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Print 56 comment(s) - last by nafhan.. on Jul 26 at 10:16 AM


Google has begun banning users en masse from its social network, Google+, for using pseudonyms, or names with added punctuation. Google's response has been to point out that the rules are clearly state in the terms of service -- the only problem, is that those rules fly in the face of internet tradition, and most people don't read them in the first place.  (Source: icanhascheezburger)

+MuscleNerd, a famous iPhone hardware hacker, is among the banned users. His name doubly violates the TOS -- it has punctuation AND it's a pseudonym.  (Source: iPhone Dev Team/+MuscleNerd)

An ex Google engineer also had his account suspended.  (Source: Skud)

As did famous female open source proponent Limor Fried (she is in the rare minority to have her account reinstated, it should be noted).  (Source: Limor "Ladyada" Fried)

But PepsiCo JOBS is still alive and well. We don't know who this "PepsiCo" fellow is, but he sounds like a really entertaining chap.  (Source: Google+)
So much for being the more "open" network

Google Inc.'s (GOOG) campaign to create a more private social network has hit a bizarre roadblock courtesy of Google itself.  The company has begun suspending users from Google+ -- and much more -- for violating its "Terms of Service", which demand users use their real names.

I. What's In a Name?

Some services like Twitter allow celebrities like politicians or actors to "verify" their identity, so people can be confident that who they're speaking to is the real deal and not an imposter.  With Google+, Google takes this a step further, demanding everyone use their real name, and demanding evidence from its former employees and celebrities that they really are who they say they are.

While the idea of identity verification is fairly tried and true, Google's ban on everyday users employing pseduonyms has created a privacy identity crisis for the young service.  And the problem is compounded by baffling inconsistency: Google has reportedly cracked down on some high profile individuals, while sparing others who used nicknames.

Before we go further, let's stop to consider what Google+ is.  Google+ is a social network which uses various Google services like Gmail and Picassa to create a comprehensive set of services that is quite reminiscent of Facebook.  Like Facebook, Google+ employs a clean page look, unlike some competitors which allowed individuals to adopt more colorful, garish themes (here's looking at you MySpace/LiveJournal).

The service is currently in "field test" mode, but has gained over 20 million users.  While that's far short of Facebook's 750+ million active users, it's good enough to place it on a short list of the world's top social networks.

A key to Google+'s appeal is in the fact that it provides a slick interface to share information with custom groups of individuals ("Circles"), which it says (and many agree) provides superior privacy to "other social networks" (aka. Facebook).

But what if you wanted to hide your real name from some (or all) of your cyber-friends and acquaintances? (Note: these are often quite different from your real world friends.)

Google not only does not provide this option to you -- it is actively working to ban any user who tries to use a pseudonym.  It is unclear exactly how many users have been banned -- but it is quite widespread, and the ban list is growing.

II. Why Would You Want to Hide Your True Name?

At this point you may be wondering, what's the big deal?  Why would you want to hide your name?

Well, using a pseudonym has long provided a degree of anonymity -- both online and in the real world.  For example a number of high profile writers use a pen name, which is not a true name.  This manufactured title offers a degree of anonymity and protects the writers' privacy in their personal lives.

On the internet this privacy is often equally desirable.  For most people, if someone skilled wants badly enough to figure out your true identity, they can.  However, using a pseudonym on forums and elsewhere helps protect you from the garden variety cyber stalker, or their ilk.

Pseudonyms are also often used to provide color.  Hackers (both hardware/firmware and software) often adopt a pseudonym, which embodies their larger-than-life digital personality.  And offline, celebrities often do the exact same thing.

III. Tales of the Ban

So far a number of high profile individuals have been banned.  Among them are open-source diva Limor Fried "Ladyada" (aka. "Lady Ada") [source], who recently graced the cover of Wired Magazine, and "+MuscleNerd", a leading (legal) iPhone hardware hacker and member of famous "Dev Team" [source].

