Google: Running the Same Old Game Plan

July 31, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Google has been running the same old game plan since the early 2000s. But some experts are unaware of its simplicity. In the period from 2002 to 2004, I did a number of reports for my commercial clients about Google. In 2004, I recycled some of the research and analysis into The Google Legacy. The thesis of the monograph, published in England by the now defunct Infonortics Ltd. explained the infrastructure for search was enhanced to provide an alternative to commercial software for personal, business, and government use. The idea that a search-and-retrieval system based on precedent technology and funded in part by the National Science Foundation with a patent assigned to Stanford University could become Googzilla was a difficult idea to swallow. One of the investment banks who paid for our research got the message even though others did not. I wonder if that one group at the then world’s largest software company remembers my lecture about the threat Google posed to a certain suite of software applications? Probably not. The 20 somethings and the few suits at the lecture looked like kindergarteners waiting for recess.

I followed up The Google Legacy with Google Version 2.0: The Calculating Predator. This monograph was again based on proprietary research done for my commercial clients. I recycled some of the information, scrubbing that which was deemed inappropriate for anyone to buy for a few British pounds. In that work, I rather methodically explained that Google’s patent documents provided useful information about why the mere Web search engine was investing in some what seemed like odd-ball technologies like software janitors. I reworked one diagram to show how the Google infrastructure operated like a prison cell or walled garden. The idea is that once one is in, one may have to work to get past the gatekeeper to get out. I know the image from a book does not translate to a blog post, but, truth be told, I am disinclined to recreate art. At age 78, it is often difficult to figure out why smart drawing tools are doing what they want, not what I want.

Here’s the diagram:


The prison cell or walled garden (2006) from Google Version 2.0: The Calculating Predator, published by Infonortics Ltd., 2006. And for any copyright trolls out there, I created the illustration 20 years ago, not Alamy and not Getty and no reputable publisher.

Three observations about the diagram are: [a] The box, prison cell, or walled garden contains entities, [b] once “in” there is a way out but the exit is via Google intermediated, defined, and controlled methods, and [c] anything in the walled garden perceives that the prison cell is the outside world. The idea obviously is for Google to become the digital world which people will perceive as the Internet.

I thought about my decades old research when I read “Google Tries to Defend Its Web Environment Integrity as Critics Slam It as Dangerous.” The write up explains that Google wants to make online activity better. In the comments to the article, several people point out that Google is using jargon and fuzzy misleading language to hide its actual intentions with the WEI.

The critics and the write up miss the point entirely: Look at the diagram. WEI, like the AMP initiative, is another method added to existing methods for Google to extend its hegemony over online activity. The patent, implement, and explain approach drags out over years. Attention spans, even for academics who make up data like the president of Stanford University, are not interested in anything other than personal goal achievement. Finding out something visible for years is difficult. When some interesting factoid is discovered, few accept it. Google has a great brand, and it cares about user experience and the other fog the firm generates.

7 29 same old game plan

MidJourney created this nice image of a Googler preparing for a presentation to the senior management of Google in 2001. In that presentation, the wizard was outlining Google’s fundamental strategy: Fake left, go right. The slogan for the company, based on my research, keep them fooled. Looking the wrong way is the basic rule of being a successful Googler, strategist, or magician.

Will Google WEI win? It does not matter because Google will just whip up another acronym, toss some verbal froth around, and move forward. What is interesting to me is Google’s success. Points I have noted over the years are:

  1. Kindergarten colors, Google mouse pads, and talking like General Electric once did about “bringing good things” continues to work
  2. Google’s dominance is not just accepted, changing or blocking anything Google wants to do is sacrilegious. It has become a sacred digital cow
  3. The inability of regulators to see Google as it is remains a constant, like Google’s advertising revenue
  4. Certain government agencies could not perform their work if Google were impeded in any significant way. No, I will not elaborate on this observation in a public blog post. Don’t even ask. I may make a comment in my keynote at the Massachusetts / New York Association of Crime Analysts’ conference in early October 2023. If you can’t get in, you are out of luck getting information on Point Four.

Net net: Fire up your Chrome browser. Look for reality in the Google search results. Turn cartwheels to comply with Google’s requirements. Pay money for traffic via Google advertising. Learn how to create good blog posts from Google search engine optimization experts. Use Google Maps. Put your email in Gmail. Do the Google thing. Then ask yourself, “How do I know if the information provided by Google is “real”? Just don’t get curious about synthetic data for Google smart software. Predictions about Big Brother are wrong. Google, not the government, is the digital parent whom you embraced after a good “Backrub.” Why change from high school science thought processes? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Stephen E Arnold, July 31, 2023


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