Google Eats the World

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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Elvis » Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:51 pm

coffin_dodger » Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:57 pm wrote:Elvis:
I mention this because, years ago before YouTube, I asked a computer-savvy friend if there was a website where you could post/host videos. Nope, no site like that, they told me. So I said, well goddammit let's MAKE one! I didn't know how to do it, but they did. Their response was a yawn, "eh, don't really see a point to it or a future in it."


Sorry Elvis - I'm being mischevious here, but aren't you actually saying, in a round-about way:

I had this fantastic idea for a web site, that would have consequently made me a billionaire - but because my friend who could do that sort of thing didn't think it was a good enough idea to bother with, I gave up.


:rofl2

Sorry mate :hug1:



:) Fair enough, but really, I was extremely busy then conquering other worlds, and I didn't think about the billionaire part -- I guess I'm not that farsighted -- all I wanted was a place on the damn Internet to upload and display a video!

(Much more recently, I've been trying to persuade them to start a voting machine company. They have the wizardry to do it but I doubt it's in the cards.)
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Nordic » Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:59 pm

zangtang » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:28 pm wrote:Last paragraph:
'If you think the idea of Google assessing your state of mind and your phone monitoring you for depression is worrying, you’re right.
But what’s more worrying is that allowing these things is the least bad option on mental health.'

Did you like the bit about your search string history & buying habits being used to analyse/diagnose you?

A real journalist would have written that whilst clever & creative as a theme in a dystopian scenario thats already technologically possible & the
R&D testing is really coming along, it is of course a wholly fucking atrocious idea (therefore inevitable) & everybody willingly involved should,
for the good of humanity, be pre-emptively murdered.

insert usual arsecovering non-condonement blather here.
possibly equally sickening is these traitors probly think they're clever - I worked out that stringsearch
bellweather symptom shit years ago.



Yes! I'm glad you saw that because I was trying to bold it and my device kept glitching up and I just gave up. Yes that last sentence is SO bizarre. And sad really. It's like "well gosh, an Orwellian nightmare is better than any alternative we can imagine". <----- spoken in Eeyore voice
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Grizzly » Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:37 am

Bump.


The State-all it has, it has stolen!
It even bites with stolen teeth!
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If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Luther Blissett » Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:47 am

Nordic » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:59 pm wrote:
zangtang » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:28 pm wrote:Last paragraph:
'If you think the idea of Google assessing your state of mind and your phone monitoring you for depression is worrying, you’re right.
But what’s more worrying is that allowing these things is the least bad option on mental health.'

Did you like the bit about your search string history & buying habits being used to analyse/diagnose you?

A real journalist would have written that whilst clever & creative as a theme in a dystopian scenario thats already technologically possible & the
R&D testing is really coming along, it is of course a wholly fucking atrocious idea (therefore inevitable) & everybody willingly involved should,
for the good of humanity, be pre-emptively murdered.

insert usual arsecovering non-condonement blather here.
possibly equally sickening is these traitors probly think they're clever - I worked out that stringsearch
bellweather symptom shit years ago.



Yes! I'm glad you saw that because I was trying to bold it and my device kept glitching up and I just gave up. Yes that last sentence is SO bizarre. And sad really. It's like "well gosh, an Orwellian nightmare is better than any alternative we can imagine". <----- spoken in Eeyore voice


That article is just totally bonkers. Good find and thanks for sharing it here.

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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Luther Blissett » Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:14 am

Elvis » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:21 pm wrote:Instead of bitching about YouTube, perhaps someone should just create a new video posting site? Others exist, of course, but maybe this one would emphasize user control and "user experience" etc. Maybe it would be a not-for-profit cooperative. Maybe its charter could prohibit its sale. And don't call it anything "____Tube" ("freetube" is taken anyway).

I mention this because, years ago before YouTube, I asked a computer-savvy friend if there was a website where you could post/host videos. Nope, no site like that, they told me. So I said, well goddammit let's MAKE one! I didn't know how to do it, but they did. Their response was a yawn, "eh, don't really see a point to it or a future in it."

