Google: Trapped in Its Own Walled Garden with Lots of Science Club Alums

August 30, 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 “MapReduce, TensorFlow, Vertex: Google’s Bet to Avoid Repeating History in AI.” I found the idea that Google gets in its own way a retelling of how high school science club management produces interesting consequences.


A young technology wizard finds himself in a Hall of Mirrors at the carnival. He is not sure what is real or in which direction to go. The world of the House of Mirrors is disorienting. The young luminary wants to return to the walled garden where life is more comfortable. Thanks, MidJourney. Four tries and I get this tired illustration. Gradient descent time?

The write up asserts:

Google is in the middle of trying to avoid repeating history when releasing its industry-altering technology.

I disagree. The methods defining Google produce with remarkable consistency a lack of informed control. The idea is that organizations have a culture. That cultural evolves over time, but it remains anchored in its past. Thus, as the organization appears to move forward in time, that organization behaves in a predictable way; for example, Google has an approach to management which guarantees friction. Examples range from the staff protests to the lateral arabesque used to move Dr. Jeff Dean out of the way of the DeepMind contingent.

The write up takes a different view; for example:

Run by engineers, the [Google MapReduce] team essentially did not foresee the coming wave of open-source technology to power the modern Web and the companies that would come to commercialize it.

Google lacks the ability to perceive its opportunities. The company is fenced by its dependence on online advertising. Thus, innovations are tough for the Googlers to put into perspective. One reason is the high school science club ethos of the outfit; the other is that the outside world is as foreign to many Googlers as the world beyond the goldfish’s bowl filled with water. The view is distorted, surreal, and unfamiliar.

How can a company innovate and make a commercially viable product with this in its walled garden? It cannot. Advertising at Google is a me-too product for which Google prior to its IPO settled a dispute with Yahoo over the “inspiration” for pay-to-play search. The cost of this “inspiration” was about $1 billion.

In a quarter century, Google remains what one Microsoftie called “a one-trick pony.” Will the Google Cloud emerge as a true innovation? Nope. There are lots of clouds. Google is the Enterprise Rent-a-Car to the Hertz and Avis cloud rental firms. Google’s innovation track record is closer to a high school science club which has been able to win the state science club content year after year. Other innovators win the National Science Club Award (once called the Westinghouse Award). The context-free innovations are useful to others who have more agility and market instinct.

My view is that Google has become predictable, lurching from one technical paper to legal battle like a sine wave in a Physics 101 class; that is, a continuous wave with a smooth periodic function.

Don’t get me wrong. Google is an important company. What is often overlooked is the cultural wall that keeps the 100,000 smartest people in the world locked down in the garden. Innovation is constrained, and the excitement exists off the virtual campus. Why do so many Xooglers innovate and create interesting things once freed from the walled garden? Culture has strengths and weaknesses. Google’s muffing the bunny, as the article points out, is one defining characteristic of a company which longs for high school science club meetings and competitions with those like themselves.

Tony Bennett won’t be singing in the main cafeteria any longer, but the Googlers don’t care. He was an outsider, interesting but not in the science club. If the thought process doesn’t fit, you must quit.

Stephen E Arnold, August 30. 2023

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, Overture, and 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

Now Streaming in Real Time: Googzilla Lost in Space

August 22, 2023

Google Executive Turnover and Role Changes Come As the Company Searches for New Identity” presents an interesting thesis: Google lacks an identity. I want to make a reference to Catcher in the Rye, but that book may not be a touchstone for some today. I wanted to link this statement from the book to the CNBC article:

8 22 lost in space\

MidJourney does a good dinosaur lost in space. It only took three tries before I said, “Good enough.” The descent along a gradient continues.,

“I think that one of these days…you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there. But immediately. You can’t afford to lose a minute. Not you.”

Let’s let the short essay explain the alleged identity crisis at the Google:

it’s also searching for its own identity in a pivotal moment in the company’s history. The company was caught flat-footed last fall when OpenAI launched its AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT, and suddenly found itself in a rare spot where its core search business was threatened. Industry observers wondered if users could simply get answers from an AI-powered chatbot, how long would they keep entering queries into a search engine? It was an ironic moment for the search giant, given that CEO Sundar Pichai had been talking up the company’s “AI-first” strategy since 2016, with little to show externally.

