Google-gies: A New Literary Genre

January 19, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

I think graduate students in American literature have a new genre to analyze. The best way to define an innovation in literature is to take an example and do what soon-to-be-unemployed MA and PhD candidates do best: Examine an original text. I think one word used to describe this type of examination is deconstruction. Close enough for horseshoes.

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These former high tech feudal barons lament parties designed to facilitate discussion of dissolution, devolution, and disintegration. Thanks, second tier MSFT Copilot Bing thing. Good enough again.

My name for this new branch of American writing is a combination of Google and elegy or Googlegy. I also considered Googletopsis in honor of William Cullen Bryant, but Googlegy is snappier in my opinion. The point is that the term applies to writing about the death of the Google myth.

Let’s turn to a recent example titled “Mourning Google.” The main idea is that the Google is dead or one facet of the estimable firm has passed into the Great Beyond. The writer is Tim Bray who was a Big Gun at OpenText and other firms before joining the Digital Camelot. He writes:

it really seems like the joy has well and truly departed the Googleplex.

Funereal? Yep. He continues:

And now, in Anno Domini 2024, Google has lost its edge in search. There are plenty of things it can’t find. There are compelling alternatives. To me this feels like a big inflection point, because around the stumbling feet of the Big Tech dinosaurs, the Web’s mammals, agile and flexible, still scurry. They exhibit creative energy and strongly-flavored voices, and those voices still sometimes find and reinforce each other without being sock puppets of shareholder-value-focused private empires.

I like the metaphors and the lingo. (Subsequent sections of the essay use vulgar language. Some of the author’s words appear on Google list of forbidden words, so I won’t repeat them. This is a blog, not English 602, Googlegy: Meaning and Social Impact.

The wrap up of the essay reveals some of the attitude of a Xoogler or former Googler presents this wonderful blend of nostalgia, greed, and personal emotion:

It was ethereal — OK, pretentious — almost beyond belief. Almost entirely vegetarian, rare plants hand-gathered by Zen monks and assembled into jewel-like little platelets-full that probably strengthened eleven different biochemical subsystems just by existing. And the desserts were beyond divine. Admittedly, sometimes when I left, my Norwegian-farmer metabolism grumbled a bit about not having had any proper food, but still. It was wonderful. It was absurd. And I got a $90K bonus that year because Google+ hit its numbers. It’s over, I think. It’s OK to miss it.

Why are Googlegies appearing? I have a theory, and if I were teaching graduate students, I would direct those eager minds toward a research topic in this untrodden intellectual space.

Let me share several observations:

  1. Using Swisscows.com or another reasonably useful Web search engine, one can locate other articles about the mythical death of the Google
  2. Medium and Substack harbor essays in this genre
  3. Conferences featuring speakers who were Googlers provide an opportunity for first-hand data collection
  4. Apply for a job and learn up close and personal how money assuages one’s conscience, emotions, and ethical whimpers.

I have a different viewpoint. The Google is busy redesigning the Web to maintain its grip on revenue from advertisers. Googley technology will, its senior managers hope, will blunt the rapacious outfits which are equally inspired by the spirit of Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and John D. Rockefeller.

Welcome the birth of a new genre — Google-gies. Refreshing if too late.

Stephen E Arnold, January 19, 2024

Google Gems for 1 16 24: Ho Ho Ho

January 16, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

There is no zirconium dioxide in this gem display. The Google is becoming more aggressive about YouTube users who refuse to pay money to watch the videos on the site. Does Google have a problem after conditioning its users around the globe to use the service, provide comments, roll over for data collection, and enjoy the ever increasing number of commercial messages? Of course not, Google is a much-loved company, and its users are eager to comply. If you want some insight into Google’s “pay up or suffer” approach to reframing YouTube, navigate to “YouTube’s Ad Blocker War Leads to Major Slowdowns and Surge in Scam Ads.” Yikes, scam ads. (I thought Google had those under control a decade ago. Oh, well.)

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So many high-value gems and so little time to marvel at their elegance and beauty. Thanks, MSFT Copilot Big thing. Good enough although I appear to be a much younger version of my dinobaby self.