Of course not long after that, YouTube came along.

Recently, one of the guys admitted to me, "yeah, I guess we should have listened to your 'youtube' idea..." :wallhead:

(Add that to the list of ideas I suggested to these guys in the early days of home computing, e.g. computer image 'morphing' -- "cute idea but can't really see a profitable application" -- and of course a few years later, 'morphing' was the hot thing in every new sci-fi movie.)


If it makes you feel any better, two-dimensional interfaces are going to seem extremely quaint and archaic pretty soon.

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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Grizzly » Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:22 am

http://www.linuxx.eu/p/deep-web-link-list-onion.html
All of the links are summarized in the spreadsheet.-So there is no need to look any further. ;)
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Grizzly » Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:13 pm

Israel requests Google to block Palestinian videos from YouTube
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/google-talks-i ... _campaign=[firstitemtitle]&utm_content=Nov_30_2015_0815_205631&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email&utm_term=Read+full+article&tm_campaign=Nov_30_2015_0815&tm_keyword=cRxWGjzICmB1Vli6cvLY3F6

Google censorship: Representatives met Israeli officials to discuss the blocking of Palestinian videos

Bonus:

What's up with that China car wreck vid? Is that some kind of wave machine weapon being used?
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/mystery-behind ... ed-1531125
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Elvis » Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:48 pm

Grizzly wrote:What's up with that China car wreck vid? Is that some kind of wave machine weapon being used?
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/mystery-behind ... ed-1531125


Turns out it was a long cable caught on a streetsweeper truck, when it pulled taut, it lifted the vehicles driving over it. You can see the cable in the video.

That did freak me out at first look, though; in one of the most vivid, feverish dreams I've ever had, a "UFO invasion" caused cars to levitate on one end just like that, but more in slow motion. So weird. I was frankly relieved to read the mundane cable explanation.
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby DrEvil » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:21 pm

Elvis » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:21 am wrote:Instead of bitching about YouTube, perhaps someone should just create a new video posting site? Others exist, of course, but maybe this one would emphasize user control and "user experience" etc. Maybe it would be a not-for-profit cooperative. Maybe its charter could prohibit its sale. And don't call it anything "____Tube" ("freetube" is taken anyway).

I mention this because, years ago before YouTube, I asked a computer-savvy friend if there was a website where you could post/host videos. Nope, no site like that, they told me. So I said, well goddammit let's MAKE one! I didn't know how to do it, but they did. Their response was a yawn, "eh, don't really see a point to it or a future in it."

Of course not long after that, YouTube came along.

Recently, one of the guys admitted to me, "yeah, I guess we should have listened to your 'youtube' idea..." :wallhead:

(Add that to the list of ideas I suggested to these guys in the early days of home computing, e.g. computer image 'morphing' -- "cute idea but can't really see a profitable application" -- and of course a few years later, 'morphing' was the hot thing in every new sci-fi movie.)


Completely off topic, but my uncle went to school with a guy who was trying to land his first job after graduation (as a lawyer). He had two offers, one from a small start-up that didn't pay much, but it came with stock options, and one that paid better but no stocks. He picked the no-stock job. The start-up with stock options was called McDonald's...

Every year his friends would sit down and calculate exactly how much he lost on that decision and give him the result for Christmas. :)
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Grizzly » Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:56 pm

The New Censorship

How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites?

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/ ... -regulated
Frustrating trying to suss things out, like the lying ptb, and nefarious situations, with, 'don't be evil', hiding shit...changing the goal posts.

