Google, please stop being evil

Aug 31 | Posted by: Fighter #1 | Tags: Crackpot Theories to save the world

Lately I’ve been finding myself getting increasingly upset with Google’s tendency to be evil. This is made more unsettling by the tendency of John Q Internetuser to view them as being generally above reproach.

For the most part, Google seems to be adhering to their “don’t be evil” mission statement. They do big, public anti-evil things. Their products are free for individuals and reasonably-priced for corporations. They usually fight for digital rights and internet freedom. If I recall correctly, they even stopped filtering search results in China*

It’s the little things that make me nervous. A few years back, I had Chrome and Google Earth installed on my computer. Then I noticed that both were updating automatically without prompting me. Some quick Googling revealed that this is not a feature you can turn off short of hacking the registry. OK. That’s pretty obnoxious, so I just decided to remove those products.

More recently, I was using trying Chrome again on my work computer (because, I’m less concerned about who controls my work computer.) I noticed that after a Chrome update there was now a plugin called Google Updater... in my Firefox. Google had actively changed the installation of its competitor. That’s really shady! If Microsoft automatically installed an Internet Explorer toolbar in any browser installed on a Windows machine people would flip out! There would be uproar and angry blog posts for weeks. So why does no one care that Google does the same thing?

A week or so later, I had a hard drive hiccup, and the rever half-installed Chrome. I couldn’t uninstall it without re-installing first. That’s when I realized that the Google installer doesn’t prompt for administrative permission. This is a program that makes changes to the registry and runs administrative functions silently in the background, and it never asks for admin permission to do so! This is virus-like behavior we’re talking about now. A program should not be able to do that.

So yeah... Google is making me a little nervous these days. Maybe we should be watching the little evil things they do instead of just focusing on the big ones they say they don’t.

Anyway, lets see how much my search rankings plummet after this. Oh well, I've always felt bad about having better SEO than Wizards of the Coast anyway.

* And by that I mean, they still filter them by their own standards; they just don’t filter them by the Chinese government’s.

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