The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005

This Doesn't Help Google's Reputation 

Al Gore's "news" network, Current TV launched yesterday, and Google has announced their collaboration with the new network:

Amidst this content contributed by viewers, Current TV produces segments which use Google Zeitgeist data to highlight trends in what people search for using Google. Ever wonder what the most popular searches are for animals? The answers may surprise you (liger, anyone?) Jointly created by teams at both companies, these Zeitgeist segments are aptly named Google Current.

I wonder whether this was such a hot idea for Google. Granted they were moving in the video direction already, but that was user submitted, or crawled for video. Now Google is partnering with a media outlet in at least one fashion, and who knows in what other ways. Google is notoriously secretive about its developments, so they could very well be working on more for Current. Moreover, this isn't just any media outlet, it's one run by Al Gore. Now he's said that this will be non-partisan and that he's a recovering politician, but does anyone actually believe him?

Google is already taking flack for the types of news organizations it chooses to crawl as part of it's Google News service. Little Green Footballs has covered this issue thoroughly (examples here, here, here and here). One of the reasons Google has remained so popular in my opinion was because of it's seemingly pure, algorithmic nature. It didn't play favorites. You asked for data, it gives it to you. There have been questions here and there, and some wonder about their secretism, but I fear these sorts of partnerships will serve to ruin Google's reputation. It would seem that they no longer wish to be a grand tool for all the masses to get at the data they wish, but now they wish to create that data themselves, which can only server to color them in one way or another. That does not serve them well.

Google, I suggest that you be careful who you make into your bed fellow. You never know where he's been, or what he's got. In the case of Al Gore, we all know where he's been, and I'd be worried.


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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.

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