How to Cope with Google: Change Your Name, Just Move

October 26, 2010

I find Math Club folks darned entertaining. I recall learning from someone that Google’s top dog suggested that one could deal with privacy issues by changing one’s name. No problem, but not exactly practical. Today (October 25, 2010) several people mentioned to me Dr. Schmidt’s suggestion regarding Street View’s imaging one’s home. The recommendation was, according to “Schmidt: Don’t Like Google Street View Photographing Your House? Then Move,” even more impractical than changing one’s name. In today’s real estate market, most folks struggle to make payments. The cost of moving is out of reach even if there were a compelling reason to uproot oneself. The idea of moving because Google is making snaps of one’s domicile is either pretty funny (my view) or pretty crazy (the view of one of the people in my office).

So which is it? Colbert Report material or an answer that could get you stuck in a hospital’s psychiatric ward for observation?

I side with the Math Club. Dr. Schmidt was just joking.

What’s not so funny is the mounting legal friction that Google faces. My concern is that the push back could impair Google’s ability to do deals. The issue is partially trust and partially mind share. With lawyers wanting discovery and depositions, the two Ds can get even the A student in Math Club in academic hot water. That’s bad for Google, its partners, and its stakeholders. Competitors know Google has lots of cash, but with Apple and Facebook surging, Google can no longer rely on controlled chaos to converge on a solution. Lawyers are into procedures and often lack a sense of humor.

Just move. Man, that’s a hoot. Getting a cow on top of a university bell tower will not elicit a chuckle from me. But “just move.” I am in stitches. Absolutely hilarious. But there is that other point of view… the hospital… the observation thing. Hmmm.

Stephen E Arnold, October 26, 2010


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