Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

01 December 2007

"Don't Be Evil"--Anyone Over At Der Google Remember That One?

At one time, the people running Google wanted a folksy, friendly, homey appearnace. They wanted to be the sort of smiley faces you might like to see first thing in the morning.

So they hit upon what is probably the best, yet least-remembered slogan in corporate history. Mission statement and ethical posture all in one:

"Don't be evil."

Then, as we all know, came China. Faced with a choice between profit and principle, Der Googlag decided ...

"Don't be evil ... mostly."

Now that they own 90% of the intertubes, Der Gougel is starting to behave like any other corp. Witness now the sight modification they've made to Blogger.

In the blogosphere, connections are important, the free flow of information and opinion is what the damn thing is based on. You go to someone's blog, read it, and drop an well-informed and incisive comment on their comment thread. They follow you to your blog and, in their turn, rant incoherently on yours.

At least until now. Presumably as some sort of "public service" similar to the "public service" they're performing in China, and for the same rea$on, they've decided to screw with Blogger.

Now non-Blogger bloggers can't get a formatted link in their comments. So rather than simply post and go, they have to take the laborious few seconds to format it themselves. Okay, the Srebenica Massacre it ain't. But it IS a profit-motivated, corporate-driven act of restriction designed to force everyone to get a Google account. And no matter what they slogan at us, yes, it's evil.

It happens I'd had a Gmail account before Blogger forced everyone to "New Blogger" (read: "Der Göoglebloggenschrieber". But I didn't like that move either.

("Don't be evil.")

Now my friends can't leave a link to their blogs, presumably because poor old Google would lose so much traffic from the ten or twelve hits a day that go from my blog to non-Göogleanfangscribbleren blogs.

Wordpress is looking better all the time. But of course it's pretty difficult to move a blog, especially one with eight hundred or so posts, and especially from Blogger. One might almost think they'd tried to make sure it stays that way.

In Orwell's Animal Farm, the phrase was "All Animals Are Equal."

Google is falling victim to its own success. The things that made them the leading internet corp are falling away, and they've become another horizon-blocking monolith.

I tried to contact Der Google about this issue. Anyone know of an email address that can penetrate the indifference? Try finding one. I had it in mind to submit a new slogan for Blogger as run by Google:


"All bloggers are equal, but some are less equal than others."

20 Comments:

At 11:50 a.m., Blogger Barbara K. Adamski said...

I blog and I don't have a gmail account.
Barb

 
At 6:25 p.m., Blogger azahar said...

As I mentioned elsewhere, I 'got around this' by starting a Blogger blog that just links back to my REAL blog. But I agree that the whole thing stinks.

 
At 12:44 a.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Knew I could count on you!

 
At 1:11 a.m., Anonymous Cat / carocat.co.uk said...

Very nice post. I hope more follow and it'll make a difference.

 
At 10:55 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sure hope this well written post that lays out the "stinky" situation so clearly gets the attention it deserves. If so, then, maybe the "Evil Empire" will smarten up and reconsider their stupid "gated community" policy and dump it.

 
At 7:57 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

barbara: and you can't leave a link to your blog except by putting it right in the body of the comment, can you?

Az: on thinking it over, it seems like Blogger wants people to do exactly that, so they can say "over five million new blogs registered in November." Sounds like somebody hasn't been meeting their quotas for growth, and wanted to do a desperate, last-minute measure.
raincoaster

 
At 1:14 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good is not the absence of evil

 
At 9:11 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

@Barb:
If you have a Blogger account or a gmail account, you have a Google account. Because I may be wrong, but I believe you started your blog after the big switch-up to Google, right? In which case you have to have a Blogger account.

@Az:
Clever of you, but I'm certain they'd lose me that way. I refuse to create accounts to look at "free" content from commercial sites. I'm extremely unlikely to create one just to add my two cents to the pile at some blog I stumbled on.

And the net effect is still the restriction of the free flow of information.

@RC:
You can always count on me. To at least twenty-one.

@Cat:
Thanks, and welcome to the rhetorical wilderness of the Metroblog, or as we say in Canada, Metroblog.

