In every insult, there's a backhanded compliment. Privacy International has named and shamed Google, ranking it as the single worst privacy offender it surveyed in a new report (PDF), dinging it for a range of what it claims are objectionable practices and attitudes toward privacy. It's a charge that Googler Matt Cutts finds highly offensive. But Cutts misses the real reason why the nonprofit has targeted Google.PI's privacy booby prize is ultimately nothing but a nod to Google's power. It's not just the data Google controls. The things thought private that Google's robots uncover as they crawl the Web are equally unnerving. AOL might be dodderingly clueless in releasing users' Web searches; Microsoft may come off as phony in its efforts at transparency. But only Google has the power to violate our privacy in a way that matters.
- Ballmer, Brin, and the other big boys take potshots. Google's Sergey Brin about Microsoft: "We just see the history of that company behaving anti-competitively and not playing fair." MS's Steve Ballmer about Google: "Can you imagine writing a letter to someone. 'Hey, Mom, I am upset with the gun policy.' Then an ad pops up and says, 'Hey, do you want to buy a gun?'" Yahoo's Terry Semel about Microsoft: "My impartial advice to Microsoft is that you have no chance." [ISEdb.com]
Oh, Internet, you are so cute. Over the weekend, the Button-down-wearing White Guys of the Net made their blatantly disclaimered April Fool's Day gags:
It's fair, it's hard-hitting, it's "25 Things I Love About Google" by blogger Danny Sullivan. Sure, the Search Engine Watch editor will run 25 things he hates in his next column, but meanwhile he'll give some hero worship. But if you read between the lines you can see the real message — or the fake message that I made up: