Why I Left Google

James Whittaker:

The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus. [...] Suddenly, 20% meant half-assed. Google Labs was shut down. App Engine fees were raised. APIs that had been free for years were deprecated or provided for a fee. As the trappings of entrepreneurship were dismantled, derisive talk of the "old Google" and its feeble attempts at competing with Facebook surfaced to justify a "new Google" that promised "more wood behind fewer arrows." The days of old Google hiring smart people and empowering them to invent the future was gone. The new Google knew beyond doubt what the future should look like. Employees had gotten it wrong and corporate intervention would set it right again. If you read anything this week, read this. When I tell people that I dislike Google as a company and have made the decision to quit using their products, they often ask me why. This is why. On the outside it has been apparent to me, as well as other folks, that these changes have been happening at Google in the last 3-4 years beginning with Google's backstabbing Apple and releasing Android. Whittaker's posts reinforces, from someone who has been on the inside, what I've seen happening from the outside perspective.

DOJ asks Court to keep secret any partnership between Google and NSA, not that one exists, definitely not

Mike Scarcella in The Legal Times writes about The Justice Department defending the government's refusal to discuss, or acknowledge the existence of, "any cooperative research and development agreement between Google and the National Security Agency."

The Washington based advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center sued in federal district court here to obtain documents about any such agreement between the Internet search giant and the security agency. The NSA responded to the suit with a so-called “Glomar” response in which the agency said it could neither confirm nor deny whether any responsive records exist. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington sided with the government last July. via Boing Boing. I think Google has changed their motto. They've removed the "don't" from the rest of the "be evil" phrase.

The Little Boy Who Cried "Don't Be Evil"

While catching up on the news I missed while I was on vacation, I ran across this via Daring Fireball. Nick Bilton on Google’s stream of privacy incidents:

“The past two months have been unprecedented; there has never been anything like it at the company,” said Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of the blog Search Engine Land, who has closely covered Google since the company began. “They are a big company, and any big company is always going to have something happen that they don’t expect. But these things keep happening where you can’t even trust their word.” When I asked Mr. Sullivan if Google was now too big not to be evil, he said, “I don’t think they were ever not evil.” Google says nothing has changed. John Gruber says, "Exactly".


There has been some recent news in the last month that I want to talk about. Google announced several weeks ago the new Google+ infected search results, where they attempt to shove as many aspects of Google+ in front of the user, whether the user wants it or not. This goes against something Google has said they never would do, for years and years - polluting their own search results with preferences of their products over competitors. Back in the late '90s and early '00s this is the exact reason many people switched to Google in the first place. All of ther competitors pulled bullshit such as this, and Google being the "good guy" did not. Zuckerberg and his monstrosity has them so scared that they've now abandonned their own principles in the name of market share. In recent weeks, a new browser bookmarklet has emerged for improving Google web search results by eliminating the special tratment of Google Plus pages. The bookmarklet, called "Focus on the User", as John Gruber writes:

Open source “Don’t be evil” bookmarklet that uses Google’s own data to show social results ranked by relevance instead of promoting Google Plus above all others. John Battelle wrote an article on the motivation behind and creation of the Focus on the User bookmarklet. Danny Sullivan also wrote an explanation as to how it works. MG Siegler chimed in as well: But again, the key issue here is that what Google is doing with Search+ is making Google worse. This bookmarklet illustrates that in a very effective way.  And, if all of that wasn't enough, Google's new privacy policy changes come to mind. These have gotten so much attention that main-stream sources are writing about it. A good start is "Google's Broken Promise: The End of 'Don't Be Evil'" by Mat Honan (note, John Gruber says that "'Don't be evil' has been over for a long time."
The Electronic Freedom Foundation posted a good artile on their blog conceringing Google's privacy policy changes. Danny Sullivan, at SearchEngineLand writes: In many ways, this is Google growing up into the new portal it has become. Rather than people signing up for individual products, Gmail, YouTube and so on, they’re now signing-up for Google — or at least a single set of terms (in most cases) for all the company’s products. It’s similar to how you sign-up for Facebook, rather than individual products within Facebook. Whether you like it or not. MG Sielger wrote, over at the new PandoDaily, that the reason Google is making all of these user hostile moves is simply due to their continued need to be relevant (as their own ads, their primary revenue source, rely on this). Sarah Lacy touched on both the topics of their privacy policy changes and their new compromised search results in an article called "Google: Do Yourself a Favor and Just Come Clean Already". I wish to point all of these things out to you dear reader, because I'm beginning to feel that my thoughts I put down on pixel, some months ago, are starting to feel more and more like a very good decision.