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posted by martyb on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:10AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the searching-for-an-answer dept.

iTWire:

Only a few of the search behemoth's 88,000 workers were briefed on the project before The Intercept reported on 1 August that Google had plans to launch a censored mobile search app for the Chinese market, with no access to sites about human rights, democracy, religion or peaceful protest.

The customised Android search app, with different versions known as Maotai and Longfei, was said to have been demonstrated to Chinese Government authorities.

In a related development, six US senators from both parties were reported to have sent a letter to Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, demanding an explanation over the company's move.

One source inside Google, who witnessed the backlash from employees after news of the plan was reported, told The Intercept: "Everyone's access to documents got turned off, and is being turned on [on a] document-by-document basis.

"There's been total radio silence from leadership, which is making a lot of people upset and scared. ... Our internal meme site and Google Plus are full of talk, and people are a.n.g.r.y."


Original Submission

Related Stories

Y Combinator Spreads to China 24 comments

Y Combinator to set up China arm with former Baidu executive Qi Lu as chief

American start-up incubator Y Combinator is setting up shop in China, with a new unit to be led by former Baidu chief operating officer Qi Lu.

Sam Altman, Y Combinator's president, said in a company announcement Wednesday that China had been "an important missing piece of our puzzle" when it came to sourcing new start-ups to take under its wing.

"We think that a significant percentage of the largest technology companies that are founded in the next decade — companies at the scale of Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook — will be based in the U.S. and China," Altman said. "YC's greatest strength is our founder community and with the launch of YC China we believe we have a special opportunity to include many more Chinese founders in our global community."

Google's back in China. Now it's time to do a search for entrepreneurs.

Y Combinator.

Also at CNN.

See also: Y Combinator invests in a build-your-own mac and cheese restaurant

Related: The Basic Income Experiment by Y Combinator Draws Nearer
A Startup is Pitching a Mind-Uploading Service That is "100 Percent Fatal"


Original Submission

"Senior Google Scientist" Resigns over Chinese Search Engine Censorship Project 50 comments

Senior Google Scientist Resigns Over "Forfeiture of Our Values" in China

A senior Google research scientist has quit the company in protest over its plan to launch a censored version of its search engine in China.

Jack Poulson worked for Google's research and machine intelligence department, where he was focused on improving the accuracy of the company's search systems. In early August, Poulson raised concerns with his managers at Google after The Intercept revealed that the internet giant was secretly developing a Chinese search app for Android devices. The search system, code-named Dragonfly, was designed to remove content that China's authoritarian government views as sensitive, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.

After entering into discussions with his bosses, Poulson decided in mid-August that he could no longer work for Google. He tendered his resignation and his last day at the company was August 31.

He told The Intercept in an interview that he believes he is one of about five of the company's employees to resign over Dragonfly. He felt it was his "ethical responsibility to resign in protest of the forfeiture of our public human rights commitments," he said.

Poulson, who was previously an assistant professor at Stanford University's department of mathematics, said he believed that the China plan had violated Google's artificial intelligence principles, which state that the company will not design or deploy technologies "whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights."

Politics: Google CEO Sundar Pichai Testifies before the U.S. Congress 61 comments

Google's Sundar Pichai was grilled on privacy, data collection, and China during congressional hearing

Google's CEO testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday where lawmakers grilled him on a wide range of issues, including potential political bias on its platforms, its plans for a censored search app in China and its privacy practices.

This is the first time Pichai has appeared before Congress since Google declined to send him or Alphabet CEO Larry Page to a hearing on foreign election meddling earlier this year. That slight sparked anger among senators who portrayed Google as trying to skirt scrutiny.

[...] Tuesday's hearing was titled "Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use, and Filtering Practices" and many representatives posed questions on whether or not Google's search results were biased against conservative points of view.

[...] Another topic that came up multiple times was Google's plan to launch a censored search engine in China. The Intercept first reported details of the project over the summer, which would block search results for queries that the Chinese government deemed sensitive, like "human rights" and "student protest" and link users' searches to their personal phone numbers. [...] "Right now, we have no plans to launch search in China," Pichai answered, adding that access to information is "an important human right."

Also at Bloomberg and The Hill.