In Ladyada's case, at least her account was fully restored post-mortem -- apparently because of her celebrity.

Another high profile suspension has been that of former Google employee -- Kirrily "Skud" Robert.  Mr. Robert joined the banfest when he made the mistake of using his nickname "Skud" as part of his registered name, and had his account suspended last week.  Of course, Mr. Robert also happened to be a vocal critic of Google's hiring practices, so one wonders if that had anything to do with his violation being singled out for suspension.

Google's service department kindly emailed Mr. Robert:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting us with regard to the name in your Google
Profile. It looks like you have deleted your Google Profile, and thus we
are unable to take further action on your request for us to review the
name in your profile.

Sincerely,

Ricky

The Google Profiles Support Team

The only problem, writes Mr. Roberts, is, "I never deleted my account."  

Google is apparently taking its bannings to an extreme in many cases.  Madge Weinstein, a cult podcaster's pseudonym, writes, "[The supension] just happened to me- but they not only suspended gplus, but rather all google services incl gmail!"

Another user writes:

Dear Google, I would like to bring to your attention a few things before I disconnect permanently from all of your services.

On July 15 2011 you turned off my entire Google account. You had absolutely no reason to do this, despite your automated message telling me your system “perceived a violation.” I did not violate any Terms of Service, either Google’s or account specific ToS, and your refusal to provide me with any proof otherwise makes me absolutely certain of this. And I would like to bring to your attention how much damage your carelessness has done.

My Google account was tied to nearly every product Google has developed, meaning that I lost everything in those accounts as well. I was also in the process of consolidating everything into my one Google account. (…)

In other words, if a user opts to join Google+, they risk losing all of their services.  And even if they manage to convince Google to lovingly restore those services, there's word that the content within (e.g. your pictures in Picasa, your emails in Gmail) may be dead and gone -- purged forever from cyberspace.

To make matters worse, there are a deluge of corporate profiles that blatantly violate Google's terms of service, which Google is taking its sweet time to ban -- for example pages for Amazon.com, Inc.'s (AMZN) Amazon Prime service and a page for The Coca-Cola Comp. (KO).  While both of these pages were eventually removed, you can still find PepsiCo Jobs and Microsoft Office Expert online.

Mr. Robert, having been victimized by Google's draconian TOS rampage, has started a page to collect a list of users' who had banned accounts.  You can find that page here.

IV. Google's Response

Thus far Google seems to be holding firm.  "Infrastructure engineer" Gothwam S, writes:

Hi everyone,

We've seen some complaints regarding profile suspensions, and I want to let you know how to solve this problem. Typically this problem occurs when you edit your name in a way that we no longer accept. In these situations, you may find that your name requires review to confirm that it complies with our Community Standards:

When creating or updating your Google Profile, you may find that your entered name requires review to confirm that it complies with our Community Standards:

1) You’ll be prompted to request a review during the sign-up flow, this will lead to it being reviewed by our team.

2) After 24 hours, your profile will either be live or require further appeal.
3) To request further appeal, click on the link to our appeal form from your Google Profile. Here, you can provide additional information to support the claim that you are using a name in compliance with our policy.

4) Once you file the second appeal your profile will be handled via 1-to-1 communication with Google.

To ensure the success of your appeal, please make sure you are adhering to our Community Standards:

Those community standards are found here.  Those standards, as mentioned state that you must use your true first and last name.  Further, punctuation is prohibited.  So even if I created an account Jason Mick++, I'd likely be banned.  In other words, MuscleNerd's account was likely doubly in violation of Google's strict rules.

The issue here is that most users who sign up for sites, never carefully read the terms of service -- a  fact Google seems oblivious to. And while a link may be provided during the registration process, finding it post-mortem takes much more digging.

Between the lack of clarity in the registration process, the surprise crackdowns, inconsistent policing, sweeping deletions that span all of Google's services, and the post-suspension account purgings, Google is creating a bizarrely Orwellian atmosphere, in which everyday users have to live in constant fear that their online footprint could be deleted due to some "terms of service" violation.