Addendum:

This morning the Senate fell one vote short of attaching a rider to a spending bill that would give the FBI sweeping new surveillance authority, including warrantless access to browsing history. Now, Senate leaders are trying to turn just one more senator in favor of the rider before doing a re-vote

https://www.fightforthefuture.org/news/ ... g-the-fbi/
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:23 am

A Serf on Google’s Farm
SHARE TWEET PIN-IT

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
By JOSH MARSHALL Published SEPTEMBER 1, 2017 12:42 AM

An unintended effect of Google’s heavy-handed attempt to silence Barry Lynn and his Open Markets program at New America has been to shine a really bright light both on Google’s monopoly power and the unrestrained and unlovely ways they use it. Happily, Lynn’s group has landed on its feet, seemingly with plenty of new funding or maybe even more than it had. I got a press release from them this evening. And this seems to be their new site. I’ve already seen other stories of Google bullying come out of the woodwork. Here’s one.

I think it’s great that all this stuff is coming out. But what is more interesting to me than the instances of bullying are the more workaday and seemingly benign mechanisms of Google’s power. If you have extreme power, when things get dicey, you will tend to abuse that power. It’s not really surprising. It’s human nature. What’s interesting and important is the nature of the power itself and what undergirds it. Don’t get me wrong. The abuses are very important. But extreme concentrations of power will almost always be abused. The temptations are too great. But what is the nature of the power itself?

Many people who know more than I do can describe different aspects of this. But how Google affects and dominates the publishing industry is something I know very, very well because I’ve lived with it for more than a decade. To say I’ve “lived with it” makes it sound like a chronic disease or some huge burden. That would be a very incomplete, misleading picture. Google has directly or indirectly driven millions of dollars of revenue to TPM over more than a decade. Not only that, it’s provided services that are core parts of how we run TPM. So Google isn’t some kind of thralldom we’ve lived under. It’s ubiquitous. In many ways, it makes what we do possible.

What I’ve known for some time – but which became even more clear to me in my talk with Barry Lynn on Monday – is that few publishers really want to talk about the depths or mechanics of Google’s role in news publishing. Some of this is secrecy about proprietary information; most of it is that Google could destroy or profoundly damage most publications if it wanted to. So why rock the boat?

I’m not worried about that for a few reasons: 1: We’ve refocused TPM toward much greater reliance on subscriptions. So we’re less vulnerable. 2: Most people who know these mechanics don’t write. I do. 3: We’re small and I don’t think Google cares enough to do anything to TPM. (If your subscription to Prime suddenly doubles in cost, you’ll know I was wrong about this.) What I hope I can capture is that Google is in many ways a great thing for publishers. At least it’s not a purely negative picture. If you’re a Star Trek fan you’ll understand the analogy. It’s a bit like being assimilated by the Borg. You get cool new powers. But having been assimilated, if your implants were ever removed, you’d certainly die. That basically captures our relationship to Google.

Let’s discuss the various ways we’re in business with Google.

It all starts with “DFP”, a flavor of Doubleclick called DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), one of the early “ad-serving companies” that Google purchased years ago. DFP actually started as GAM – Google Ad Manager. We were chosen to be one of the beta-users. This was I think back in 2006 or 2007. What’s DFP? DFP is the application (or software, or system – you could define it in different ways) that serves ads on TPM. I don’t know the exact market penetration. But it’s the hugely dominant player in ad serving across the web. So on TPM, Google manages the serving of ads. Our ads all drive on Google’s roads.

Then there’s AdExchange. That’s the part of Google that buys ad inventory. A huge amount of our ads come through ad networks. AdExchange is far and away the largest of those for us – often accounting for around 15% of total revenues every month – sometimes higher. So our largest single source of ad revenue is usually Google. To be clear that’s not Google advertising itself but advertisers purchasing our ad space through Google. But every other ad we ever run runs over Google’s ad serving system too. So Google software/service (DFP) runs the ad ecosystem on TPM. And the main buyer within that ecosystem is another Google service (Adexchange).

Then there’s Google Analytics. That’s the benchmark audience and traffic data service. How many unique visitors do we have? How many page views do we serve each month? What’s the geographical distribution of our audience? That is all collected through Google analytics. Now, that’s not our only source of audience data. We have several services we use for that in addition to our own internal systems. But we do use it for the big aggregate numbers and longterm record keeping. In many ways it’s the canonical data people on the outside look at to see how big our audience is. Do we have to share that data? No. Unless we want potential advertisers to see we have an audience.

