Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 1st Feb 2011 22:44 UTC, submitted by LouisBarman
Google The web is already aflame with Google's accusation that Bing is stealing its search results. Google created code to manually rank certain bogus search terms, and ten created mock web pages as the top search results for these bogus terms. It turned out that Bing would list the exact same mock web pages as its top search result for these bogus terms. Google is unhappy with it, but in all honesty - since when is it wrong to copy in the computer business?
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RE[3]: Priceless
by Tony Swash on Wed 2nd Feb 2011 15:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Priceless"
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

It might be spot on but this is just wrong:
"It generated controversy by driving trucks around the world to take photos of everything, connecting to WiFi base stations as it went to suck up random data it could use.


For that to be true, there should have been an intent to collect "random data". Uhm, I'm sure anyone with more than two neurons knows the odds of finding anything useful using that method. If I were asked, I would say extremely improbable. People with Google are smarter than me, at the very least, some people. So no, writing what he wrote is just adding more little stones on one side of the balance without respect for their color or shape.
"

So Google collected the data by accident? In Several countries? A company whose business model, sole business model, is to collect data on people's activities and use it to sell targeted advertising is collecting data by accident?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Priceless
by vodoomoth on Wed 2nd Feb 2011 16:03 in reply to "RE[3]: Priceless"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

So Google collected the data by accident? In Several countries? A company whose business model, sole business model, is to collect data on people's activities and use it to sell targeted advertising is collecting data by accident?

I am saying that I'm more inclined to believe that it was an accident than a deliberate thing. For me to see it as an intentional misdeed, I would have to see a way for them to benefit from it. I see that way when handset makers refuse to upgrade 5-month old phones like mine to Android 2.3; but I don't see that way with what we know of that specific wi-fi "incident".

Really, even with knowing Google's hunger for personal data like you've just described it, what amount of useful data can they harvest from my unencrypted wireless connections using a device that changes channels 5 times a second and that is carried in a car passing by? That's looks (to me) even more stupid than fishing for salmon in a west african countryside river where there's no salmon.

I know Google collects data about my online habits. I just don't believe they're stupid enough to try to do it in the manner that was indicated.

And I haven't read anywhere that anyone has proven Google knew what they were doing and did it purposefully. On that basis, the declaration I was contending with seems to have jumped to the conclusion that bolsters best the point being made.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Priceless
by Tony Swash on Wed 2nd Feb 2011 16:48 in reply to "RE[4]: Priceless"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

"So Google collected the data by accident? In Several countries? A company whose business model, sole business model, is to collect data on people's activities and use it to sell targeted advertising is collecting data by accident?

I am saying that I'm more inclined to believe that it was an accident than a deliberate thing. For me to see it as an intentional misdeed, I would have to see a way for them to benefit from it. I see that way when handset makers refuse to upgrade 5-month old phones like mine to Android 2.3; but I don't see that way with what we know of that specific wi-fi "incident".

Really, even with knowing Google's hunger for personal data like you've just described it, what amount of useful data can they harvest from my unencrypted wireless connections using a device that changes channels 5 times a second and that is carried in a car passing by? That's looks (to me) even more stupid than fishing for salmon in a west african countryside river where there's no salmon.

I know Google collects data about my online habits. I just don't believe they're stupid enough to try to do it in the manner that was indicated.

And I haven't read anywhere that anyone has proven Google knew what they were doing and did it purposefully. On that basis, the declaration I was contending with seems to have jumped to the conclusion that bolsters best the point being made.
"

I don't think that Google did what it did because of some central or even coherent plan. Google is not that sort of company. It's problem is that it was founded on and largely operates on a principal of a letting thousands flowers bloom, of letting lots of parallel projects and teams get on with stuff and then seeing what sticks, what succeeds. Hence the way it has stumbled into, in my opinion, a dangerous (for Google) war with Apple destroying a very good and mutually beneficial alliance with Apple in the process.

I see the wifi peeking, like the H264 and WebM silliness, as being a reflection of the deep corporate culture at Google. That culture says all data belongs to them and they have to be everywhere, looking at everything and everyone. And so some team thinks it's a good idea to peek at people's wifi and if they harvest some private data in the process it doesn't really matter because as the culture says - all data belongs to Google and Google just wants to help everyone so where is the harm?

In a way that's why it's more troubling. A bad management decision can be corrected and can be learned from. Flaws in the deep corporate culture, a culture fully endorsed by the companies founders, are much harder to rectify.

Reply Parent Score: 2