The whole mess brings to mind Activision Blizzard, Inc.'s (ATVI) misguided efforts to make users use their real names in the forums to prevent trolling.  Fortunately, the company had the good sense to drop the effort after mass outcry -- common sense Google has thus far lacked.

The simple solution would be to dump Google+, but that would also be disappointing given that the new network does provide a number of privacy-geared features that Facebook doesn't.  Many users appear to be simply mobilizing to try to force Google into action.

Hopefully Google can fix this mess as soon as possible -- and hopefully it realizes that pointing users to the terms of service page post mortem is not a fix.


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Why are people acting surprised?
By SkullOne on 7/25/2011 10:40:43 AM , Rating: 5
We knew this was going to happen. Google even said originally that they would do this and WARNED people about having fake names in Google+. Outrage over something you knew was coming? Hell, I'm happy they're doing this. I don't want G+ to be like FB and allow something stupid like a persons cat asking to friend me to so I have to see "Sleeping on the back of the couch in the sun," every hour.

George Carlin was right, "People are f*cking stupid!"




RE: Why are people acting surprised?
By bah12 on 7/25/2011 10:56:34 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, the point of a social network is for you to connect with people that know YOU. Not people that know the alter-ego of you. FB/Myspace was a joke because of this very thing. Google+ has much better controls of your circles so there is no reason to hide your identity.

IMO people masquerading around as someone other than themselves ONLY hurts a social network. It should be a place for people that know you can find you. Allowing fake names takes away from what a social network should be, and really has no place unless you are up to no good.

There are a few exceptions that may benefit from a nick name, but IMO the pros of allowing them doesn't outweigh the cons of the people that will abuse it.


By cjohnson2136 on 7/25/2011 11:10:44 AM , Rating: 2
I would agree I think if they did it so the name on the account was Robert but displayed as Bob would be perfectly acceptable. But if you want to go around calling your +MuscleNerd then you need to just give it up.


RE: Why are people acting surprised?
By aharris02 on 7/25/2011 1:56:44 PM , Rating: 2
Sure, but the solution is not to ban or suspend accounts, and certainly not to disable or delete all of a user's Google services.

They should redirect users to a splash page that provides them an explanation of their reasoning & a chance change their profile name to their real name, or give them an option to disable their g+ access.

As a non-g+ user, this is absolutely going to ensure my invite email remains on the to-do list until they figure this thing out.


By SkullOne on 7/25/2011 2:15:55 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, all they did was suspend anything that the profile used. Things like GMail and Blogger still function correctly for anybody that had their G+ account suspended.

https://plus.google.com/109412257237874861202/post...

Google of course is in damage control at the moment as they should be since they did this is a piss poor way. However, what they are doing is not a bad thing.


By Some1ne on 7/26/2011 9:38:48 AM , Rating: 2
Interesting side-note; Facebook used to have a very similar policy, and any changes made to a user's name would not be applied until Facebook manually approved the change. The effect (and intent) was pretty much the same as in Google+.

I think that policy pretty much went out the window when Facebook rolled out their platform API however, as all of a sudden people needed developer/test accounts and it no longer made sense to try to force every account to have a "real" name.


RE: Why are people acting surprised?
By invidious on 7/25/2011 11:09:09 AM , Rating: 5
Social media is not serious businsess, stop being a snob about it.

The reason for "your friends making stupid accounts for their pets" is because your friends are stupid. It's not because facebook has failed to restrain their stupidity, that's not facebook's responsibility. The root of the problem is your choice to befriend morons. And the fact that you would actually accept the friend invite from the cat and complain here about getting status updates from the cat makes it clear that you are a moron too. George Carlin was definately right in your case.


RE: Why are people acting surprised?
By kaosstar on 7/25/2011 11:32:33 AM , Rating: 2
If Google+ wants to "restrain their stupidity" then more power to 'em I say. Having only real people on their network, as opposed to cats, inanimate objects, etc. makes their network look more adult in my eyes. According to you, that may make me a snob, but I've been called worse things, and I'm glad we snobs finally have a social network of our own.


