John Battelle links to a funny case where Pontiac told people to Google for “Pontiac” to find info on their cars, to prove from a supposedly unbiased source how good their cars are. Naturally, Mazda has bought AdWords on those searches. Nice.
This BlogSpot blog has been set up as an open letter to Google, telling the search company not to censor results anywhere in the world, not in China or anywhere else. It will keep collecting comments (291 so far) until it decides there are enough, and then send the whole thing to Google. Alexander, I think you can consider mine and Miel’s open letters as available to include in your group open letter.
Years ago, Sergey Brin and Larry Page started a simple project at Stanford. Years ago, Sergey and Larry decided to create a simple search engine company. Over the last two years, Sergey and Larry have become some of the richest men on the globe. And now, Sergey and Larry get something they never expected: accusations of aiding in censorship and human rights abuses.
The fact of the matter is, when Google agreed to launch its censored Google.cn, it wasn’t just providing the best possible internet search experience allowed under Chinese law. It was condoning the actions of the Chinese government in restricting access for its citizens, and connecting itself to the other crimes of that government.
Google has connected itself to the massacre in Tiananmen Square. Google is connecting itself to the way that government treats the Falun Gong and and the seperatist movement in Tibet. Google connects itself with the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and the millions of deaths it spawned. Google connects itself with Mao Zedong, with the torture and mistreatment of prisoners, with the killings of baby girls for families that want their one child to be a male.
Google is fighting back against the U.S. Department of Justice for a list of publicly available searches, but has it stood up once for those suffering in China!? Has it stood up once for the dead?
The worst part is, I can’t entirely blame their actions. I’m of the “allow, don’t do” model of controversial politics, one that says, “You can do something that is morally gray but legally allowed”. I can’t fathom the idea of a person wanting an abortion, but I firmly believe in a woman’s right to have one. I also feel that when you take an action like that, even though I allow your right to abort that child, you should feel ashamed to do so.
I believe Google has the right to censor its searches. That is the cost of doing business in China. But to cloak it in their typical PR-bullshit, to claim that it is in the best interests of Chinese users and not their bottom line, to not once acknowledge that this is the result of laws that should never be, that disgusts me. People have died for this, and how dare you ignore them.
There’s been talk of a boycott passed around, with some discussion on the term “Red Tuesday”, and I am completely on board. On that day, I will replace my Google ads with an image explaining exactly why. I hope enough people do this to affect Google’s bottom line. I hope enough people do it that it hits Google’s founders where it really hurts, in the stock price. I hope it sends a message that its better to stick by your guns and lose than to sell your soul and win.
The people of China deserve better.
I’m disappointed in what you did. You, of all companies, should have set the example of ‘how to be independent and neutral’. I never thought you would give in to the claims of governments to hide information. What is there left now to be trusted if even search is being manipulated? How can I be ever sure that what you display to me as a result for the queries I’ve entered is real, complete and fully objective? Whenever I have to do research on delicate matters, how can I ever be sure I get to read the real pros and cons?
Read the rest of this rather long letter on [Marketing Thoughts]
In New Delhi, Google’s Strategic Partner Development Manager Gautam Anand on Saturday announced that Google would soon be promoting books in Hindi and other Asian languages.
From [The Hindu]:
Speaking at a seminar on “Google and the Google Book Search Programme” organised at the ongoing New Delhi World Book Fair at Pragati Maidan, Mr. Anand said the Google book search, a free worldwide sales and marketing system of promoting books, had successfully enabled publishers in the United States and European countries to promote their books.
“It will now be available to Indian publishers as well as those based in China, Japan and Korea,” he added.
Read more on [The Hindu]
Ouch. This is biting.
Nancy Weil for IDG News Service reports on InfoWorld :
Google attorneys will square off against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) at a Feb. 27 hearing over the issue of providing the government with information about searches for pornography on the company’s site.
U.S. District Court Judge James Ware on Thursday set that hearing date in the case, which will be heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales filed a motion in that court to compel Google to comply with a subpoena for search records. The DOJ claims that it needs the records to bolster its argument that a federal law is more effective than filtering software when it comes to restricting access by children under the age of 18 to pornographic content on the Internet.
Google has refused to provide the records, which the government says it requires for its defense of a lawsuit brought in 1998 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenging the Child Online Protection Act, which is meant to keep minors from accessing Web sites with sexually explicit content.
Read more on [InfoWorld]
Payul reports Google is to lead industry opposition to new proposals from the European Commission to regulate online content.
The company, which last week said it would self-censor its Chinese search engine to appease the country’s government, objects to the commission’s proposals to extend regulations in the Television Without Frontiers directive (TWFD) to cover video content shown on the internet.
James Purnell, the minister for creative industries, has backed Google’s stance.
He said: “There is no benefit to the consumer that justifies this move. This increased scope could mean significant regulation of the internet and stifle the growth of new media services. That would raise prices for consumers and deprive them of potential new services.”
