[rohrpost] Google’s German screw-up
geert at desk.nl
Mon Mai 17 20:29:19 CEST 2010
Jeff Jarvis: Google’s German screw-up
Since some have asked — from media and Twitter — here’s my take on
Google collecting too much data via its Street View car — not just wi-
fi addresses but “payload data” that went over those networks:
Google fucked up.
It’s pretty much as simple as that. And their screw-up sure doesn’t
help me when German media come to me asking how I can defend the
Google they love to hate. I got a bunch of conspiracy-laden questions
from a German reporter this morning: Google says it was a mistake and
the reporter asks — not without betraying a considerable bias — “Is
that really possible?” I responded: “Yes. Google is not perfect.” The
reporter asked: “What will Google do now? Is there a chance to
completely recover?” There’s wishful thinking in that question, eh?
Let’s analyze the situation: To what conspiratorial use could Google
have possibly put a trace smattering of random data caught in one
moment on a given street? I would challenge anyone to take that data
and find a business purpose for it. In one second on one street in
Hamburg one unknown user read a story on Focus.de. Yeah, so what?
Somebody fucked up. It was sloppy and stupid of them and sure doesn’t
help their PR problem in Germany. But I struggle to see how this story
shows anything more than that.
Well, it does show one thing: The bias that German media have toward
Google. When I was at re:publica in Berlin, I got questions like these
from many German reporters: “Isn’t Google too big?” they’d “ask.” Show
me the law that defines “too big,” I responded. I contend that German
media are merely jealous: Google understood how to make money online
better than they did. And they are reflexively running to government
to regulate it and can’t find a reason why. So when something like
this screwup happens, they get their hopes up.
But this also shows how out of touch German media is with its audience
on this point, for the German populace clearly does not mistrust and
hate Google the way media do. They use Google more than just about any
country on earth, giving Google search a 97.26% share of market. Was