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What Google Might Do to Be Really Evil/ Good  (View post)

Amit Patel [PersonRank 1]

Thursday, January 11, 2007
17 years ago6,044 views

History has taught us that efficiency not evilness is what we should be afraid of, especially when dealing with a “very polite, consensus-driven company”.

Such organizations may find it hard to distinguish “mistakes” from “wrongs”....

Steven Hodson [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Nice list Phillip.

It should provide fodder for more than a few bloggers – myself included

Elias Kai [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

If they were Good enough they will enhance information of any kind to be powered and trustworthy by people independently of their location, language and Internet accessibility.

Truth has to be revealed in all kind of formats, all languages by all supported medias, offline and online.

True information at the right moment far away from big Media News Corporations. Good enough to track all spammers of any kind.

Information is meant to be free Forever.

Nije [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

"Give free food to employees"

The food is free already silly. Watch the video from Frobes!

Randall [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

I think that was his point, that many of the things on the "good" list are already done. Frankly, it seems to me that very few of the things on the "evil" list have been done by comparison.

Jake's View [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

"Invite people to visit the Googleplex"

I hope they do!

Oliver (Webworkblogger) [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Great List, Philipp!

A few more ideas for the good:

make a really good translation service (my japanese is so bad)


sell precise information from one country to an opposing company (Taiwan to China)

I must say, the list of good things donw surpasses the bad things that google might have done. But the big problem with the bad list: nobody can check!

Best regards,

Oliver from Barcamp Nuernberg

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

(Nice to see you here Oliver!)

Matt Cutts [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

"Send out gifts to advertisers"

I'm curious about that one. You listed it as a shining example of good. That builds goodwill, but I'm not sure whether it's good. "Sending out gifts to bloggers" is something I'm even less sure about. That way lies Acer Ferrari laptops and all that.

Anyway, good list.

Jacob [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Uhmmm buddy?! You should stick to the facts instead of giving a huge list of hypothetical garbage. Google does share alot of it's ideas and source code. Google uses Linux to develop everything under the sun, and Linux is freely available with source code and all. Have you heard of "Google – Summer of Code"?

I leave it to you to decide why you make endless assumptions with no evidence. Thank god you are not a person with any responsibility. Do you have any pets? God, let's hope not.

imma [PersonRank 3]

17 years ago #

[put at-character here] Jacob
this was an article about hypothetical possibilites
None of them were stated as fact or assumed ;)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

> "Sending out gifts to bloggers" is something I'm even
> less sure about.

Yeah, I think that would border on evil – something along the lines of bribing reporters. Google did once send out gifts to bloggers, though – when they cancelled their Blogger Pro service and made Blogger free for everyone, those who previously signed up with Blogger Pro received a blue sweater. But that's different.

Garrett Wasny [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

You raise an excellent point about the capacity of Google, or any corporation for that matter, to do evil. While Google’s image is now all sunshine, rainbows and lavalamps, the world can be a mean and unpredictable place, and bad things can happen to even the most well-intentioned and morally righteous public companies, especially when there’s billions of dollars at stake. Google may not “do” evil per se, but the company could be unknowingly contaminated or attacked by evil forces which could result in negative consequences for Google users (if not the world in general). God forbid these situations ever materialize, but here’s some ways Google could be complicit, however unwittingly, to evil:

If information is power and Google has all (or most of) the information, that makes Google extraordinarily powerful, almost quasi-governmental. To use another cliché, if absolute power corrupts absolutely, Google might be somehow corrupted. Example: a rogue Google employee – say, a new employee who resents that his stock options are worth far less than other Google employees who joined the firm earlier – could access search, e-mail or document records. In the course of his research, he discovers compromising information about particular users. The rogue employee then anonymously approaches the users with this information and requests payment of some sort. If the user fails to comply, the rogue employee would leak or accidentally expose the information.

Google could be the victim of political or corporate espionage or sabotage. It’s not unreasonable to assume that numerous governments around the world (US? UK? Russia? China? Iran? Israel?) and leading multinationals already have spies or moles embedded undercover in Google. Some of the agents may be benign, but some may have agendas either bad or good depending on your perspective. Chinese agents, for example, could scan through Gmail and Google Docs and Spreadsheets to look for dissident activity. American agents could be looking for evidence of terrorist cells and operations.

Google could be victim of blackmail or extortion. Scenario: criminals threaten a Google employee and demand access to part or all of Google’s search or email records. As part of the deal, the Google employee must remain quiet, not alert police, and not even notify other Google workers. Part or all of Google’s search or document records could be exposed and only the victim and the criminals would know.

What if your Google search and email and online documents records were accidentally made public? That would be bad enough, but what if you discovered that the records had been deliberately altered to indicate that you conducted searches or collected information on subjects that you in fact did not? What if your records were accidentally or deliberately switched or merged with the search records of a known terrorist, pedophile or other criminal? Who’s to say what are your “real” search records or online documents?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

Some very interesting points you raise there.

Sorin [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Why Google? How 'bout Yahoo?
I think some of the things you are already in action on either one of the two giants.
For instance, I constantly receive emails from yahoo on my catch-all email addresses (unset emails that all bounce to a folder) congratulating me for my new messenger account.
How about AdSense sponsored search results? The word goes that analytics does examine the "satisfaction" of users clicking a specific link for a keyword. If I search for *^(*# and I find a relevant ad on the right and click on it, it's normal that the link is considered more relevant to the keyword that has been sought...
Think about it...

Mysterius [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

[put at-character here]Sorin: An "evil vs. good" comparison for Yahoo!, Microsoft, and other search companies would be very interesting. Not nearly as many of those floating around...

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