Shame: Google promotes the sale of ivory

By: Bytemarks - CC BY 2.0

Google is going to have to seriously think about reworking their motto “do no evil” if things like this are going to become the norm.

The ivory trade is slaughtering elephants by the hundreds in horrific massacres that rip apart herds and leave orphaned calves to starve. But despite an official policy against selling products from endangered animals, Google still traffics ivory — taking money from ivory sellers to promote their products. Google offers thousands of ivory items on its shopping sites around the world. Its lax enforcement of its own policies allows unscrupulous sellers to find easy markets for illegal ivory. Google needs to stop this horrific practice today.

It is such a horrible thing to do that you really want to believe that this story isn’t true; but do a search on Google with the term “ivory for sale” and this is what you’ll find.

The Internship: The Google Movie vs. Reality

English: Google Logo officially released on Ma...

Google Logo officially released on May 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night I saw The Internship at the Arlington Cinema “N” Drafthouse and had some thoughts about it. Obviously Google Inc. contributed heavily to this film. The PR boost from it had to be good for them, especially since the NSA spying scandals have broken. They come off as a people-centric company which creates products to change the world and make people’s lives better. Their tagline “do no evil” is clearly on display throughout the movie.

Some of their do-gooder behavior is welcome and should be applauded. But as their complicity in giving up information to the NSA or censoring themselves for China shows there are limits to their “googliness.”

On another note I found it interesting that the interns had to man a call center operation and learn how to do technical support. Since I’ve been using Google’s products I never knew you could call someone for tech support! It’s as if they present their products and sites as-is and then show the end users to a Google Group to seek help from others. No one I knew has ever told me that they’ve picked up a phone to call Google as opposed to Microsoft.

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The Chromebook is everything the NSA could want

Oh, Google.

But Haswell won’t mitigate paranoia over cloud security and compliance, of course. Google has taken many steps forward in easing businesses’ concerns over the security of Google Apps over the past few years. But the revelations about the NSA and FBI’s PRISM program have added new doubts, particularly outside the US, about the wisdom of putting everything in Google’s (or any other cloud provider’s) basket.

Furthermore, the Chromebook is everything a government watchman could want—even without Google Apps data and Gmail, it could give those with network monitoring capabilities a way to pinpoint the location of a credential-holder via 4G wireless (thanks, Verizon).

Be careful what you’re putting into the cloud kiddies.

To be let go from the worst job at Google…

PMFcV

I found this interesting story via Slashdot about what has to be the most depressing job one could have at Google—or quite possibly anywhere. This is a side of Google and the Internet that no one really talks about.  Imagine having to filter out the most horrid and vile content on the web known to mankind on a daily basis. You are viewing every hate speech site, bestiality video, child porn site and other gruesome content. Eventually this kind of work is going to have an affect on your mental well-being. Sadly, the person who was doing this work for Google eventually had to end up going to therapy. Even more sad was the fact that he wasn’t hired full-time and was let go by Google in the end.

Just think about it. We take for granted the web services we rely on every day. Behind Twitter, Facebook, Google, Tumblr and other web apps, search engines and social networks are numerous people toiling away in obscurity filtering out the worst the Internet has to offer. We owe these people our gratitude for a job well done.

Don’t let Google, Apple or Cisco get a tax holiday

This is absolutely ridiculous. These corporations want to repatriate all of these profits and get a free ride in the process.

Independent studies have found that the last time this tax break was tried, in 2004, the bargain rate for bringing home offshore profits did little to spur hiring or domestic investment. Most of the money was used to buy back stock.

If this were done it would cost the US 78.7 billion dollars. The corporate lobbyists who are advocating for this are saying that it would help the economy. Just like how corporate welfare has helped the economy so far?

Update – I happened to see this story on the Common Dreams website today referring to the last time a tax holiday of this sort was tried and the massive layoffs that ensued.

Fifty-eight corporations that accounted for 70 percent of overseas profits repatriated under the 2004-2005 tax break collectively saved $64 billion in taxes, then cut 600,000 jobs through layoffs, the report said.

So why would you trust these corporations to do the right thing now?

@google adwords major #fail

Google’s filtering capabilities is too smart for its own good. Here it bans the ad of writer for The Nation.

Perhaps Joseph Heller or some other master of dark comedy would have enjoyed this. I just received e-mail notice from Google that it has suspended an online ad for my new book, which raises questions about the atomic bombing of Japan in 1945, killing over 200,000 people — claiming that it “promotes violence.”

JC Penny rigs Google search

Despite the cowboy outlaw connotations, black-hat services are not illegal, but trafficking in them risks the wrath of Google. The company draws a pretty thick line between techniques it considers deceptive and “white hat” approaches, which are offered by hundreds of consulting firms and are legitimate ways to increase a site’s visibility. Penney’s results were derived from methods on the wrong side of that line, says Mr. Pierce. He described the optimization as the most ambitious attempt to game Google’s search results that he has ever seen.“

Actually, it’s the most ambitious attempt I’ve ever heard of,” he said. “This whole thing just blew me away. Especially for such a major brand. You’d think they would have people around them that would know better.”

via Search Optimization and Its Dirty Little Secrets – NYTimes.com.

A new form of ethics has emerged for the Internet age. Clearly, someone responsible for the JC Penny search rankings has not yet accepted the ethical quandary of gaming a search engine. JC Penny says they are not responsible however….ahem. There are no fingerprints is what I should say.