[Foundation-l] In defence of Google

Anthony wikilegal at inbox.org
Sat Jan 20 13:37:52 UTC 2007

On 1/20/07, Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijssen at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hoi,
> Commerce is an abstraction. Google a reality. The traffic that we have
> and the resulting relevance that we acquired as a result is largely due
> to Google. This is a reality. As I said earlier, it is relevant to
> appreciate our friends. Microsoft's search engine does not do us any
> favours. This is a reality. Our aims are in bringing information to
> people; that is what Google helps us do. If we had twice the amount of
> content and we did not have the traffic that comes from Google we would
> not be half as good in achieving our goal. Our goal is to get the
> information out, it is not sitting on it and think ourselves great for
> having created such a large body of work.
I don't think you're right that 50% of Wikipedia traffic comes as a
result of Google searches ([[Wikipedia:Search_engine_statistics]] says
it's 33%).  Nor do I believe that none of that traffic would have come
to Wikipedia had Google not existed.  Nor do I believe that Google
should be praised simply for giving Wikipedia a fair ranking.  Nor do
I believe that traffic is the sole goal.

> Google does not need to be actively creating Open Content to be
> considered beneficial to the Open Content. As they gave us a fair
> ranking in their search engine we thrived. With your dismissal of Google
> Books you conveniently ignore the controversy that exists because of the
> audacity that Google had in making this tool available. You conveniently
> ignore that many publishers went to court in order to prevent this
> service in the first place. If anything, Google should be applauded for
> services like Google book search, Google scholar.

Don't take my word for it.  Read up on what Brewster Kahle from
Internet Archive had to say about Google Book Search, or find out more
about the Open Content Alliance he co-founded largely to respond to
it.  "They don't want the books to appear in anyone else's search
engine but their own, which is a little peculiar for a company that
says its mission is to make information universally accessible," Kahle

"Google, for instance, is digitizing some great libraries. But their
contracts (which were actually secret contracts with libraries – which
is bizarre, but anyway, they were secret until they got sued out of
them by some governments) are under such restrictions that they're
pretty useless... the copies that go back to the libraries. Pretty
much Google is trying to set themselves up as the only place to get to
these materials; the only library; the only access. The idea of having
only one company control the library of human knowledge is a
nightmare. I mean this is 1984 – a book about how bad the world would
be if this really came about, if a few governments' control and
corporations' control on information goes too far."

I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to choose sides on this one, and I'm
going with Kahle, not with Google.

> Writers and publishers
> have praised Google because their offerings can now be found and have a
> second lease of commercial life. It is exactly a service like Google
> book search that prevents the monopolistic content of most of the book
> shops to dominate even more. It may be an inconvenient truth, but Google
> does good where it matters. What matters is that information becomes
> available to people and it is not just the Open Content project and
> communities that have a patent on this.
> I will confess, I am not really interested in video, but I would not be
> surprised if it turns out that you are wrong on that as well.
> So please repeat after me, Google did and does well for us. Google is
> our friend.
> Thanks,
>     GerardM
> PS .. well do not bother.. just trying to be funny.

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