Re: Complaining about google

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Awesome link Ben. Seriously. My quick summary - Either Google or someone pretending to be Google is scamming customers of a legitimate Kenyan internet business.

Read this article for the interesting details about the current state of Kenya, Kenyan businesses, and playing internet detective.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 12:02 PM
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https://plus.google.com/115264064268941645500/posts

We were mortified to learn that a team of people working on a Google project improperly used Mocality's data and misrepresented our relationship with Mocality to encourage customers to create new websites. We've already unreservedly apologised to Mocality. We're still investigating exactly how this happened, and as soon as we have all the facts, we'll be taking the appropriate action with the people involved.

... and with that, I should probably not have anything further to do with this discussion.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 12:29 PM
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Jesus. "Do no evil" has been modified slightly. You just know that the Obamas are behind this.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 12:44 PM
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Although 2 sounds like a pretty good apology. "We did the bad thing, we're mortified, we've apologized, and we're going to do something about it once we have the details straight." If that's a real person with the power to make things happen, I can't think of what could make that sound much better.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 12:52 PM
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I am always floored that people take the "Do no evil" seriously. What do you think Google's business model is?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 12:56 PM
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I don't think their business model is "do evil".

Also, it's "don't be evil", not "do no evil", and they've abandoned even that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 12:57 PM
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What exactly is evil about serving ad content, Halford, compared to, say, effectively eternal copyright?


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 12:59 PM
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I'm not saying that they're more evil. But their business model is basically, get you into their products to gather information and then use that to sell you stuff, right now mostly ads but who knows what in the future. And go after their competition hard. It's not like the worst thing in the world but they're not exactly a charitable operation and I fail to see how that's a more noble enterprise than, e.g., making movies.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 1:02 PM
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I think you're confusing "for profit" with "evil". I wouldn't take the 'don't be evil' slogan terribly seriously because it's self-serving and I don't have any experience with Google as an organization first hand. But I've worked with companies that had distinctly more and less evil cultures, on a fairly conventionally judged lying-cheating-and-stealing kind of basis, and there's nothing contradictory about a for-profit company being less evil, and encouraging its employees to be less evil, than they might otherwise be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 1:07 PM
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I don't have any experience with Google as an organization first hand.

I do. As you know, in our business we see the worst side of people and generally only get involved when things go wrong, and I was on the other side, but they sure looked pretty conventionally "evil" in the corporate sense to me. I'll grant that it seems like a pretty nice place to work.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 1:10 PM
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4: If that's a real person with the power to make things happen,

http://bit.ly/x5U8K8


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 1:12 PM
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I think it's possible in theory for a company to maintain an ethical culture, within the assumptions of corporate society, but it's going to be extraordinarily hard when you hire tens of thousands of people over eight years, and you're universally perceived as a gravy train.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 2:01 PM
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2: "Whoops! Sorry about those few bad apples who somehow managed to engage in criminal behavior on behalf of Google from two different continents! How did this happen? We had no idea!" Well, what else were they going to say, I guess.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 2:04 PM
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I've had work contacts with them at a trivial level -- they used to have space in the ground floor of my work building for their oogleg koobs project. The way they behaved didn't endear them to me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 2:23 PM
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They objected, very strongly, for example, to some of the team I work with/for being located in the same place because we might divine their sekrits.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 2:24 PM
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Well played, madam, well played.

Imagine a parallel universe, entirely like our own except that there are no trademark protections. I own a super-successful hamburger stand which, for the sake of convenience, we will call, "McMegan's".

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Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 2:27 PM
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This is decent on the subject: "What Does Google Mean by 'Evil'?"


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 2:56 PM
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13: the two continents thing does not strike me as too organizationally culpable; they have a fairly flat hierarchy and a lot of virtual teams and low level people transferring around from location to location. Functionally, Kenya is a lot closer to India than one might think. It seems not impossible that two low level worker bees hatched up this plan via IM. The size and scope of it seems more indicative of a systemic problem. Even if it wasn't okayed by upper management, they may have created too many incentives for failure and not enough checks against cheating to prevent it.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 3:11 PM
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I am considering buying a Chick-fil-A sandwich out of misplaced nostalgia even though I know they are evil.