By cmdrdredd on 7/25/2011 5:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If Google+ wants to "restrain their stupidity" then more power to 'em I say.


So much for your free speach rights eh? How long until it's like china and everything is filtered?

Seriously...you cannot have it both ways. Either you stifle free speach online or you allow people to be a-holes, or tards because they can. I'm not willing to give up my right to be an a-hole for some nonsense like "keeping fake friend requests off my page". I can press the ignore button in a fraction of a second then poof...problem solved. If that's too much trouble I don't know how you write a resume or business letter.


RE: Why are people acting surprised?
By SkullOne on 7/25/11, Rating: 0
RE: Why are people acting surprised?
By Mudhen6 on 7/25/2011 1:35:25 PM , Rating: 3
Clutter what up? Just don't accept the damn pet request. Then there is no clutter. To claim otherwise is spreading BS.

And if, hypothetically, you "have" to accept the pet request because you want to bang the pet's owner, then blame:

1) your own taste in women
2) your own lack of intelligence for not figuring out how to hide stuff on your Newsfeed (mouse-over offending post, close it, click "hide all activity from this user" at prompt)

...for the clutter.

Seriously, you're just making crap up.


RE: Why are people acting surprised?
By SkullOne on 7/25/2011 2:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
Do you people not have reading comprehension? I never accepted a pet request.

Yes, I can ignore the pet so I don't see 50 pet posts a day however, I shouldn't have to. This is a social network, not let's pretend you are a dog/cat/bird/fish/nutria network.

Is it just me or are the die hard Facebookers are really butt hurt about Google+ actually having better privacy controls, 20+ million users already, and being the fastest growing social network ever?


RE: Why are people acting surprised?
By ilostmypen on 7/25/2011 2:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
My biggest problem with facebook is all the game requests. I get fed up with deleting and blocking crap like;

Soandso has sent you an egg. . . come join them on farmville

I block that only to get;

come join them on cityville
come join them on farmcity
come join then on cityfarm
come join then on grapoiahr;ouiab;oh

No matter how much i block these things i keep getting new ones, and If I do play a game I end up getting bombarded with all sorts of requests.


By SkullOne on 7/25/2011 3:07:15 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah that got old. I simply have all games and apps disabled so I don't get a majority of that clutter crap. I still have to see it though on other people's walls though especially when they use those stupid automatic item grabbers like Gift Box+.


RE: Why are people acting surprised?
By mindless1 on 7/25/2011 3:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
You are wrong. If you don't accept the pet friend request (which it would be annoying to keep being distracted by when taken as a sum of all requests made instead of only that one request) you can still end up with clutter on your wall from someone ELSE having friended the (pet).

The flaw is that on YOUR wall you probably only want the actions of YOUR friends to be seen, not the actions of their friends too.

Mousing over and hiding activity over and over and over again is still clutter you have to respend time getting rid of.

How can you not see that we are entitled to not want to deal with this, that many people don't want to have to take ANY action to clean up someone else's mess?


RE: Why are people acting surprised?
By Mudhen6 on 7/25/2011 4:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
Question. Are all these people spamming your Newsfeed really your friends? People you actually talk to?

If no, block them from your Newsfeed. It's not "over-and-over," you just need to do it once.

If yes, stop complaining.


RE: Why are people acting surprised?
By mindless1 on 7/25/2011 7:47:00 PM , Rating: 2
I have a few dizzy silly but hot friends. I don't want to block them and I'm sorry it is so upsetting to you that we are suggesting ways to improve the site.


By Mudhen6 on 7/26/2011 3:09:10 AM , Rating: 4
Two things.

One, you're suggesting to ban fake names/profiles. Nobody here is trying to make Facebook better. I haven't seen any suggestion to "improve" Facebook other than shutting down the pet profiles of your ditzy/hot friends, which is what you want. Because it inconveniences your stalking.

