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Posts tagged Google.

Four Ethics Links: April 12, 2010

Four ethics links is a review of recent stories in applied ethics. This week: The Ethics of Ethisphere, The Banks, War Journalism, Yelp, and Planetary Exploration and Colonization.

In wake of crisis, public eyes corporate ethics - Reuters

Some of the best-known U.S. companies, including General Electric, Gap and Google, made The Ethisphere Institute's 2010 ranking of the 100 most ethical companies (read our worries about these rankings here) , released on Monday. But, after a government bailout of the U.S. financial system, no Wall Street banks were represented for a second straight year.

We quote Reuters, who sounds like they're quoting us:

Top ethics officials at several major U.S. companies said honest business practices are critical after a brutal downturn that pushed the U.S. jobless rate as high as 10 percent, savaged retirement savings and home values and left many Americans less trustful of big business.

Read all about it here

Jean-Francois Millet: Gleaners
Jean-Francois Millet, Gleaners
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PaulApr 12, 2010

Two Monday Worries: March 22, 2010

Two Monday Worries starts your week off right, tracking troubling tales trending in design, advertising, and ethics.

1. Why A Salad Costs More Than A Big Mac

The Farm Bill, a massive piece of federal legislation making its way through Congress, governs what children are fed in schools and what food assistance programs can distribute to recipients. The bill provides billions of dollars in subsidies, much of which goes to huge agribusinesses producing feed crops, such as corn and soy, which are then fed to animals. By funding these crops, the government supports the production of meat and dairy products—the same products that contribute to our growing rates of obesity and chronic disease. Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies.

The government also purchases surplus foods like cheese, milk, pork, and beef for distribution to food assistance programs—including school lunches. The government is not required to purchase nutritious foods.

Why A Salad Costs More Than A Big Mac

Read the whole article here.

2. Sergey Brin on Google's China Decision

I don't actually think the question of whether this was the Chinese government or not is all that important. I know that seems strange. The Chinese government has tens of millions of people in it, and if you look at the associated army and whatnot it's even larger. It's larger than most countries by far. So even if there were a Chinese government agent behind this, it might represent a fragment of policy, as it were. There are many people there, and they have different views.

If you look at when we entered China with our Chinese operation in 2006, I actually feel like things really improved in the subsequent years. And I know there was a lot of controversy surrounding it, when we had to self-censor a fair amount, but we were actually able to censor less and less, and our local competitors there also censored less and less. We from the outside provided notification when the local laws prevented us from showing information, and the local competitors followed suit in that respect. So I feel like our entry made a big difference. But things started going downhill, especially after the Olympics. And there's been a lot more blocking going on since then. Also our other sites, YouTube and whatnot, have been blocked. And so the situation really took a turn for the worse.

Read Google's original statement on China here, and watch the whole interview here.

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PaulMar 15, 2010

Two Monday Worries: March 8, 2010

Two Monday Worries starts your week off right, tracking troubling tales trending in design, advertising, and ethics.

1. Google is Making me Stupid

I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle...

The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas.

Read the whole article here and an interesting follow-up here. (Thanks, Seamus.)

Detail of 'Google Monster' by Asaf Hanuka
Detail of Google Monster by Asaf Hanuka

2. Max Barry: The Lawnmower People

But [corporations] weren’t enough of a person, apparently, so now they have First Amendment rights. In particular, they have the right to spend as much money as they like on political advertising: airing ads in favor of anti-regulation candidates over pro-regulation ones, for example.

The Supreme Court has let them into homes: now the [corporations] will speak to us through TV, radio, internet, print, and tell us who to vote for. That might not seem like a problem. After all, you are a smart person. You’re probably not persuaded by advertising. The thing is, everyone thinks that, and advertising is an $600 billion industry. Someone, somewhere is getting $600 billion worth of persuasion.

Read the whole article here.

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PaulMar 8, 2010

Google Surveillance Stats

An interesting recent post from Wired's Threat Level blog calls Google's commitment to transparency into question.

'Google is watching', via the Independent

Google, famous for flying the corporate "do no evil" flag, is accused of -- and this is putting it mildly -- a lackluster commitment to practicing what they preach. Threat Level asserts that their regular claims to championing freedom of information (as evinced on Google's public policy blog among other places) are inconsistent with the "real facts".

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PaulJan 18, 2010

Four Design Links: November 19, 2009

It's time for Four Design Links, a curated collection of stories we've been reading this week.

1. Facebook Now Accounts For 1 In 4 Internet Pageviews(?)

Database marketing firm Drake Direct claims that Facebook represents 1 in 4 pageviews in the US. By comparison, Google gets 1 in 12 pageviews using the same dataset.

The data sounds questionable, but it made me think. These days, I probably visit Facebook at least as much as Google. I wonder how that traffic breaks down in terms of Facebook applications vs. socializing? How much of those numbers are games, for instance?

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NickNov 19, 2009

The Rip-Off Report Rip-Off

Here's a case for taxonomy of unethical designs, and an unusual one at that.

If you haven't followed the interesting case of the website Rip-Off Report, it's worth checking into. I'll give you the gist here. The discussion started with Chris Bennet, who had some interesting things to say to Google. He sums up his post like so: "Rip Off Report is spamming Google’s index, and Google is currently letting them get away with it."

Rand at SEMoz has a nice summary of the problem. According to Rand (and we're paraphrasing here):

  1. Rip Off Report makes its money essentially through the extortion of businesses based on the search results (almost like a reverse reputation management campaign). Companies whose profiles appear on the site must pay the owner to have the information removed or have administrative comments added that an issue was resolved or the complaint was found to be false.
  2. Rip Off Report's ability to do this is facilitated by the fact that the site ranks well at Google, in a way that violates Google's Terms of Service.
Excerpt from Paul Pope's 'The One Trick Rip-Off'
Excerpt from Paul Pope's The One Trick Rip-Off
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PaulSep 28, 2009

Inevitable Post about the Apple/Google Voice Incident

A series of events last featuring Apple, AT&T and Google provide more grist for the DLB mill.

Here's something interesting to think about for your Wednesday. Consider the following two (related) events:

Monday, July 27 -- We learn that Apple has begun to pull all Google Voice-enabled applications from the App Store, citing the fact that they "duplicate features that come with the iPhone."

Wednesday, July 29 -- Google Vice President of Search Product and User Experience (VPSPUE :) Marissa Mayer tweets a link to this parody article, and then shortly deletes it.

As innocuous as it may seem, this series has incited quite a bit of Internet backlash -- and hence, it's just dripping with opportunities to reinforce DLB-style design ethics lessons. Below, I spell out a few of them.

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PaulAug 5, 2009
Tagged with: Apple, AT&T, Design Ethics, Google

The Soft Bulletin

As users of Twitter, how should we feel about the fact that the microblogging service conceded to a recent request from the US State Department?

As we all know by now, in the aftermath of Iran's June 12 presidential elections, Iranians have increasingly taken to the streets in protest of the election's hotly disputed results. We know this in large part due to the fact that many of those Iranians have been using Twitter to swap information and inform those of us here in the outside world about what's going on in Tehran.

This is no doubt a triumph for the company and even for the role of technology in democracy more broadly. Jon Williams, the BBC world news editor, is perhaps sentimental but certainly not entirely wrong in asserting that "the days when regimes can control the flow of information are over."

Photo from the recent Tehran protests
Photo from the recent Tehran protests, posted by Flickr user .faramarz.
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PaulJun 22, 2009
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