Another notable allegedly accurate assertion about the Google’s business methods appears in “Google Accused of Stealing Patented AI Technology in $1.67 Billion Case.” Patent litigation is boring for some, but the good news is that it provides big money to some attorneys — win or lose. What’s interesting is that short cuts and duplicity appear in numerous Google gems. Is this a signal or a coincidence?

Other gems my team found interesting and want to share with you include:

  • Google and the lovable Bing have been called out for displaying “deep fake porn” in their search results. If you want to know more about this issue, navigate to Neowin.net.
  • In order to shore up its revenues, Alphabet is innovating the way Monaco has: Money-related gaming. How many young people will discover the thrill of winning big and take a step toward what could be a life long involvement in counseling and weekly meetings? Techcrunch provides a bit more information, but not too much.
  • Are there any downsides to firing Googlers, allegedly the world’s brightest and most productive wizards wearing sneakers and gray T shirts? Not too many, but some people may be annoyed with what Google describes in baloney speak as deprecation. The idea is that features are killed off. Adapt. PCMag.com explains with post-Ziff élan. One example of changes might be the fiddling with Google Maps and Waze.
  • The estimable Sun newspaper provides some functions of the Android mobiles’ hidden tricks. Surprise.
  • Google allegedly is struggling to dot its “i’s” and cross its “t’s.” A blogger reports that Google “forgot” to renew a domain used in its GSuite documentation. (How can one overlook the numerous reminders to renew? It’s easy I assume.)

The final gem in this edition is one that may or may not be true. A tweet reports that Amazon is now spending more on R&D than Google. Cost cutting?

Stephen E Arnold, January 16, 2024

A Google Gem: Special Edition on 1-11-23

January 11, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

I learned that the Google has swished its tail and killed off some baby Googlers. Giant creatures can do that. Thomson Reuters (the trust outfit) reported the “real” news in “Google Lays Off Hundreds in Assistant, Hardware, Engineering Teams.” But why? The Google is pulsing with revenue, opportunity, technology, and management expertise. Thomson Reuters has the answer:

"Throughout second-half of 2023, a number of our teams made changes to become more efficient and work better, and to align their resources to their biggest product priorities. Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organizational changes, which include some role eliminations globally," a spokesperson for Google told Reuters in a statement.

On YCombinator’s HackerNews, I spotted some interesting comments. Foofie asserted: “In the last quarter Alphabet reported "total revenues of $76.69bn, an increase of 11 percent year-on-year (YoY). Google Cloud alone grew 22%.”

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A giant corporate creature plods forward. Is the big beastie mindful of those who are crushed in the process? Sure, sure. Thanks, MSFT Copilot Bing thing. Good enough.

BigPeopleAreOld observes: “As long as you can get another job and can get severance pay, a layoff feel like an achievement than a loss. That happened me in my last company, one that I was very attached to for what I now think was irrational reasons. I wanted to leave anyway, but having it just happen and getting a nice severance pay was a perk. I am treating my new job as the complete opposite and the feeling is cathartic, which allows me to focus better on my work instead of worrying about the maintaining the illusion of identity in the company I work for.”

Yahoo, that beacon of stability, tackled the human hedge trimming in “Google Lays Off Hundreds in Hardware, Voice Assistant Teams.” The Yahooligans report:

The reductions come as Google’s core search business feels the heat from rival artificial-intelligence offerings from Microsoft Corp. and ChatGPT-creator OpenAI. On calls with investors, Google executives pledged to scrutinize their operations to identify places where they can make cuts, and free up resources to invest in their biggest priorities.

I like the word “pledge.” I wonder what it means in the land of Googzilla.

And how did the Google RIF these non-essential wizards and wizardettes? According to 9to5Google.com:

This reorganization will see Google lay off a few hundred roles across Devices & Services, though the majority is happening within the first-party augmented reality hardware team. This downsizing suggests Google is no longer working on its own AR hardware and is fully committed to the OEM-partnership model. Employees will have the ability to apply to open roles within the company, and Google is offering its usual degree of support.

