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Ask HN: What is causing the recent sudden uproars against Google?
43 points by benicafe 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 30 comments



It's been happening for years. A few last straws lately?

Google did a lot to gain the trust of it's users over a decade ago. What it did and said as an organization was that they were the good guys and could be trusted, and that everyone else was evil. Google were the stewards of the internet.

Maybe it was after they took the company public but it slowly started to ratchet in the other direction. Products became increasingly and heavily monetized or shut down entirely. More and more attempts at lock-in and data control. That's fine for a business but in the case of Google, because of their earlier approach and saying the exact opposite, it was a total bait-and-switch.


"...they were the good guys and could be trusted"

I've said this before but Google is neither the 'good guy' or the 'bad guy'. They aren't there to look out for your best interests and we'd all be much better if we stop ascribing human qualities to gigantic corporations. And they have never been 'stewards of the internet'.

As for the recent uproar, well better late than never. The attitude of the tech community is incredibly hypocritical on matters of privacy.

Google has always tracked users on an industrial scale. That tracking now extends to schools where ChromeOS is in widespread use. Tracking school kids online behaviour even if that data is detached from individual accounts and aggregated in some way is simply indefensible in my view. The amount of pupil data stored on Google's servers must be simply staggering. But barely a peep from developers on this issue.

Next time developers rush to Google's defence, they should ask themselves: does a gigantic multi-billion corporation that tracks people on an industrial scale need to be defended?


Why is it indefensible?

Surely what matters is what they do with the data - if it's being used to improve their products and services then why is it bad?

Are there concrete examples of where they have abused this data?


The Google Chrome change was serious for Chrome users (and really even non-Chrome users because it affects most of the people you probably know and hang out with since many of them use Chrome).

The issue could have more easily been resolved with a dialogue if you log into a new Google account while Chrome is logged into a separate account saying, "Your browsers is logged in as x. Would you like to add y to your x account? (Say no on a public or shared computer)."

Honestly I had trouble with Google starting in 2012 with the PRISM revelations (which either aren't true or everyone has collectively dismissed).

Google is today what Microsoft was in the 90s. I'd be happier if we just had more options of search. I hate that we went from Lycos, Hotbot, Yahoo, Dogpile, Excite and others to just Google, DDG and Bing.


It's Facebook. Facebook is the reason for the uproar. Facebook has drawn a lot of attention to ad-based revenue companies like Google. Facebook is the modern day version of Geocities, except, now it employs modern advertising technology to harvest information and engage users.

Facebook has apparently grossly mishandled how it engages users; providing a platform for the proliferation of false information (like idiots on Geocities) but now in the form of "news". Facebook has also grossly mishandled it's users information; providing dubious 3rd parties with information that's been used to, among other things, target specific demographics to influence ELECTIONS.

Because of the ire Facebook is drawing from the entire world, Google is being group with them because of their business model. Google's big fault here is in it's likely emulation of Facebook's engagement model (likely same tech, same time) in steering users towards more extreme content in an effort to maintain engagement- mostly on YouTube.

I think the average HN user can understand how and why this happens. It's 1.0 of the engagement game. Ad-tech that analyze the content of a video and attempts to match it with similar content. Only apparent problem is, it's not that smart and it tends to direct towards the extreme - or likely the easiest content match- more extreme content likely repeats similar phrases more often, idk, someone with more insight can jump in here.


I think Google's behaviour probably has something to do with it too.


Karma.

Google has always been super ruthless in their data gathering practices. I think the recent uproar is just the tip of the iceberg. Shit's happening for real this time.


Being cynical here. From fines GDPR & friends incoming and maximise profits before they forced to pay to market already saturated and without pissing user base there will be no double digit 'adaptation' rate


I hope so.


The Chrome 69 changes probably were the straw that broke the camels back.

Enabling inherent behavior without really doing a good job at all of notifying or even letting the user know what's up is pretty scummy behavior to me.


I have noticed this too. There's been a Google-negative article of some sort or another near the top of the front page for days now.

Is this an external news cycle, a feedback loop where people saw "Chrome doesn't delete Google cookies" yesterday and upvote "Maps stores your home address" today, or a conspiracy intentionally submitting this series of articles?


Or maybe it's just Google making a lot of misguided decisions for their anniversary release.


There are so many companies track their users, small, medium to huge enterprise. Why just focus on google? Do you think microsoft don't track users? Linked-in has no tracking? facebook, apple and those small and medium size company?

I should change my question to what company has zero tracking or spying on their users? Do you guys know how many tracking and analytic companies out there help businesses to gather user data and do analytics, ai analytics and so on? Last month I just met a friend who worked in speedtest.net, visit my country and sell their user data to one of the largest ISP here.(kudos to who have account at their service).