Read more on [Payul].
The San Francisco Chronicle wraps up some news in a funny quiz. Google is featured. All you have to do is pick the right answer. If you don’t know it, SFC says to Google for it.
1) Ever-saintly Google drew fire for what?
A. Turning over sampling of Web searches to fed terrorist hunters.
B. Paving over protected garter snake habitat for employee parking.
C. Bowing to Chinese censorship of Web search terms.
D. Providing links to al Qaeda Web site.
I say it’s ‘B’ or ‘D’.
Ask, formerly know with the extension ‘Jeeves’ today introduced the beta version of Ask Deutschland, the company’s most recent expansion in Europe. The beta search Web site is available now at www.ask.de.
Following the launch of Ask Espana in 2005, Ask Deutschland is the first in a number of European launches Ask Jeeves, Inc. plans for 2006. The Company plans to leverage the strength of its popular brand, its advanced technology, and partnerships with leading consumer media companies to grow share in emerging markets. […]
“As the German search market grows, we believe that Ask Deutschland will be among the top players in the industry,” said Malte Krueger, business development director, Ask Deutschland. “Backed by Ask Jeeves search technology, the new site will offer more of what Internet users are looking for, from finding information on news, weather and entertainment to browsing the best shopping and travel sites.”
Read more on [w3reports]
Goodies for the gamers amongst us :
How to use this tool:
The map utilizes the Google Maps API and therefore behaves just a like a Google Map. Clicking on the controls on the left side of the map will let you zoom in and out. Dragging the map around lets you scroll the map and view different areas. It’s that easy.
Use the menu to the right of the map to select resources and labels that you wish to display. Currently you can display herbs, ore, treasure, zone names, and city names. There are over 15,000 data points covering 69 resources with their exact map location in our database. The bottom of the menu provides quick links to popular locations in the game. Found a great area that you want to share with your friends? Go to the location on the map, click on the “Link to this Location” and then copy the URL. We are always looking to make the site better; so more features will be coming shortly. Soon instance locations and travel paths will be added to the map.
Check it out right here : http://mapwow.com/ - thanks [Ben]
From JenSense :
Formerly under the reporting tab, advanced reporting was split into two tabs - “Advanced Reports - Ad Performance” and “Advanced Reports - Search Performance”. Now, both are combined into a single “Advanced Reports” tab, where you can select between Ad and Search reports from a drop down menu without having to change screens.
AdSense has decided to celebrate Chinese New Year, and the Year of the Dog, with a dog doodle in the AdSense ad units.
JenSense has a picture up about it. Looks cute, but that’s about all there is to it.
It is worth noting that this new themed ad unit does NOT override a publisher’s chosen styling of an ad unit, something that made many publishers opt out of themed ad units when the Christmas themed ad units overrode a publishers chosen settings by adding a coordinating (to the doodles) border to the ad unit… something publishers complained caused a reduction in CTR rate. It appears that Google took that feedback into account with these new Chinese New Year ad units.
via [Besting AdWords]
I’ve been looking for a disclaimer on the Belgian site, to see if maybe they had changed it too regarding the fuzz about the change of mission on the dotcom. What I’ve found is an abandoned, starving website. Tune in and be amazed.
* The doodle page stopped listing items in june 2005. The birthday logo of Frank Lloyd Wright - 8th of June 2005 is the same one as the one from Leonardo Da Vinci on the 15th of April 2005. Don’t tell me you’ve got some monkeys working over there that never even check this page???
* Help : there’s no help disclaimer as on the dotcom. Help hasn’t been updated since 2003.
* press releases stopped in march 2005 (the only one for that year), no news in 2004, 2 press releases in 2003.
(not a word on their news service being available in Dutch as I’ve posted)
* The Zeitgeist in the sidebar is still for November 2005, listing items as Sinterklass, (which needs to be sinterklaas, the holy man that comes deliver toys on December 6th)
* The technology overview has a 2003 copyright on the bottom of the page.
* The business overview too.
* Point three of the funfacts says google crawls over 3 billion pages. Umm… technically it’s correct, but isn’t that an understatement?
* Point 7 of that same page talks about 1000 employees for Google. It’s much more by now, I presume.
CSS styles for the footer? Seems to me they edit it by hand.
* Press center : Google in the news… ends in 2003. Although the domain name is .be, all the urls are .nl (Netherlands) seems no one in Belgium has ever written about them.
* The statistics, apart from being from 2003, show stats for the Netherlands, although I live in Belgium.
Up to dateness : 5% , Localness: 0% Relevancy? None.
Compared to the dotcom, this is just pathetic!? What are the Belgian Googlers being paid for? Lame public relations? Give me this job and I’ll make it happen withing a week ! Hell, I could even do this in my 20% time ! This is the utter example of online decay. I’m actually surprised they dare to call it Google Belgium.
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