Corporations and Hypocrisy: Inconvenient truths about Google
Mon, May 31, 10
Kontra genuinely loathes Google right down to the ground.
This, incredibly, is the same man who started his Google “evangelism” gig with the words “I hate it” referring to Apple and its App Store policies. In his new Corporations and Emotions post, he says I hate him essentially because I hate his employer, Google.
I know it’s a currently popular meme, but what’s with all this “hating” business? I neither hate Bray nor his employer. What I wrote speaks for itself, so I see no need to explain anything further, but just in case he’s not familiar with the history of this blog, though, I have covered and praised Google on many occasions in this space, on Twitter and elsewhere: Google shows Microsoft how to connect the dots, to cite one example.
Mine isn’t anthropomorphized corporate enmity. It’s simply exposing deliberate, pervasive and sustained hypocrisy. An example of a search and ad monopolist trying to misdirect public attention away from its own proprietary and opaque cashcows by an obsessive use of the “open” mantra. If Bray dismisses that as “hating” Google, so be it.
Bray is quick to reassure us about Google:
I can testify with some force that at Google there is a notable lack of conspiratorial intent to Do Bad Things With All That Data, but then you might choose to discount that testimony because of the logo on my paycheck.
For a high visibility person who gets paid specifically to promote his company to claim he doesn’t agree with major policies of his employer would be an unacceptable ruse. So let’s briefly consider, not Bray’s necessarily biased opinion of his employer, but public statements by notable Googlers. Because in the Googleplex alternate reality:
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, on CNBC never said: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
Google’s European competition counsel Julia Holtz never said: “If someone forced us to [disclose how our search advertising business works], it would destroy our product.”
Google SVP, Product Management Jonathan, Rosenberg, never said: “In many cases, most notably our search and ads products, opening up the code would not contribute to these goals and would actually hurt users. The search and advertising markets are already highly competitive with very low switching costs, so users and advertisers already have plenty of choice and are not locked in. Not to mention the fact that opening up these systems would allow people to ‘game’ our algorithms to manipulate search and ads quality rankings, reducing our quality for everyone.”
Google CEO Erich Schmidt, at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, never said: “Would you prefer someone else?…Is there a government that you would prefer to be in charge of this?” when asked why we should trust Google with all the data it collects on us.
Google CEO Erich Schmidt never blamed users for the Google Buzz privacy fiasco : “I would say that we did not understand how to communicate Google Buzz and its privacy…There was a lot of confusion when it came out on Tuesday, and people thought that somehow we were publishing their email addresses and private information, which was not true. I think it was our fault that we did not communicate that fact very well, but the important thing is that no really bad stuff happens in the sense that nobody’s personal information was disclosed.”
Google never denied and, when caught red handed, never admitted to snooping WiFi data either.
And so on.
Apparently, I “hate” Google since I criticized it, but obviously Google is not in the business of “hating” others like Apple because:
Google VP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra never raised the prospect of Apple as Big Brother: “If Google didn’t act, it faced a draconian future where one man, one phone, one carrier were our choice…That’s a future we don’t want.”
Google VP of Engineering and head of Android, Andy Rubin never compared Apple to a totalitarian regime:
“When they can’t have something, people do care. Look at the way politics work. I just don’t want to live in North Korea.”
And, of course, Tim Bray never started his career at Google by “hating” Apple, as his first public pronouncement.
Clearly, there’s no pattern of hypocrisy here. The problem is me, not Google. I’m “hiding behind [an] (albeit stylish) alias” and I’m an “anomaly,” as Bray puts it. Declaring opponents as being emotional, irrational fanboys, crippled by hate is a classic tactic of marginalization. Yes, it’s all my fault, I really should just let the Tim Brays, Andy Rubins and Vic Gundotras of this world convince everyone what’s good for Google is good for America.
P.S. I don’t work for Apple and never did, but a bit of gratuitous advice to Tim Bray by way of paraphrasing Steve Jobs: “For Google to win, it doesn’t need to demonize Apple.”