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The conflict of interest that is Google

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IainB:
Basically, I think I am just too darned tired to understand any of what the heck you guys are talking about.   :huh:   :-\
-J-Mac (March 05, 2012, 09:09 PM)
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I don't blame you.
I don't understand what the heck I'm talking about half the time either!     ;)

Oh, and BTW - looks like Google is ending the whole "Knol" thing, unfortunately. You probably know that but I just found out.   :(
-J-Mac (March 05, 2012, 09:09 PM)
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Yes. I was annoyed when I read that Google intended to close the Knol service. (I believed in Google, dammit!)       :mad:
And migrating a Knol to Annotum (the recommended migration site) does not work properly, causing me to lose roughly 80% of the knol content.
Ah well. Once bitten, twice shy.

That Ahamkara concept, by the way - that is a surprisingly useful concept. It is wisdom/knowledge that can help to explain a lot of our previously inexplicable irrational behaviours. It comes from the 3,000 year-old (or so) Vedic religious philosophy, and has been absorbed into the much younger Hindu religious philosophy.
When I discovered that Ahamkara was a theory which was supported by evidence and experience of irrational human behaviour (my own included!), I was bowled over. I haven't been able to refute it by rational argument or from experience, yet (though I keep trying).

I would recommend that you persevere and have a read of the Bhagavad Gita, even if it does send you to sleep. It's very interesting.

mouser:
From slashdot:

'We've always suspected that Google might tweak its search algorithms to gain an advantage over its rivals — and, according to an FTC investigation inadvertently shared with the Wall Street Journal, it did. Quoting: "In a lengthy investigation, staffers in the FTC's bureau of competition found evidence that Google boosted its own services for shopping, travel and local businesses by altering its ranking criteria and "scraping" content from other sites. It also deliberately demoted rivals. For example, the FTC staff noted that Google presented results from its flight-search tool ahead of other travel sites, even though Google offered fewer flight options. Google's shopping results were ranked above rival comparison-shopping engines, even though users didn't click on them at the same rate, the staff found. Many of the ways Google boosted its own results have not been previously disclosed.'
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http://www.wsj.com/articles/inside-the-u-s-antitrust-probe-of-google-1426793274

"WASHINGTON—Officials at the Federal Trade Commission concluded in 2012 that Google Inc. used anticompetitive tactics and abused its monopoly power in ways that harmed Internet users and rivals, a far harsher analysis of Google’s business than was previously known."

from: http://tech.slashdot.org/story/15/03/20/1639215/ftc-google-altered-search-results-for-profit

IainB:
@mouser: I wondered about that too, when it popped into my bazqux feed-reader, and I assumed that, given what has been commented above in this thread, none of this should really come as a surprise to us.

Eric Schmidt and his colleagues are up there in the stratosphere, maximising profits, pulling the strings, out of our reach, and as a corporate legal entity are arguably in a politically, legally and economically vastly superior and dominant position compared to our lesser legal entities and whatever residual "legal rights" we might amusingly imagine ourselves to have.
Google is a great corporation.

If the perceived problem here is "anti-competitve behaviour", or something, then the likely/apparent causal problem is that Capitalism (the economic dogma of capitalism) encourages/necessitates profit-seeking strategies and "competition" often to the exclusion of considerations of moral, ethical, or legal obligations. It's a never-ending game to "play the system", and if one is successful at it, it creates wealth out of thin air (usually with no productive effort/result).
When we use the Internet, we are generally the product (or our data is) and the puppets in this game, and we pay for the privilege to enter into and play in the game (wittingly or otherwise).

Google is a leader, part of an oligopoly - if it isn't a monopoly - and can probably do whatever the heck it wants, with impunity.
Unfortunately, when one tries to address the apparent causal problem (i.e., Capitalism), one runs smack into the brick wall that other economic ideologies seem to have done - e.g., the Communist/Socialist "command economy" system.

So, Google apparently used their position to gain an unfair advantage, eh?
Oh dear, what a pity, never mind.
Google is a great corporation.

IainB:
Just stumbled upon this as a good example of this sort of thing:
“Wall Street Firm Develops New High-Speed Algorithm Capable Of Performing Over 10,000 Ethical Violations Per Second”

mouser:
 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
nice find.

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