[Foundation-l] In defence of Google

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Fri Jan 19 18:53:46 UTC 2007

Anthony schreef:
> On 1/19/07, Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijssen at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Anthony schreef:
>>> On 1/18/07, Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijssen at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> When
>>>> Google were to drop the value it attaches to Wikipedia in favour of for
>>>> instance Citizendium, it will become clear how important Google is for
>>>> the dissemination of our Free content.
>>> When STDs and pregnancy can be prevented by an inexpensive, safe and
>>> effective once a day pill, those people distributing free condoms will
>>> be out of business.
>>> If Citizendium becomes the next great thing as a fork, then
>>> Citizendium will be disseminating "your" Free content.  If not, then
>>> there's little reason to believe Google would drop Wikipedia, just
>>> move it down to number two.
>> When Citizendium becomes "the next great thing", we will have ourselves
>> to blame for it. I believe in the way /we /do our thing. I do not
>> believe that Citizendium will be successful. At the same time, I give
>> them the benefit of the doubt.
> Well, good.  At this point I have serious doubts about CZ myself.  But
> I think I understand what you're talking about.  At some point
> something else will come along which is better than Wikipedia.  But at
> that point Google isn't going to save the day just by putting
> Wikipedia at the top of search results.
>> I do not understand your reference to
>> STDs. I want to learn more about this as I have an interest in those..
> My point is, when Wikipedia becomes irrelevant because something
> better comes along, it should be regarded as a victory, not a loss.
> The end-game here is not to run a popular website, it's to freely
> spread knowledge.
Citizendium can only be considered "Free knowledge" when it is indeed 
Free knowledge. You mention that they may use the CC-by-ND license. Not 
only is that license incompatible with the GFDL, being more restrictive, 
it will prevent them from using the Wikipedia content as its source. 
This is likely to brake the back of their project as I am sure that a 
sufficient large group of people will create a class action that 
Citizendium cannot win.
>> When Wikipedia and Citizendium have more or less the same data, there is
>> no point in having both with the same relevance, just moving it down to
>> number two does therefore not make sense.
> If CZ becomes successful without being a fork of Wikipedia (and
> they're apparently going to try), then it *won't* have the same data
> as Wikipedia.  It's unlikely it'll even have "more or less the same
> data".
> But thinking about this, I guess it's unclear to me what this has to
> do with Google being important to the dissemination of Free Content.
> Is the "our" part of that important?  Is this about whether or not CZ
> will be Free Content?  I just learned today that they're considering
> CC-by-NC.  I guess if they choose that license it'll matter.  But
> Google doesn't seem to rank Free Content sites any higher than others.
Here the law makes all the difference and prevent CZ from using the 
Wikipedia content.
>> There is every reason to acknowledge when you benefit from the business
>> practices of a friendly organisation. The absolute minimum that this
>> realisation does is to allow you to acknowledge what it is that makes us
>> a success. When we are smart it means we maintain friendly relations
>> with those organisations that enable our success. Google fits that bill.
>> Microsoft does not appreciate Wikipedia for what it does and as a
>> consequence suffers in its appreciation. I do not touch Microsoft's
>> search engine with a barge pole because of their bias. It is also
>> something that enables the argument why Microsoft is "evil".
> I'll have to think more about that.  Personally I think Microsoft's
> search engine is crap, but I'm using their OS to write this message,
> so if one is going to have to acknowledge every company which has
> contributed to making Wikipedia possible, I don't think you can ignore
> Microsoft.
The fact that anyone uses a Microsoft OS makes no difference to the 
quality of their search engine.
>> If you want to improve on what Google does, please do.
> If I get the time and/or the money, I will.  But in the meantime, I'm
> not going to make them out to be this great company that does no
> wrong.
> I mean, if you want to improve on what Microsoft does, please do.  Do
> you see how that statement isn't really helpful?
You can improve on Microsoft by not choosing their product as the basis 
of your entry to the computerised world. You can have a BSD, Apple, 
Linux desktop instead.
>> It does not make
>> sense to decry your wish for an alternative where there is none. Google
>> has been a boon to us. In my value system it is good to acknowledge
>> this. I do not begrudge them being one of the most successful companies
>> at this moment in time. Do better than Google and you may make a
>> difference, but I am sure that Google is a moving target.
> And if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I
> am a co-owner of both Google and Microsoft.  But I wouldn't make
> either of those two companies out to be worthy of praise.
> If Google didn't exist at all, I don't think Wikipedia would be any worse off.
There is anecdotal evidence that you are SO wrong.


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