Next there’s search. Heard of that? There’s general search and then there’s Google News, a separate bucket of search. Search tends not to be that important for us in part because we’ve never prioritized it and in part because as a site focused on iterative news coverage what we produce tends to be highly ephemeral – at least in search terms. We don’t publish a lot of evergreen stories. Still, search is important. For other publishers it’s the whole game.

One additional Google implant is Gmail, which we use to provision our corporate email. The backbone of the @talkingpointsmemo.com email addresses is gmail. Lots of companies now do this.

So let’s go down the list: 1) The system for running ads, 2) the top purchaser of ads, 3) the most pervasive audience data service, 4) all search, 5) our email.

But wait, there’s more! Google also owns Chrome, the most used browser for visiting TPM. Chrome is responsible for 41% of our page views. Safari comes in second at 36%. But the Safari number is heavily driven by people using iOS devices. On desktop Chrome is overwhelmingly dominant.

Now, Google would rightly say now: Okay smart-alec, and how much do you pay for all of this? Well, good point. We pay for the email service but we don’t pay for the ad serving or the data. Indeed, using Gmail for our corporate email is the only thing we pay for. (These services all have paid layers. But in most cases we don’t need those. And we’re small. So we make do.) This is all true. But as the adage puts it, if you don’t pay for the product, you are the product. Google isn’t doing us any favors. We get these services for free because Google’s empire and the vast amounts of money it brings in every year is built on the unimaginable amounts of data that come from, among other places, DoubleClick for Publishers and Analytics. We’re just one of a kabillion sites allowing Google to harvest our data.

What all of this comes down to is that we at TPM – and some version of this is the case for the vast majority of publishers – are connected to Google at almost every turn. (I’ve only mentioned the big ones.) Running TPM absent Google’s various services is almost unthinkable. Like I literally would need to give it a lot of thought how we’d do without all of them. Some of them are critical and I wouldn’t know where to start for replacing them. In many cases, alternatives don’t exist because no business can get a footing with a product Google let’s people use for free.

But here’s where the rubber really meets the road. The publishers use DoubleClick. The big advertisers use DoubleClick. The big global advertising holding companies use Doubleclick. Everybody at every point in the industry is wired into DoubleClick. Here’s how they all play together. The adserving (Doubleclick) is like the road. (Adexchange) is the biggest car on the road. But only AdExchange gets full visibility into what’s available. (There’s lot of details here and argument about just what Google does and doesn’t know. But trust me on this. They keep the key information to themselves. This isn’t a suspicion. It’s the model.) So Google owns the road and gets first look at what’s on the road. So not only does Google own the road and makes the rules for the road, it has special privileges on the road. One of the ways it has special privileges is that it has all the data it gets from search, Google Analytics and Gmail. It also gets to make the first bid on every bit of inventory. Of course that’s critical. First dibs with more information than anyone else has access to. (Some exceptions to this. But that’s the big picture.) It’s good to be the king. It’s good to be a Google.

There’s more I’ll get to in a moment but the interplay between DoubleClick and Adexchange is so vastly important to the entirety of the web, digital publishing and the entire ad industry that it is almost impossible to overstate. Again. They own the road. They make the rules for the road. And they get special privileges on the road with every new iteration of rules.

In recent years, the big new things are various kinds of private deals and private markets you can set up to do business in different ways with advertisers. That uses Google architecture and they take a percentage. How much of a percentage does Google take on what I was referring to before – the so-called open auction? No one knows.

Now Google can say – and they are absolutely right – that every month they send checks for thousands and millions of dollars to countless publishers that makes their journalism possible. And in general Google tends to be a relatively benign overlord. But as someone who a) knows the industry inside and out – down to the most nuts and bolts mechanics – b) someone who understands at least the rudiments of anti-trust law and monopoly economics and c) can write for a sizable audience, I can tell you this.: Google’s monopoly control is almost comically great. It’s a monopoly at every conceivable turn and consistently uses that market power to deepen its hold and increase its profits. Just the interplay between DoubleClick and Adexchange is textbook anti-competitive practices.