See also: Sundar Pichai had to explain to Congress why Googling 'idiot' turns up pictures of Trump
Google CEO admits company must better address the spread of conspiracy theories on YouTube
Alex Jones, Roger Stone crash Google CEO hearing
Monopoly man watches disapprovingly as Congress yells at Google's CEO

Previously: Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal
Uproar at Google after News of Censored China Search App Breaks
"Senior Google Scientist" Resigns over Chinese Search Engine Censorship Project
Google Suppresses Internal Memo About China Censorship; Eric Schmidt Predicts Internet Split
Leaked Transcript Contradicts Google's Denials About Censored Chinese Search Engine
Senators Demand Answers About Google+ Breach; Project Dragonfly Undermines Google's Neutrality


Original Submission

Google Suppresses Internal Memo About China Censorship; Eric Schmidt Predicts Internet Split 41 comments

Google has been aggressively suppressing an internal memo that shared details of Dragonfly, a censored search engine for China that would also track users:

Google bosses have forced employees to delete a confidential memo circulating inside the company that revealed explosive details about a plan to launch a censored search engine in China, The Intercept has learned. The memo, authored by a Google engineer who was asked to work on the project, disclosed that the search system, codenamed Dragonfly, would require users to log in to perform searches, track their location — and share the resulting history with a Chinese partner who would have "unilateral access" to the data.

The memo was shared earlier this month among a group of Google employees who have been organizing internal protests over the censored search system, which has been designed to remove content that China's authoritarian Communist Party regime views as sensitive, such as information about democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.

According to three sources familiar with the incident, Google leadership discovered the memo and were furious that secret details about the China censorship were being passed between employees who were not supposed to have any knowledge about it. Subsequently, Google human resources personnel emailed employees who were believed to have accessed or saved copies of the memo and ordered them to immediately delete it from their computers. Emails demanding deletion of the memo contained "pixel trackers" that notified human resource managers when their messages had been read, recipients determined.

[...] Google reportedly maintains an aggressive security and investigation team known as "stopleaks," which is dedicated to preventing unauthorized disclosures. The team is also said to monitor internal discussions. Internal security efforts at Google have ramped up this year as employees have raised ethical concerns around a range of new company projects. Following the revelation by Gizmodo and The Intercept that Google had quietly begun work on a contract with the military last year, known as Project Maven, to develop automated image recognition systems for drone warfare, the communications team moved swiftly to monitor employee activity. The "stopleaks" team, which coordinates with the internal Google communications department, even began monitoring an internal image board used to post messages based on internet memes, according to one former Google employee, for signs of employee sentiment around the Project Maven contract.

Eric Schmidt has predicted that there will be two distinct "Internets" within the decade, with one led by China:

Is Ethical A.I. Even Possible? 35 comments

Is Ethical A.I. Even Possible?

When a news article revealed that Clarifai was working with the Pentagon and some employees questioned the ethics of building artificial intelligence that analyzed video captured by drones, the company said the project would save the lives of civilians and soldiers.

"Clarifai's mission is to accelerate the progress of humanity with continually improving A.I.," read a blog post from Matt Zeiler, the company's founder and chief executive, and a prominent A.I. researcher. Later, in a news media interview, Mr. Zeiler announced a new management position that would ensure all company projects were ethically sound.

As activists, researchers, and journalists voice concerns over the rise of artificial intelligence, warning against biased, deceptive and malicious applications, the companies building this technology are responding. From tech giants like Google and Microsoft to scrappy A.I. start-ups, many are creating corporate principles meant to ensure their systems are designed and deployed in an ethical way. Some set up ethics officers or review boards to oversee these principles.

But tensions continue to rise as some question whether these promises will ultimately be kept. Companies can change course. Idealism can bow to financial pressure. Some activists — and even some companies — are beginning to argue that the only way to ensure ethical practices is through government regulation.

"We don't want to see a commercial race to the bottom," Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, said at the New Work Summit in Half Moon Bay, Calif., hosted last week by The New York Times. "Law is needed."

Possible != Probable. And the "needed law" could come in the form of a ban and/or surveillance of coding and hardware-building activities.

Related:


Original Submission

Leaked Transcript Contradicts Google's Denials About Censored Chinese Search Engine 31 comments

Leaked Transcript of Private Meeting Contradicts Google's Official Story on China

"We have to be focused on what we want to enable," said Ben Gomes, Google's search engine chief. "And then when the opening happens, we are ready for it." It was Wednesday, July 18, and Gomes was addressing a team of Google employees who were working on a secretive project to develop a censored search engine for China, which would blacklist phrases like "human rights," "student protest," and "Nobel Prize."

