"Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it."
"We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about."
"Most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."
"The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as 'What shall I do tomorrow?' and 'What job shall I take?'"
The criminally insane Eric Smith, former CEO of Google
This text is long overdue. It's not supposed to "list everything bad about Google", but, once again, simply seeks to entice its audience into at least questioning this big, ugly de facto monopoly which, in comparison, makes Microsoft at its worst look like an innocent puppy.
I'm aware of how most/all companies work. The reason I'm not writing about BP or something like that, is that anyone with half a brain already knows that they are evil, whereas Google controls the digital world to such an extreme degree, doing such awful things, while being cheered on by the lobotomized sheeple (no offence) and hoisted to the sky by comfortable, cowardly "journalists". I very rarely hear anyone questioning or bashing Google, and since I don't get paid a dime for anything I write or make on my site, I have no conflict of interests. It's not like Google is providing any ads on this page, or sends me any traffic to speak of.
Their newspeak-esque motto, "Don't be evil", should give anyone who is not completely brainwashed the creeps. Microsoft may have been aggressive toward other companies, but they never treated their customers as a commodity like Google. It's tiring and sad to see the non-stop, mindless praise of the evil Googlempire while Microsoft is perpetually the "bad guys", largely undeservingly, if you see to the quality of much of what they produced and sold, rather than pretending that it's free while taking your soul as payment.
Around 2000 AD and a few years onward, Google was cool. Ask virtually any geek. In chat rooms, "google it", "google is your friend" or simply "google" was (and, unfortunately, remains) an extremely common reply among lazy, arrogant assholes, similar to the old "RTFM" ("Read The Fucking Manual"). The search engine's home page was the browser start page on countless computers, including mine; I was one of those who found them really awesome, initially buying into the hype and their bullshit.
I don't have much to back up this claim with, but I have a strong feeling that the "geek love" is what basically shoved the search engine down the throats of the average users, who also had no reason to dislike it due to its relative simplicity and seemingly relevant results. I honestly believe that this was a huge reason why they grew so insanely big, so quickly.
As always, it's much easier to look back on something and analyze it than seeing what's happening when you're in the middle of it. Today, it seems obvious what they tried to do all along, but it cannot be denied that their core product, Google Search, was better than the competitors. Combined with the non-bloated interface and constant spam on IRC and elsewhere by unwitting geeks, nothing could stop their train of (well concealed) cancer.
Google became something of the "un-Microsoft" in the eyes of the Linux penguins. They weren't this "evil", old behemoth — they were the young, hip company with dream-like employee benefits. They truly flirted with the geeks all along, from running Linux to encouraging and paying their drones to spend time on personal projects each week. Who could dislike that? Surely they did it out of the kindness of their heart because they really care about open source and their workers, right?
They started creating random projects to the left and to the right, often simply buying an existing company, renaming it to Google Whatever and running it into the ground by having absolutely no clue about how to do anything except their core Search product. This pattern has continued and will continue until their demise. Never mind all the people who are negatively affected by it at every step.
Some projects, such as Google Gmail, Google AdSense (sell your soul for a few measly ad bucks) or AdWords (pay tons of money for a few measly clicks from bots or irrelevant visitors), were more successful and stable. The latter two were and remain extremely important to the core business whereas the former allowed massive amounts of users to be tied to them who would remain in their claws.
Although it is of course very common for big companies and huge corporations to make themselves hard to reach for the ordinary person lacking massive amounts of cash to spend on lawyers or other means of poking through their thick walls of legal bullshit, Google is a special case in this regard. Why? Because they are not making bottles and cans of soda pop which they sell to resellers, or serving hamburgers and fries in a restaurant. They are very much an IT company, hosting more content in more ways that you (probably) could imagine, directly affecting huge parts of the Internet connected human population.
It is not possible to contact Google. I've tried many times, in many ways. Unless you know somebody working there, or maybe you're some kind of journalist at a big newspaper, or have the financial means to force them to listen to you, it's like screaming in outer space. This is a company which really, really doesn't want anyone to contact them for any reason. They have streamlined all of their services and "help sections" toward making it as hard as at all possible to even find any kind of form where you can type actual English text as opposed to checking check boxes and answering fixed questions with fixed answers, and even when you do, they are very clear about the fact that if this is not 100% relevant to whatever the form is for, they will ignore it. And they sure do. Think you'll find a working e-mail address for support/contact? Forget it right now.
