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Archive for February 10th, 2008

Intel looks for “the next Google” with Web 2.0

By Jon Stokes | Published: October 08, 2007 – 11:30PM CT

Today Intel publicly unveiled its first foray into the world of Web 2.0—a bookmarking site where users can submit and vote on all kinds of software, from desktop applications to Web-based services. The idea behind the new Cool Software site, which Intel operated internally before opening it to the public today, is that it will provide Intel—both its research arm and its investing arm, Intel Capital—with an early glimpse of The Next Big Thing.

In a briefing, Intel’s Innovation Acceleration manager, Dave McKinney, told me that “we want to find the next Google, before it becomes Google.” But the problem that the company has in guiding its research and investing efforts is that the pool of potential future Googles is just too big. So Intel decided to “crowd-source” the task of identifying hot new ideas and companies by building an internal bookmarking site where the Intel folks responsible for keeping their fingers on the pulse of the software industry could collectively work to spot future Google (or future VMware) contenders.

The bookmarking site grew internally, as other Intel employees from different parts of the company began using it to mark their favorite software finds, and eventually the decision was made to open it to the public. Intel isn’t quite sure what the public will do with the new site, which is based on the open-source Pligg project but has some proprietary modifications, but it’s anxious to find out. Because the site already has a solid internal user base that has been using it successfully, the company can afford to just open it up and see what happens without too much in the way of concrete expectations. McKinney told me that it’s possible that competitors could even use the site and mine it for trends.

Finding a way

One of the most fascinating and important stories that I’ve watched develop over the past four years is Intel’s transition from hardware company that could pretty much dictate the pace and direction of technological advancement on the PC platform to a sort of hardware/software hybrid entity that, like the rest of the industry in the post-clockspeed era, is left to wonder about what kinds of things people will do with the ever more ubiquitous transistors that it makes. In short, the answer to “What’s next?” in the PC space used to be, “Whatever Intel’s labs are working on.” But in the post-PC, post-clockspeed era, the answer to “What’s next?” is, “Whatever some programmer in India or in China or in a dorm room is working on that’s about to catch the world by surprise as the Next Big Thing.”

Intel’s Terascale research program, its open benchmarking consortium, its hiring of a horde of anthropologists who go out and profile how ordinary people in a variety of cultures use technologies—all of these efforts represent attempts by Intel to peer just a little further into the increasingly crowded and chaotic future of applications so that the company can build the hardware that will fit those applications. This new bookmarking site is just one more effort by another part of the company to look into this blooming software ecosystem and zero in on the species that are having the most success.

Because this software ecosystem expands dramatically every time a new process generation drives networked general-purpose processors into a new niche, Intel’s success with making transistors and wireless networking cheaper and more ubiquitous has the direct effect of making its forward-looking efforts that much harder.

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Job Candidates Gone Wild: be careful what you post online

By Jacqui Cheng | Published: March 28, 2007 – 02:43PM CT

Be careful what you post online if you want to be able to get a job in the future. Your blog, web site, Facebook, MySpace, online dating profile, or even forum postings might “out” your salacious activities to a potential employer. According to a survey conducted by business social networking site Viadeo, one-fifth of hiring managers have used the Internet to find personal information about potential job candidates, and a quarter of those have rejected candidates based on what they found.

The survey was conducted in March, and covered nearly 600 employers and over 2,000 average adults online, revealing that employers are becoming more and more Google-happy when interviewing new candidates. 25 percent said that they had rejected a candidate outright based on what was found online, while 59 percent of employers who used the Internet to find personal information said that their discoveries play a role in their decision making. Some examples provided in the survey results included one employer being put off by a candidate’s seemingly excessive drinking, another being dismayed by a candidate’s postings about company information, and another mentioning that a candidate’s topless modeling left them with the impression that she wasn’t a good fit with the organization’s ethics.

Examples of this phenomenon are everywhere, and many young professionals know of someone who has had information posted online bite them in the behind. A friend of mine was once all the way into the second round of interviews with a new company when he posted some frustrations with the hiring process on his personal blog. The company looked him up soon thereafter, read what he had written, and decided to cancel his next interview.