"You have taken on something extremely important to the company," Gomes declared, according to a transcript of his comments obtained by The Intercept. "I have to admit it has been a difficult journey. But I do think a very important and worthwhile one. And I wish ourselves the best of luck in actually reaching our destination as soon as possible." [...] Gomes, who joined Google in 1999 and is one of the key engineers behind the company's search engine, said he hoped the censored Chinese version of the platform could be launched within six and nine months, but it could be sooner. "This is a world none of us have ever lived in before," he said. "So I feel like we shouldn't put too much definite into the timeline."

[...] Google has refused to answer questions or concerns about Dragonfly. On Sept. 26, a Google executive faced public questions on the censorship plan for the first time. Keith Enright told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that there "is a Project Dragonfly," but said "we are not close to launching a product in China." When pressed to give specific details, Enright refused, saying that he was "not clear on the contours of what is in scope or out of scope for that project."

Senior executives at Google directly involved in building the censorship system have largely avoided any public scrutiny. But on Sept. 23, Gomes briefly addressed Dragonfly when confronted by a BBC reporter at an event celebrating Google's 20th anniversary. "Right now, all we've done is some exploration," Gomes told the reporter, "but since we don't have any plans to launch something, there's nothing much I can say about it." Gomes' statement kept with the company's official line. But it flatly contradicted what he had privately told Google employees who were working on Dragonfly — which disturbed some of them. One Google source told The Intercept Gomes's comments to the BBC were "bullshit."

Here's an article written by Dave Lee, the BBC reporter that Ben Gomes misled.

Previously: Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal
Uproar at Google after News of Censored China Search App Breaks
"Senior Google Scientist" Resigns over Chinese Search Engine Censorship Project
Google Suppresses Internal Memo About China Censorship; Eric Schmidt Predicts Internet Split


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 1, Funny) by realDonaldTrump on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:15AM

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:15AM (#718040) Homepage Journal

    But maybe I'll talk to Sundar instead. About getting our internet under control. We're losing a lot of people to internet!!!!

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:16AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:16AM (#718043)

    A search on Chinese Google turns up no results for "aristarchus submission". Coincidence? I think not! #Freearistarchus!!!

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Inspired on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:21AM (11 children)

    by Inspired (6565) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:21AM (#718045)

    Just be Evil....

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by requerdanos on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:32AM (10 children)

      by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:32AM (#718064) Journal

      Just be Evil....

      On the contrary! Google had worked very hard to develop a less harmful partnership--with the U.S. Government, with point of contact in the Pentagon, on a project to save American lives and decrease overall violence while simultaneously advancing cool things like A.I., and the complainers and naysayers lost their fool minds demanding it be stopped.

      So now that Google is going back to the China project instead, practically as the shrill squealers demanded, suddenly they are unhappy with *that* now? Make up your minds, oh mighty warriors of Google's would-be social justice conscience.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @03:59AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @03:59AM (#718096)

        > on a project to save American lives

        Because, as we all know, American lives are the only ones that matter. Bombing a few weddings and hospitals to avoid exposing the professional soldiers and thus maybe save two or three American lives? Worth it!

      • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Tuesday August 07 2018, @08:29AM (8 children)

        by shortscreen (2252) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @08:29AM (#718159) Journal

        not sure if serious...

        Does goog really have to choose either the US killing machine or the Chinese censorship machine? Bit of a false dichotomy isn't it? They'll probably choose both soon enough.

        • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:00PM (7 children)

          by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:00PM (#718192) Journal

          as we all know, American lives are the only ones that matter.

          At the Pentagon, I sometimes think that's what they believe. Human lives matter and we all share a planet in a vast emptiness, so you'd think that sort of attitude wouldn't take hold.

          not sure if serious...

          Sorry. Probably 15% serious, 85% sarcasm, I'd say. Yes, the complainers should be careful what they complain about, but...

          • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by khallow on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:33PM (5 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:33PM (#718201) Journal

            At the Pentagon, I sometimes think that's what they believe. Human lives matter and we all share a planet in a vast emptiness, so you'd think that sort of attitude wouldn't take hold.