There’s one way that Google is better than Facebook. When Facebook is getting a bigger and bigger share of the advertising pie, that money is almost all going to Facebook. There are some small exceptions but that’s basically the case. When Google is making insane amounts of money on advertising, it’s not really the same since a huge amount of that advertising is running on websites which are getting a cut. Still, the big story is that Google and Facebook now have a dominant position in the entirety of the advertising ecosystem and are using their monopoly power to take more and more of the money for themselves.

We’re basically too small for Google to care about. So I wouldn’t say we’ve had any bad experiences with Google in the sense of Google trying to injure us or use its power against us. What we’ve experienced is a little different. Google is so big and so powerful that even when it’s trying to do something good, it can be dangerous and frightening.

Here’s an example.

With the events of recent months and years, Google is apparently now trying to weed out publishers that are using its money streams and architecture to publish hate speech. Certainly you’d probably be unhappy to hear that Stormfront was funded by ads run through Google. I’m not saying that’s happening. I’m just giving you a sense of what they are apparently trying to combat. Over the last several months we’ve gotten a few notifications from Google telling us that certain pages of ours were penalized for ‘violations’ of their ban for hate speech. When we looked at the pages they were talking about they were articles about white supremacist incidents. Most were tied to Dylann Roof’s mass murder in Charleston.

Now in practice all this meant was that two or three old stories about Dylann Roof could no longer run ads purchased through Google. I’d say it’s unlikely that loss to TPM amounted to even a cent a month. Totally meaningless. But here’s the catch. The way these warnings work and the way these particular warnings were worded, you get penalized enough times and then you’re blacklisted.

Now, certainly you’re figuring we could contact someone at Google at explain that we’re not publishing hate speech and racist violence. We’re reporting on it. Not really. We tried that. We got back a message from our rep not really understanding the distinction and cheerily telling us to try to operate within the no hate speech rules. And how many warnings until we’re blacklisted? Who knows?

If we were cut off, would that be Adexchange (the ads) or DoubleClick for Publishers (the road) or both? Who knows?

If the first stopped we’d lose a big chunk of money that wouldn’t put us out of business but we’d likely forced to retrench. If we were kicked off the road more than half of our total revenue would disappear instantly and would stay disappeared until we found a new road – i.e., a new ad serving service or technology. At a minimum that would be a devastating blow that would require us to find a totally different ad serving system, make major technical changes to the site and likely not be able to make as much from ads ever again. That’s not including some unknown period of time in which we went with literally no ad revenue.

Needless to say, the impact of this would be cataclysmic and could easily drive us out of business.

Now it’s never happened. And this whole scenario stems from what is at least a well-intentioned effort not to subsidize hate speech and racist groups. Again, it hasn’t happened. So in some sense the cataclysmic scenario I’m describing is as much a product of my paranoia as something Google could or might do. But when an outside player has that much power, often acts arbitrarily (even when well-intentioned) and is almost impossible to communicate with, a significant amount of paranoia is healthy and inevitable.

I give this example only to illustrate the way that Google is so powerful and so all-encompassing that it can actually do great damage unintentionally. As a general matter, I’d say our worst experiences with Google – and to be fair, none have been that bad – have been cases like these where Google is so big and its customers and products (people are products) are so distant from its concerns that we’ve gotten caught up in or whiplashed by rules that simply didn’t make any sense. One thing I’ve observed with Google over the years is that it is institutionally so used to its ‘customers’ actually being its products that when it gets into businesses where it actually has customers it really has little sense of how to deal with them.

Here’s another comical example. One day couple years or so ago, we noticed that we weren’t getting any of our TPM emails. This is needless to say a pretty big deal. We didn’t get the over the transom emails from you, the readers, and we weren’t getting the individual emails that we all get at our personal TPM email addresses. Reporters have sources. We have business partners who need to contact us. It’s really, really bad.

