Google has toned down the use of its much derided “do no evil” slogan; Schmidt and company, however, continue to fly their “organize the world’s information” flag.
Google has been rightly called to task for its disingenuous “do no evil” formula. As we embark on this changing of the seasons perhaps it is also time to change our tune on Google’s celebrated mission to make “universally accessible and useful" the world’s information they have “organized.”
Google has a knack for launching (hoped for) category killer applications directly aimed at usurping existing market leaders’ positions with its reassuring “we’re not a competitive threat, we complement each other” mantra.
Google downplays its blatant incursions into competitors’ territories, while promoting its encroachment on the information and content of others.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt was beaming at the company’s Q2 2006 earnings conference call in July; his unbridled confidence in the power of Google to virtually master the world was palpable over the Internet. Schmidt started the conference call by extolling:
not just from an information perspective, but also from a monetization perspective… We don't see any signs of approaching any limits to this vision. The opportunities before us really are unlimited at this point.
What is the unlimited opportunity Schmidt is targeting? Google believes it is in its power and in its right to be master of the world’s content and ruler of the world’s advertising. According to Schmidt:
we said we are in the search business, so we need all of the information. We want to partner with people to get information so our search end users can see it. We're also in the advertising business, and we'd like to provide advertising services to people who have their own proprietary content. So depending on where we are in that spectrum, we either do an advertising deal or a content deal or a hybrid deal. But ultimately our goal at Google is to have the strongest advertising network and all the world's information, that's part of our mission.
For Google, all the world’s information includes “all books in all languages.” Google aims to be the world’s single virtual depository for access to every single book in the world:
“Our ultimate goal is to work with publishers and libraries to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages that helps users discover new books and publishers discover new readers.”
How does Google plan on obtaining “all books in all languages”?
• Is it purchasing every single book in the world to compensate every single author in the world? • Is it paying not-for-profit libraries for the right to obtain the books they have paid publishers to acquire?
NO. In today’s Google world, it is the Google way, or the highway. What is the Google content acquisition way? Obtain content cost-free and exploit others’ content to Google’s financial advantage.
Google not only publicly states its goal of acquiring access to and ownership of literally every single book in the world, it also publicly states its objective of obtaining and archiving literally every single piece of individuals’ personal information in the world. Schmidt confirmed last month at the Search Engine Strategies conference:
If you think about it, all the world's information includes personal information. Personal information is held in online word processing, online spreadsheets, online calendar, online email. If we can unify those in a way that's new and make them shareable, which indeed we announced we're doing; we're delivering the first versions of those products now. You all can test it and see if you agree with it. We think it has a really big impact on end users.
Millions of tech savvy individuals use, and are clamoring to use, Google’s Gmail, a system which openly states it data mines personal email communications, and sells ads against the personal data. According to Google:
Gmail is an experiment in a new kind of webmail, built on the idea that you should never have to delete mail…Use Google search to find the exact message you want, no matter when it was sent or received. Don't throw anything away. Over 2753.300749 megabytes (and counting) of free storage so you'll never need to delete another message.
While Google proudly proclaims it will never delete its users personal information, and asserts its right to commercially exploit such personal data, tech savvy Internet users willingly feed the Google personal data mining engine daily.
Is it a good thing for Google to be the master of all our information and of all the world's content?