            Sorry, there's no way a human life that I've never known about is going to matter as much to me as someone I've cared about for years. That relationship bias holds for everyone else on the planet too. Then you get into the fundamental institutional biases, like that the US military's purpose is to protect US interests not just anyone's interests (and that they wouldn't get funded, if that purpose were broadened).

            It's better to accept what we are and work with that, rather than fantasize about things that can't happen and fight against our fundamental nature.

            • (Score: 4, Insightful) by requerdanos on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:50PM (1 child)

              by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:50PM (#718234) Journal

              Sorry, there's no way a human life that I've never known about is going to matter as much to me as someone I've cared about for years.

              You are trying to set up a false equivalency, one problem with which is that I and many have cared about people for years from many different countries. Among my friends and neighbors are folks from Vietnam, Mexico, China, Honduras, Guatemala, England, Holland... People whose lives are "not American lives" but people who I personally value just the same, in contrary to your personal life-importance-scale.

              But when assigning value to human life--whose life is worth being saved, and who should just die rather than our lifting a finger to help--what strangers we should value as humans and what strangers we should just write off as pointless--that isn't how we do it if we value human life.

              If we value human life, then the determining factor is not "are the people to be killed personally known and valued to me individually, otherwise they don't matter", but "are they people".

              [People don't matter unless you know them personally, and] That relationship bias holds for everyone else on the planet too.

              I don't believe that position is as universal as you are saying here. I hope to God not.

              It's better to accept what we are and work with that

              Depends on what you are.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday August 08 2018, @12:30AM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 08 2018, @12:30AM (#718535) Journal

                You are trying to set up a false equivalency, one problem with which is that I and many have cared about people for years from many different countries. Among my friends and neighbors are folks from Vietnam, Mexico, China, Honduras, Guatemala, England, Holland... People whose lives are "not American lives" but people who I personally value just the same, in contrary to your personal life-importance-scale.

                Except that your post indicates it's quite true. You speak of people you know and/or neighbors. You don't speak of the seven billion strangers you can't begin to know (unless, of course, you've watered down the definitions of "friend" and "neighbor" to mean any sentient being somewhere in the universe). Merely having a little variety in the people you happen to know doesn't change that you happen to know at most a few thousand people.

                But when assigning value to human life--whose life is worth being saved, and who should just die rather than our lifting a finger to help--what strangers we should value as humans and what strangers we should just write off as pointless--that isn't how we do it if we value human life.

                An obvious rebuttal to this is that if every human life is equally valuable, no matter the context, then more of those human lives is more valuable. I'll let you figure out what happens to the real world value of human life when extreme overpopulation meets extreme poverty (particularly, when society breaks down).

                Another obvious rebuttal is that this opens the door to all sorts of utilitarian arguments, some which support the role of the US military. For example, killing innocent strangers (as well as a bunch of guilty ones often enough) at weddings fulfills the will of 300+ million people of the US. Why is the value of those few strangers suddenly more valuable than the 300+ million people? If everyone is equally valuable, then they're orders of magnitude less valuable.

                If we value human life, then the determining factor is not "are the people to be killed personally known and valued to me individually, otherwise they don't matter", but "are they people".

                I don't agree that we, including you, value human life equally. Words do not imply value. Having some variation in your friends doesn't imply value. Whining that narrow focus organizations like the US military don't value humans like you claim to prefer doesn't imply value.

            • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @11:47PM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @11:47PM (#718515)

              Sorry, there's no way a human life that I've never known about is going to matter as much to me as someone I've cared about for years.

              I've never met the vast, vast majority of US citizens, even though I am a US citizen. So, I care about them as much as I do some random foreigners. I don't care about someone less just because they happened to be born on a different patch of dirt than I was.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday August 08 2018, @12:51AM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 08 2018, @12:51AM (#718548) Journal

                I've never met the vast, vast majority of US citizens, even though I am a US citizen. So, I care about them as much as I do some random foreigners.

                A lot of this is not that you care because someone shares a label, but because the shared label implies other shared things. For example, assuming that you have people you care about in the US, but not in Zimbabwe, then you'd care more when authorities jail people for their opinions in the US than in Zimbabwe because the shared label of US means that people you care about are at threat from those US authorities while they wouldn't be from Zimbabwe authorities (unless they happened to travel in Zimbabwe which is a danger that can be avoided if one so chooses).

              • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Wednesday August 08 2018, @12:53AM

                by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 08 2018, @12:53AM (#718549) Journal

                I don't care about someone less just because they happened to be born on a different patch of dirt than I was

                Very well put.

          • (Score: 1) by Type44Q on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:52PM

            by Type44Q (4347) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:52PM (#718239)

            ...so you'd think that sort of attitude wouldn't take hold.

            Especially if you were autistic and/or had never read any history.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Mykl on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:51AM (35 children)

    by Mykl (1112) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:51AM (#718051)

    Google was such a darling of the tech world back in the day. A champion of Open Source, defender of the weak etc, it's "Do no evil" motto garnered it a huge amount of praise in technology and privacy circles.

    These days, Google can hardly call themselves better than Facebook, who have always been about selling you out the highest bidder for those sweet, dirty dollars. I can imagine the shitstorm that this latest stunt must've triggered within the organisation - would not be at all surprised if a large number of job openings start appearing very soon.

    • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:07AM (10 children)

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:07AM (#718054)

      Google is a business, and answers to the sharemarket like any other business. If management decide to not offer search in China I imagine shareholders would want to know why they would leave so much money on the table.

      If you want to do business in China, you have to play by China's rules which include all sorts of censorship. Try searching for Winnie the Pooh from China and see how you go.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Mykl on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:15AM (8 children)

        by Mykl (1112) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:15AM (#718073)

        Yes, it's a business. However, by deciding to buy their way into China, Google has damaged their reputation in other markets (in my opinion, probably losing more than they gained). I doubt that the Faustian bargain they just made will prove to be worth it.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:58AM (2 children)

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:58AM (#718085)

          There might be a few people like you, who take a principled stand, but I suspect the vast majority either don't understand, or don't care.

          • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Tuesday August 07 2018, @06:10AM

            by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 07 2018, @06:10AM (#718136) Journal

            And a lot of the principled people, Google already lost anyway.

            --
            The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
          • (Score: 2) by sjames on Tuesday August 07 2018, @06:49AM

            by sjames (2882) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @06:49AM (#718144) Journal

            It's not necessarily a matter of principle. Do you trust a search engine company that has expressed so much willingness to censor search results in China to not ALSO censor search results it may return to you?

            If so, why?

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Tuesday August 07 2018, @03:37AM

          by c0lo (156) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @03:37AM (#718090) Journal

          However, by deciding to buy their way into China, Google has damaged their reputation in other markets (in my opinion, probably losing more than they gained).

          Your opinion looks more like wishful thinking.

          Google is eating the consumer privacy on every second basis for practically as long as they existed. And the loss of privacy affects each consumer personally - have you seen a consumer exodus away from Google because of that? No?
          And you think the consumers will give a damn about the censored search in China Google plans to offer, a thing that does not affect any consumer in non-Chinese markets? I mean... really?

          Yes, I know consumers aren't the customers, they are the merchandise. However, the customers/shareholders are sensible only to the number of consumers; as long as this number stay high, I don't think I'll ever see customers/shareholders objecting.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by lentilla on Tuesday August 07 2018, @06:03AM (3 children)

          by lentilla (1770) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @06:03AM (#718132)

          What is worth remembering is that China has 1.511 billion people. That's "only" twice the population of Europe, or "only" 4.6 times the population of the United States. Yes, selling out makes you look (a little) bad, but nothing that can't be spin-doctored away, and certainly not enough to ignore that absolutely massive untapped market.

          Google also faces a secondary problem - if they don't expand into China, a Chinese competitor will simply eat Google.

          Now ask yourself the question: which master would you prefer? Google - now a company of questionable ethics, or "Chinese Google" - a company with "different" ethics and squarely in the pocket of the world's largest totalitarian government?

          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:44PM (2 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:44PM (#718206) Journal

            which master would you prefer?

            Neither. You present a false dilemma. Let us also keep in mind that Chinese Google will happen simply because China won't allow for Google to obtain a dominant position no matter how much Google attempts to appease China.

            • (Score: 2) by lentilla on Wednesday August 08 2018, @02:51AM (1 child)

              by lentilla (1770) on Wednesday August 08 2018, @02:51AM (#718616)

              You present a false dilemma.

              Technically - yes - it is a false dilemma (and not a particularly ingenious one at that). Practically speaking; however; this is the actual dilemma that we face - and that is why I presented it as such.

