Before writing this article, I asked myself 'is it really a good idea to be insulting the company who I get paid by for the ads on this site?' and before I had time to think of a good enough answer I was sitting here writing this post.
1. Google's immortal cookie:
Google was the first search engine to use a cookie that expires in
2038. This was at a time when federal websites were prohibited
from using persistent cookies altogether. Now it's years later, and
immortal cookies are commonplace among search engines;
Google set the standard because no one bothered to challenge them.
This cookie places a unique ID number on your hard disk. Anytime
you land on a Google page, you get a Google cookie if you don't
already have one. If you have one, they read and record your unique
2. Google records everything they can:
For all searches they record the cookie ID, your Internet IP address,
the time and date, your search terms, and your browser configuration.
Increasingly, Google is customizing results based on your IP number. This
is referred to in the industry as "IP delivery based on geolocation."
3. Google retains all data indefinitely:
Google has no data retention policies. There is evidence that they are
able to easily access all the user information they collect and save.
4. Google won't say why they need this data:
Inquiries to Google about their privacy policies are ignored. When the
New York Times (2002-11-28) asked Sergey Brin about whether Google
ever gets subpoenaed for this information, he had no comment.
5. Google hires spooks:
Keyhole, Inc. was supported with funds from the CIA. They developed
a database of spy-in-the-sky images from all over the world. Google acquired
Keyhole in 2004, and would like to hire more people with security clearances,
so that they can peddle their corporate assets to the spooks in Washington.
6. Google's toolbar is spyware:
With the advanced features enabled, Google's free toolbar for Explorer
phones home with every page you surf, and yes, it reads your cookie too.
class-action lawsuit when their toolbar did the same thing, and their privacy
policy failed to explain this. Worse yet, Google's toolbar updates to new
versions quietly, and without asking. This means that if you have the
toolbar installed, Google essentially has complete access to your hard
disk every time you connect to Google (which is many times a day). Most
software vendors, and even Microsoft, ask if you'd like an updated version.
But not Google. Any software that updates automatically presents a massive
7. Google's cache copy is illegal:
Judging from Ninth Circuit precedent on the application of U.S. copyright
laws to the Internet, Google's cache copy appears to be illegal. The only
way a webmaster can avoid having his site cached on Google is to put a
"noarchive" meta in the header of every page on his site. Surfers like
the cache, but webmasters don't. Many webmasters have deleted questionable
material from their sites, only to discover later that the problem pages
live merrily on in Google's cache. The cache copy should be "opt-in" for
webmasters, not "opt-out."
8. Google is not your friend:
By now Google enjoys a 75 percent monopoly for all external referrals to
most websites. Webmasters cannot avoid seeking Google's approval these
days, assuming they want to increase traffic to their site. If they
try to take advantage of some of the known weaknesses in Google's
semi-secret algorithms, they may find themselves penalized by Google, and
their traffic disappears. There are no detailed, published standards
issued by Google, and there is no appeal process for penalized sites.
Google is completely unaccountable. Most of the time Google doesn't even
answer email from webmasters.
9. Google is a privacy time bomb:
With 200 million searches per day, most from outside the U.S., Google
amounts to a privacy disaster waiting to happen. Those newly-commissioned
data-mining bureaucrats in Washington can only dream about the sort of
slick efficiency that Google has already achieved.
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