Several observations:

  1. Dumping employees reduces costs, improves efficiency, and delivers other MBA-identified goodies. Efficiency is logical.
  2. The competitive environment is more difficult than some perceive. Microsoft, OpenAI, and the many other smart software outfits are offering alternatives to Google search even when these firms are not trying to create problems for Google. Search sucks and millions are looking for an alternative. I sense fear among the Googlers.
  3. The regulatory net is becoming more and more difficult to avoid. The EU and other governmental entities see Google as a source of money. The formula seems to be to litigate, find guilty, and find. What’s not to like for cash strapped government entities?
  4. For more than a year, the Google has been struggling with its slip on sneakers. As a result, the Google conveys that it is not able to make a dash to the ad convenience store as it did when it was younger, friskier. Google looks old, and predators know that the old can become a snack.

See Google cares.

Stephen E Arnold, January 11, 2024

A Decision from the High School Science Club School of Management Excellence

January 11, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

I can’t resist writing about Inc. Magazine and its Google management articles. These are knee slappers for me. The write up causing me to chuckle is “Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, Says Laying Off 12,000 Workers Was the Worst Moment in the Company’s 25-Year History.” Zowie. A personnel decision coupled with late-night, anonymous termination notices — What’s not to like. What’s the “real” news write up have to say:

Google had to lay off 12,000 employees. That’s a lot of people who had been showing up to work, only to one day find out that they’re no longer getting a paycheck because the CEO made a bad bet, and they’re stuck paying for it.

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“Well, that clever move worked when I was in my high school’s science club. Oh, well, I will create a word salad to distract from my decision making.Heh, heh, heh,” says the distinguished corporate leader to a “real” news publication’s writer. Thanks, MSFT Copilot Bing thing. Good enough.

I love the “had.”

The Inc. Magazine story continues:

Still, Pichai defends the layoffs as the right decision at the time, saying that the alternative would have been to put the company in a far worse position. “It became clear if we didn’t act, it would have been a worse decision down the line,” Pichai told employees. “It would have been a major overhang on the company. I think it would have made it very difficult in a year like this with such a big shift in the world to create the capacity to invest in areas.”

And Inc Magazine actually criticizes the Google! I noted:

To be clear, what Pichai is saying is that Google decided to spend money to hire employees that it later realized it needed to invest elsewhere. That’s a failure of management to plan and deliver on the right strategy. It’s an admission that the company’s top executives made a mistake, without actually acknowledging or apologizing for it.

From my point of view, let’s focus on the word “worst.” Are there other Google management decisions which might be considered in evaluating the Inc. Magazine and Sundar Pichai’s “worst.” Yep, I have a couple of items:

  1. A lawyer making babies in the Google legal department
  2. A Google VP dying with a contract worker on the Googler’s yacht as a result of an alleged substance subject to DEA scrutiny
  3. A Googler fond of being a glasshole giving up a wife and causing a soul mate to attempt suicide
  4. Firing Dr. Timnit Gebru and kicking off the stochastic parrot thing
  5. The presentation after Microsoft announced its ChatGPT initiative and the knee jerk Red Alert
  6. Proliferating duplicative products
  7. Sunsetting services with little or no notice
  8. The Google Map / Waze thing
  9. The messy Google Brain Deep Mind shebang
  10. The Googler who thought the Google AI was alive.

Wow, I am tired mentally.

But the reality is that I am not sure if anyone in Google management is particularly connected to the problems, issues, and challenges of losing a job in the midst of a Foosball game. But that’s the Google. High school science club management delivers outstanding decisions. I was in my high school science club, and I know the fine decision making our members made. One of those cost the life of one of our brightest stars. Stars make bad decisions, chatter, and leave some behind.