              In a way, this is a real problem with capitalism - the end-game appears to be monopoly or at best oligopoly. In an ideal world, capitalism has many players competing but what actually happens is one of the players buys out the competition until only a one or two remain.

              You are also quite correct in stating that China will not allow Google to obtain a dominant position in the Chinese market. Google's best efforts will simply slow down the inevitable. They will be tolerated; for now; providing they make the required "reasonable accommodations".

              Unsporting as it might be, the West really needs to have a good, hard think about foreign ownership - otherwise we will end up ceding control of our assets, infrastructure and lives - and we won't notice it until it's too late because it is happening little by little.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday August 08 2018, @03:53AM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 08 2018, @03:53AM (#718636) Journal

                You present a false dilemma.

                Technically - yes - it is a false dilemma (and not a particularly ingenious one at that). Practically speaking; however; this is the actual dilemma that we face - and that is why I presented it as such.

                I disagree. It's just not that hard to create a search engine. It just isn't that profitable at present to create endless numbers of them.

                In a way, this is a real problem with capitalism - the end-game appears to be monopoly or at best oligopoly. In an ideal world, capitalism has many players competing but what actually happens is one of the players buys out the competition until only a one or two remain.

                Unless, of course, the end game appears to be something else. The problem here is that there are so many confounding factors that have nothing to do with capitalism messing up the situation. My view is that oligopoly may be an end-game for capitalism, but it's not that bad for end games nor the worst way that monopolies and oligopolies get created.

                For example, if one looks at the highest rates of creation of monopolies, oligopolies, and such, it's not the Gilded Age that stands out, but the early years of the FDR administration which created legal cartels in hundreds of industries over the course of a few years. Even when such cartels were undone (and they weren't always undone), the result was often a more stagnant and uncreative industry, such as the automotive, airlines, shipbuilding, broadcast, and movie industries. Labor unions are another example with virtually no competition. That wasn't capitalism that created that mess.

                Today, we have a huge regulatory burden that naturally favors large businesses over small. This is going to create natural dynamics that result in oligopoly situations.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @03:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @03:09AM (#718087)

        Aren't they still controlled by the founders? In that sense, they are not like most other public companies.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:19AM (21 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:19AM (#718058)

      I think they've jumped the shark a long time ago, but let's look at this TFS for a bit:

      Only a few of the search behemoth's 88,000 workers were briefed on the project before...

      Could be because Google felt it was not relevant to the job of the remaining 87 000 workers.

      One source inside Google, who witnessed the backlash from employees after news of the plan was reported, told The Intercept: "Everyone's access to documents got turned off, and is being turned on [on a] document-by-document basis.

      "Need to know" in a corporate environment. What an unusual concept!

      "There's been total radio silence from leadership, which is making a lot of people upset and scared. ... Our internal meme site and Google Plus are full of talk, and people are a.n.g.r.y."

      Newsflash: You aren't still in school anymore, where you could threaten someone with ostracism from the autists' club if he had expressed views that the hive did not share. AFAIK, the only ones at Google who have a say at all is senior leadership and VC people, who keep the only shares with real voting power. I can imagine them getting rather annoyed having to corral entitled nerds.

      TLDR: If you don't like what your employer is getting involved in, man up and find another place to work.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:17AM (2 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:17AM (#718075) Homepage Journal

        It should be noted that Google seeks out, then caters to, kooky people. They have liberal policies, so they seek out liberal minded people. What else can you expect in such an environment?

        --
        Your private safe room in the back of your mind? Trump pooped in it.
        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:31AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:31AM (#718080)

          Really no need to state the obvious, but: A lot of bitching, moaning and virtue signalling.

          • (Score: 3, Touché) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday August 07 2018, @04:51PM

            by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @04:51PM (#718315) Journal

            Really no need to state the obvious, but: A lot of bitching, moaning and virtue signalling.

            You can only justify your own lack of convictions by pretending others have none as well.

      • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:20AM (11 children)

        by Mykl (1112) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:20AM (#718076)

        A lot of the brilliant minds that work there are doing so under the belief that the company is more egalitarian and transparent than they have been over this. It's going to lead toward some of those brilliant minds leaving to work elsewhere.

