Google, GOOD or EVIL?

I have posted about how Google merging through the whole online scene couple days ago on May 11th "Google = Web technology absorbent?"

Apparently, I'm not the only one who think that Google might be growing too fast too big with too much control and power. San Francisco Chronicle presented article WHO'S AFRAID OF GOOGLE? written by Verne Kopytoff, Chronicle Staff Writer on Friday, May 11, 2007 wrote about "Firms in Silicon Valley and beyond fear search giant's plans for growth."

In the valley's cutthroat culture, Google is the equivalent of king. And as in many monarchies, the subjects are both submissive and restive.

Rich Skrenta, chief executive of Topix, a local news and community forums Web site in Palo Alto, described Google as being so ahead of everyone else that there is no real No. 2. Startup executives cower at mounting a challenge, he said.

"It's past fear -- it's the stages of grief, it's resignation -- and now everyone's depressed," Skrenta said.


Google building Big Brother?

Fear of Google also extends to its amassing of vast amounts of information about user behavior. Privacy advocates have called the repository of search query histories and e-mail the ultimate Big Brother that law enforcement and civil litigators could use to glean juicy personal information.


"People can get sensitive about that kind of information being known. But if Google didn't keep that information, people wouldn't be able to get to it," Opsahl said.

In response to the complaints, Google vowed recently that it would make it harder to link users to what they search for online. Under the plan, the company would shroud the information it collects about users in anonymity after keeping it for 18 to 24 months. Opsahl said the idea doesn't go far enough.


But he cautioned that the warning sign will come when Google becomes so dominant that customers cannot do without it. How well will Google deal with its customers' problems then?


Wary of Internet giant

Google's long tentacles have many running scared:

Silicon Valley: Concerned that Google's outsize ambition is squashing startups and raising salaries in the tech industry.

Madison Avenue: Fears that Google is taking over the advertising business and making established ad agencies irrelevant.

Hollywood: Takes umbrage at widespread piracy on Google's YouTube video service, claiming it violates copyright law.

Privacy advocates: Worry that Google's collection of personal information will create a massive database that can be mined by government.

Source: Chronicle research

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