@Anonymous:
The situation is indeed "stinky" as you name it. I don't tend to regard corporations as inherently evil, but I feel that the innocuous actions of people whose motivation is to help the corp turn a profit often add up to a sort of greed tsunami. More on that later.

@Anonymous II:
While rhetorically correct, your aphorism is incomplete.

Although good is not the absence of evil, if no evil can be done then all that may be done is good. So in fact, merely not being evil might be enough, were this still an actual motivating slogan for Google.

 
At 3:37 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I have a Google account because I use Adsense (and blogger). But I've never wanted a gmail account.

No idea about linking to my blog. You can get there from the blogger profile.

Barb

 
At 6:34 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

See, that's my point. If you have a Blogger/Blogspot blog, you have a google identity. They're all the same thing now that Google bought them. You don't have to have a gmail account, but you have a Google identity.

Metro's point is not that everyone has to have gmail; it's that if you don't have a blogger/blogspot blog, you can't link your name to your blog. In essence, Google just cut off most of the blogosphere.
raincoaster

 
At 11:23 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Apparently it IS possible, but it means that the Blogger blogger has to change his/her settings:
http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=8574&page=2&replies=46#post-141274

http://phydeaux3.blogspot.com/2007/12/using-openid-for-blogger-comments.html

raincoaster

 
At 6:23 a.m., Blogger Ian said...

Regarding WordPress - I don't know how it works with a big blog, but there are automatic tools to import a blog from blogger.

Of course, WordPress doesn't allow ads, and it doesn't allow a lot of widgets.

 
At 7:03 a.m., Blogger azahar said...

I did have a Blogger blog before, Metro, when I first decided to start a blog. But then I tried Wordpress and decided I liked it much better. But I couldn't remember the name or password of my old Blogger blog so I started this one.

I really don't think I've sold my soul by doing this, at least not anymore than people who are still maintaining Blogger blogs after this change. For me it's just easier to do this than type in all that extra stuff in all the time (commenting on Blogger blogs has always been a drag, so anything to make it easier, you know?)

Anyhow, why would Blogger want tons of people starting blogs that only link to Wordpress or other websites?

Yes, ian, Wordpress also has automatic import tools, even one especially for importing Blogger blogs.

 
At 6:04 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

az, because they get investment money based on how many users they have, not how active those blogs are. They don't care about that. The metrics venture capitalists are using are not sophisticated enough right now.

The solution is for every blogspot blogger to follow the instructions in that link on phydeux.

raincoaster

 
At 9:50 p.m., Anonymous archie said...

I'm sure many of my blogger friends think I have forgotted them.

Given a choice between being a nonnymouse and a nicked name, I chose the nicked name!

 
At 2:56 p.m., Blogger Philipa said...

Ian offers hope but the problem is that some blogs only allow other blogspot comments I think, hmn, will check that out. I've considered moving before but I like the way my blog looks and I'm used to it. The new problem I have is that it won't upload video and when I started I chose not to publish it so it wasn't on any search engine and not listed on the blogspot lists. Now it's suddenly on Google and I get traffic presumably looking for the Fortean Times mag blog. I just liked my quiet little corner. Why the hell should I be on their database if I don't want to be? You don't have to go in the phone book!

The other scary thing is that Google save your every search which can be misinterpreted depending on the key words. They claim it's for marketing purposes so they can better predict the customers wants. Every fascist started out with good intentions.

 
At 3:09 p.m., Blogger Ian said...

Philipa - I think it's worth pointing bloggers using Blogger to that phydeaux post, and asking them to enable non-blogger comments. I'm not sure that WordPress is the answer though - it has its issues too.

Right now I have blogs on blogger and wordpress. But I used to "My Homepage" link on my blogger ID to link to my WordPress blog, so overall I'd say I'm not too unhappy with the situation.

 
At 2:27 a.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Philipa, if you set your blog's privacy settings differently in the beginning you wouldn't have gotten picked up by Google. It's too late now, basically. Poke around your settings and you'll see several different privacy options.

raincoaster

 
At 12:27 p.m., Blogger Philipa said...

Many thanks folks I'll have a play.

 
At 1:57 a.m., OpenID azahar said...

Aha, there is now a dropdown that lets you choose other options - but will it give me a link to my Wordpress blog? (just testing)

 

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