Friday, November 5, 2010

Google Do Not Be Evil

In the past Google used to follow the policy do not be evil. However, things have drastically changed in the recent years, especially during the past year. There are many incidences where Google has done exactly the opposite of this policy. It is sad to observe that the priorities of Google have changed recently.

For one reason or other, Google is manipulating with the news search results and web search results. Previously, some of our news and search results at Google have been systematically removed from the news search and Google search. Similarly, Google also faced an anti trust lawsuit for similar reasons. It is clear that Google is either an accomplice or victim of search engine optimiasation (SEO) activities happening with its clear knowledge and support.

Google also does not respect the privacy and anonymity of Internet users too much. Google was also in news for acquiring data from wireless networks through measures that go well beyond mere wardriving.

The latest to add in this list is the active efforts of Google to improve the brand and image of Indian initiatives like UIDAI, e-governance, ICT policies, etc. For example, even if a news item pertaining to UIDAI, ICT policy, cyber law etc does appear at the top slot of Google’s news search by relevance, it does not find a place in the main web search showing latest news items link for similar topics. Surprisingly, news results of other following similar pattern are finding a mention there but not our news articles.

Google must be fair with its search results and algorithms and should not manipulate news search results and web search results simply to please any government, including Indian government. We understand that Google has to do a trade off between its own commercial interests and its users interests. But the same must not be detrimental to the Google users as is presently happening.

The present action of Google is a clear violation of civil liberties in general and right to speech and expression in particular. It has also marked a shift of Google’s policy from do not be evil to “protect your commercial interests first” policy.