They also encourage you to post your problem in public, to "other community members". Nobody in their right mind would do that for any private/sensitive issue, which is usually the only reason why you would want to contact them in the first place.
Google hosts massive amounts of content. Huge parts of this is either plain illegal or "just" violates their own stated Terms of Service. Google is extremely well aware of this. It's their business model. Their business model is to host and make available any content, because they can get away with it, and ignore the people it affects negatively. Because they can, and it's making them a profit. They can do it because you don't care.
YouTube is just one Google site based entirely on hosting and serving copyrighted material. Virtually nobody comes to YouTube for the original content. They also host countless other problematic services, such as archives of newsgroup discussions, copyrighted images, videos on their old Google Videos, websites on Google Sites, blogs on Google Blogger, and so on for about one million different services which may or may not be around tomorrow.
Most of their content actually has some kind of "report" feature, but the problem is that those reports are filed in the trash can. You see, Google is for democracy. And who in their right mind would be against democracy? Are you acommunist?! No, of course not. Democracy is the perfect religion, and it works perfectly. If not enough people find something objectionable, it isn't illegal and doesn't violate their terms. Great logic, huh? Because as we all know, the majority is always right.
And don't give me some bullshit about them not having the means to verify every video uploaded to YouTube prior to publishing it (at least for new/untrusted accounts; trusted accounts could be post-screened), or manually blacklisting/whitelisting domains on their search engine, or at least having properly trained support people available who listen to you and who can escalate serious issues; they have the resources, and there shouldn't be any question about it. The only reason they continue with their sickening practices is that they are allowed to. And if they couldn't do it while still making a profit, who gives a shit? I sure as hell don't care about them making a profit by ignoring common decency.
Punishing account owners for what others do
Although this is a minor issue in the context, and perhaps could have happened with any other scumbag company, I can't write an anti-Google article without mentioning this personal experience (out of many) as an example. I had had a Google AdSense account for years, from when it was announced. Knowing perfectly well what a hell it is for the many people who have lost their accounts and thus were unable to make any money, I was extremely careful never to do anything that could violate their terms. I had studied them in detail and listened to many discussions about them and knew exactly what to do, including never even showing the ads to myself (and of course not clicking them).
Even so, one day I got the feared "Your account has been disabled" e-mail from Google where they simply said something about my account being a danger to their advertisers. They never explained in greater detail what this was about, and ignored my multiple appeal requests (they had one of those forms for it). The only reasonable explanation is that idiots must've clicked on the ads repeatedly, either maliciously or "to help out" (I had certainly not encouraged anyone, since it's definitely not allowed), causing them to assume that it was some kind of scam orchestrated by me. Actually, they don't seem to care either way. There were simply "fake clicks" detected, so they killed the account. No warning. Nothing I could do to prevent it. No explanation.
But you are still using Gmail?
First of all, a total boycott of such a huge and ubiquitous digital empire is practically impossible. Not even I can escape all of Google's disgusting tentacles, although I try my very best to use them as little as reasonably possible. Here's my excuses for using Gmail:
- When I started using it, it was a new thing and I didn't yet have a clue about any of these things. Transitioning away from it and finding a stable and reliable alternative is not trivial.
- It was "one of the big ones", which means "stability", which is of great long-term concern when it comes to e-mail. You cannot safely use SomeObscureCompany.biz even if they offer a really great deal.
- The storage space they offered never was a reason for me to use it; I always fully delete everything I receive/send.
- I refuse to use a crappy Web interface for the daily handling of e-mail, and at the time I switched to Gmail, Hotmail (and possibly Yahoo!) didn't offer POP support.
The usefulness of the engine
Knowing how the Web and the world works, I'm not surprised when 99-100% of the results for any keyword or series of keywords are useless spam. When I need suggestions, I ask real people. Also, there is this little thing called "bookmarks" which you can use in the Web browser to avoid searching for things you already know.
If you still need to search for something, try using any other engine just for the sake of not helping Google further. Bing or whatever you want (I never claimed that there is something technically better). Beware, however, that many just license/wrap Google behind the scenes and thus are just useless middlemen/fronts.
To sum things up
Google is definitely not your friend. Google does evil, all the time. Google does not give a shit about your privacy. Google has no "noble" interests; everything they do is purely intended to help them rape your privacy. Google doesn't give you anything "for free". You are the product and Google laughs the whole way to the bank. Please do not promote Google anymore. They are not "the lesser of two evils". If possible, circumvent as many Google services and downloads that you can, and help others remove their Google tentacles.
At least I tried.