        I'm fine with corporate needing to manage from the top, and to keep things "need to know", but if you change the employee value proposition (or their understanding of the EVP) from under their feet, prepare for some of those employees to check out (mentally and/or physically).

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:28AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:28AM (#718078)

          How many of the "brilliant minds" there have been hired to do rather mundane tasks as directed by their supervisor? Perhaps if they had more "settled minds", they would spend more time working on their tasks, rather than trying to be brilliant on internal meme sites.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:52PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 07 2018, @12:52PM (#718212) Journal

            How many of the "brilliant minds" there have been hired to do rather mundane tasks as directed by their supervisor?

            Even if that were somehow relevant, mundane is relative. Everything is mundane to the sufficiently jaded eye.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday August 07 2018, @03:45AM (8 children)

          by c0lo (156) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @03:45AM (#718093) Journal

          A lot of the brilliant minds that work there are doing so under the belief that the company is more egalitarian and transparent than they have been over this.

          Haven't seen anything outstandingly innovative coming out of Google in the last couple of years. **
          I wonder what those brilliant mind actually do there? Are there still a significant number of them or did they already left long ago.

          ** AI by NN on a large scale (the TensorFlow) is the last thing I remember. Designing some dedicated chips for the job is a matter of engineering rather than innovation.
          Self-driving car? Slowly grinding ahead - yes, that's the nature of the problem - but does it require brilliant minds?

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by khallow on Tuesday August 07 2018, @04:13AM (7 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 07 2018, @04:13AM (#718100) Journal

            Designing some dedicated chips for the job is a matter of engineering rather than innovation.

            Only if you define innovation to mean something like Buckaroo Banzai where you slap the ball-point ink formula on some dude's head and it happens. Real world innovation is the process of making those ideas work.

            Self-driving car? Slowly grinding ahead - yes, that's the nature of the problem - but does it require brilliant minds?

            My last self-driving car didn't require any brilliant minds. But then, it didn't exist either.

            • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday August 07 2018, @05:00AM (6 children)

              by c0lo (156) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @05:00AM (#718111) Journal

              Only if you define innovation to mean something like Buckaroo Banzai

              Context [xkcd.com]: "outstanding innovation"

              Real world innovation is the process of making those ideas work.

              It could appear I said otherwise only if you ignore the context.

              My last self-driving car didn't require any brilliant minds. But then, it didn't exist either.

              If you won't ever get a self-driving car, I'm pretty sure the cause will not stay with Google launching a censored search in China.

              --
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
              • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by khallow on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:06PM (5 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:06PM (#718216) Journal
                Funny, the only context I seem to be missing is an internet-based face stabbing device [bash.org] for dealing with the imbeciles.

                "outstanding innovation"

                Sorry, still don't buy it. Designing a chip to optimize a theoretical neural network language is still pretty damn outstanding and innovative.

                If you won't ever get a self-driving car, I'm pretty sure the cause will not stay with Google launching a censored search in China.

                Remember that context thing? You mentioned self-driving cars which brought them into the scope of our conversation.

                I'll note also that we don't currently have effective self-driving cars for the masses despite more than a century of developing cars, and some projections make them quite revolutionary. So getting something like that to work and distributed to the masses sounds to me like it qualifies for outstanding innovation.

                • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:28PM (4 children)

                  by c0lo (156) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:28PM (#718223) Journal

                  Sorry, still don't buy it.

                  As you were. I'm not selling it, thus don't you fret about.
                  Over and out.

                  --
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:36PM (3 children)

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:36PM (#718226) Journal

                    I'm not selling it

                    Your fingers are monkeys on the keyboard and these things just come out. Shakespearean sonnets could be next.

                    • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:45PM (2 children)

                      by c0lo (156) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:45PM (#718231) Journal

                      But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes,
                      Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
                      Making a famine where abundance lies,
                      Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel

                      --
                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:55PM (1 child)

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:55PM (#718242) Journal
                        TOTALLY CALLED IT!!!!
                        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:17PM

                          by c0lo (156) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:17PM (#718252) Journal

                          TOTALLY CALLED IT!!!!

                          What are the chances? (compute the probability distribution)

                          Or... maybe it's a case of "self-fulfilling prophecy" and the "Totally asked for it" would be closer to the truth?