But there are cases where information found online works to the candidate’s benefit. The report pointed out that 13 percent of employers had decided to actually recruit someone based on what they had found online, such as various personal achievements or skills demonstrated through a web site. I have another friend who maintains a very professionally-oriented blog which he regularly updates with industry news and personal projects; said friend simply gets a constant flow of e-mails from hiring managers asking whether he is looking for a job. And never mind what happens when he actually writes that he’s looking for a job.

The report showed that, especially among younger candidates in the 18-24 age group, people are much more comfortable posting personal information online than perhaps they should be. MySpace and Facebook took the number one spots among this group, with 45 percent having posted personal info to MySpace and 44 percent to Facebook. Other sites in the list that people had posted to included Flickr, YouTube, Wikipedia, and “other” social networking sites. Further, over half of the 18-24 age group said that they primarily post “party pictures” online (hey, I’m guilty of this myself), with another 30 percent posting on personal blogs. 54 percent of 18-24 year olds responded that they had even had personal information posted about them online by someone else, with or without their consent.

Viadeo manager Peter Cunningham told Ars that the social networking phenomenon is still very new, and people are posting things online without thinking about the future consequences to their careers. “Information, pictures, forum comments, jokes, and outdated CVs are now in the public domain and available for anyone,” he said.

“We all have a personal brand the same way that a company has a brand for its products and services,” Cunningham added. “We invest in developing our brand—education, training, work experience—and we develop our brand equity, that is to say our network of trusted personal contacts, so why don’t we look after this the same way a company does?”

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Social web sites often easy pickings for phishers, malware writers

By Jeremy Reimer | Published: September 17, 2007 – 11:34PM CT

Social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook have become a regular part of many people’s daily Internet usage. Malware authors, who are always on the lookout for new and undefended avenues of attack, have noticed this and increased their attacks on social networking sites accordingly, since many of these sites are vulnerable to these attacks. According to the latest Symantec Internet Security Threat Report (PDF), a total of 1,501 vulnerabilities—61 percent of all security weaknesses studied—were found in web-based applications from January 1 to June 30 of this year. This is, however, a drop from 66 percent in the July to December 2006 period, which may indicate that social networking sites are improving—albeit slowly—their security procedures.

Prior to this decrease, Symantec had reported a rise in the proportion of Web application vulnerabilities, starting in the first half of 2004 and ending in the first half of 2006. This period roughly corresponds to the surge in popularity of social networking sites and “Web 2.0” in general. The exuberance over these then-new technologies left security considerations little more than an afterthought, not only for web site designers but for their users as well. Security attacks such as the WMF exploit on MySpace brought the issue to the public attention, and so did third-party security audits such as the Month of MySpace bugs.

Social networking sites are attractive to hackers not only because of potential security holes in the applications themselves, but the fact that the very nature of the site works as a way to spread attacks to more people. “In such a scenario, the attacker may use the legitimacy of the Web site to attract victims of subsequent attacks,” the Symantec report said. “Sites with large user bases, such as MySpace, have already been abused in this manner.”

Because the site is known and trusted, users are more likely to fall victim to unsolicited e-mails or invites and be tempted to download unknown attachments. Once compromised by a trojan, attackers gain access to personal information about the victim, including passwords to other sites, and can easily find other victims to attack via the user’s own friend lists.

The malware problem in general continues to grow. According to the latest report from security firm PandaLabs, there has been more malware detected in the most recent quarter than was found in all of 2000-2004, putting a strain on traditional key signature methods of malware identification. The number of virus-laden e-mails and phishing attacks are trending slightly downwards according to the latest data from MessageLabs, but this is more a function of increased targeting of attacks to specific people rather than a decrease in the number of attacks in general—the bad guys have had a busy harvest season collecting e-mail addresses and are trying to reap what they sowed as quickly as possible.

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Britannica versus Wikipedia heads to the WSJ

By Ken Fisher | Published: September 12, 2006 – 06:45PM CT

The Wall Street Journal is fond of hosting minidebates, and we’re fond of reading them. This week they pit Dale Hoiberg, editor-in-chief of Britannica, against Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales. Rather than summarize the debate, I’ll offer some observations on what’s really at stake in this debate and what both sides are presupposing in their arguments. I recommend checking out the debate, though. It’s nothing if not funny in a feisty way.

Jimmy Wales, as usual, is confident and unapologetic. He’s also arguing that quality, neutrality, and balance are most achievable when large numbers of contributors are involved. The argument, pieced together, is something like this: “with a population as large as the Internet, an open encyclopedia has the greatest potential for quality and quantity over and against a closed, proprietary encyclopedia.”

In many ways this view is opposite of the academic approach, which takes a dim view of mass participation when it comes to the production and codification of knowledge. The academic world, for better or for worse, is very tiered. It would be wrong to describe it as a pyramid because it’s far more dynamic than that, but generally speaking, there are fewer experts at the top producing and reviewing knowledge than there are at the lower rungs of the educational system. This is not to say that there is not a positive flow from bottom to top. There is indeed, and when academics are honest, they celebrate and praise this as opposed to pretending as if their views come from On High. The point here is that the so-called knowledge producers are not in complete isolation, but they are powerful gatekeepers. This is true in general throughout the academic world, but Britannica represents a microcosm of that, even if all of its contributors are not strict academics.

For Wales, “openness” at all levels is the sine qua non of the highest levels of quality, and the openness he has in mind is one wherein anonymity is both cherished and respected. Part and parcel with this, Wales argues that the open nature of Wikipedia means that it can draw better contributors than can Britannica. Wales’ arguments, at their core, rest upon the age-old idea that two heads are better than one. Alongside this, there’s a notion that convenience and ideology both draw people to contribute to Wikipedia. With regards to the latter, there can be little debate. The rest is open season.

Hoiberg is certainly more traditional in his views, clearly suggesting that accuracy is more important than anything else. He is also not ready to surrender anything to Wikipedia, reminding everyone that the jury is still out on the question of whether or not an open system like Wikipedia truly delivers better content than a closed one like Britannica. He speaks as though the issue is unresolved, while Wales speaks about potentialities. Neither are calling the game just yet, to be sure.

Hoiberg’s arguments regarding community are perhaps the most indicative of academic arguments in this circle. Surprising though it might seem, Hoiberg, too, believes that his encyclopedia is produced by a community. The academic community that directly contributes is 4,000 strong and, according to him, they can revise their work online any time they need to. From the viewpoint of many academics, Britannica is a community product, but it is controlled by a small number of elites who essentially call the shots. In this way, the project is much like everything else in academia: there are clear lines of authority not just for administration, but also for knowledge.

Furthermore, the academic mindset is firmly represented in Hoiberg’s constant focus on getting things right the first time. He says that the system is designed to produce strong final products, and he seems to sparkle at the idea that Wikipedia publishes works in progress and rough drafts.

There’s not much more to say about the debate other than the fact that I think it mostly turned into a negativity fest with jabs flying both directions. In the broader discussion, however, I think there’s a core bit of difference that can be gainfully considered, but the biggest question I have after reading it is this: what metric can be used to decide which is better? Is doing so even worth the effort? Is there even an objective standard that applies to both encyclopedias? It’s not like Britannica is going anywhere, and Wikipedia is definitively here to stay.

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Analysis: Microsoft could, but shouldn’t buy Yahoo

By Anders Bylund | Published: January 13, 2008 – 08:05PM CT

The Greek chorus calling for Microsoft to buy Yahoo is mumbling louder than ever. Journalists, analysts, and other assorted pundits are saying that Mr. Softy needs to pull the trigger soon or lose a golden opportunity forever. Some of the singers are personal friends of mine, but I still can’t help but think that the speculation is dead wrong.

The potential upside 

Let’s play devil’s advocate for a second and explain why this deal would make sense at all. Yahoo and Microsoft Live combined can hardly shine Google’s shoes in terms of search market share. Google is at 65 percent according to comScore, and a combined Microsoft/Yahoo would still only rate a 28 percent share. That’s arguably still better than 21 percent (Yahoo) and 7 percent (Microsoft) alone, but how much better is hard to say. 

The same goes for online advertising share: combined, Microsoft and Yahoo can’t touch Google, but despite its recent struggles, Yahoo is a profitable business. A merger would see Yahoo give Redmond instant firepower in the online business wars, with a more developed ads business as well as the most popular “front page” on the Internet. Microsoft could rather easily afford to buy the yodeling veteran, though it would have to do at least partly a stock-swap deal or take on some debt to get ‘er done.