Stephen E Arnold, January 11, 2024

Google and the Company It Keeps: Money Is Money

January 10, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

If this recent report from Adalytics is accurate, not even Google understands how and where its Google Search Partners (GSP) program is placing ads for both its advertising clients and itself. A piece at Adotat discusses “The Google Exposé: Peeling Back the Layers of Ad Network Mysteries.” Google promises customers of this highly lucrative program their ads will only appear alongside content they would approve of. However, writer Pesach Lattin charges:

“The program, shrouded in opacity, is alleged to be a haven for brand-unsafe ad inventory, a digital Wild West where ads could unwittingly appear alongside content on pornography sites, right-wing fringe publishers, and even on sites sanctioned by the White House in nations like Iran and Russia.”

How could this happen? Google expands its advertising reach by allowing publishers to integrate custom searches into their sites. If a shady publisher has done so, there’s no way to know short of stumbling across it: unlike Bing, Google does not disclose placement URLs. To make matters worse, Google search advertisers are automatically enrolled GSP with no clear way to opt out. But surely the company at least protects itself, right? The post continues:

“Surprisingly, even Google’s own search ads weren’t immune to these problematic placements. This startling fact raises serious questions about the awareness and control Google’s ad buyers have over their own system. It appears that even within Google, there’s a lack of clarity about the inner workings of their ad technology. According to TechCrunch, Laura Edelson, an assistant professor of computer science at Northeastern University, known for her work in algorithmic auditing and transparency, echoes this sentiment. She suggests that Google may not fully grasp the complexities of its own ad network, losing sight of how and where its ads are displayed.”

Well that is not good. Lattin points out the problem, and the lack of transparency around it, mean Google and its clients may be unwittingly breaking ethical advertising standards and even violating the law. And they might never know or, worse, a problematic placement could spark a PR or legal nightmare. Ah, Google.

Cynthia Murrell, January 10, 2023

Googley Gems: 2024 Starts with Some Hoots

January 9, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Another year and I will turn 80. I have seen some interesting things in my 58 year work career, but a couple of black swans have flown across my radar system. I want to share what I find anomalous or possibly harbingers of the new normal.

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A dinobaby examines some Alphabet Google YouTube gems. The work is not without its AGonY, however. Thanks, MSFT Copilot Bing thing. Good enough.

First up is another “confession” or “tell all” about the wild, wonderful Alphabet Google YouTube or AGY. (Wow, I caught myself. I almost typed “agony”, not AGY. I am indeed getting old.)

I read “A Former Google Manager Says the Tech Giant Is Rife with Fiefdoms and the Creeping Failure of Senior Leaders Who Weren’t Making Tough Calls.” The headline is a snappy one. I like the phrase “creeping failure.” Nifty image like melting ice and tundra releasing exciting extinct biological bits and everyone’s favorite gas. Let me highlight one point in the article:

[Google has] “lots of little fiefdoms” run by engineers who didn’t pay attention to how their products were delivered to customers. …this territorial culture meant Google sometimes produced duplicate apps that did the same thing or missed important features its competitors had.

I disagree. Plenty of small Web site operators complain about decisions which destroy their businesses. In fact, I am having lunch with one of the founders of a firm deleted by Google’s decider. Also, I wrote about a fellow in India who is likely to suffer the slings and arrows of outraged Googlers because he shoots videos of India’s temples and suggests they have meanings beyond those inculcated in certain castes.

My observation is that happy employees don’t run conferences to explain why Google is a problem or write these weird “let me tell you what life is really like” essays. Something is definitely being signaled. Could it be distress, annoyance, or down-home anger? The “gem”, therefore, is AGY’s management AGonY.

Second, AGY is ramping up its thinking about monetization of its “users.” I noted “Google Bard Advanced Is Coming, But It Likely Won’t Be Free” reports:

Google Bard Advanced is coming, and it may represent the company’s first attempt to charge for an AI chatbot.

And why not? The Red Alert hooted because MIcrosoft’s 2022 announcement of its OpenAI tie up made clear that the Google was caught flat footed. Then, as 2022 flowed, the impact of ChatGPT-like applications made three facets of the Google outfit less murky: [a] Google was disorganized because it had Google Brain and DeepMind which was expensive and confusing in the way Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First Routine” made people laugh. [b] The malaise of a cooling technology frenzy yielded to AI craziness which translated into some people saying, “Hey, I can use this stuff for answering questions.” Oh, oh, the search advertising model took a bit of a blindside chop block. And [c] Google found itself on the wrong side of assorted legal actions creating a model for other legal entities to explore, probe, and probably use to extract Google’s life blood — Money. Imagine Google using its data to develop effective subscription campaigns. Wow.

