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Archive for December, 2009

14
Dec

Google creates own URL shortening service

They have to have a product for every conceivable market… but this one's not for standalone use. Well, not yet:

It looks like today has quickly become URL shortener day. Just moments ago, we learned about fb.me, Facebook’s new URL shortener. It’s already in use for mobile and page link sharing and spreading quickly.

One of Facebook’s mortal enemies couldn’t let the social network have all of the fun and attention, though. Google has just launched Goo.gl, the official Google URL shortener of the world’s largest search engine.

In a short announcement, the tech giant revealed that the Google Toolbar and the FeedBurner syndication service now utilize Goo.gl for link sharing.

Search Engine Journal makes the obvious point, albeit with bad English, that it won't be long before Google allows “goo.gl” to be used much like bit.ly is today:

Google said that URL shortener is currently being tested yet. Hence it was rolled out as a feature of Google Toolbar and Feedburner. But they are planning to make it available as a stand-alone product once they’ve proven it to be useful. I’m pretty sure it will soon be available on a wider audience pretty soon.

Oh, and by the way, Google says:

The Google privacy policy applies to the Google URL Shortener. Please note that Google may choose to publicly display aggregate and non-personally identifiable statistics about particular shortened links, such as the number of end user clicks.

In other words, screw user privacy.

So much for tinyurl and bit.ly, the pioneers of short URLs. They'll be history soon.

13
Dec

Google backtracks again, gins up its own phone

This is an example of why “trust us” doesn't cut it:

Google employees who asked not to be identified confirmed recently that the company was indeed developing new hardware and software for Android phones and coming up with new ways to get those phones into the hands of consumers, but they would not give more details. One Google employee said the new phone, which is being made by HTC, a major Taiwanese cellphone maker, was designed from the ground up by Google.

The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site late Saturday that Google would sell the phone directly to consumers rather than through carriers, which sell the bulk of mobile phones in the United States.

The move, if confirmed, would signal a more aggressive effort by Google to become a force in mobile devices. Google has long insisted that it is not interested in building or selling phones, saying it prefers to rely on hardware partners and wireless carriers to flood the market with a wide variety of Android-powered phones.

Google is playing its “partners” (i.e. Verizon Wireless and Motorola) for chumps. While Verizon has spent millions over-marketing a phone that runs Google's spyware-laden mobile operating system (the “Droid Does” campaign) Google has been quietly readying its own mobile device, which Verizon won't be able to cash in on. As far as Google is concerned, why should there be a middleman?

The Monster of Mountain View clearly envies Apple, Inc. and the success the Cupertino based company has had with the iPhone. It was really only a matter of time before the “GooglePhone” went from mythical device to reality.

Expect Google to increasingly begin competing with other tech companies that sell hardware in the months and years to come. It may choose U.S.-based “partners” at first, but as the likes of Dell and HP will ultimately learn, Google wants control, and to get that control, it will cut them out and do business directly with the Asian-based companies that manufacture components for phones, laptops, and desktops.

12
Dec

CEO Schmidt admits Google doesn't care about privacy

How many people would think twice about using Google if they saw this quote from the Monster of Mountain View's CEO on its home page?

If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines — including Google — do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities.

Actually, Mr. Schmidt, as far as we know, you keep that “information” indefinitely. You can claim you delete search logs at some point, but we have no idea of knowing if that's true.

A Mozilla veteran community coordinator of Firefox marketing projects, reacting to Schmidt's comments, suggests that Firefox users ditch Google for Microsoft's Bing. (Bing is one of the alternative search engines we suggest using instead of Google).

It's nice to see that there's someone at Mozilla who takes a dim view of Google's awful business practices and lack of privacy safeguards.

5
Dec

Google launches its own DNS service

Why? Well, again, it's because they want to dominate the computing world:

Google now wants to be your browser’s phone book, launching a DNS service Thursday in hopes that users will let the ad and search giant take over yet another part of their net experience.

Browsers ask Domain Name System (DNS) servers to translate URLs like http://wired.com into the web addresses where the servers are (e.g., http://69.22.138.130). That lets browsers retrieve pages and e-mail clients address e-mails to the right place. Most people simply use the DNS server provided by their ISP, and don’t even know the service exists.

OpenDNS founder David Ulevitch has written a blog post in response to Google's announcement. In it, he says:

Google claims that this service is better because it has no ads or redirection. But you have to remember they are also the largest advertising and redirection company on the Internet. To think that Google’s DNS service is for the benefit of the Internet would be naive. They know there is value in controlling more of your Internet experience and I would expect them to explore that fully.

He's absolutely right.

As far as Google is concerned, the bigger the better. Their mission is to compete with everybody, to the point where they have end-to-end control over a user experience. The goal? Turn the Internet into the Googlenet.

Everybody's computers run Google software and utilize Google's services. And everybody stores their data on Google's servers, where it can be indexed and mined for profit.

In such a world, there will be no privacy, for Google will know all.

Years ago, this notion would have been dismissed as fantasy. With each passing day it's getting closer to reality. When are people going to wake up and figure out what's going on?

3
Dec

Google creates its own dictionary

Apparently they didn't have one. Now they do:

The search giant has quietly rolled out Google Dictionary, which presents definitions and synonyms. Exactly what you'd expect from a dictionary.

In addition to Google's own database of definitions, looking up a word on the Dictionary website provides a list of definitions pulled from a variety of academically authoritative sources (oh, and Wikipedia).

It's odd that the Monster of Mountain View was relying on Answers.com for definitions of search queries previously. Google doesn't like to outsource… their goal is to have a product for everything.

Dictionary.com, which is owned by the same company that owns Ask.com, will remain superior to “Google Dictionary”.