Odyssey Online

Facebook’s Future, more on the Google Opt Out

April 13, 2009 · No Comments

…an interesting (if long) piece on Facebook by Vanessa Grigoriadis on Facebook which comments on, among other things, how people use and misuse it, what it really sells, where it is going as a business, what it sells, how it might fail. Also some interesting commentary on how web 2.0 has conquered the “old web” and what that means.   For interesting commentary on that see Jonathan Zittrain’s wonderfully titled book The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It (ODY TK5105 875 I57 Z53 2008).

Quite a bit of editorializing on Google last time out, and I will stop to return to more properly bibliographic posts, but one more shot at Google and the idea of “opting out.” What Google has done, most importantly, is turned copyright responsibility on its head. Rather than asking permission of authors, they ask the author whose book is in Google Books or the home owner whose house is in Google Street View to tell them “no” and then they’ll comply. While Google would invoke necessity (we can’t possibly ask everybody), the fact they don’t ask, that they feel inclusion is a right, a normalcy, makes the hairs on the back of the neck tingle.  It’s rude, for starters. Secondly, there seems to be a serious case of overreach here. While there is precident, I realize, with things like the phone book or census, Google’s approach relies on a self-generated and self-venerated sense of their innate goodness (the whole Don’t Be Evil, after all), but, can’t one think about “opt out” has being the same as my neighbor helping themselves to my vegatables in my vegatable garden because I haven’t asked them not to and then only stopping when I catch them red-handed with a beet.  It’s cooperation by self-justification…and well, it’s rude.

Google is rude, this is what we’ve learned…

Categories: Essay on Technology · Facebooked · Google

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