And, the final Google gem is that Google wants to behave like a nation state. “Google Wrote a Robot Constitution to Make Sure Its New AI Droids Won’t Kill Us” aims to set the White House and other pretenders to real power straight. Shades of Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. The write up reports:

DeepMind programmed the robots to stop automatically if the force on its joints goes past a certain threshold and included a physical kill switch human operators can use to deactivate them.

You have to embrace the ethos of a company which does not want its “inventions” to kill people. For me, the message is one that some governments’ officials will hear: Need a machine to perform warfighting tasks?

Small gems but gems not the less. AGY, please, keep ‘em coming.

Stephen E Arnold, January 9, 2024

YouTube: Personal Views, Policies, Historical Information, and Information Shaping about Statues

January 4, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

I have never been one to tour ancient sites. Machu Pichu? Meh. The weird Roman temple in Nimes? When’s lunch? The bourbon trail? You must be kidding me! I have a vivid memory of visiting the US Department of Justice building for a meeting, walking through the Hall of Justice, and seeing Lady Justice covered up. I heard that the drapery cost US$8,000. I did not laugh, nor did I make any comments about cover ups at that DoJ meeting or subsequent meetings. What a hoot! Other officials have covered up statues and possibly other disturbing things.

I recall the Deputy Administrator who escorted me and my colleague to a meeting remarking, “Yeah, Mr. Ashcroft has some deeply held beliefs.” Yep, personal beliefs, propriety, not offending those entering a US government facility, and a desire to preserve certain cherished values. I got it. And I still get it. Hey, who wants to lose a government project because some sculpture artist type did not put clothes on a stone statue?

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Are large technology firms in a position to control, shape, propagandize, and weaponize information? If the answer is, “Sure”, then users are little more than puppets, right? Thanks, MSFT Copilot Bing thing. Good enough.

However, there are some people who do visit historical locations. Many of these individuals scrutinize the stone work, the carvings, and the difficulty of moving a 100 ton block from Point A (a quarry 50 miles away) to Point B (a lintel in the middle of nowhere). I am also ignorant of art because I skipped Art History in college. I am clueless about ancient history. (I took another useless subject like a math class.) And many of these individuals have deep-rooted beliefs about the “right way” to present information in the form of stone carvings.

Now let’s consider a YouTuber who shoots videos in temples in southeast Asia. The individual works hard to find examples of deep meanings in the carvings beyond what the established sacred texts present. His hobby horse, as I understand the YouTuber, is that ancient aliens, fantastical machines, and amazing constructions are what many carvings are “about.” Obviously if one embraces what might be received wisdom about ancient texts from Indian and adjacent / close countries, the presentation of statues with disturbing images and even more troubling commentary is a problem. I think this is the same type of problem that a naked statue in the US Department of Justice posed.

The YouTuber allegedly is Praveen Mohan, and his most recent video is “YouTube Will Delete Praveen Mohan Channel on January 31.” Mr. Mohan’s angle is to shoot a video of an ancient carving in a temple and suggest that the stone work conveys meanings orthogonal to the generally accepted story about giant temple carvings. From my point of view, I have zero clue if Mr. Mohan is on the money with his analyses or if he is like someone who thinks that Peruvian stone masons melted granite for Cusco’s walls. The point of the video is that by taking pictures of historical sites and their carvings violates YouTube’s assorted rules, regulations, codes, mandates, and guidelines.

Mr. Mohan expresses the opinion that he will be banned, blocked, downchecked, punished, or made into a poster child for stone pornography or some similar punishment. He shows images which have been demonetized. He shows his “dashboard” with visual proof that he is in hot water with the Alphabet Google YouTube outfit. He shows proof that his videos are violating copyright. Okay. Maybe a reincarnated stone mason from ancient times has hired a lawyer, contacted Google from a quantum world, and frightened the YouTube wizards? I don’t know.

