Google. Too big to fail: or too big to regulate?

As an Internet user now for over twenty years, and a computer-literate man for ten years before that, I welcomed the true start of the Internet as we know it, with Netscape and Internet Explorer being the vehicles which commenced ‘access of the ordinary into the extraordinary’.  Dial-up connections were pathetically slow, but users got used to the slow download; but technology moved onwards, and a combination of ever faster processors and better connections and faster access made the spread of the Internet ever faster. Then came a newcomer, a company with a funny name, extracted, it was claimed, from the word or term googol, which is 10100, otherwise known as writing 10, and then zeroes until your arm gets tired. Commencing and launching their company ‘start-up’ literally in a garage, two computer geeks worked out the famous algorithms which searched for information faster than imagination could realise, and then place those searches ranked by earlier use, on the user’s screen: they called it Google, and so commenced the rise and rise of the world’s most popular search engine, and the company, behind it.

As with all growing companies, especially digitally-based ones, there was literally no horizon in view as they spread their activities. They took the basic idea of e-mail, known by PC users; and transformed it into free to use G-mail, used today by a large section of the computer-using public: they also took the idea of an online diary, hashed around a while, and came up with the idea of Blogger, an online every day web log. Google’s electronic empire went ever further, and, because it was now growing ever-more profitable through online advert sales: its industrial muscle grew ever larger. Google’s ethical stance was mirrored in their Company motto, ‘Don’t be evil’, and in the early years of growth, was seen to be effective for their ethical stance in withdrawing from the extremely-lucrative China market, because they would not bend to the authoritarian rules of that Communist Dictatorship. More of that particular stance later.

The two geniuses who started Google were the true “wunderkind”, and, when Google went public, their worth skyrocketed them into the billionaire status known only to a very select few. Google became the favourite of NASDAQ and NYSE, and, because no-one had ever seen anything like this pair, and the giant which they had spawned, no-one suspected that they were secret Left-leaning little dictators-in-waiting, with ambitions not only to dominate the world’s search-engine usage and results, according to their secret algorithms: but also to inflict their beliefs and politics upon an unsuspecting mountain of users, whether ultra-liberal, centrist, right-wing or whatever. The Google workforce, seemingly overwhelmingly liberal by viewpoint, were the perfect means by which to promote the ‘Google’ way of doing things, and no-one seemed to notice the unswerving behemoth which operated in the shadows; mainly because the outer ‘shell’ was massively used, subscribed to: and very, very profitable. Their Stock Exchange values kept rising, and even the odd blip, which occurred when the European Union fined Google $5 billion for its ‘Anti-trust’ operation of its world-beating Android on all mobile phones using that machine system. Seems the EU didn’t like the way the Android system pushed ‘Google’ search to be used in preference to any other search engine provider. Google paid the fine, and promised to be a ‘better buy’: possibly because the $5 billion was the equivalent of 16 (sixteen) days trading for that monstrous organisation.

Readers would have noted that I referred to China.

Google had set up shop in China four years before the breach, offering a version of its services that conformed to the government’s oppressive censorship policies. At the time, Google officials said they’d decided that the most ethical option was to offer some services—albeit restricted by China’s censors—to the enormous Chinese market, rather than leave millions of Internet users with limited access to information.

But the 2010 attacks prompted the company to reverse course. Instead of complying with government requests to filter its search results, Google directed all of its Chinese traffic to the uncensored Hong Kong version of its search engine, a move that left the company vulnerable to being completely shut down in China. Indeed, Google’s services became inaccessible to most Chinese users within months.

So Google pulled the plug on their China operations, stating they would not abide with the ‘Censorship’ imposed by the Communist Chinese. They kept mumbling on about ‘Freedom of Speech’, and ‘Values’; and we believed them!

But three things have occurred which puts an entirely new, and possibly sinister spin upon Google, and the operations of that corporate behemoth.

  • An ordinary Google employee wrote a damning review of Google corporate philosophies, and the approach to anyone who dissented from the Left-leaning ‘Groupthink’ encouraged by the management team. Google engineer James Damore was fired last August after he wrote a controversial memo arguing that Google had gone overboard in its efforts to promote diversity. He generated widespread outrage by suggesting that the under-representation of women at Google was a result of women’s lesser interest in software engineering—rather than discrimination within the technology sector.
  • Jack Poulson, a senior research scientist at Google, has quit the company in protest over the tech titan’s development of a censored search engine for China, claiming it represents a “forfeiture of our values.” According to the InterceptPoulson “raised concerns with his managers at Google after the Intercept revealed that the Internet giant was secretly developing a Chinese search app for Android devices.”  ‘After entering into discussions with his bosses, Poulson decided in mid-August that he could no longer work for Google. He tendered his resignation and his last day at the company was August 31,’ it was reported, adding that he is possibly one of FIVE employees to leave the company in protest.
  • An insider at Google downloaded a ‘Google TGIF Groupthink’ discussion, recorded just after the Trump election. It is pretty hard to listen to all the knee-jerks and sad stories, but some of the statements are worth repeating:-

Co-founder Sergey Brin can be heard comparing Trump supporters to fascists and extremists. Brin argues that like other extremists, Trump voters were motivated by “boredom,” which he says in the past led to fascism and communism.

VP for Global Affairs Kent Walker argues that supporters of populist causes like the Trump campaign are motivated by “fear, xenophobia, hatred, and a desire for answers that may or may not be there.”

CEO Sundar Pichai states that the company will develop machine learning and A.I. to combat what an employee described as “misinformation” shared by “low-information voters.”

(00:13:10) CFO Ruth Porat appears to break down in tears when discussing the election result. (00:15:20) Porat promises that Google will “use the great strength and resources and reach we have to continue to advance really important values.” (00:16:50) Stating “we all need a hug,” she then instructs the audience of Google employees to hug the person closest to them.

(01:01:15) A Google employee states: “speaking to white men, there’s an opportunity for you right now to understand your privilege” and urges employees to “go through the bias-busting training, read about privilege, read about the real history of oppression in our country.” He urges employees to “discuss the issues you are passionate about during Thanksgiving dinner and don’t back down and laugh it off when you hear the voice of oppression speak through metaphors.” Every executive on stage – the CEO, CFO, two VPs and the two Co-founders – applaud the employee.

‘Don’t be evil’, the old Corporate Logo, has long ago disappeared. And in its place?

Either the sub-liminal message:-

  • Don’t Get Caught

or

  • Don’t vote Republican; cos’ they’re all evil!

7 comments for “Google. Too big to fail: or too big to regulate?

  1. Errol
    September 15, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Google do censor posts. Try searching for android is rubbish. You won’t find much out there.

    Google answered the useless MPs very well: “you control tax law. If you want to change it, only you can. We’re just using it.”

    They didn’t like that one bit – because it was true and made them responsible. The solution is simple: scrap corporation tax.

  2. Auralay
    September 16, 2018 at 11:41 am

    I too remember dial-up internet from 1996. The web was so novel we were more patient. Also far simpler with fewer pictures and no video so pages loaded faster. Netscape had a button to turn off all graphics and only download text.
    I am more relaxed than you about Google. Their income depends on the inertia of the customer base. There are plenty of upstarts waiting, and users will gradually find alternatives which give search results they want rather than those deemed good for them. Then Google will improve or fade away.

  3. Dr Evil
    September 16, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Been on the net since 2004. Used Mosaic, then Netscape Navigator, then IE etc etc. Back to Mosaic aka Firefox now. I remember the old slow days. as a computer gamer online my ping sucked big time for years until I got double ISDN (which was a bit better) and so on until broad band and the top of the range BT speed I could get. Pity we don’t make BT do a South korea or be put up against a wall.

    Google I found by accident when it was very young. It wasn’t that great then. If I wanted stuff very quickly and with depth I used Web ferret. Brilliant search. Now I do use Goggle for mundane stuff, but Duck Duck Go has advantages.

  4. September 16, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Where’s the surprise Mike? Google simply dropped the “Don’t” from their old “Don’t be Evil” mantra in their chase for the almighty Yuan.

  5. September 17, 2018 at 2:14 am

    Google has morphed into primarily an automated advertising company and obviously an advertising company without the traditional costs of that business which is so profitable that they have to find ways of sinking the profits. They also play very fast and loose with other people’s intellectual property.

    Of those purported 80,000+ employees a fair proportion of them must be essentially superfluous to operations – coders are likely a tiny proportion of that number, infrastructure and operations people likewise. My experience is that they are damned hard to contact and one has to assume that they spend their days pleasuring themselves while the algorithms churn away and rack up astonishing profits.

    As they’ve seen their influence and reach grow they’ve succumbed to bubble think corporate hubris on a grand scale (on occasion ignoring internal research that contradicts managerial ideological prejudices).

    Following the toecurling debacles with content provider demonetisation on YouTube one has to suspect there are a lot of underemployed gits who are simply wallowing in tormenting “partners” + customers with their political correctness. Customers are I suspect treated with contempt and content providing partners seem to be regularly done over unless they’re very sharp indeed….

    The absolutely huge profits from advertising have distorted the company’s dynamics as the company has increased in size – and they have started deploying an array of sharp practices to protect the advertising revenue from the competition.

    They won’t fail I suspect – but they are up themselves in a way that will be familiar to anybody familiar with the demise of AT&T.

  6. September 17, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Been on the internet since the early 80’s (using teleprinters!), but the world wide web and HTML (the internet as most people know it) since the early 90’s. I still remember the original windows, although windows 2.0 was the first really useable one.

    I’ve seen the openness of the internet slowly close in as vested interests and governments finally understand the power of an open forum. The EU and their latest plan to effectively shut down the more professional and effective voices on social media and the internet at large is a very worrying one.

    Platform providers like Google, Facebook, YouTube and the like are not helping themselves. By censoring content, they then effectively become publishers and start to lose the “but we’re an unbiased platform provider” argument.

    The internet is in a state of flux at the moment. What will come out the other end is uncertain. Unfortunately most people will not care that their content is censored and manipulated.

    It will be a hard task to get efeective opposition to censorship.

  7. Pcar
    September 17, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    +1

    I’ve been on internet thru JANET since 80s too.

    Yep, they are now publishers and twitter describes itself as a “public square”.

    Time for Trump, FCC and Sleepy Sessions to invoke anti-trust laws, throw in some wire fraud too.

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