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Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 3:26 PM
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for their oogleg koobs project

And who doesn't like to ogle kebabs?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 3:34 PM
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18: Yeah, the interesting story is why the culprits thought it was a good idea -- what were the pressures on them to get whatever they were doing done.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 3:54 PM
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19: Wait. When did they become evil? Those are tasty.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 3:56 PM
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They have been always already evil. Run by Southern Baptists, and the company uses its money to sponsor "pro-traditional-marriage" events and whatnot.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 3:59 PM
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22: oh boy are they evil. Jive-ass homophobic dickheads.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 4:00 PM
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I should clarify that Southern Baptists aren't automatically evil (in case my parents ever somehow find this thread), but, well, there are some correlations.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 4:02 PM
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When did they become evil?

They've always been evil. Why do you think all of their stores have always been closed on Sundays? A: So they have more time to persecute gay people.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 4:03 PM
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I forgot to keep reading this thread unless somebody puts a KFC near my office.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 4:03 PM
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I can't parse 27.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 4:05 PM
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Or Wendy's. That would be close enough.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 4:06 PM
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You are very strongly advised to avoid the comments in the link in 26.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 4:10 PM
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FWIW, I know someone who worked briefly at Chick-Fil-A (that is, at the HQ, not a mall location), and this person says that they are the most humane, family-oriented employer they have ever encountered. The Sunday closing policy, for example, is incredibly costly in the fast food business, but the owners believe that families should be together (and go to church) on Sunday, so they stick to it. I lean more toward the "basically good, but with an unfortunate blind spot around sexuality" rather than pure evil.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 4:12 PM
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the owners believe that families should be together (and go to church) on Sunday, so they stick to itunless they're gay.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 4:14 PM
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When I used to work at the Mall Pizza Chain, we some cow-orkers would fling pepperoni across the food court on Sundays. Ten points if you could get it behind the Chick-fil-A counter. Fifty if you could get it through the little window into the kitchen.

This is what happens when all your employees are seventeen.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 4:23 PM
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On the other hand, the Chick-fil-A employees were very generous in the underground mall-employee-bartering economy. A slice or two of pizza would get you ice tea with refills all day. Unfortunately, it was always that way-too-sweet Southern sweet tea dreck.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 4:25 PM
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34:that way-too-sweet Southern sweet tea dreck. Oh god I love that stuff. mmm.

31 reminds me of the conflicted relationship I have with a group run by friends of friends that helps AIDS orphans in Ug/anda. Seems like they do amazing work taking care of very needy kids, but their (albeit loose) association with certain Christian groups gives me the creeps.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 5:22 PM
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Further to 31: I just found out that my aunt -- a math major who couldn't get hired by any of the banks she applied to in NC in 1974 because "We don't hire transients" (her fiancé was in grad school there) -- actually worked at the first Chick-Fil-A.

She said at that point the lemon pies were still being made by the founder (mother of the founder??) and were amazingly delicious. She herself was put to work at the cash register (math major!).

I don't tend to patronize CFA, but I can't pretend to a principled opposition. If I lived near one I'd probably want waffle fries sometimes. I don't like giving my money to support hatefulness, though.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 5:49 PM
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we might divine their sekrits.

They don't want anyone else to learn the secrets of poor quality metadata (at least on the publicly available side) and a pathetically bad interface for anyone doing serious research or searching.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 8:11 PM
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Oh, snap!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-13-12 10:09 PM
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Home nurse visits, modernized.
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Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 12:15 AM
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39: Interesting read.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 12:35 AM
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The link in 17 is good; this post is also a nice summary of the ways in which Google has, historically, really been less evil than it might have been, and than other companies have been. The Data Liberation Front, in particular, is a clear case of corporate culture/ideology trumping the obvious urge to maximize user lock-in.

And my god, 16 sure makes my blood boil. I wish I could figure out how McMegan manages to be so infuriating; it's truly something.


Posted by: trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 1:44 AM
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(But getting back to the OP: wow, yeah, that's really bad behavior. Ick.)


Posted by: trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 1:45 AM
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Ok, I'll try to calm down by watching ="http://jclarkmedia.com/fassbinder/fassbinder13.html">"The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant". That oughta do it.


Posted by: trapnel |
Link to this comment | 01-14-12 1:48 AM
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Oh for fuck's sake. There.


Posted by: trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 1:48 AM
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34: there is no tea that is too sweet. "statesboro sweet" adds a few packets of saccharine to the sugar-sweetened tea just to amp the sweetness. it is ambrosial. granted it must be poured over ice in a massive plastic cup.
19 et seq.: I know they're evil, but dag, get a chick-fil-a sandwich those things are so good. I could eat the hell out of one of those sammiches right now. luckily for me there is cold fried chicken in the fridge, so I won't die of chick-fil-a deprivation.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 3:14 AM
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This just posted at Kotsko's, because it really pisses me off.

