Can Google organize 'world's information'?

Summary:Not only does Google's grandiose public-facing corporate slogan overreach, the company operates in a manner inconsistent with its supposed guiding principle.

The world’s leading search engine, and $142 billion market cap public corporation, Google, famously touts a vaunted mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”

The inherent problem with unrealizable objectives is that they are unattainable. Google is a study in contradictions, as I underscore in “Google: The Anti-Microsoft.”

Not only does Google’s grandiose public-facing corporate slogan overreach, the company operates in a manner inconsistent with its supposed guiding principle.

In “Why does Google trap user data?” I point out inconsistencies between Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s recent public statements regarding user data “portability” and Google’s user data retention policies:

If Schmidt is keen on letting “people move their data around,” why doesn’t he guarantee that Google users can move their data out of Google systems? Google does not make any assurances about any of its users being able to access any of their own data, correct it and/or delete it from Google systems.

Google’s Gmail user data retention policies are inconsistent with its Gmail operating principles, as I present in “Google Gmail: Privacy Policy vs. Help Center”:

Google’s 'Residual copies of deleted messages and accounts may take up to 60 days to be deleted from our active servers and may remain in our offline backup systems' pronouncement does not support its 'Unfortunately, we're unable to recover messages or Contact entries that have been deleted from your account.'

Google is not forthcoming with its Gmail users.

The world’s leading search engine was not forthcoming with the world last week in presenting with much fanfare “Google Year-End Zeitgeist Highlights Most Popular Search Queries.” The Google press release for its Zeitgeist 2006 claimed:

Social networking sites top the list this year's most searched queries

Google today announced its annual Zeitgeist, featuring lists and charts of the most popular and fastest-rising global search terms that people have typed into Google.com.

In “Google searchers vs. Yahoo searchers” I juxtapose Google Zeitgeist 2006 vs. Yahoo Buzz 2006.

Given that there is no overlap between the number one and number two search engines’ publicly reported “most searched queries,” I asked Google directly last week how they formulate and report the year –end Google Zeitgeist, as I present in Google Q & A on Google Zeitgeist: Exclusive.

Among my questions, I asked Google about Google Zeitgeist vs. Yahoo Buzz.

Q) There is no overlap between Google Zeigeist Top Ten 2006 and Yahoo Buzz Top Ten 2006, according to published data. Is Google surprised, given that users often perform the same searches at the two properties?

Google: We don't know that people perform the same searches at the two properties. Also, Google and Yahoo may employ different methods for estimating this information.

Google made a public statement yesterday on how it “estimates” the “year's most searched queries,” rather than report them, factually.

Google now on the “truth” behind Google Zeitgeist 2006:

We do not simply retrieve the most frequently-searched terms for the period -- the truth is, they don't change that much from year to year. This list would be predominated by very generic searches, such as "ebay", "dictionary", "yellow pages," "games," "maps" -- and of course, a number of X-rated keywords… our "what is" and "who is" lists are not necessarily the absolute most frequent searches, but rather those that best represent the passing year.

Perhaps Google should be more “truthful” from the get-go.

ALSO: Does Google play fair?

Topics: Google

About

A former ZDNet blogger, Donna Bogatin is the founder of online directional media properties VIPOffers.com and UrbanSavings.com. In addition to her own ventures, Donna has been advising companies on Web-based business development since 1997, when she created and led an "Internet For Entrepreneurs" workshop for the Small Business Administra... Full Bio

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