Google gets Googled

Or, more specifically, the Google boss got Googled and isn’t happy about it.

CNetNews.com ran an article demonstrating how easy it is to find personal information on Google, and as an example found some info about the Chief Executive. Google wasn’t very happy and complained to CNet about the use of the their CEO’s private information in the article and has now decided that it won’t talk to CNet for a whole year!

It’s just another case of a corporation not being happy about the way people use its tools, and I always find these kinds of things amusing.

Adobe threw a similar sort of strop a little while ago about people using ‘photoshop’ as a verb, such as ‘that image has been photoshopped’. Apparently we are supposed to say ‘that image has been altered using Adobe® Photoshop® Image Manipulation software’, and, yes, you are supposed to put those ‘registered trademark’ symbols in every time if you are typing that. Aww, poor ickle Adobe are getting in a stress that their company’s products are so good that everyone uses the name as a verb. Diddums.

I can understand that the Google boss might not want his personal information available online, but it’s the situation that the rest of the world is in because of Google, so either they need to work out a way to prevent this or they will have to learn to live with it. I suspect that it’s going to be the latter (but if it is they won’t be telling CNet about it until next year).

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/08/technology/08google.html

3 thoughts on “Google gets Googled”

  1. I think you’re criticism of google is just a little unfair and irrelevant. I mean, it’s like if I tried to show a knife company their products are bad by stabbing the CEO with one. Well, it’s kind of obvious the company wouldn’t appreciate that. If they didn’t want to talk to me for a year, I could understand that.

    “Or they will have to learn to live with it.” – If someone used google to find information to embarass me, I would be annoyed. Not with google, but with the person who did it. People shouldn’t need to live with people being jerks. That’s not google’s fault.

    I think it would be nice of google to look into ways to improve their system in this regard, but I think they are completely right in this fight with CNet

  2. That’s an interesting perspective, but I disagree with you on this one. The person who Googled the CEO was not breaking any laws, unlike your example of stabbing a person.

    Yes, it was an invasion of privacy to some degree, but the article was about how simple Google has made such invasions and wondering if Google actually cared about it. Well, they seem to care a bit now…

    If a person decided to look up information about me on Google then yes, I would probably be a bit annoyed about it too, although primarily at the companies that allowed that material to become public knowledge. The web is full of ridiculously easy methods of finding information about people, and I think that companies like Google have a responsibility to work harder at trying to protect individuals.

    The journalist who wrote the article was only using Google to do what it was designed for and demonstrating how it could be abused. We might not like the ways that Google can be used but we’re not in a position to do anything about it: the CEO of Google is. Without pressure from journalists and the public those changes may take a long time to be put in place.

    Your analogy is right in many ways, you don’t give people knives and expect them not to use them on each other occasionally. If I were a knife manufacturer I would consider it a hazard of my profession that I would be surrounded by people who are armed, manufacturers of search engines are in the same position. If the actions of this journalist make Google more likely to secure individual’s private details then I think that it was worth it.

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