Thursday, October 18, 2007

Articles that are critical of Google.

The number of articles that are critical of Google are on the rise.

This article in Slate points out that Google has way too much information about way too many people. Excerpt-

"I am presently a happy user of Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Chat, Google Groups, Google Video, and Google Notebook (which I use to clip interesting things online). I also love Google Desktop, which has indexed the contents of my computer. What has Google made of all this information? If they wanted, they could know my friends, my family, my weakness for homemade YouTube soccer highlights. They could know what car I drive, where I drive it to, and where I shop. They definitely know what blogs I read and how often I read them. They took a picture of the building where I live. They just started a 411 service that will give them my voice. They're making me a mobile phone. The attention they've lavished on me would be flattering, if it weren't so vaguely menacing. I'm not alone in this feeling."

A recent article also pointed out the problems with Google's AdSense system. Excerpt follows-

Here is a top 10 list of what Google does not reveal.

1. Google does not tell advertisers where exactly their ad will get placed.
2. Google does not tell some publishers why exactly they shut them down.
3. Google does not share any network-level performance figures.
4. Google does not provide any information about how overall click rates have changed over time.
5. Google does not share any information on who clicked on the ads.
6. Google does not reveal what leads to higher placement among paid ads.
7. Google does not reveal how exactly it evaluates the quality of a text ad, i.e., the Quality Score. According to Google, the formula varies depending on whether it's calculating minimum bids or assigning ad position.
8. Google does not tell advertisers what countries the users come from.
9. Google never tells publishers why they got paid a certain amount.
10. Google does not publish any research on ad effectiveness.

Will Google change its practices in response to these articles?