step-up their spying on the lives of Americans.

Sid_Vicious

Tips for safe searching using Google:

 

1) Make sure you're not logged-in to a Gmail account.

2) Clear your cookies

3) Don't use Google without a front-end. Use Scroogle instead: https://ssl.scroogle.org/

If you're not familiar with Scroogle, it's a service put up by a privacy-advocate, that acts as a front-end to Google. Scroogle takes your search request and forwards it to Google, stripping all the identifying information away from the request. As far as Google is concerned, all the requests are coming from Scroogle's IP addresses instead of yours. If you don't trust Scroogle, then use Tor to prevent Scroogle from learning your real IP address. Also, if you are using SSL (i.e. https://) your ISP won't be able to monitor your search activity either.

Using a combination of SSL, Scroogle and Tor is an excellent way of preventing anyone from building-up a profile on you, based on your search engine activity.

Sid Vicious

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Google and the Technocratic Conscience: Don't Be Evil

Quote:
For cyber-optimists and cyber-pessimists alike, the advent of Google marks off two very distinct periods in Internet history. The optimists remember the age before Google as chaotic, inefficient, and disorganized. Most search engines at the time had poor ethics (some made money by misrepresenting ads as search results) and terrible algorithms (some could not even find their parent companies online). All of that changed when two Stanford graduate students invented an ingenious way to rank Web pages based on how many other pages link to them. Other innovations spurred by Google—especially its novel platform for selling highly targeted ads—have created a new “ecosystem” (the optimists’ favorite buzzword) for producing and disseminating information. Thanks to Google, publishers of all stripes—from novice bloggers in New Delhi to media mandarins in New York—could cash in on their online popularity.

Cyber-pessimists see things quite differently. They wax nostalgic for the early days of the Web when discovery was random, and even fun. They complain that Google has destroyed the joy of serendipitous Web surfing, while its much-celebrated ecosystem is just a toxic wasteland of info-junk. Worse, it’s being constantly polluted by a contingent of “content farms” that produce trivial tidbits of information in order to receive a hefty advertising paycheck from the Googleplex. The skeptics charge that the company treats information as a commodity, trivializing the written word and seeking to turn access to knowledge into a dubious profit-center. Worst of all, Google’s sprawling technology may have created a digital panopticon, making privacy obsolete....

 

Ultimately, “Don’t Be Evil” makes as much sense as a corporate motto as it does as a motto of American foreign policy: it provides no answers to any of the important questions while giving those who embrace it an illusion of rectitude. Even Levy, for all his hagiographical celebration of Google’s prowess, acknowledges that the company has a “blind spot regarding the consequences” of its actions. That blind spot is entirely self-inflicted. It is very nice that Google employs someone whose job title is “in-house philosopher,” but in the absence of any real desire to practice philosophy such a position seems superfluous and vainglorious....

 

So far Google has not made much progress in acknowledging the political nature of its services, accepting that algorithms can be as flawed and biased as the coders writing them, or finding a way to help users report what Google got wrong without having to sue the giant. Occasionally, the individuals hurt by Google bring their grievances to the media (a New York Times story about a Brooklyn entrepreneur—who abused his customers so they would complain about his company on blogs and Internet forums and thus boost his search ranking—did help to change the algorithms); but this is not a sustainable way to resolve users’ problems with Google. Yes, there would always be concerns about the freedom of expression and the need to balance one’s quest for privacy with the speech rights of others; and Google would surely need to dedicate a lion’s share of resources to monitor such complaints. But simply refusing to open the Pandora’s box of information injustice that it has been causing—as Google has done to date—is no longer a tenable strategy for the company. It can’t get away by redirecting blame to its own algorithms forever.

 

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

The last couple of days when trying to watch programs on Real News Network I have been getting a google warning that it might contain malware.  

Does anyone have any idea what that is about?  Being somewhat paranoid of corporate control I can't help wondering if it is getting some sort of special treatment to reduce traffic on the site.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

I've often wondered about warnings like that on leftish websites.

It may be that the site has been the target of right-wing cyber-hackers who try to install malware that downloads onto your computer. It's quite plausible that the right would seek to create such mischief, and deter people from visiting the site.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.marketingvox.com/a-500m-settlement-isnt-the-end-of-googles-wo...'s advertising woes may just be beginning[/url]

This interesting article contains many links that point to evidence of possible fraud on the part of Google against its advertisers, as well as assistance to those advertisers in defrauding and misleading the public. The allegations involve "click fraud", "typosquatters", and "invisible ads".

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Who does Google think you are?

Apparently I like jazz, soccer and "women's interests." Ok.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

It doesn't work for me. Google keeps insisting I have not enabled cookies, when in fact I have.

Unionist

"No interest or demographic categories are associated with your ad preferences yet."

