The media’s obsession with Google

The media’s love affair with Google has continued apace today. Google sniffed, and the media shat itself.

While I obviously don’t think it’s pleasent that Google is censoring its results in China, I am actually surprised that they weren’t already doing that. Remember a year or so back when MSN banned its Chinese users from using words like “democracy” on MSN Spaces? This is not new. Google is not setting a precedent.

Google’s censorship was the subject of Victoria Derbyshire’s phone-in (which is always a laugh, or depressing, depending on how optimistic you feel about humanity). One man phoned it to say that he had deleted Google from his own computer, as well as his wife’s and childrens’ computers, in protest. To which another texter replied, “Who’s the censor now?”

And who is prepared to get rid of Windows from their computer because of MSN’s own censorship? And as one commenter over at The Guardian‘s tech blog notes:

Who’s being hypocritical here? Google, or those who condemn its actions in China while being more tolerant of “good” censorship in Germany and France?

What is with the media’s obsession with Google? When Google Talk launched, the BBC was all over it. It was mentioned in Five Live’s bulletins every half hour, it got its own report on the 6 O’Clock News, and probably lots more coverage as well. This was despite the fact Google Talk is complete shit. It might have had a couple of nifty, quaint features, but that doesn’t merit a slot on the 6 O’Clock News. Google Talk did nothing new then, and it still does nothing new now. I never use it. In fact, I think just about everything Google has done since Gmail was launched has been a complete disappointment.


  1. I think dissapointment is at the key of the hype surrounding the china sensorship issue.

    People honestly thought Google would resist the urge to join its competitors in China because they thought of Google as a … different type of company.

    Now they have realised Google is like every other company – driven by profit and it’s pissed a lot of people off.

  2. I think that you’re a tad harsh about Google Talk. They have taken an open-standard for IM (Jabber) and are working with the community to extend it. It means that anyone can write a client that can connect without reverse engineering etc. and in the near future there’ll be VoIP and offline messaging. It’s not completely Earth-shattering but it fits with “Don’t be Evil” and I hope it catches on.

  3. You are right that google are way too over loved my the media, as if they are Deep Thought from the Hitchhikers Guide or something (the meaning of life is probably not “do no evil”).

    I think they are a decent enough company but bottom line is that they are a business, with share holders, etc. What puzzles me is why they are willing to make a heroic stand etc against the US Justice Dept over search records but cave to China over censorship. I guess because even at their worst the Bushies won’t be able to yank all those already installed google toolbars off everyone’s computers here in North America. Its easy to take a stand when there is really nothing at risk, eh Google?

  4. Is google so wrong?…

    My pal Dave was on my case yesterday over the post on Google actions in China’s. He points out in the first place that our Government does business with China. This point in my opinion is weak because there is……

  5. The main issue, honestly, is probably that at least 80% of the people didn’t care about the others because at least 80% of them never used them. Google has been the engine of choice for the vast majority. Besides, everyoen thinks poorly of Microsoft and their business practices, so what’s new about them acting badly again?

    And if you think it odd no one noticed when Microsoft did it, consider that back in 2002 Yahoo did the same thing, and they DID get a lot of criticism. I wrote about it on my blog at the time, as did a bunch of others. At the time, a lot of us just said, “oh well, who cares, smart people use Google anyway.”

    Google’s had this aura, this mystique. It was the best search engine for a long time, and their screens and ads were unintrusive. It felt like a brand we trusted. And there was the big mistake, wasn’t it? We got suckered into believing in a corporate brand. We thought of Google as a friend, as someone we trusted. Whoops. How stupid! It’s just another bloody multinational corporation concerned with nothing but the bottom line. We should have known.