Imagine. Microsoft — the giant beacon of excellence in engineering and security — catching Google “flat-footed.” When elephants dance, some people leave the party.

The write up points out:

In June, Google execs admitted to employees that users are “still not quite happy” with the search experience, CNBC reported. Search boss Prabhakar Raghavan and engineering VP HJ Kim spent several minutes pledging to do a better job to employees while Pichai noted that it’s still the most trusted search engine.

Yes, trust. That’s an interesting word, particularly when used by a technology giant and alleged monopoly.

The article makes clear that Google operates like a government, a government of a large and mostly disorganized country with a single crop. I noted this passage:

“Like mice, they are trapped in a maze of approvals, launch processes, legal reviews, performance reviews, exec reviews, documents, meetings, bug reports, triage, OKRs, H1 plans followed by H2 plans, all-hands summits, and inevitable reorgs.”— former Google employee Praveen Seshadri

And this interesting observation:

Now, the company faces its biggest challenge yet, which falls on the shoulders of Pichai and the next guard — trying to recreate the magic of its early days along with delivering revenue while being under more pressure than ever.

Several observations:

  1. Google has problems
  2. Google derives the majority of its revenue from its walled garden online advertising house of mirrors
  3. The company’s approach evokes the Lost in Space comparison

Net net: How does a company operating as a country shift from a monoculture based on selling bananas to a more diversified economy? The story is unfolding in real time. Like the TV show, the adventure presents in real time, crashes, earthquakes, and the consequences of its actors. Perfect for some TikTok type videos.

Stephen E Arnold, August 22, 2023

Google: Most But Not Every Regulatory Outfit Is Googley

August 22, 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.

When Google started it earned its revenue by selling advertising. While Alphabet Inc. diversified its portfolio, a large portion of its profit is still generated by advertising via Google. Unfortunately Torrent Freak explains that many of these ads are “pirate” links: “Google Search Asked To Remove One Billion ‘Pirate’ Links In 9 Months.” From the beginning, Google faced issues with copyright holders and it developed policies to be a responsible search engine. The easiest way Google and users address copyright infringements are DMCA takedown notices.

Google records its DMCA requests and began publishing them in 2012 in its Transparency Report. In August 2023, Google posted its seven billionth DMCA takedown notice and it is less than a year after its six billionth request. It took twice as long for Google to jump from five to six billion requests. Most of the DMCA takedowns were from a single copyright holder to stop a specific pirate operation. Who is the main complainer?

“Around the start of the year MG Premium began to increase its takedown efforts. The company is an intellectual property vehicle of the MindGeek conglomerate, known for popular adult sites such as P*rnHub. One of MG Premium’s main goals is to shut down ‘unlicensed’ sites or at least make when unfindable. Last year, MG Premium scored a multi-million dollar damages win in a U.S. federal court against pirate ‘tube site’ Daftsex . This order also took down the main .com domain, but that didn’t stop the site. Daftsex simply continued using alternative domains which remain available to this day.”

MG Premium has a vendetta against pirate links and is nursing a DMCA takedown never before witnessed in history. MG Premium averages more than two million requests per day.

While MG Premium is the biggest reporter of the moment, there are more complainers. Google sells ad space to anyone with the funds but the even bigger question is who is buying ad space on these pirated Web sites? Google automates most of its advertising sales but where are the filters to prevent pirate links?

Whitney Grace, August 22, 2023

Google Mandiant on Influence Campaigns: Hey, They Do Not Work Very Well

August 18, 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.

AI Use Rising in Influence Campaigns Online, But Impact Limited – US Cyber Firm” is a remarkable report for three reasons: [a] The write up does not question why the report was generated at this time, the dead of summer. [b] What methods were used to determine that online “manipulative information campaigns” were less than effective, and [c] What data substantiate that the “problem” will get “bigger over time”.

8 18 lecturer

The speaker says, “Online information campaigns do not work too well. Nevertheless, you should use them because it generates money. And money, as you know, is the ultimate good.” MidJourney did a C job of rendering a speaker with whom the audience disagrees.

Frankly I view this type of cyber security report as a public relations and marketing exercise. Why would a dinobaby like me view this information generated by the leader in online information finding, pointing, and distributing as specious? One reason is that paid advertising is a version of “manipulative information campaigns.” Therefore, the report suggests that Google’s online advertising business is less effective than Google has for 20 years explained as an effective way to generate leads and sales.

Second, I am skeptical about dismissing the impact of online manipulative information campaigns as a poor way to cause a desired thought or action. Sweden has set up a government agency to thwart anti-Sweden online information. Nation states continue to use social media, state controlled or state funded online newsletters to output information specifically designed to foster a specific type of behavior. Examples range from self harm messaging to videos about the perils of allowing people to vote in a fair election.

Third, the problem is a significant one. Amazon has a fake review problem. The solution may be to allow poorly understood algorithms to generate “reviews.” Data about the inherent bias and the ability of developers of smart software to steer results are abundant. Let me give an example. Navigate to MidJourney and ask for an image of a school building on fire. The system will not generate the image. This decision is based on inputs from humans who want to keep the smart software generating “good” images. Google’s own capabilities to block certain types of medical information illustrate the knobs and dials available to a small group of high technology companies which are alleged monopolies.

Do I believe the Google Mandiant information? Maybe some. But there are two interesting facets of this report which I want to highlight.

The first is that the Mandiant information undercuts what Google has suggested is the benefit of its online advertising business; that is, it works. Mandiant’s report seems to say, “Well, not too well.”

The second is that the article cited is from Thomson Reuters. The “trust principles” phrase appears on the story. Nevertheless ignores the likelihood that the Mandiant study is probably a fairly bad PR effort. Yep, trust. Not so much for this dinobaby.

Stephen E Arnold, August 18, 2023

Will the US Take Action against Google? Yes, Just Gentle Action It Seems

August 15, 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.

After several years of preparation, the DOJ has finally gotten its case against Google before the US District Court for DC only to have the judge drastically narrow its scope.

8 12 boy confronts dinosaur

A brave young person confronts a powerful creature named Googzilla. The beastie just lumbers forward. MidJourney does nice dinosaurs.

Ars Technica reports, “In Win for Google, Judge Dismisses Many Claims in DOJ Monopoly Case.” We learn:

“In his opinion unsealed Friday, Judge Amit Mehta dismissed one of the more significant claims raised in the case brought by the Justice Department and the attorneys general from 38 states that alleges that Google rigged search results to boost its own products over those of competitors like Amazon, OpenTable, Expedia, or eBay. Mehta said that these claims were ‘raised only by the Colorado plaintiffs’ and failed to show evidence of anticompetitive effects, relying only on the ‘opinion and speculation’ of antitrust legal expert Jonathan Baker, who proposed a theory of anticompetitive harm.”

Hmm, interesting take. Some might assert the anticompetitive harm is self-evident here. But wait, there’s more:

“On top of dropping claims about the anticompetitive design of Google search results, the court ‘also dismissed allegations about Google’s Android Compatibility Agreements, Anti-Fragmentation Agreements, Google Assistant, Internet of Things Devices, and Android Open Source Project,’ Google’s blog noted.”

So what is left? Just the allegedly anticompetitive agreements with Android and certain browsers to make Google their default search engine which, of course, helped secure a reported 94 percent of the mobile search market for the company. Despite Judge Mehta’s many dismissals, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is just pleased Google was unable to stop the case altogether. Now all that remains to be seen is whether Google will receive a slap on the wrist or a pat on the back for its browser shenanigans.

Cynthia Murrell, August 15, 2023

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

Google: When Wizards Cannot Talk to One Another

August 1, 2023

Note: Dinobaby here: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid. Services are now ejecting my cute little dinosaur gif. Like my posts related to the Dark Web, the MidJourney art appears to offend someone’s sensibilities in the datasphere. If I were not 78, I might look into these interesting actions. But I am and I don’t really care.

Google is in the vanguard of modern management methods. As a dinobaby, I thought that employees who disagree would talk about the issue and work out a solution. Perhaps it would be a test of Option A and Option B? Maybe a small working group would dive into a tough technical point and generate a list of talking points for further discussion, testing, and possibly an opinion from a consulting firm?

How would my old-fashioned approach work?

7 24 cannot talk

One youthful wizard says, “Your method is not in line with the one we have selected.” The other youthful wizard replies, “Have you tested both and logged the data?” The very serious wizard with the bigger salary responds, “That’s not necessary. Your method is not in line with the one we have selected. By the way, you may find your future elsewhere.” Thanks MidJourney. You have nailed the inability of certain smart people to discuss without demeaning another. Has this happened to you MidJourney?

