Don't be Googil

Tony Curzon Price
Tony Curzon Price
6 November 2007

Google's been busy at behemoth work these past few days.

Google announced an "open" social networking protocol, and then of an "open" mobile phone system. Sounds like we at openDemocracy should be cheering along all this boundariless bounty from the kings of search...

Well, remember the basic trade of what Google calls "open": "you get free X, Y, Z just as long as you click through the localised, social-network savvy ads often enough". Whatever the context --- looking at at a map on my google-phone to find that contact I've just made through your social network --- my world will have advertising deeply embedded (as I have written about before, here). It's not as if you're going to some place and have a social network, and, accidentally, an advertisement is added - like the billboard along the road. Who I'm going to see will be partly a function of advertising, because my social-network software is one of the advertisers' prime battle grounds. The road I take will be partly function of advertising, because mapping is a key service to hang ads off. In other words, this isn't the innocent world of the billboard---we're entering a time when the billboard makes the world. And Google has the franchise.

Good thing they "won't be evil".


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