Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk
Please visit the sponsor!
I think sometimes people forget that Google is not a philanthropic organisation.
Sure, in the early days they had the fantastic motto "Don't be evil" and that endeared them to many who were tired of the corporate focus on "profits at all costs".
However, once that motto had served its purpose, it was dropped and now Google is as profit-oriented as any large corporate (some might say even more so).
As a profit-centric corporate, Google has little concern for the rights, desires and objections of the people who use its services. It now knows that critical mass and widespread dependence has been achieved and therefore, instead of responding to user demands, it can simply dictate terms, conditions and availability of the services it provides.
This can be increasingly seen in the way it deals with issues that might give other companies sleepless nights.
First example - free speech. YouTube has announced that it will no longer be recommending or promoting videos that promote conspiracy theories.
Of course one man's conspiracy theory is another man's "fact" so who is to determine what is conspiracy and what is reality?
The answer is, of course, Google itself.
If you believe that 9/11 was a set-up or that man didn't really land on the moon then don't expect to be able to reach many people via YouTube -- because Google disagrees with you and will demote your rantings in its search, while simultaneously removing those videos from the "recommended" list.
I wonder how they will treat religious videos?
Who will Google side with -- creationists or evolutionists? Surely they can't both be right and therefore one is fake. Under its new policies, the fake version will be demoted and penalised for spreading misinformation. I await the result of this with bated breath!
Google also decided that videos dealing with controversial subjects will not be suitable for monetization. Well there's not much more controversial than the debate over whether there is really a God or, if there is a God, whether he's on the side of Christians, Islamics, or whoever. Surely this must mean that all videos promoting religion (or atheism) must be demonetised *and* demoted.
Strangely enough, I see no evidence of this happening.
And now Google has decided it might just remove the "thumbs down" feature of YouTube.
You have to wonder why that is -- until you realise that users of YouTube dealt the corporation a stingy slap a few weeks ago when they overwhelmingly hit the dislike button on the corporation's "Rewind" video -- making it clearly and very publicly one of the least-liked videos ever to appear on the site.
How does Google deal with such a slap? Simple -- disable the mechanism that allowed such dissatisfaction to be expressed.
So there we have it... Google rules with an iron fist and what Google says, goes.
Dare to step out of line and the corporation will simply change the rules or disable the mechanisms by which you have offended it.
This level of arrogance is not a good thing. Indeed, I wonder if Google actually realises just how much damage it is doing to itself through this heavy-handed response to its own inadequacies. Google rose to dominance by promising that it would do no evil and now, in the eyes of some, it has become evil incarnate. Surely, even Google can't really believe that it has become so all-powerful that it can show unlimited contempt for the mantra on which it was built?
Fortunately, even the most mighty empire eventually crumbles to dust so I have no doubt that in a decade or two, Google will be the new AltaVista, Yahoo or GeoCities -- little but a faint memory in the minds of those old enough to remember.
In the meantime I have to say that I am actively looking for ways of removing Google's influence on, and involvement in, my life -- as much as is practical.
How do readers feel?
Has Google now become everything it seemingly despised at its inception?
How long before Alphabet's empire begins to crumble to dust, as all empires built on exploitation and arrogance are destined to do?
Please visit the sponsor!
Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.