Waking Up with Their Hair on Fire: What Is Beloved Google Doing to Us?

August 23, 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.

Strident? Fearful? Doomed? Interesting words. These popped into my mind after I read two essays about the dearly beloved Google. I want to make clear that governments are powerless in the world of Google. Politicians taking action to impede Google will find themselves targets of their constituents ire. Technologies who grouse about the functions of the Google ecosystem will find themselves marginalized in numerous and interesting ways. Pundits will rail at the moon, lamenting that those reading their lamentations to the jazzed up version of Mozart’s final movement of his Requiem Mass in D minor, K. 62 the Lacrimosa. Bum bum. Bum.

8 23 world ending

“Real” news professions run down the Information Highway warning people about the Google. Helpful after 25 years. Thanks, MidJourney, I figured out how to get you to output original fear and panic.

Hand-wringers, it is too late. After 25 years of regulatory “attention,” Google controls quite a bit of the datasphere, including the subdivisions in which the moaners, groaners, and complainers dwell. Get over it may be a prudent policy. How dependent upon Google are professionals engaged in for fee research: A lot. How do certain Western governments get their information? Yep, the Google. How do advertisers communicate? That’s easy. The Google.

The first article to cause me to slap my knee is “Hundreds of AI news Sites Busily Spew Misinformation. Google and Meta’s Canadian News Ban May Make It Worse.” The write up contains this one-liner:

According to news and misinformation tracker NewsGuard, which has been monitoring the state of AI-driven fake news for the past several months, more than 400 “unreliable AI-generated news websites” have been identified so far — and analysts from the company say more are being discovered every day.

Huh? People turn to social media because “real” news is edutainment or out-of-step with what viewers and listeners want to know. Does the phrase “If it bleeds, it leads” ring a bell? What makes this Canadian invocation of Google interesting is that Canada has hastened its own information challenge. Getting Google or the Zuckbook to pay for something that is spiderable is not going to happen or at least in a way that makes the “real” news outfits happy. The problem has existed for two decades. Now a precipice? You have been falling for a long time and are now realizing that you will crash into an immovable object — Googzilla.

The second write up is a bit of verbal pyrotechnics which questions the Google’s alleged love fest with Frank Sinatra. Yep, old blue eyes himself. “Google and YouTube Are Trying to Have It Both Ways with AI and Copyright” — displayed against a truly lovely RGB color — points out that the end of copyright is here or at least coming down the Information Superhighway. Consider this passage from the write up:

Google is signaling that it will pay off the music industry with special deals that create brand-new — and potentially devastating! — private intellectual property rights, while basically telling the rest of the web that the price of being indexed in Search is complete capitulation to allowing Google to scrape data for AI training.

Signaling. Google has been doing one thing since it was inspired by the Yahoo.com, Overture, and GoTo.com pay-to-play approach to monetization. After 25 years, Googzilla is following its simple game plan: Become the datasphere. How could allegedly bright pundits miss this approach? I documented some of the systems and methods in my three monographs about Google written between 2003 and 2006: The Google Legacy, Google Version 2.0, and Google: The Digital Gutenberg. In those reports, I included diagrams of Google’s walled garden, and it is obvious that the architectural wonder is under active development. Quelle surprise!

So what?

Googzilla’s greatest weakness is itself and its assumption that information is infinite. I agree, but digital content is now recursing. Like the snake which nibbles on its tail, the company’s future is coming into view.

Do you hear the melody for Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”? Interrupted by ads, of course.

Stephen E Arnold, August 23, 2023


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