How bland I am.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..got an email from google a short while back that they will be intergrating all your accounts by spring. this includes getting info from your emails to "better serve your interests". i've been slowly divesting eveything google for a while now. plus the made me older than i am by 4 years. i can't forgive them for that.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

I don't much use my Google account and I don't use gmail.   And when I make use of my Google account I don't stay logged in so as to limit their ability to track my movements around the net.

Mind you FB tracks your movements even when you are logged out.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.polecon.net/2012/02/i-fought-google-and-google-won-genesis.ht... Fought the Google, and the Google Won[/url]

jas

I was looking for this thread when I started this thread. (thanks for your reply, btw, fidel.)

As I state there, I was both intrigued and creeped by Google's 100% synchronization with my e-mail client.

Being late to gmail, I thought I'd give it a try when I cancelled my home internet last year. Then when I later signed up with Shaw, they would not give me an SMTP address, so I can't use Shaw as the server unless I use Shaw webmail. And I hate webmail. MTS last year moved to Windows Live as a server, and that was even worse.

Google makes it very easy to use with your computer's e-mail application. But I'm increasingly uncomfortable with it.

As to the question what the alternative is, you could actually just register your own domain and keep a cheap one-page website up, using your domain for an email address. There is a Canadian company that offers e-mail hosting with your own domain. $30 - $35 a year.

Fidel

Google+ Hangouts On Air: broadcast your conversation to the world 

google wrote:
Today we're excited to launch Hangouts On Air to Google+ users worldwide. So if you have something to say-as an aspiring artist, a global celebrity, or a concerned citizen-you can now go live in front of a global audience. With just a few clicks, you'll be able to:
  • Broadcast publicly. By checking "Enable Hangouts On Air," you can broadcast your live hangout-from the Google+ stream, your YouTube channel or your website-to the entire world.
  • See how many viewers you've got. During your broadcast, you can look inside the hangout to see how many people are watching live.
  • Record and re-share. Once you're off the air, we'll upload a public recording to your YouTube channel, and to your original Google+ post. This way it's easy to share and discuss your broadcast after it's over.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Ugh! Just what we need: turn YouTube into a billion-member video chat forum.

Fidel

It's Joe Gobbels' dream come true. And I think the lapdog newz media have only themselves to blame for the average person thinking they can do better.

NorthReport

This does not look good for google nor for the people who use their search engine

 

Trust Us

 

http://www.fairsearch.org/trustnomore/?utm_source=pltco&utm_medium=&utm_...

2580

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

If you're looking for a search engine that doesn't track you or "bubble" your search results why not try the "DuckDuckGo" search engine

Quote:
DuckDuckGo does not collect or share personal information. That is our privacy policy in a nutshell.

The solution to most of the problems with the tech giants isn't usually that hard.   Just stop using them.  There are almost always non-evil or at least less evil alternatives to Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Facebook, Twitter etc.

 

 

NorthReport

Germany has just told its citizens to stop using Internet Explorer because it is too vulnerable to attacks

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

NorthReport wrote:

Germany has just told its citizens to stop using Internet Explorer because it is too vulnerable to attacks

Building a web browser into an operating system has got to be one of the stupidest software design decisions ever made.   But there are still websites...particularly government websites that are designed only to function properly with IE.   That's also stupid.

 

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

If you're looking for a de-Googlized version of Chrome, you can try the "Iron" browser from the German based company SR Ware.

 

jas

I notice I've had a frustrating time with just about every new Google product I've used recently. I find it takes far too long to figure simple things out in their new applications or in Chrome that, in the past, or with other brands, were intuitive because the tools and navigation are based on common sense. 

It's as if the new Google products have been designed by a non-human. They seem to require you to learn a whole new language (certainly iconic language) and navigation logic. It's really as if they don't want you having full control over the tools. Support documentation is sparse and cryptic (i.e., if you don't understand what they mean by the "such and such" button that you're supposed to find, tough luck), and finding third-party problem solving also seems oddly difficult, especially if you're trying to Google it, lol. Anybody else notice this?

jas
radiorahim radiorahim's picture

If you're looking for an alternative to searching with Google, you can try Duck Duck Go

This page explains what Google does

Duck Duck Go doesn't track your searches and neither do they "bubble" them.

You can add Duck Duck Go to Firefox here.

As for web browsers, there's no more reason to use Google Chrome than there was to use Microsoft Internet Explorer.   You have lots of choices.

NorthReport
mmphosis

The founder of WikiLeaks and the chairman of Google met to talk about the power of the Internet. What could go wrong?

Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems (newsweek.com)

Julian Assange wrote:
By all appearances, Google’s bosses genuinely believe in the civilizing power of enlightened multinational corporations, and they see this mission as continuous with the shaping of the world according to the better judgment of the “benevolent superpower.” They will tell you that open-mindedness is a virtue, but all perspectives that challenge the exceptionalist drive at the heart of American foreign policy will remain invisible to them. This is the impenetrable banality of “don’t be evil.” They believe that they are doing good. And that is a problem.

NorthReport

More than two thousand sign petition to stop Google censorship

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/08/22/goog-a22.html