Two, stop blaming Facebook for the fact that your friends are ditzy enough to have/are associated with pet profiles, but unfortunately hot enough for you to be interested in stalking their profiles.


By Mudhen6 on 7/26/2011 3:11:32 AM , Rating: 2
Furthermore, blocking your friends on your Newsfeed does not equal blocking your friend (e.g. restricting them from interacting with or viewing your profile). A Newsfeed block is exactly that - they simply will not show up on your Newsfeed.

It's not a real block.


By cmdrdredd on 7/25/2011 5:14:40 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Social media not serious business? Talk to LinkedIn about that one or the 83+% of employers this past year that googled applicant names to weed out the idiots who post pictures of themselves doing a keg stand or hitting a beer bong.


Problem #1, anyone who takes the internet seriously needs their head examined. It has places for professional business and that'f fine but to generalize social media as being "serious business" is ridiculous...even more ridiculous than that picture of the cat banning you for changing your name to be anonymous.

Problem #2, What I do on my time is my business as long as it is not illegal and does not interfere with my work. Keg stands are legal, smoking crack is not. So why is it a company's business to look at my page and determine whether or not what I do is right or not? This further illustrates the point that you need to have the ability to remain anonymous. Use a different name so people cannot spy on you. Especially if you were famous and just wanted to socialize with friends, you wouldn't want 1,000,000 people to find you and bug the crap out of you. You'd have one page where only your close friends know you by a nickname or a real name (not a stage or pen name). Why is that so bad?

Lets say I wrote the next hit song, the next Justin Beiber if you will *shudder*... Anyway, I am famous but I use a name that is not my own on stage. Why would it be bad to have a page using that name for fans and another fr my close friends and family using my real name that only a few people know? I don't see the problem...

On the other hand, people need to learn how to hide their information on facebook...you can actually block people from viewing it unless they are on your friend list or family. If you can't do that...yeah you deserve your boss to fire you for being stupid.


Heh
By bubbastrangelove on 7/25/2011 9:29:36 AM , Rating: 5
And Facebook breaths a big sigh of relief and sends Google a thank you basket in via singing courier




RE: Heh
By mackx on 7/25/2011 9:32:23 AM , Rating: 1
yep, this is a cluster fuck, the potential bad PR from this could put people off G+ for ages. hell, if i hadn't already signed up for it - this would make me wait and see.

anyhoo, off to back up all my gmail tonight i think. just in case


RE: Heh
By hughlle on 7/25/2011 9:41:58 AM , Rating: 2
I've always used my gmail account for professional and work purposes with my hotmail account for random shopping and forums and such. Not a chance in ehll i'd join up to google+ if suddenly i might lose all of my work stuff and also folk lose the ability to email me with regard to work. What a foolish foolish thing to do :D


RE: Heh
By Natch on 7/25/2011 2:02:47 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, though.....how difficult would it be, to sign up for a 2nd account, using a "real" sounding name, and then use that for Google+.

So how long before we see "Dixie Wrecked" on there?? ;)


RE: Heh
By lyeoh on 7/25/2011 2:50:52 PM , Rating: 2
Do you really think it's so easy to stop Google from eventually figuring out that your 2nd account is you? They have adverts all over the internet, they set unique cookies on your browser, they know what you search for, what videos you watch on youtube, etc.

BTW the invite system provides yet more info to Google.


Toons, I-Celebs, and Corporations, oh my...
By Daemyion on 7/25/2011 12:30:34 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder why Google would go out of it's way to ban internet personae. After all, there are a lot of cases, on the internet and off of it, where a person can have different aliases.

It'd be like Marilyn Monroe opening two profiles - a public Marilyn Monroe and a private Norma Jean Mortenson, and getting Marilyn Monroe banned for being a pseudonym.

I just hope they do it to someone famous enough, like a presidential candidate's campaign profile. The lulz...