Seriously, i am just wondering why just google? I ask so because I saw many title about the same topic just focus on two companies, google and facebook. Just wondering...By the way, kudos for duckduckgo, i really like that search engine. !g, !gh,...its so versatile.


Well IMO Google has an unprecidented ubiquity and scale that out-performs all of the companies you listed (Search, Chrome, Android, Youtube). Even Facebook.

For Apple I'd like to see a source that backs up that claim because they're obviously not in the business of selling personal data.


It's easy. In their hubris, Google pissed on some of the most intelligent and spiritually powerful people on the planet.

Now they get their comeuppance. It's that simple.


Who are these people you speak of?


It's not easy to change so quickly. I'm dissatisfied with Google since years, but changing away from GMail requires me to change dozens of registrations. Oh and GDoc, I have tons of documents there, both and shared and private, not an easy task to migrate that away.

Same with Facebook, it takes ages. I don't care so much about them but others do. With time people changed real names to Pseudonyms, deinstalled the App etc.


It must be fashionable now to hate on Google, but they are still miles ahead of other guys. They may no longer "not be evil" but to me they're still the least evil option compared to other companies. Besides, Google has done many wonderful things for our generation. We've been taking things for granted, imagine a world without Google search. Remember Yahoo!?


I don't think anybody here is denying that Google has done a lot of great things, and on the whole they still have a great reputation as a company to work for.

However, past good deeds don't excuse current bad deeds. Even if they are the "least evil option", that doesn't mean they shouldn't be criticised.


Careful with your dissenting opinions around here ;)


Because now it's not only affecting their users but their competitors too.

Alphabet is too big now, it needs to be broken. Gmail, YouTube, ChromeOS, Google Chrome, Google Pixel, Android, Google Play, Google Search, Google Maps,Google Ads. They all need to be individual competing companies.


Recent? There have been spurts of uproars about google ( and tech/social media ) for a while now, nationally and internationally.

After obama won in 2008 and 2012, there was conservative/republican backlash against tech/social media amd it's "negative" impact on election. There were people saying that the saudis, chinese and even the russians were exploiting social media to help obama win the election and divide/destroy the nation. Sound familiar? The democrats and the establishment media laughed at these claims and called them conspiracies, delusions and republican being sore losers. Funny how an election changes everything.

The recent uproar is directly tied to Trump's election. Now it's the democrats and establishment media attacking tech/social media because their candidate lost. So the democrats and the media are complaining the same thing the the republicans did after their candidates lost in 2008/2012.

When obama won, it's was how great social media is. The NYTimes was praising social media for helping obama topple the "clinton machine" and john mccain in 2008.

"fight smear campaigns and get out the vote that helped them topple the Clinton machine and then John McCain and the Republicans."

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/10/business/media/10carr.htm...

Even in 2016, people were praising social media and obama.

https://www.engadget.com/2016/01/12/president-obama-social-n...

The hypocrisy in the political and media landscape is quite something huh?

As for the international scene, from china to egypt and beyond, governments have been upset about google trying to manipulate their people and cause disruption. With the recent revelations of how political google truly is, I guess they were right and foreign governments are going to demand lot more control over google in their countries. You reap what you sow.


The stars somehow aligned (or misaligned) and Google pulled a whole lot of bad decisions at the same time.


More MBAs in management maybe.


People finally waking up to the what Google really is, perhaps?


A never dreamer here. Google is what we wanted since the beginning. Someone else to balance the market. And yes, they collect what I see. And yes I use them for free since the day 1.


From 2012 to 2014, Microsoft (under Ballmer) had launched a program called "Scroogled" - an attempt to in effect destroy the google brand.

The budget? 1 billion dollars. It was run like a presidential election campaign, with Mark Penn hired to run it.

It feels very similar to this. I am guessing that the goal is to trigger anti-trust action against Google, by creating this buzz around it.


The Scroogled campaign was simply about the cost differences for businesses to advertise on Bing vs. Google. So, in other words, just like any other ad campaign you see between competitors...


You may want to check this list and decide for yourself what it was about : https://www.theverge.com/2013/11/22/5135626/scroogled-micros...

I should add that i have not seen Google itself run such attack ads.

What I have always found strange is that the companies that seem to attack google on privacy are not so hot themselves. Microsoft's rifling through hotmail emails to catch a leaker, and Apple's handing over of iCloud data for Chinese users are examples of things Google has never done.

Microsoft : https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/03/28/microsof...

Apple : https://www.theverge.com/2018/7/18/17587304/apple-icloud-chi...


Those are 6 year old editorials, in other words, opinion articles. Microsoft has every right to run ad campaigns however they like. Apple attacked PC with it's "I'm a Mac, I'm hip and cool and PCs are bloated, etc." ads in the 00s. They were effective, I'm not convinced the Scroogled campaign was effective at all. Ad campaigns resemble political ads because political ads are ad campaigns. They're all different flavors of the same damn trade.




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