Google Relies on People Not Perceiving a Walled Garden

August 3, 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.

I want to keep this brief. I have been, largely without effect, explaining Google’s foundational idea of a walled garden people will perceive as the digital world. Once in the garden, why leave?

8 3 walled garden

A representation of the Hotel California’s walled garden. Why bother to leave? The walled garden is the entire digital world. I wish MidJourney would have included the neon sign spelling out “Hotel California” or “Googleplex.” But no, no, no. Smart software has guard rails.

Today (August 3, 2023), I want to point to two different write ups which explain bafflement at what Google is doing.

The first is a brief item from Mastodon labeled (I think) “A List of Recent Hostile Moves by Google’s Chrome Team.” The write up points out that Google’s attempt to become the gatekeeper for content. Another is content blocking. And action to undermine an image format. Hacker News presents several hundred comments which say to me, “Why is Google doing this? Google is supposed to be a good company.” Imagine. Read these comments at this link. Amazing, at least to me!

The second item is from a lawyer. The article is “Google’s Plan To DRM The Web Goes Against Everything Google Once Stood For.” Please, read the write up yourself. What’s remarkable is the point of view expressed in this phrase “everything Google once stood for.” Lawyers are a fascinating branch of professional advice givers. I am fearful of this type of thinking; therefore, I try to stay as far away from attorneys as I can.

Let’s step back.

In one of my monographs about Google (research funded by commercial enterprises) which contain some of the information my clients did not deep sensitive, I depicted Sergey Brin as a magician with fire in his hand. From the beginning of Google’s monetization via advertising misdirection and keeping the audience amazed were precepts of the company. Today’s Google is essentially running what is now a 25 year old game plan. Why not? Advertising “inspired” by Yahoo-GoTo-Overture’s pay-for-traffic model generates almost 70 percent of the company’s revenue. With advertising under pressure, the Google has to amp up its controls. Those relevant ads displayed to me for feminine-centric products reflect the efficacy of the precision ad matching, right?

Think about the walled garden metaphor. Think about the magician analogy. Now think about what Google will do to extend and influence the world around it. Exciting for young people who view the world through eyes which have only seen what the walled garden offers. If TikTok goes away, Google has its version with influencers and product placements. What’s not to like about Google News, Gmail, or Android? Most people find nothing untoward, and altering those perceptions may be difficult.

The long view is helpful when one extends control a free service at a time. And relevance of Google’s search results? The results are relevant because the objective is ad revenue and messaging on Googley things. An insect in the walled garden does not know much about other gardens and definitely nothing about an alternative.

Stephen E Arnold, August 3, 2023


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