RE: Toons, I-Celebs, and Corporations, oh my...
By jeepga on 7/25/2011 1:20:48 PM , Rating: 2
LOL. FAIL on Tony's canned response and Google+.


By jeepga on 7/25/2011 1:22:30 PM , Rating: 2
Somehow this got attached to the wrong response. It should have been on nafhan's response.


Much ado about nothing?
By jdonkey123 on 7/25/2011 3:08:11 PM , Rating: 2
This article seems to have some pretty trumped up and vague claims about the depth, scope, and seriousness of this issue. This pile of andecdotal complaints smells funny. If Google is conducting a specific enforcement initiative than why would it have 20 different ways in which your account could be affected by the same action? What's more, the complaints don't match Google's statement about this at all, so who's lying?

I'm guessing that many users' "click-angrily, then blog" approach is resulting in a host of I-D-10-T errors, which would explain the large variability in outcomes.

That said, Google needs to get ahead of this by clearly explaining its actions, intent, and demonstrating that its actions have a single, clear, and fair result.




RE: Much ado about nothing?
By ScotterQX6700 on 7/26/2011 9:52:23 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you for your discernment and clarity!


between two
By poi2 on 7/25/2011 11:24:30 AM , Rating: 2
To show to the masses the base difference between two social networks they wants.




Good Riddance
By bplewis24 on 7/25/2011 12:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
If I'm being honest, I am for whatever policy that keeps a person called "musclenerd" off the site.




Real name is small price to pay
By jdonkey123 on 7/25/2011 3:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
The vast majority of people will be kept more than busy enough with their real-world identity and social network that they have no need or interest in the capability to maintain a virtual social network based entirely on an pseudonym.

There will continue to be a market for and providers who will cater to that marginalized audience, but for the rest of us, we'd much prefer a social network which is swept clean of as many B.S. accounts and other intrusive clutter as possible. Check out my sexy video here... (if ya know what I mean ;)




Oh well...
By Subzero0000 on 7/25/2011 9:33:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In other words, if a user opts to join Google+, they risk losing all of their services. And even if they manage to convince Google to lovingly restore those services, there's word that the content within (e.g. your pictures in Picasa, your emails in Gmail) may be dead and gone -- purged forever from cyberspace.

so much for the wonderful cloud computing.




By Goi on 7/26/2011 1:43:54 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously, how hard is it to disallow users from even including punctuations in their user names?

Also, how hard is it to include a popup/check box that asks the user to confirm that what he has entered is indeed his legal name, along with the clause in the terms of service?

Lastly, why are other Google services being disabled when the "violation" is discovered?




Biased article
By ScotterQX6700 on 7/26/2011 9:58:58 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sad to see the bias all over this article.
I wonder how many of these cases of "people being taken advantage of" have been verified or even could be verified.

"No I didn't delete my account after receiving the warning letter from Google! They must have done it to me!" Sounds like typical victim mentality to me.

"I wanna keep using all their free products but not I don't wanna obey their rules! Bad mean Google!"

Seriously?




The cupped hand flexes
By Tony Swash on 7/25/11, Rating: -1
RE: The cupped hand flexes
By gorehound on 7/25/2011 9:39:32 AM , Rating: 2
i will just stick to facebook.it is doing for me what i need for my music bands and friends.
google+ is not needed in my home


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By theapparition on 7/25/2011 10:14:29 AM , Rating: 5
I have no illusions about Google. I know exactly what they are up to.

However, this may be your most ridiculously blind post, since you are quite the fan of Apple, who is legendary in thier grasp of thier consumer's "balls" as you put it. The only difference is Google wants control for free. Apple makes you pay.....a lot.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By sprockkets on 7/25/2011 11:16:07 AM , Rating: 2
Turning off of accounts, if true, does suck, but Tony is ignorant of the simple fact that google makes it easy to export all of your mail, contacts, etc out of their ecosystem whenever you want. Gmail is ad free via pop or imap, and they don't hide that fact in their FAQ.