The potential downside 

Now come the factors weighing against a Seattle/Sunnyvale hookup. Combining two companies that are losing market share on their own won’t automagically reverse that trend, and Microsoft won’t be able to buy a Yahoo every time the tank runs low. Unless Steve Ballmer and his gang have some hands-on ideas on how to shake out synergies that can’t be made through a more standard business-to-business partnership, there’s no reason to gamble upwards of $40 billion on a stopgap fix.

And Yahoo might not even want to be bought. I happen to believe that things are looking up now that co-founder Jerry Yang is acting CEO for a while. Yang seems to understand that Yahoo’s greatest strength lies in the community it has built around a massive user base, and Terry Semel never looked like he got that.

If Yang can hook the world’s biggest traffic generator up to some new revenue-generating machinery, all will be well. Microsoft buying the company at this juncture would put a crimp in Yang’s authority and autonomy, and would rob shareholders of potentially massive gains if Yahoo becomes all that it can be.

Shareholders and board members get a serious say in any takeover offer here. Yahoo has an active poison pill provision that would let the board issue tons of additional preferred stock in case of an unapproved buyout proposal. That makes a hostile takeover of a company Yahoo’s size very expensive, pretty much pricing the company out of any reasonable bid. So it would have to be a mutually agreed kind of deal, and I just don’t see that being in Yahoo’s best interest right now.

So on the one hand, Microsoft risks not getting what it wants out of a very expensive deal, and on the other, Yahoo appears to have a good thing going on as a standalone business right now—good enough that shareholders would likely balk at any buyout.

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Google implies Microsoft/Yahoo hookup will ruin the Internet

By Ken Fisher | Published: February 03, 2008 – 02:31PM CT

Over the next several weeks, we’re sure to hear plenty about Microsoft’s attempt to buy Yahoo. Yahoo released a statement on Friday indicating that its board would indeed evaluate the deal seriously, saying that it would evaluate Microsoft’s and any additional offers closely.

How does Google feel about all this? Moments ago, Google’s top counsel, senior vice president David Drummond posted Google’s first official response to the proposed deal, and it has some bite. Drummond asks some questions that are clearly meant to sketch out a dark future should a deal go through:

“Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies—and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets,” he writes.

It isn’t an understatement to say that Google apparently opposes this deal. Going for the jugular, Google’s Drummond instantly suggests that the Redmond giant could (would?) use unsavory tactics for unfair advantage, ultimately harming the Internet and the very open and innovative environment that’s driving it.

Yet Drummond doesn’t explain just how Microsoft could accomplish this. While we all know that Microsoft utilized special OEM pricing deals for Windows to influence those very same OEMs, for instance, it remains unclear on what basis Google sees this threat taking shape online. Where is their new leverage stemming from in this deal?

Drummond goes on to worry about specific threats, asking if a Microsoft-Yahoo marriage could result in Microsoft extending “unfair practices from browsers and operating systems to the Internet” or if the combination of two webmail and IM giants is unhealthy.

“Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors’ e-mail, IM, and web-based services?,” Drummond asks. “Policymakers around the world need to ask these questions—and consumers deserve satisfying answers.”

Google is right to raise these issues, but beginning the discussion with a veiled accusation that Microsoft could unfairly limit the abilities of users to use competing services is a bit strong in the absence of any illustration as to how Microsoft could accomplish this. It’s no small feat to hijack the Internet, e-mail and IM, yet Google’s Drummond seems to be suggesting that when we think about Microsoft-Yahoo, that’s what we ought to be thinking about.

Is this a reasonable response, or fear mongering? It strikes me as more of the latter, to be honest.

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Microsoft lands ad deal for financial sites

By John McBride | Published: January 30, 2008 – 08:07AM CT

Another month, another deal. Microsoft announced Tuesday it will become the exclusive provider of contextual and paid search advertising for the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, a month after announcing advertising deals with CNBC and Viacom. “Microsoft’s state-of-the-art advertising platform will enable us to dramatically improve our revenues,” said Gordon McLeod, president of the network.

Redmond isn’t saying how much cash the deal will bring, but being a part of high-profile financial sites like the Wall Street Journal Online, Barrons.com and MarketWatch.com as well as Walt Mossberg’s AllThingsD.com, has got to be a coup, even if display ads aren’t part of the package.

