ANY corporation these days which claims moral high ground is in for a rude awakening.
And Microsoft's executives would sell their mothers to be in a similar position...at least it's a genuinely good video.
Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, has described his company's policy: "Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it."
So, Google's policy is to be as invasive, abusive, and disgusting as they can without themselves feeling that they've crossed some corporate Google-Morality line in the shifting sand.
So...Google provides FREE, user-friendly products that work, and, in the worst case scenario, they discontinue it before its time (see also Reader and iGoogle), and in exchange, they track data that the NSA already has from other sources, in order to create targeted ads that theoretically match my interests, but which I never see because I opt out of them as Google allows, and otherwise block them with third party browser plugins.
Whereas Microsoft wants me to sign into everything with a Microsoft account to make sure that I've paid for everything they offer, such as inferior products that only ever look good because they've waited for others like Google or Apple to innovate prior to their entry into the market with the same functionality, which they still get wrong (see Windows 8 phones and Zunes), and they do the exact same datamining that Google does, but just fail to make as much of a profit off it and get jealous of Google's success, and then they hire a decent marketing team to come up with snarky, but ultimately hypocritical ads like this.
If someone had told me, 10 years ago , that someday Google would be cast as the Evil Empire and Microsoft as the plucky dissenting opinion, I would have believed they were drunk, or maybe they'd been sniffing canned air*.
Now it's just everyday.
How'd the world go crazy when I wasn't looking?
º*note: don't sniff canned air, you can suffocate*
Honestly, I don't mind Google tracking me in it of itself. Target advertising, if it actually worked, would be great. If Google was being all creepy and shit and reading my e-mails and knew that I love Neal Stephenson, and so promptly spammed me with advertisements for his new books when they come out, fuckin' yahtzee. I'll give them my money and thank them for providing a service. Targeted advertising that works means that they are telling you about stuff that you didn't know existed, that you actually want. I'll happily take ads for books I want but didn't know about over dancing babies trying to sell me mortgage to a house I don't own or want.
The real concern comes from the fucking government. Google isn't going to do anything with my data that I care about. Google wants to sell me stuff. It is pretty easy to just say no. The government though? If they decide that they want to go after me and have my entire life's history worth of browsing, I am pretty sure that they could ruin me politically, if not legally.
If Google was selling data specifically about me to employers and the like, I would be up in arms and go into full lockdown mode. Just using my data to try and figure out what ads I might actually click on because I have genuine interest though? That is a service if it actually worked. It is actually a shame that targeted advertising is crap and doesn't work. I would love to know when authors I like release new books. As it is, the only real danger from Google is that the government can coerce or outright steal information from them, and having Google as the middle man makes that theft a lot easier.
How are you going to suffocate sniffing canned air? Air is like 20% oxygen.
Now sniffing canned fluorocarbons on the other hand...
Pot. Kettle. Wave ot the NSA while staring at your kenet guys.
Those grapes are sour anyway.
Amazon tells me when an author I like has a new book out. Not sure how it works and don't really care, but it sure is handy.
There's a tip, Madison Avenue; being a douche doesn't get my money. Being helpful and generally useful does.
Microsoft doesn't have much moral high-ground here. The company's long history of dirty tricks against free and open source software, its role in patent trolling, and its eager cooperation with NSA surveillance and surveillance by the secret police in China -- see, for example, the creation of back-doors in Skype -- mean that Microsoft's positioning itself as a champion of digital ethics rings hollow.
And leaving all that to one side, the trump card here is being monetised? Google has never asked for a single cent from me, whereas Micro$oft seems to regard everyone on the planet as fair game to be milked to the hilt for an operating system and office apps that have somehow become the fucking default for some reason, despite committing the cardinal programming sin of failing to keep code and data separate.
I don't have a spare picosecond for their shit. Go piss up a rope, M$.
You pay for Google products with your personal information and privacy. It's a fee that's invisible to most consumers and the cost isn't immediately apparent.
It's an over dramatic comparison but it's a bit like selling your soul, you get an immediate benefit right now and push off the consequences for later. you get your free software now, they trade your personal information to the NSA later.
I really like Google. I like the products, the people, the work environment they've created...did I mention the people? It's an amazing business. They have a well thought out code of conduct but I worry that it's more aspirational/inspirational than functional.
Google's own Hippocratic Oath of "Don't be Evil" is being undermined left and right and I think it's primarily a problem with scale and the driving spurs of capitalism.
When Microsoft has ground to criticize your operations, it's time to get introspective.
What I'd like to see at Google, and other giant companies, is a team dedicated to fighting evil. A small department with the sole purpose of being critical of company practices and advocating for greater good within their own system. A team of Jiminy Crickets hopping all over the place and fixing things.
Maybe that already exists? If it does, they need to be more autonomous and more public and more critical. A big business has many facets and to know that there's one group advocating relentlessly on the public's behalf from within would be reassuring.
Hey now--there's always Dr. Bronner's....
I'm pretty sure that in order for Google to sell data about me to employers and the like, they would have to, you know, tell people that they are selling it. Now, it could be that Google is secretly risking their massive piles of money to secretly charge my boss $100 to look at my browsing history through a secret cabal... but I am going to go ahead and fall on the side of sanity and assume that they are not risking their entire business model to secretly sell information about their users to get pocket change. The only people that Google is giving information to is the government, and that is literally at gunpoint, or in the case of the NSA, they are just fucking straight up stealing it.
They were in a similar position, right up until that court case that told them "Explorer is 'necessary' for your OS to function? No."
I entered these comments to write out exactly those same three words, with the same punctuation and everything.
Attack ads: Instant moral low ground. They're on the radio here, in the UK, and that's unheard of.
Dear MS, please take your American-sensibility toxic publicity and shove it.
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