Apple OTOH will try to tie you in and never let you go. It's been 4 years and still no way to officially unlock att iphones.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By Tony Swash on 7/25/2011 2:19:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Turning off of accounts, if true, does suck, but Tony is ignorant of the simple fact that google makes it easy to export all of your mail, contacts, etc out of their ecosystem whenever you want. Gmail is ad free via pop or imap, and they don't hide that fact in their FAQ.


Presumably exporting your gmail data is fairly easy after your account has been closed?


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By Tony Swash on 7/25/2011 2:42:21 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I have no illusions about Google. I know exactly what they are up to.

However, this may be your most ridiculously blind post, since you are quite the fan of Apple, who is legendary in thier grasp of thier consumer's "balls" as you put it. The only difference is Google wants control for free. Apple makes you pay.....a lot.


All companies want to ensure customer loyalty.

Apple locks you via iTunes, Microsoft locks you in via Office file formats, whatever.

But please - Google is not free. Google gives some stuff away for free but the stuff Google gives away is not their business products. You are Google's product. What Google's business does is collect data about you and then sell you to people wanting to buy targeted advertising. And that's it - that's the sum total of Google's business, that's what Google makes 95% plus of it's revenue from. Selling you. Google get's you, your data, records about your many decisions and actions by giving stuff away free, stuff which comes with built in data collectors, and then watching what you do and collecting data.

Google's free stuff is popular, heck it's free. Google's fear is stuff happening where they can't watch people and collect data. So Google uses its large income from its data mining and advertising business to create free version of products other people sell and then Google gives away those free versions (all with their data collectors built in) and in the process destroys other companies business models. But what the heck - it's free!

Sometimes Googles takes other people's property and repackages it and gives it away free which is why it will probably lose a string of court cases shortly. But that won't stop Google's primary business activity and modus operandi: collecting data and giving away free stuff so they can watch what you do and collect and then sell data.

Now all this may not worry you a jot. You may really like some of Google's free stuff, I do! I use their search (can't live without it) I use Gmail.

But what are we to make of world in which Google completes its aim which is to see everything and watch everyone? And what are we to make of dependency on something free like Gmail if one day Google can just announce you excommunicated and there is no one to call?

I don't know - I still use Google's free stuff whilst I think about this. I think it's worth thinking about and I sense that it's something to be concerned with. But I still use their free stuff.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By nafhan on 7/25/2011 3:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
You're singling out Google here, but your points apply to all companies that run advertising networks. This includes Apple (GASP!), MS, Facebook and a number of others. The only difference between Google and Apple customers in this respect is that Apple customers are paying for the "privilege" of having their information sold.

Also this is ridiculous:
quote:
that's the sum total of Google's business, that's what Google makes 95% plus of it's revenue from. Selling you.
This is very dramatic, but there's a huge difference between "selling you" and selling ads based on information they've gleaned by watching your browsing habits, etc. You make it sound like they're engaged in human trafficking.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By Tony Swash on 7/25/2011 4:16:17 PM , Rating: 1
quote:

You're singling out Google here, but your points apply to all companies that run advertising networks. This includes Apple (GASP!), MS, Facebook and a number of others. The only difference between Google and Apple customers in this respect is that Apple customers are paying for the "privilege" of having their information sold.

Well first of all Apple's ad business is tiny in terms of it's overall revenue where as for Google ad income represents pretty much all of Google's business. So collecting data on users like you (and me) is not just a core function for Google, it is the core function.

This leads to a key characteristic that shapes Google's response in many arenas. By definition any arena of activity on the internet anywhere that is not open to Google to data mine undermines it's business model. Google must have total access across all sources in order to sell their product to their customers (those who purchase ads) because as soon as Google is shut out of some significant part of the web and it's user data is significantly incomplete then it's value is reduced. Hence it's alarm at Facebook and it's decision to build it's own alternative and it's alarm at the rise of iOS and it decision to break it's alliance with Apple and clone the iPhone. I personally think that that last decision was possibly a profound strategic error but that's for another day.

