Monday, August 1, 2011

Note to Google: Here's what I think about you




For the past couple of days, phone researchers from Ipsos have been calling me. They want to know if I'll do a 20-minute phone survey in which they'll gather my thoughts and impressions about Google. Something about them wanting to survey "leading opinion formers." Calls the accuracy of their research into question, since I've been pretty busy in the past month or so writing more about Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools than online and digital stuff. I was so busy that, both times the Ipsos researchers called, I had to put them off because I was busy with a story. I've probably missed my chance to tell Google honchos what I think of them. So, I'll just tell you what I would have told them.


  • I'm liking Google+, but who has time for another social network? Keep integrating it with Gmail and search, and you might worm your way deeper into my digital life.

  • Yes, your search rocks. (But you already know that). A colleague cleaning up her desk the other day went, "Hey, I still have a phone book." I actually laughed. Now I look over at the least-used corner of my desk and see I still have one too -- from 2002.

  • The +1 button, your answer to Facebook's "like" button, isn't necessarily wowing me, especially when it comes to search. I'm so used to typing a search out and expecting the magic Google algorithm to produce the best results that I don't look to see if any of my friends are agreeing with the algorithm by +1-ing pages. Maybe +1 will gain more clout as Google+ pulls more socialization throughout Google's digital ecology.

  • Whatever happened with Google Hotpot, the Yelp-style business review project that was supposed to target some 40,000 Charlotte small businesses? Several business owners called me after this story saying they hadn't been able to get in touch with Google for follow-up. I've seen few Hotpot stickers in the windows of local businesses. Was this a success and you guys are just keeping it low-key, or did it flop?

  • And lastly, don't forget your own motto: "Don't Be Evil." It's hard for people not to fear the ambitions of a company whose market capitalization of nearly $200 billion dwarfs the gross domestic product of your average third-world nation. No matter how kind or humanitarian or noble you guys think you are, the rest of us will always have one eyebrow cocked, suspecting you secretly lust for world domination. (Might this sudden interest in what we think have anything to do with the growing interest of government regulators in your dominance of the search market?). Accept the fact that you don't get to be the quirky "good guys" anymore. Overcompensate. Give tons to charity. Launch a massive college scholarship program to train the next generation of digital engineers. Steer clear of anything that even remotely hints at privacy violations or unfairly stomping smaller competitors. And just realize even all that still won't be enough to ward off every attack. As Wilt Chamberlain so aptly put it: "Nobody roots for Goliath."
That's what I think, for what it's worth. What are you thinking of Google these days?





15 comments:

Wiley Coyote said...

I don't like Google, never have.

I don't like them telling me what I'm searching for.

Don't make me dig deeper than I should for information I want, versus what YOU want me to see.

I've also found I have more malware issues with Google than other search engines.

Anonymous said...

Oh Google! Has anyone ever stopped to consider the sort of dossier that Google could produce on any single gmail user? You have all my emails, so you're familiar with my family, friends and the medical issues they are encountering. You know which credit cards I have and when my statement is ready to be viewed. You keep trying to get my phone number (just in case I forget my password) because security questions aren't enough for you. You always want more.

To be fair, I've given a lot of the information to you. But maybe that's what I sacrificed for your inordinately large storage space (which I still have yet to use even 10% of).

But I'm smarter now googs. I don't click links in my email messages. I'll copy and paste, log out, then paste and go. I'm starting to route emails into another non-gmail email service.

And I'm posting anonymously, because I know you're out there. ;-)

Anonymous said...

No mention of the Google Music service? The free cloud that allows you to store 20,000 tracks, and GIVE YOU FREE MUSIC based off questions you answer? And the fact that you can stream that anywhere? I have 17,000 music files any and everywhere I go now...

Anonymous said...

Priceless, GOOGLE another liberal dominated co that has ties to Al Gore and they do this in classic do as I say and not as I do liberalism:

Google Inc. cut its taxes by $3.1 billion in the last three years using a technique that moves most of its foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands to Bermuda.

Google’s income shifting -- involving strategies known to lawyers as the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich” -- helped reduce its overseas tax rate to 2.4 percent, the lowest of the top five U.S. technology companies by market capitalization, according to regulatory filings in six countries.

“It’s remarkable that Google’s effective rate is that low,” said Martin A. Sullivan, a tax economist who formerly worked for the U.S. Treasury Department. “We know this company operates throughout the world mostly in high-tax countries where the average corporate rate is well over 20 percent.”

The U.S. corporate income-tax rate is 35 percent. In the U.K., Google’s second-biggest market by revenue, it’s 28 percent.

Google, the owner of the world’s most popular search engine, uses a strategy that has gained favor among such companies as Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. The method takes advantage of Irish tax law to legally shuttle profits into and out of subsidiaries there, largely escaping the country’s 12.5 percent income tax. (See an interactive graphic on Google’s tax strategy here.)

The earnings wind up in island havens that levy no corporate income taxes at all. Companies that use the Double Irish arrangement avoid taxes at home and abroad as the U.S. government struggles to close a projected $1.4 trillion budget gap and European Union countries face a collective projected deficit of 868 billion euros.

Anonymous said...

Google already knows what I'll name my first born

Anonymous said...

Censor much? So much for free speech, how google of you.

Eric Frazier said...

Anon 4:40 -- I didn't censor your comment, the spam filter decided to pick on you. Your comment's posted now (I'm presuming its the one about Google's overseas tax-sheltering tricks)

Anonymous said...

Don't be evil

Dwayne W said...

I have no angst against Google. I only hope they show me favor when its secret army begins rounding up dissenters.

Justin Rolfe said...

Google IS following your advice. They are the most privacy conscious people out there, because they know that any whiff of a privacy leak would be devastating.

If anyone is going to 'know the name of my first born', I'd rather it was google than most other cloud providers.

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i just cant agree with you more about google...

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