Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Too much googling

SFGate reports Googling someone -- a prospective job candidate, a teenage crush, your son's soccer coach -- is a commonplace ritual of modern life. But the search engine company evidently doesn't appreciate a taste of its own medicine. Google has blackballed online technology news service Cnet News.com for googling Eric Schmidt, CEO of the Mountain View company, and including some personal information about him in a story last month. Google told a Cnet editor that it will not speak with Cnet reporters until August 2006, according to Jai Singh, editor in chief of Cnet News.com in San Francisco.

This seems like pretty stupid behavior on the part of Google. I hope they wont retaliate on me, but I did find this story on Google News.
"We published a story that recounted how we found information on the (Google) CEO in a public forum using their service," Singh said. "They had issue with the fact that they felt it was private information and our point is it was public information obtained through public channels using Google search." Google declined to comment. Reporter Elinor Mills' Cnet article made the point that Google, the search engine used by more than half of U.S. Internet users, has much potential for privacy invasion, particularly through data it collects that is not available to the public, such as logs of Google searches. She illustrated the story with information that could readily be obtained by anyone with access to Google and the Internet: Schmidt's net worth, home neighborhood, attendance at Burning Man and enthusiasm for amateur piloting. "From what I understand, most of (Google's objection to the article) had to do with the anecdotal lead we used to illustrate the point that information could be obtained rather easily using Google search," Singh said. Media critic Ben Bagdikian said Google and other everyday digital technologies indeed raise privacy concerns, but he predicted that the ban against Cnet will not last. "No one can force one party to speak to another party," he wrote in an e-mail. "My guess is that for business reasons, and to respond to unkind words directed at Google, it will be hard for Google not to reply, at which point the whole messy fight will make both parties look so ridiculous in public that the general public will get bored and both parties will suffer in their businesses."
I agree with Ben. I can't imagine this lasting for a year.

No comments: