Monday, June 25, 2007

In Google We Trust

As the internets have progressed over the course of the last decade we have found ourselves depending on searching more and more, and who has been a better partner than that great friendly company Google.

My own Google journey began with simple searches, but that quickly escalated. I found that I could add Alerts to keep me up to date. Next came those oh so handy maps to get where I needed to go. Then I started using Google for more of my research by searching books and later even scholarly papers. Next thing you know the list started spiraling out of control, news, video, geography, pictures, blogs, shopping, scheduling, and the list goes on. Some have even gone so far as to create a Church of Google.

Google has it's fingers in almost every aspect of the user realm in the technological sphere of influence. But there was something missing until quite recently. Finally Google has decided to take up the mantle of secular power as well. With the new Google Public Policy blog you can hear the positions of our rising technological overlords in the the political arena.

In their own words:
"We hope this blog will serve as a resource for policymakers around the world -- including legislators, ministers, governors, city councilmembers, regulators, and the staffers who support them -- who are trying to enact sound government policies to foster free expression, promote economic growth, expand access to information, enable innovation, and protect consumers"(link)

Is anyone else a little frightened at this development? Not only do they have most of my information on my servers, but now they are making "recommendations" to my government about how I ought to be treated.

Google Save us!

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  • Addressing policy is nothing that other tech giants don't already do. There are some companies worth being scared of (if any companies are worth being scared of) but google ranks low in my book.

    They're still the ones setting the example and doing things right. They are addressing policy in a public forum, where all the world can see and using technology to do so.

    I'd much sooner trust a company that wants to give a public face to their efforts to influence policy than a company that tries to avoid all such public scrutiny.

    By Blogger Paul, at 7:04 PM, June 25, 2007  

  • IIRC, the First Amendment does say something about "freedom of speech", and of the press. To any inclined to argue that corporations have no share in these rights, regardless of their legal personhood, there is also that line about "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances".

    On a practical political level, the Microsoft antitrust case has taught tech companies that even if you ignore politics, this doesn't mean politics will ignore you. Microsoft has certainly learned _its_ lesson: Its Washington office is no longer primarily a sales office, and its payments of protection money (oops, I meant "campaign contributions") to both parties have skyrocketed over the past decade. Given that Microsoft is one of Google's chief competitors, I'd be surprised if the latter's political involvement is limited to blogging.

    By Blogger Avenging Sword, at 6:55 PM, June 28, 2007  

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