Google and Its Embarrassing Document: Sounds Like Normal Google Talk to Me

October 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 read “DOJ Finally Posted That Embarrassing Court Doc Google Wanted to Hide.” I was surprised that the anti-trust trial exhibit made its way to this link. My initial reaction was that the judge was acting in a non-Googley way. I am not sure some of the people I know want Google’s activities to be impaired in any way.

9 30 lizard

The senior technology executive who seems to look like a gecko lizard is explaining how a business process for an addictive service operates. Those attending the meeting believe that a “lock in” approach is just the ticket to big bucks in the zippy world of digital trank. Hey, MidJourney, nice lizard. Know any?

That geo-fencing capability is quite helpful to some professionals. The second thing that surprised me was… no wait. Let me quote the Ars Technica article first. The write up says:

The document in question contains meeting notes that Google’s vice president for finance, Michael Roszak, “created for a course on communications,” Bloomberg reported. In his notes, Roszak wrote that Google’s search advertising “is one of the world’s greatest business models ever created” with economics that only certain “illicit businesses” selling “cigarettes or drugs” “could rival.” At trial, Roszak told the court that he didn’t recall if he ever gave the presentation. He said that the course required that he tell students “things I don’t believe as part of the presentation.” He also claimed that the notes were “full of hyperbole and exaggeration” and did not reflect his true beliefs, “because there was no business purpose associated with it.”

Gee, I believe this. Sincere, open comment about one’s ability to “recall” is in line with other Google professionals’ commentary; for example, Senator, thank you for the question. I don’t know the answer, but we will provide your office with that information. (Note: I am paraphrasing something I may have heard or hallucinated with Bard, or I may not “recall” where and when I heard that type of statement.)

Ars Technica is doing the he said thing in this statement:

A Google spokesman told Bloomberg that Roszak’s statements “don’t reflect the company’s opinion” and “were drafted for a public speaking class in which the instructions were to say something hyperbolic and attention-grabbing.” The spokesman also noted that Roszak “testified he didn’t believe the statements to be true.” According to Bloomberg, Google lawyer Edward Bennett told the court that Roszak’s notes suggest that the senior executive’s plan for his presentation was essentially “cosplaying Gordon Gekko”—a movie villain who symbolizes corporate greed from 1987’s Wall Street.

I think the Gordon Gekko comparison is unfair. The lingo strikes me as normal Silicon Valley sell-it-with-sizzle lingo.

Stephen E Arnold, October 3, 2023


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