                          --
                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:28AM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:28AM (#718079)

        Newsflash: You aren't still in school anymore, where you could threaten someone with ostracism from the autists' club if he had expressed views that the hive did not share. AFAIK, the only ones at Google who have a say at all is senior leadership and VC people, who keep the only shares with real voting power. I can imagine them getting rather annoyed having to corral entitled nerds.

        Precisely. This is what happens when you kowtow to a bunch of self important, entitled nerds. They think they have a say when in reality they are only wage slaves and just don't yet realize it. When you placate a toddler by catering to his whims, all you do is encourage him to throw more and bigger tantrums. The tech world needs to come to terms with this and show their troublesome SJWs to the door.

        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:44AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:44AM (#718083)

          Awwww, did google toss your resume in the garbage can? You must think it is SJW's fault. Too bad and suck it.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @03:26AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @03:26AM (#718089)

            From where I sit they look like they are being censors. They have decided what is 'good/bad' on the internet.

            The internet routes around censorship. Always has, always will. It just takes time.

            But when you have a 150k salary you say 'well maybe they are not bad'. No, they are bad. I personally work for a company that is as bad as they get. I look the other way because they pay a lot. Google is no longer a 'startup darling' it is a behemoth that is unsure where to go after search and advertising. So they are trying their will at the geeks favorite pastime since GIF got submarine patented started, politics. They are smart so therefor their way is the best. It is the smart person fallacy. Once you realize it is a cognitive bias you can move on in your life.

            Go ahead keep on defending the keepers of the faith. They do pay well don't they? They make sure you feel smart? Don't they? You sold out. But you have arranged it in your brain that it is OK. I too have sold out (for more than google was offering). But I do not pretend my company is some bastion of what is good in the world. But it pays very well, is intellectually stimulating, and I go home to my family at 5.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @04:34AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @04:34AM (#718108)

              Whoa dude. I don't work for google. They are evil. Sorry to hear that you sold out and work for an evil company. I just get fucking tired of SJW and also people whinging about SJW. It goes on and on. Half of the idiots can't even spell SJW and the other half doesn't know what one is. Many SJWs don't know either. Enjoy your important work!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:44AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @02:44AM (#718084)

          They are not slaves. They are free to leave. And with the fabled Silicon Valley marketplace, that may not be such a hard thing to do.
          But Google is not the workers' slave either. It is only theirs to the extent of the voting rights of their shares. And by that structure it is obvious that The People Running Google did not want to be a "everyone gets a say" org. When management tries to obtain new business, business which could create demand for more workers, and employees start bitching - perhaps it is time they rid themselves of those meddlesome people, as soon as they can. Goes without saying that "do no evil" has already been dropped in the memory hole by now.

          • (Score: 2) by Oakenshield on Tuesday August 07 2018, @03:35PM

            by Oakenshield (4900) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @03:35PM (#718291)

            They are not slaves. They are free to leave.

            They are free to leave and sign up for another servitude. You misunderstand the nature of being a "wage slave." Unless you can leave and survive without requiring a paycheck, you are indeed a "slave" to your "wages", i.e. a wage slave

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Murdoc on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:30AM (1 child)

      by Murdoc (2518) on Tuesday August 07 2018, @01:30AM (#718063) Homepage

      Google jumped the shark a long time ago. This is just some more people starting to notice it. It's like a lot of bad things that happen, not everyone notices it at first. Only as things become worse do they start to become aware of it, either because they weren't paying attention, or didn't want to believe it. Kind of like climate change.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @05:45PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @05:45PM (#718337)

        ding

        it started when they introduced a login box to their search page. after that, it was providing free email for the purposes of mining the mailboxes.

        there was an uproar in the tech sector that spam filtering did more harm than good, but people like my girlfriend's mom didn't care, because they ran out of comcast addresses on their account and gmail was free. everyone knew hotmail was for losers, and you had to be *invited* into gmail--and she was!

        besides, as a good catholic, she claimed to have nothing to hide and she didnt really believe someone would just read her email. how boring.

        and that's how i expect most people see it.. not a big machine selling you out after figuring you out, but it's the same little man that turns on the refrigerator door light. he wouldnt read your emails in much the same way he doesn't judge what food is in the fridge.

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @10:03AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @10:03AM (#718167)

    They wouldn't be able to find anything at all then.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @04:08PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07 2018, @04:08PM (#718303)

    This is how a super large company implodes. I'm selling in popcorn.

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