“This deal is a significant win for Microsoft for two key reasons,” said Brian McAndrews, Microsoft’s senior vice president for Advertiser and Publisher Solutions. “First, it makes the extended Microsoft advertising network the premier destination for advertisers interested in reaching financially minded users, as it complements our offering in this vertical through MSN Money and other syndication partners. Second, this deal is a strong indicator that we’re gaining significant traction with our advertising platform.”

McAndrews left out a third bit of significance: Microsoft is taking the battle against Google to Google’s doorstep. Recall that MySpace, which like the WSJ is part of Rupert Murdoch’s giant News Corp., signed a $900 million advertising deal with Google in 2006. And the display ads on the WSJ sites are handled by Google’s DoubleClick. Bringing Microsoft aboard gives News Corp. a chance to evaluate both competitors in real time. If Microsoft plays its cards right—not to mention its adCenters and aQuantives—perhaps it can squeeze its rival out.

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This is your life, according to Google

By Jeremy Reimer | Published: April 21, 2007 – 03:24PM CT

Google’s latest project is called Web History, and it offers registered Google Account users a chance to peruse not just their account history with Google, but one’s surfing history. “Imagine being able to search over the full text of pages you’ve visited online and finding that one particular quote you remember reading somewhere months ago,” explains Google’s Payam Shodjai, product manager for Personalization. “Imagine always knowing exactly where you saw something online, like that priceless YouTube video of your friend attempting to perform dance moves from a bygone age. Better yet, imagine having this wealth of information work for you to make searching for new information easier and faster.”

The data is available only when the user logs on with a Google account and password, the same account used for other Google services such as Gmail. In order to track web surfing information, the user must have the Google Toolbar installed in their web browser, and have PageRank enabled. The Web History feature can be turned off and on as you like.

Google Web History replaces the earlier “Search History,” which only allowed users to look at previous web search queries and results. The new tool allows users to browse pretty much anything they’ve surfed on the Internet—from sites visited to downloads to search results, and also displays usage trends, showing which sites were most visited at certain times of the day. There’s even a history of which Google AdSense ads the user has clicked on.

Google says that Web History data will only be available to the user signed in with his or her Google Account. The data collected is only used to “improve your search experience” and Google promises that this data will not be made available to third parties except in aggregate form or to comply with legal processes, as per their existing privacy policy. As such, the existence of Google Web History does not change anything in terms of what information Google is collecting from its Toolbar users. Indeed, any web site on the Internet can collect usage information from its visitors by the use of cookies and IP tracking.

Still, the fact that all this information is being collected in one easy-to-access place does have some people worried—what happens if a Google account is compromised? Some are concerned that Google’s recent purchase of DoubleClick may cause the company to be less interested in user privacy and more interested in sharing their surfing habits with advertising partners, too. A straw poll in the virtual office shows that we’re not really worried about the privacy angle, but strangely no one was eager to leave this on for a week, either. 

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Google opens up malware blacklist API

By Jeremy Reimer | Published: June 19, 2007 – 11:00PM CT

Google employees Brian Rakowski and Garrett Casto from the Antiphishing and Antimalware Teams have announced that the company is opening up its Safe Browsing API to the public. The Safe Browsing API allows easy access to Google’s updated blacklist of suspected phishing and malware-infested web pages. The blacklists are the same ones used in Google’s antiphishing plug-in for the Firefox web browser, as well as Google Desktop.

Anyone with a Google account can sign up for an API key, which is a 58-character string used to authenticate the user. It also allows Google to disable access to certain users if they violate the terms of service agreement. Applications that use the Safe Browsing API must limit the number of times they poll Google’s servers for updates to the blacklists, which Google updates every 30 minutes. There is also a limitation on the number of users an application using the Safe Browsing API is allowed to service: the license agreement states that if more than 10,000 users are expected to send regular requests to the API, an e-mail must be sent to Google to lift the cap. In addition, applications that use the API are required to inform users that the service does not provide 100 percent malware protection.

Google has been working on making the web safer for Internet surfers for some time now. The recent purchase of the web security firm GreenBorder, combined with the opening of their Safe Browsing API to the public, shows that Google is serious about wanting to improve the public’s perception of the safety of the web, and in particular of web-based applications. The effort has not always gone smoothly. Google had to quickly patch their blacklisting software when it was revealed that some of the URLs it listed contained user names and passwords. Google maintains that the Safe Browsing API is still “experimental” and subject to change. The company hopes to improve the API in the future, making it easier for small developers to integrate it into their applications.

