February 03, 2011

Is anyone surprised that Google’s employees are jumping ship for Facebook? I’m not. I don”€™t know why anybody would want to work at Facebook, which appears to be about as retarded as Myspace, Tribe, and Friendster before it, but at least there is the IPO payola. But I’m not sure why anyone would want to work at Google, either. While there are certainly some talented people at Google, there are talented people at General Electric and GETCO as well, and those people use their talents toward a specific business goal which solves problems in the actual world, rather than noodling around with useless nerd absurdities such as Google Wave or Gmail.

A developing scandal is Google’s war on ” content farms,” websites which generate content that people want to view. A content farm is based on the idea that if lots of people want the information, you can serve them an ad and make money for your content. More or less, this is a capitalistic version of Wikipedia. I don’t know how useful “actual” content farms such as eHow are, but when I have a regular-Joe type of question, it’s usually one of these which answers it. I suppose there may be really obnoxious ones out there, but they should be automagically removed from any sane search algorithm already. The thing is, nobody is really sure how the new content-farm algorithm will play out. Will the new algorithm destroy competitor IPOs”€™ value? Will it ruin Internet treasure cracked.com? Is Alex Jones right that this algorithm change will effectively destroy alternative media’s page rank? Time will tell. The fact that people are actually worrying about this indicates that Google’s power reminds folks of an evil corporation.

Google ritually purifies themselves with the holy water of “open-source” software and nebulous contributions to human knowledge such as scanning all books into their search engine. The funny thing is, I use open-source stuff written by Amazon, Yahoo!, and even unfashionably evil companies such as AT&T and NEC all the time, but I have yet to find a Google open-source project which was actually useful for anything. Microsoft has also digitized many books which it also gives away, and it never gets credit for it. Either way, I don’t buy Google’s holy-Joe act. Google’s acquisitions and R&D work remind me of the wealthy brat in the Richard Pryor/Jackie Gleason vehicle, The Toy. They didn’t need any of these things to make their business better; they just wanted these toys because other people had them. If Google wants to actually do some good in the world (and for their shareholders), it would kill all those 20% time goof-off projects, put those people to work making the search features perform better, and fund an honest R&D lab the way AT&T did back when they had a monopoly over America’s networks. Bell Labs make human life better in countless ways that Google doesn’t. The Amazon and PayPal guys have decided to do just this with their wealth: They’re funding private space exploration. What do we get from Google? We get “Fat Elvis” features such as Google Buzz.

Maybe when Google dies on the toilet while trying to squeeze out a worthwhile software program, we will be nostalgic for the way they once were. Maybe we’ll use Google impersonators for searching. In the meanwhile, here, have some Quaaludes, guys.


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