Arrrgggh.

I just spend some time at a movie blog, and I am infuriated by the Orientalism with which so many approach Ozu, that mysterious Easterner of the incomprehensible images. Bordwell's formalism is largely to blame.

It ain't that complicated, although it grows complex over thirty years. An Autumn Afternoon starts with a long held take of four huge industrial smokestacks, and my reviewers, and Bordwell, say well isn't that pretty, but it doesn't mean anything. It is so simple it is almost a cliche. Smokestacks = phallic = male domination. This is explicit in 1930's Tokyo Chorus, when in an argument between a husband and wife about working in a noodle shop, she points to a clothesline with clothes and says no, and he points to a smokestack and says yes. Then they go to work. After that movie he removed the pointing, and Ozu made his exploration of patriarchy ever more subtle and tragic.

(Add:As a symbol, of course the smokestacks are about as simple as the Patriarchy, but that is what they represent.)

http://www.nottinghilleditions.com/books/show/169

Brand new book by Adam Mars-Jones "Noriko Smiling" tries to return the politics to Ozu

(It's also Orientalism that in Late Springwhen the father lies and cheats and sells his unwilling liberated wounded daughter (arranged marriage) off to the patriarchy, we are supposed to feel all sorry for him. Culture, you know. Christ. Not that the Patriarchy isn't a tragedy for everybody, but he is not the one who gets fucked, stays at home, and has to obey her master)

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Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 8:26 AM
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Functionally, Kenya is a lot closer to India than one might think.

Yes. Lots of trade, lots of Indians in Kenya, for a long time a lot of financing from Indian banks. Now the new submarine cables are in, the telecoms links will be much better as well.

Meanwhile, who would have imagined Google - Google! - employees manually webscraping (manually webscraping!) a competitor's site during working hours only (during hours only!) from the same IP address every time (!!!)? Did they leave their clue on a bus?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 8:32 AM
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Now the new submarine cables are in

This reminds me that every, but every, time I drive down Harlem River Drive (along the East River) I am thrown for a loop by a sign that seems to read WARNING! SUBMARINES! It does not.* It does say:
WARNING! SUBMARINE
CABLES
*Which is too bad. My mind immediately goes to frog men crawling onto the island to attack the Upper East Side.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 8:37 AM
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In general, Ozu uses the vertical (skyscrapers, office buildings, light towers) to stand for the patriarchy and social domination and the horizontal (his home interiors, beaches) to represent escape, comfort, freedom. (There are more symbols)

I don't know why this is difficult or offensive. Once you know this, you have barely begun to understand what he is doing and saying. Symbols don't simplify, they complicate by adding a layer to the real.

He is an old modernist, of course.

Sorry

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Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 8:51 AM
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Speaking of complaining about google, is anybody else finding that google, esp. g+ is crashing firefox a lot lately? And if so, have they worked out whether the problem lies in the site or the browser?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 9:59 AM
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I have experience with Google as an organization first hand. "Don't be evil" is taken very seriously. Also derived principles like "put the user first" and "we don't have to 'beat' our competitors to succeed."

Targeted advertising is kind of an interesting example of this. Yes, Google wants to learn lots of things about users to target ads, but (a) the user has a fair amount of control over what data is being collected, including the option to be anonymous and opt out of collection entirely, and (b) the data is used to provide ads that are more relevant and less annoying, in theory a win-win for the user and advertiser.


Posted by: Newt Gingrich from a Possible Future | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 10:45 AM
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45.1: While I disagree with the substance of your sentiment, I can't say that you're technically incorrect, since it's not the tea that is sweet, but the sugar.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 1:07 PM
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46: pretty rich to hear you complain about the orientalism of others, bob (he of the Inscrutable Egyptians).


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-14-12 1:10 PM
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it's not the tea that is sweet, but the sugar.

BY CONVENTION WE FIND THINGS SWEET, BY CONVENTION BITTER, BY CONVENTION HOT, BY CONVENTION COLD. BUT IN REALITY, THERE IS NAUGHT BUT ATOMS AND VOID.


Posted by: Opinionated Democritus | Link to this comment | 01-17-12 7:49 AM
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54: So you say that the void is?


Posted by: Socrates | Link to this comment | 01-17-12 12:39 PM
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