While the concept of a freely-available blacklist for known malware sites is a good idea, it does not remove all possible security threats. Legitimate web pages that have been compromised by hackers—such as the recent attacks on Italian web sites—can still compromise users’ computers if they have not fully updated their OS and third-party software.

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Google struggles to see no evil, speak no evil

By Joel Hruska | Published: July 09, 2007 – 02:45PM CT

Google’s habit of using a wide network of employee-run blogs for making official news is obviously meant as a democratic way of sparking dialogue between the company and its users and partners, but two recent PR incidents suggest that this practice is growing increasingly treacherous for a bottom-up, rapidly growing company that has “Don’t Be Evil” as a corporate moto.

Twice in the past two weeks, Google’s adherence to its corporate motto has been called into question based on blog posts by employees. First, there was Laura Turner’s “Does negative press make you Sicko?” post, in which she criticized Michael Moore’s recent portrayal of the American healthcare and pharamaceutical industries and suggested Google advertising as the best antidote for any negative press ills brought on by the documentary.

Turner later attempted to clarify her previous post by drawing a line between her opinion and Google’s and by characterizing advertising as a neutral service that either side of the healthcare debate is capable of using. A final post from Missy Krasner (identified as a product marketing manager) attempted to settle the issue by portraying Google as a concerned party who cares deeply about America’s health care system, but such clarification arrived well after Turner’s comments had ignited a firestorm of criticism by bloggers and some media folks.

A significant part of the anger that Turner’s post elicited came from the fact that Turner works for Google, and, the company’s much-publicized privacy headaches notwithstanding, the public still seems to trust the search giant. And what’s more, many people want to believe that Google is a different, non-Evil kind of big corporation. But by coming down firmly on the side of Big Pharma in her blog post (and then offering only a lukewarm, “Google advertising is neutral” non-retraction), Turner effectively put Google on the side of big-corporate Evil for the portion of Americans who identified with Moore’s criticisms in Sicko. Krasner’s later post doesn’t follow up on this idea of the neutrality of Google advertising. Instead, it aims to re-establish Google as a company on the side of Good: a company that uses its resources and knowledge to address the problems in America’s health care system.

The Google vs. Sicko dustup was followed the next week by a much smaller-scale exchange between InfoWeek‘s Thomas Claburn and Google on the sincerity of Google’s anti-spam efforts. Claburn’s post, titled “Is Google’s Spam Fight a Sham?” alleges that a Google blog post explaining how to create effective “startpages” is effectively a Google endorsement of the creation of so-called “doorway pages.” Doorway pages consist of a page offering little more than links and phrases aimed at a particular topic and are used to spam search indexes like Google’s. Claburn alleged that Google’s promotion of startpages, when combined with its AdSense for Domains program, turns its spam-fighting efforts into little more than a farce. (For those of you who aren’t aware, AdSense for Domains is a program where Google loads domain-name relevant ads on to a parked domain and displays those ads to anyone who surfs in.)

As in the case of the healthcare blog fiasco, other Google employees came to defend and explain the initial post, with Google’s head of webspam Matt Cutts offering clarifications. In his post in response to Claburn, Cutts explains that startpages, though they’re largely unfamiliar to Americans, are relatively common practice in Holland (this is why the second half of the initial post is in Dutch). He also defends the AdSense for Domains program as a way to stop parked domains from offering malware or 404s to users who access them.

In this case, the press appears to have been actively looking for ways in which Google might be wavering in their well-known commitment to non-Evil. The entire situation demonstrates why most companies Google’s size typically maintain PR departments that do the job of carefully overseeing all interaction between the company’s employees and the public. Google’s current approach of using blogs as both a means of casual communication and a formal channel for announcing products and events, while laudably democratic, paints a large (and constantly growing) target for reporters and other Google watchers who are looking for evidence of Evil—whether real or manufactured—within Google’s corporate structure and business plans.  

As Google continues to grow rapidly and absorb more companies operating in a wider variety of areas, its operations and policies become, of necessity, more complex and murky, and the company’s informal motto of “Don’t Be Evil” becomes even harder to uphold in appearance and, perhaps, even in reality.

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