Several question arose when my team and I discussed this interesting video addressing YouTube’s actions toward Mr. Mohan. Let me share several with you:

  1. Is the alleged intentional action against Mr. Mohan motivated by Alphabet Google YouTube managers with roots in southeast Asia? Maybe a country like India? Maybe?
  2. Is YouTube going after Mr. Mohan because his making videos about religious sites, icons, and architecture is indeed a violation of copyright? I thought India was reasonably aggressive in its enforcement of its laws? Has Alphabet Google YouTube decided to help out India and other countries with ancient art by southeast Asia countries’ ancient artisans?
  3. Has Mr. Mohan created a legal problem for YouTube and the company is taking action to shore up its legal arguments should the naked statue matter end up in court?
  4. Is Mr. Mohan’s assertion about directed punishment accurate?

Obviously there are many issues in play. Should one try to obtain more clarification from Alphabet Google YouTube? That’s a great idea. Mr. Mohan may pursue it. However, will Google’s YouTube or the Alphabet senior management provide clarification about policies?

I will not hold my breath. But those statues covered up in the US Department of Justice reflected one person’s perception of what was acceptable. That’s something I won’t forget.

Stephen E Arnold, January 4, 2024

Exploit Lets Hackers Into Google Accounts, PCs Even After Changing Passwords

January 3, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Google must be so pleased. The Register reports, “Google Password Resets Not Enough to Stop these Info-Stealing Malware Strains.” In October a hacker going by PRISMA bragged they had found a zero-day exploit that allowed them to log into Google users’ accounts even after the user had logged off. They could then use the exploit generate a new session token and go after data in the victim’s email and cloud storage. It was not an empty boast, and it gets worse. Malware developers have since used the hack to create “info stealers” that infiltrate victims’ local data. (Mostly Windows users.) Yes, local data. Yikes. Reporter Connor Jones writes:

“The total number of known malware families that abuse the vulnerability stands at six, including Lumma and Rhadamanthys, while Eternity Stealer is also working on an update to release in the near future. They’re called info stealers because once they’re running on some poor sap’s computer, they go to work finding sensitive information – such as remote desktop credentials, website cookies, and cryptowallets – on the local host and leaking them to remote servers run by miscreants. Eggheads at CloudSEK say they found the root of the Google account exploit to be in the undocumented Google OAuth endpoint ‘MultiLogin.’ The exploit revolves around stealing victims’ session tokens. That is to say, malware first infects a person’s PC – typically via a malicious spam or a dodgy download, etc – and then scours the machine for, among other things, web browser session cookies that can be used to log into accounts. Those session tokens are then exfiltrated to the malware’s operators to enter and hijack those accounts. It turns out that these tokens can still be used to login even if the user realizes they’ve been compromised and change their Google password.”

So what are Google users to do when changing passwords is not enough to circumvent this hack? The company insists stolen sessions can be thwarted by signing out of all Google sessions on all devices. It is, admittedly, kind of a pain but worth the effort to protect the data on one’s local drives. Perhaps the company will soon plug this leak so we can go back to checking our Gmail throughout the day without logging in every time. Google promises to keep us updated. I love promises.

Cynthia Murrell, January 3, 2024

Google, There Goes Two Percent of 2022 Revenues. How Will the Company Survive?

January 1, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

True or false: Google owes $5 billion US. I am not sure, but the headline in Metro makes the number a semi-factoid. So let’s see what could force Googzilla to transfer the equivalent of less than two percent of Google’s alleged 2022 revenues. Wow. That will be painful for the online advertising giant. Well, fire some staff; raise ad rates; and boost the cost of YouTube subscriptions. Will the GOOG survive? I think so.

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An executive ponders a court order to pay the equivalent of two percent of 2022 revenues for unproven alleged improper behavior. But the court order says, “Have a nice day.” I assume the court is sincere. Thanks, MSFT Copilot Bing thing. Good enough.