It's interesting isn't it that Apple's prime bone of contention with publishers was not their 30% cut (which was similar to the cut others take) it was rather that Apple insists that end user subscribers via iOS should start with the default of not allowing their data to be shared with the publishers. Such user data is a big part of the publishers business and it is repackaged and sold on and hence the junk starts coming through your letter box. Publishers don't want the opt-out as default because they think most people won't opt in. And they are right.

Apple took this position not because they are saints but because their customer is you the consumer and not the publisher. Apple takes all the decisions it does in order to enhance the customers experience of it's products. Apple may do that in ways that others disagree with or in ways one may feel is erroneous but that is indeed their aim.

You (and I) are not a Google customer. I have never paid Google for a single thing and neither have you probably. My only existence in the Google business universe is as a data point to be mined and sold. Google doesn't want its data mining entities to be the best it just wants them to be popular, so as to mine the most data. So Google makes them free.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By erikstarcher on 7/25/2011 12:23:27 PM , Rating: 3
Sounds a lot like marriage.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By Tony Swash on 7/25/2011 2:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sounds a lot like marriage.


The best comment I have seen for a long time :)


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By nafhan on 7/25/2011 12:42:57 PM , Rating: 4
Do you have canned replies that you just paste into articles like this? The weird and kind of creepy wording reminded me of... something. So, I did a Google search and found you posting almost the exact same thing in January:
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=20636...


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By geddarkstorm on 7/25/2011 1:07:05 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, that makes his post even more slightly disturbing.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By torpor on 7/25/2011 1:23:29 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, he does c/p that stuff, in case someone ever wondered if he was on a marketing company payroll somewhere. So I'll c/p my response from before.

------snip------

Its amusing to watch.

Apple, a company utterly committed to protecting it's one significant source of income, which is the iTunes lynchpin, has convinced many, many naive people that it is somehow a great big cuddly uncle giving out lots of amazing goodies.

I like Apple's stuff, I use anything Steve Jobs caresses on stage. Who wouldn't?

Meanwhile slowly but surely the hand gently holding and caressing our balls tightens it's grip with the power of a FUD campaign. Occasionally, as with this episode with H264 support, that hand flexes and we feel instinctively our vulnerability and the power the hand holding our balls has.

But the goodies are so nice and Apple knows how to talk the talk and make us all feel loved and protected in Apple's "insanely great" grasp.

One day that hand will tighten and as we gasp in pain and remember how much we thought Apple thought different and how Apple was so committed to our "freedoms" we will feel a deep sense of shame and embarrassment.

How could we believe such crap?

How could we let someone get such a firm grasp on our balls?

You tell me.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By sprockkets on 7/25/2011 2:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, just get him to post his two page canned response about the stupid apple is dead crap.

Hey, guess what, Steve isn't immortal, therefore, he is dying, and isn't getting any healthier, therefore, apple is dying, and will be dead soon.

GFY Tony!


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By Tony Swash on 7/25/11, Rating: -1
RE: The cupped hand flexes
By nafhan on 7/25/2011 3:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
So... paragraphs of copied, meaningless and rambling, Apple worship getting down voted = people around here don't like original thought. Interesting.

You might want to get some independent verification about what constitutes "original thought".


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By Tony Swash on 7/25/2011 6:29:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You might want to get some independent verification about what constitutes "original thought".


Clearly anything that doesn't pass through your head would be a good place to start.


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By martin5000 on 7/26/2011 6:05:39 AM , Rating: 1
Making personal insults to a stranger on a comments page on a tech website? You are the coolest and cleverest person ever!!!!


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By nafhan on 7/26/2011 10:16:01 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
I'm not stupid! You're stupid!
Not a direct quote, but pretty close. You're old enough to get online by yourself, you can do better than that!


RE: The cupped hand flexes
By Reclaimer77 on 7/25/11, Rating: 0
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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