This provoked a mad rush to find out what was going on. Remember, we use Gmail for our email service. We’re not the product. We pay for it. I’ll spare you the ins and outs we had to go to to find out what was happening and just tell you what happened. Many of you know that we have one company email address here at TPM. It’s the one linked at the top of the site. It’s the lifeblood of the whole operation. Those emails go to everyone on the editorial team. It’s a key part of what we do. We want every member of the team to be seeing that mix of comments, tips, criticism, links you’re sending into us. It’s a key part of our management that we make clear that we want everyone to immerse themselves in those emails, look what’s coming in. As many current and former TPMers will attest, it can be overwhelming. But it’s a core part of what we do. Those emails don’t sit in an inbox no one reads. We live in them.

Now the mechanics of how that works is that that email is actually a distribution list that forwards the emails from that one address to everyone on staff. And here’s the catch. Over the years, a lot of spam has started coming into the address. Mostly it’s weeded out by filters so we don’t even see it. But some we do. It’s sort of a pain but it is what it is. But …. in Google’s algorithm, the fact that we take a lot of spam that comes to us and forward it to our staff means that TPM is a major spammer. Again, let me repeat that. Because we were forwarding to ourselves spam that other people sent to us, Google decided that the owner of the TPM url was a major spammer and blocked emails from TPM from being sent to anyone. When we were notified of this … okay, I’m sorry. That was a joke. We were never notified! We just disappeared from email. Fun, right?

So let’s review. We are paying customers of Google. We were forwarding emails from the site’s main address to all staffers. But because we receive a lot of spam, the spam that we were forwarded to ourselves marked us as a major spammer and led to Google banning all our emails with no notice in advance or notification after the fact. You might imagine that once we got through to someone at Google and explained this ridiculous situation they’d fix it. Well, no. Once we got through to someone they explained what happened. They told us a few remedial actions we could take. Once we did that, over time the algorithm would cease to think we were spammers.

Now, in practice I think we were back to normal in a couple days. Obviously we survived. And everyone’s life – personal and professional – is filled with various inanities that make life frustrating and yet somehow also entertaining. I share this story in part because it was so surreal and absurd but more because it’s an illustration of how Google is so vast and all pervasive that it can be dangerous even when it’s not trying to be.

Of course, the real issue is the monopoly and how it applies to money. Is your favorite website laying off staff or ‘pivoting to video’. In most cases, the root cause is not entirely but to a significant degree driven by the platform monopolies – in this case, Google and Facebook – taking a bigger and bigger slice of the advertising dollars. It’s going to their profits and being taken away from publishers who of course are also trying to maximize their profits but do it through paying for journalism.

When I discussed a few of these issues on Twitter a couple days ago, some people said: Well, the publishers brought it on themselves. They went for the cheap clicks or gaming Facebook’s or Google’s algorithms. So they brought it on themselves.

This is true to an extent but I think misses the point. It’s not about anyone’s individual morality. Not the publishers or the platform monopolies. It’s a structural issue. Monopolies are bad for the economy and their bad politically. They also have perverse consequences across the board. The money that used to fund your favorite website is now going to Google and Facebook which doesn’t produce any news at all.

We could see this coming a few years ago. And we made a decisive and longterm push to restructure our business around subscriptions. So I’m confident we will be fine. But journalism is not fine right now. And journalism is only one industry the platform monopolies affect. Monopolies are bad for all the reasons people used to think they were bad. They raise costs. They stifle innovation. They lower wages. And they have perverse political effects too. Huge and entrenched concentrations of wealth create entrenched and dangerous locuses of political power.