Google Settles $5,000,000,000 Claim over Searches for Intimate and Embarrassing Things” reports:

Google has agreed to settle a US lawsuit claiming it secretly tracked millions of people who thought they were browsing privately through its Incognito Mode between 2016 and 2020. The claim was seeking at least $5 billion in damages, including at least $5,000 for each user affected. Ironically, the terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but a formal agreement will be submitted to the court by February 24.

My thought is that Google’s legal eagles will not be partying on New Year’s Eve. These fine professionals will be huddling over their laptops, scrolling for fee legal databases, and using Zoom (the Google video service is a bit of a hassle) to discuss ways to [a] delay, [b] deflect, [c] deny, and [d] dodge the obviously [a] fallacious, [b] foul, [c] false, [d] flimsy, and [e] flawed claims that Google did anything improper.

Hey, incognito means what Google says it means, just like the “unlimited” data claims from wireless providers. Let’s not get hung up on details. Just ask the US regulatory authorities.

For you and me, we need to read Google’s terms of service, check our computing device’s security settings, and continue to live in a Cloud of Unknowing. The allegations that Google mapping vehicles did Wi-Fi sniffing? Hey, these assertions are [a] fallacious, [b] foul, [c] false, [d] flimsy, and [e] flawed . Tracking users. Op cit, gentle reader.

Never has a commercial enterprise been subjected to so many [a] unwarranted, [b] unprovable, [c] unacceptable, and [d] unnecessary assertions. Here’s my take: [a] The Google is innocent; [b] the GOOG is misunderstood, [c] Googzilla is a victim. I ticked a, b, and c.

Stephen E Arnold, January 1, 2024

Quantum Management: The Google Method

December 27, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

I read a story (possibly sad or at least bittersweet) in Inc. Magazine. “Google Fired 12,000 Employees. A Year Later, the CEO Says It Was the Right Call, Just Done in the Wrong Way” asks an interesting question of a company which has triggered a number of employee-related actions. From protests to stochastic parrots, the Google struggles to tailor its management methods to the people it hires.

image

What happens when high school science club engineering is applied to modern tasks? Some projects fall down. Hello, San Francisco, do you have a problem with a certain big building? Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Good enough.

The story reports:

A few days ago, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai openly acknowledged that the way Google managed the layoff of 12,000 employees, about 6 percent of its workforce, was not done right…. Initially, Google’s stance on the layoffs was presented as a strategic necessity, a move to streamline operations and focus on crucial business areas…. Pichai’s frank admission that the process could have been handled differently is a notable shift from the company’s earlier justifications??.

What I think this means is that Google’s esteemed leader made a somewhat typical decision for a person imbued with some of the philosophy of a non-Western culture. In 2023, Google has lurched from Red Alert to Red Alert. In January 2023, Microsoft seized the marketing initiative in the lucrative world of enterprise artificial intelligence. And what about some of Google’s AI demonstrations? Yeah, some were edited and tweaked to be more Googley. Then after a couple of high profile legal cases went against the company, Sundar Pichai has allegedly admitted that he has made some errors. 

No kidding. Like the architect engineers of the Florida high rise which collapsed to ruin the day of a number of people, mistakes were made. I suppose San Francisco’s Millennium Tower could topple over the holidays. That event would pull some eyeballs off the online advertising company.

The sad reality is that Google’s senior management is pushing buttons and getting poor results. The Inc. Magazine article ends this way:

The key questions moving forward are: Will Google face any repercussions for the way it handled the layoffs? What concrete actions will the company take to improve communication and support for its employees, both those who were let go and those who remain? And, importantly, how will this experience shape Google’s, and potentially other companies’, approach to workforce management in the future?

Questions, just not the right one. In my opinion, Google’s Board of Directors may want to ask:

Is it time to big adieu to Sundar Pichai and his expensive hires? With the current team in place, Google’s core business model at risk from ChatGPT-type findability services, legal eagles hovering over the company, and now a public admission that firing 12,000 wizards by email was a mistake, I ask, “What’s next, Sundar?”

Net net: The company’s management method (which reminds me of how my high school science club solved problems) is showing signs of cracking and crumbling in my opinion.

Stephen E Arnold, December 27, 2023

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