Google and the Future of the Internet

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, May 26, 2007.

  1. earllogjam

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    Is anyone concerned that all our access to information may one day be funneled through one or two dominant corporations?

    The internet by its very nature is a like a root growing in all different directions intertwining, tangled and ever expanding without restrictions and boundaries. It's a rhizome of decentralized growth.

    Although Google, as benevolent as they appear to be, has the power now to direct public opinion, access to information, grant life of death to internet startup businesses, and mold sentiment all by determining which sites get search preferences. Case in point- I Googled "Large Penis" and lo and behold this site was first on the list. They have the power to make this site last on the list and in effect kill any new members from finding it, ending the viability of this site. Corporations are already paying Google to put their interests on the top of selected search lists. It already is changing who wins elections here. The control of information is death to democracies.

    The potential for abuse is staggering. Google, as private corporation has no compelling moral obligation to it's users especially if the users aren't paying for their service. As George Orwell put it "Power corrupts and absolute power corrups absolutely." Google, most likely within the next 10 years will be the defacto gate keepers of the internet. It will be less of a root growing in all directions freely and more like a controlled growth dictated by a few, intentional or not, that's the trend. Does that sit well with you, however benevolent that entity may appear to be? Where do you see the internet in 10 years?
     
  2. dong20

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  3. D_Gunther Snotpole

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    Sorry, elj ... but that was Lord Acton.
    Too late for me, unfortunately.:cool:
     
  4. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    But... isn't their mission statement "don't be evil"? Seriously.
     
  5. dong20

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    Mission statements:
    • Yahoo! : To connect people to their passions, communities, and the world’s knowledge.
    • Google : To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
     
  6. EagleCowboy

    EagleCowboy Well-Known Member

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    There are other wonderful search engines and there will always be other search engines.
     
  7. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    sorry. "informal corporate motto."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don't_Be_Evil

    I think we've got better fact-checkers here at LPSG than there are at most major news outlets. Nothing goes unchallenged here.
     
  8. dong20

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    To be fair I'd heard the same and, I prefer it, though it's rather twee. I'm not sure it's entirely accurate, even if unintentionally.

    As it should be.....:biggrin1:
     
  9. earllogjam

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    SR. with all due respect - I was quoting Orwell's line in "Animal Farm". I think it's derived from Lord Acton who wrote:

    "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

    That's besides the point though - Back to the thread -what are your thoughts on Google?
     
  10. D_Gunther Snotpole

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    Was it in Animal Farm? I'm skeptical, but don't really know.

    However, Google:

    I think you're overstating the case. There will always be a range of search engines. There will probably be remedies for those who think Google or some other medium is limiting public access to their informational wares. The trend is for people to have much more access to information than they used to have, not less.

    Notwithstanding all of which, some vigilance against the possibilities to which you allude is necessary.

    Very large claim. What is your evidence?
     
  11. earllogjam

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    This was the case for our local city elections. Candidates without websites got far fewer votes that those who did. Debates, speeches and press coverage are rare for small elections so many voters turned to the Internet for information about the candidate and their opposition. That's how I made my decisions. The candidate who won had a good website, not sure it it cinched the election for him though, I don't think it hurt him. I imagine the presidential candidates put a lot of money into developing their websites these days. If they thought it did not influence voters they wouldn't bother putting one up - but that's not the case.

    The Obama piece that was knocked off the MacIntosh ad is a good example of how the internet is influencing politics in this country. It sure gave Obama a lot of press coverage he would not have gotten through traditional campaigning and it also set the tone with running against Hillary Clinton. All I can say SR is that the information and discourse on the internet certainly is changing the way I vote. I don't think I'm the only one.
     
  12. Lex

    Lex
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  13. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    Or the ones that continuously try to figure out how Google ranks pages in its search results and then sell this information to artificially boost different websites' positions in said search results.
     
  14. dong20

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    Yes, and no.

    Google may merely be a vehicle for such corporations but Google need not be blindly complicit in promoting such corporations activities and aims without oversight. I think that's what the OP is asking. Granted it's hard to draw a line between Google's responsibility as a major global player and the rights of political groups and businesess to have freedom of expression and self promotion.

    I wonder if an ability to suppress said 'sponsored' results, perhaps by means of a paid subscription to Google or an opt out may be worthy of consideration? That could give those organisations unable or unwilling to pay for prominent placement a better chance to be seen...

    Of course such 'niche' search engines exist; and it's reasonable to ask why they aren't so prominent as Google. The reason is possibly as much ignorance by users many of whom think Google is the Internet:rolleyes: as it is marketing savvy by Google and brand awareness. That being so, is that grounds for complacency or concern?

    A similar argument could be made against Cisco, after all about 80% of Public Internet traffic passes through a Cisco device at some point on it's journey from source to recipient. It would be easy to conclude that Cisco is in a dangerous position of power.
     
  15. rawbone8

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    Perhaps Google should change it to

    "The devil is in the details."

    Oh wait, lawyers already have that one. Search daemon anyone? :rolleyes:
     
  16. ManlyBanisters

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    I don't think the PC (mac, whatever) as a personal tool will last in our homes for another 10 years. I'm sure we'll all be getting instant information somehow from something non entirely unrecognisable as the internet - but it will not be the same. What the new tech will be, whether Google will be part of it at all, remains to be seen. We will not be sitting infront of keyboards tapping shit in to search engines, that's for sure. Remember - 10 years ago AOL was the big cheese - AOL content was the internet for its users, now where are they? Washed up - about to be sold by TimeWarner whoever the hell will take them.


    (Oh and, no - that quote isn't used in Animal Farm, see online text of Animal Farm, but it is used in relation to the book an awful lot)
     
  17. dong20

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    You mean the extension of the current convergence trend? Probably much truth in what you say.

    My first ISP was Compuserve, back in about 1995. I later tried AOL for about a week and bailed out fast. Of course we all know what AOL stands for don't we....:rolleyes:
     
  18. ManlyBanisters

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    Acronym Over Load?
     
  19. dong20

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    That's a new one.:smile:
     
  20. earllogjam

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    *wipes egg off face* last time I quote a book from memory. I could have sworn.....

    Back to the thread:

    I think it is unlikely that Google is going to be knocked off its throne in the next 10 years. They are here to stay like Microsoft and Oracle. They just have sooooo much money that they just buy the competition. AOL is an ISP and always sucked even from the start, not the case with Google.

    Google has a captive audience. I think there will always be a need to organize and structure information for retrieval. As long as the internet remains a decentralized, free, and unplanned place growing without boundaries, there will always be a need for a third party to organize and order information for quick retrieval. I think 53% of internet users now go through Google to find things.

    I agree with you that we may not be using keyboards to access all this information in the future. I hate typing, besides being a rotten speller but I think text based information and input will be here for a long long time. It's a integral part of our tool of language. It probably will be more natural like interacting with people in real life - easy, simple and without a lot of effort, all information accessible to you anywhere anytime and all free- ha.

    Here is an article that gives a snapshot of Google as how folks in Silicon Valley see the 800 lb gorilla, an eye opening read.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/11/MNGRIPPB2N1.DTL&hw=google&sn=001&sc=1000
     
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