So we will keep using all of Google’s gizmos and services and keep cashing their checks. Hopefully, they won’t see this post and get mad. In the microcosm, it works for us. It’s good money. But big picture … Google is a big, big problem. So is Facebook. So is Amazon. Monopolies are a big, lumbering cause of many of our current afflictions. And we’re only now, slowly, beginning to realize it.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/a-s ... re-1080382


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How the CIA made Google
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Google is watching
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What if Google controlled your life?
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:07 pm

Wow, great report by Josh Marshall.
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Morty » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:13 am

Google is coming after critics in academia and journalism. It's time to stop them.

By Zephyr Teachout

August 30, 2017 at 12:52 PM
Meet your new government. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

About 10 years ago, Tim Wu, the Columbia Law professor who coined the term network neutrality, made this prescient comment: "To love Google, you have to be a little bit of a monarchist, you have to have faith in the way people traditionally felt about the king."

Wu was right. And now, Google has established a pattern of lobbying and threatening to acquire power. It has reached a dangerous point common to many monarchs: The moment where it no longer wants to allow dissent.

This summer, a small team of well-respected researchers and journalists, the Open Markets team at the New America think tank (where I have been a fellow since 2014), dared to speak up about Google, in the mildest way. When the European Union fined Google for preferring its own subsidiary companies to its rival companies in search results, it was natural that Open Markets, a group dedicated to studying and exposing distortions in markets, including monopoly power, would comment. The researchers put out a 150-word statement praising the E.U.'s actions. They wrote, "By requiring that Google give equal treatment to rival services instead of privileging its own, [the E.U.] is protecting the free flow of information and commerce upon which all democracies depend." They called upon the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice and state attorneys general to apply the traditional American monopoly law, which would require separate ownership of products and services and the networks that sell products and services.

The European Union’s antitrust chief announced a record breaking fine of $2.7 billion against Google for distorting internet search results. (Reuters)

Google has been funding New America for years at high levels. Within 24 hours of the statement going live, Google representatives called New America's leadership expressing their displeasure. Two planned hires for the Open Markets team suddenly were canceled. Three days later, the head of the Open Markets team, the accomplished journalist Barry C. Lynn, received a letter from the head of the think tank, demanding that the entire team leave New America. The reason? The statement praising the E.U.'s decision against Google was, according to New America President Anne-Marie Slaughter, "imperiling the institution." (As of this writing, Slaughter has denounced the story as false, claiming that Lynn was dismissed for failures of "openness" and "collegiality.")

When Google was founded in 1998, it famously committed itself to the motto: "Don't be evil." It appears that Google may have lost sight of what being evil means, in the way that most monarchs do: Once you reach a pinnacle of power, you start to believe that any threats to your authority are themselves villainous and that you are entitled to shut down dissent. As Lord Acton famously said, "Despotic power is always accompanied by corruption of morality." Those with too much power cannot help but be evil. Google, the company dedicated to free expression, has chosen to silence opposition, apparently without any sense of irony.

Google did not always operate this way in relation to think tanks, even those it funded. The head of Google's parent company, Eric Schmidt, served on the board of New America starting 2000 and was chairman from 2008 through May 2016. The Open Markets institute has long studied excessive corporate power and argued for the importance of antimonopoly laws. They were not previously punished for their work.

But in recent years, Google has become greedy about owning not just search capacities, video and maps, but also the shape of public discourse. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, Google has recruited and cultivated law professors who support its views. And as the New York Times recently reported, it has become invested in building curriculum for our public schools, and has created political strategy to get schools to adopt its products.

This year, Google is on track to spend more money than any company in America on lobbying. In 2015, it was the third biggest corporate spender, paying more than Exxon Mobil, Lockheed Martin or the Koch brothers on lobbying. Much of what it is spending its money on has nothing to do with technical details regarding its search engine and everything to do with using its power in its search engine to shut out some competitors and build power over others.

It is time to call out Google for what it is: a monopolist in search, video, maps and browser, and a thin-skinned tyrant when it comes to ideas.

The imperial overreach of Google in trying to shut down a group of five researchers proves the point that the initial release from Open Markets was trying to make: When companies get too much power, they become a threat to democratic free speech and to the liberty of citizens at large.

