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August 15, 2005
Unregulated, Unprotected Access to Readily Available Facts
This is not shaping up to be Google's month. First its digital library plan hits a major speed bump, and now it's getting into a snark-off with news.com and zdnet.uk.
The story apparently starts over on CNET, with a story by Elinor Mills on Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt. Mills starts with the skimpy information on Schmidt at his home page and then - using Google itself - proceeds to reveal all sorts of interesting information about the man, his income, his abode, his hobbies. She then goes on to make the point that Google potentially knows a lot more about you than you might think, particularly if you use services like gmail or its desktop accelerator.
Google apparently took this research endeavor personally, informing Jai Singh, CNET News.com founder and top editor that nobody at Google would speak to him or anyone else at News.com for a full year. According to Adam L. Penenberg's story on WIRED, Singh is taking the high road for now, pointing out that it's really in Google's best interest not to blacklist any news organization, since that organization is going to be writing stories about Google no matter what and it's foolish for the company not to have its voice in those stories. It's not as if they're harming News.com in any way.
Not satisfied with the high road, the UK sister publication ZDNet UK issued a mock apology from apparently their entire staff. The apology is rife with the infamously dry British humor, apologizing for the sin of using Google as a search engine and promising to:
cooperate fully in helping Google change people's perceptions of its role just as soon as it feels capable of communicating to us how it wishes that role to be seen.
I really can't add anything to that. Go read the original.
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