The answer is, “Are you crazy?”

Navigate to “Google Fails to Get AI Engineer Lawsuit Claiming Wrongful Termination Thrown Out.” As I understand the news report, Google allegedly fired a person who wrote a paper allegedly disagreeing with another Google paper. This, if true, reminded me of the Stochastic Parrot dust up which made Googler Dr. Timnit Gebru a folk hero among some. She is finding her future elsewhere now.

Navigate to the cited article to get more details.

Several points:

  1. Google appears to be unable to resolve internal discussions without creating PR instead of technical progress.
  2. The management methods strike me as illogical. I recall discussions with Googlers about the importance of logic, and it is becoming clear to me that Google logic follows it own rules. (Perhaps Google people managers should hire people that can thrive within Google logic?)
  3. The recourse to the legal system to resolve which may be a technical matter is intellectually satisfying. I am confident that judges, legal eagles, expert witnesses are fully versed in chip engineering for complex and possibly proprietary methods. Have Google people management personnel considered just hiring such multi-faceted legal brains and eliminating wrong-thinking engineers?

Net net: A big time “real” news reporter objected to my use of the phrase “high school management methods.” Okay, perhaps “adolescent management methods” or “adolescent thought processes” are more felicitous phrases. But not for me. These fascinating Google management methods which generate news and legal precedents may render it unnecessary for the firm to use such words as “trust,” “user experience,” and other glittering generalities.

The reality is that cooperative resolution seems to be a facet of quantum supremacy that this dinobaby does not understand.

Stephen E Arnold, August 1, 2023

Impossible. A Google AI Advocates for Plagiarism? Impossible.

August 1, 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 became the world’s leading search engine because of its quality results. Alphabet Inc. might lose that title with its new “Search Generative Experience” (SGE) that uses an AI algorithm to copies and paste text from across the Internet and claims them as original content. SGE plagiarizes its information and even worse it cites false information. The article “Plagiarism Engine: Google’s Content-Swiping AI Could Break The Internet” posted on Tom’s Hardware examines SGE’s beta phase.

SGE’s search results page contains advice and answers from Google that occupy the entire first screen, requiring users to scroll to find organic search results. Google explains that they are experimenting with SGE and it will change before it’s deployed. Google claims it wants to put Web sites front and center, but their location in SGE (three blocks to the right of search results) will get few clicks and these are not always the best resources.

SGE attempts to answer search results with cobbled together text chunks that appear at the top of results pages. These text chunks are a mess:

“Even worse, the answers in Google’s SGE boxes are frequently plagiarized, often word-for-word, from the related links. Depending on what you search for, you may find a paragraph taken from just one source or get a whole bunch of sentences and factoids from different articles mashed together into a plagiarism stew. … It’s pretty easy to find sources that back up your claims when your claims are word-for-word copied from those sources. While the bot could do a better job of laundering its plagiarism, it’s inevitable that the response would come from some human’s work. No matter how advanced LLMs get, they will never be the primary source of facts or advice and can only repurpose what people have done.”

Google’s SGE has many negative implications. It touts false information as the truth. The average Internet user trusts Google to promote factual information and they do not investigate beyond the first search page. This will cause individual and societal harm, ranging from incorrect medical information to promoting conspiracy theories.

Google is purposely doing this an anti-competition practice. Google wants users to stay on its Web sites as long as possible. The implications of SGE as an all-encompassing search experience and information source support that practice.

Google and SGE steal people’s original work that irrevocably harms the publishing, art, and media industries. Media companies are already suing Google and other AI-based companies to protect their original content. The best way to stop Google is for an ultimate team-up between media companies:

“Companies could band together, through trade associations, to demand that Google respect intellectual property and not take actions that would destroy the open web as we know it. Readers can help by either scrolling past the company’s SGE to click on organic results or switching to a different search engine. Bing has shown a better way to incorporate AI, making its chatbot the non-default option and citing every piece of information it uses with a specific link back…”

If media companies teamed together for a class action lawsuit it could stop Google’s SGE bad practices and could even breakup Google’s monopoly.

Whitney Grace, August 1, 2023

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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