In 1948, in the Supreme Court case U.S. v. Columbia Steel Co., Justice William O. Douglas explained that the traditional philosophy of American antitrust law is that "all power tends to develop into a government in itself. Power that controls the economy … should be scattered into many hands so that the fortunes of the people will not be dependent on the whim or caprice, the political prejudices, the emotional stability of a few self-appointed men."

Google is forming into a government of itself, and it seems incapable of even seeing its own overreach. We, as citizens, must respond in two ways. First, support the brave researchers and journalists who stand up to overreaching power; and second, support traditional antimonopoly laws that will allow us to have great, innovative companies — but not allow them to govern us.

Google's actions forced the Open Markets team to leave New America. But, thankfully, it did not succeed in silencing them entirely. Open Markets will continue on as a separate organization, which I will chair. Their work exposing corporate monopolies and advocating for regulation is more important than ever. Google shows us why.

Zephyr Teachout is an associate professor of law at Fordham University.
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby Cordelia » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:41 pm

“Google is a big, big problem. So is Facebook. So is Amazon. Monopolies are a big, lumbering cause of many of our current afflictions.”


Now that Amazon owns Whole Foods, my sympathies to their stereotypical shoppers Image (of whom I was one, in another wifelifetime) now sharing their Farm-to-Table ‘real’ food shopping experience with Amazon electronic products made in China.

Image

Aug 28, 2017, 9:10am EDT

Amazon closes its Whole Foods acquisition deal today, making the supermarket chain an official subsidiary of the online giant. But if you haven’t been following the news, the next time you enter a Whole Foods, it should seem abundantly clear. As of opening time for most Whole Foods stores on the east coast, Amazon already marked its territory with display stands for Echo smart speakers.

The display cheekily passes the Amazon Echo off as another one of Whole Foods’ “Pick of The Season” ad for discounted products, offering both the full-sized Echo and the Echo Dot for $99.99 an $44.99 respectively. They’re the same price as what you’d find on Amazon.com, though full-sized Echos appear to be out of stock online at this time.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/28/1621 ... o-in-store


And, Amazon's logo is now stamped on their fresh ground beef. Yummy.

Image
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Re: Google Eats the World

Postby 82_28 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:33 pm

Amazon has destroyed Seattle. It has decimated pretty much anything and everything that if you came to town and you wanted me to show you around all you would do is hear me bitch and say how fucked this place is. I have lived here since 1999 so I am not a native but there was a reason why I moved here. It was because I liked it, no loved it. Now to go downtown it is nothing more than a private security infested, techno-dystopian starfleet academy. No, serious. It fucking sucks. Amazon destroyed it.



This article was published last week:

Thanks to Amazon, Seattle is now America’s biggest company town

Amazon so dominates Seattle that it has as much office space as the city’s next 40 biggest employers combined. And the growth continues: Amazon’s Seattle footprint of 8.1 million square feet is expected to soar to more than 12 million square feet within five years.

Amazon’s extraordinary growth has turned Seattle into the biggest company town in America.

Amazon now occupies a mind-boggling 19 percent of all prime office space in the city, the most for any employer in a major U.S. city, according to a new analysis conducted for The Seattle Times.

Amazon’s footprint in Seattle is more than twice as large as any other company in any other big U.S. city, and the e-commerce giant’s expansion here is just getting started.

The swarms of 20-somethings crowding into South Lake Union every morning represent an urban campus that is unparalleled in the United States — and they have helped transform Seattle, for better or worse. Amazon’s rapid rise has fueled an economy that has driven up wages and lowered unemployment, but also produced gridlock on the roads and sky-high housing prices.

And while Seattle’s booming economy is often attributed to a wide variety of factors, increasingly, it’s all about one company.

Amazon now occupies more office space than the next 40 biggest employers in the city combined.

And that’s only the beginning: Amazon’s Seattle footprint of 8.1 million square feet is expected to soar to more than 12 million square feet within five years.

continues at link. . .


http://www.seattletimes.com/business/am ... pany-town/
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