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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Tuesday January 02 2007

Google aren’t being nice any more.  And I know you probably already knew this, but the point is that when news like that reaches me, it means that this story is really getting around.  When us kitten-bloggers learn something, then it is well and truly being learned, by actual people.

It reached me from this, for instance, in among a Long Tail discussion, i.e. in among a discussion about something else:

. . . One disgruntled publisher complains she’s owed less than the minimum Google can be bothered to pay her. And, as fast as she makes money, Google lifts the threshold. [She writes:] “When I started with Adsense in late 2004/ early 2005 the minimum was $25. Just when was about to hit the $25 minimum, they raised it to $50. Now that I have $45 in my account, the minimum is $100. Granted, I have a site with very low traffic, but how many website owners are getting screwed by Google? . . .”

And from this:

Michael Arrington recently wrote that Google will have to still live up to its famous “Don’t be evil” tagline, even though now they have tons of money, with lots of advertisers and shareholders to keep happy.

I’ll believe it when I see it. Google is no longer in the search business, Google is now in the cash cow business. And money, like Cyndi Lauper once sang, changes everything.

Maybe they should change their tagline to “Don’t be THAT evil”. More believable, somehow.

By the way, a “kitten-blogger”, for my purposes here, doesn’t mean only or even at all kittens.  It means whatever combination of things the blogger happens to be interested in, with no regard to the tastes of any readers who happen by or to the mere numbers or grandeur of such readers.  Kitten bloggers basically blog about me me me.  So, in my case, that is my own photos, other people’s photos, other people photo-ing while being photoed by me, England cricket, England 15-a-side rugby (the Six Nations is about to crank itself up again – hurrah!), classical music (mostly classical music CDs), portable computers, occasional eruptions of libertarianism and (or?) anti-Islamism, plus recorded conversations with friends and others, plus whatever else I feel like noticing no matter what and regardless of anything or anybody.

It’s been a while since a kitten as such has actually appeared here.  As to that I promise nothing either way.  Kitten bloggers seldom promise anything.  They don’t have a brand that they feel they have to live up to.  They just blog, much as people have for many decades been chattering away happily on the telephone.  (My only deviation from true kitten-blogging is that I do tend to blog some sort of something-or-other every day, except when I’m taking a pre-announced break.) Individually, a kitten-blogger is nothing.  Collectively, we are a combined conveyor belt for the discoveries of the geeks and the specialist high-traffic big-brand bloggers to regular people.  That’s because, apart from blogging, we sort of are regular people.  We are, come to think of it, rather like the newspapers, which perhaps explains why we so often like to diss newspapers even as we steal their stories.  We get things wrong all the time, but when we notice stuff, that still counts for something.

Of course a blogger who specialises in knowing about things like Google (but who never mentions the England cricket team from one year to the next) would know that the blog-buzz about Google is now turning seriously nasty.  And those persons have all, presumably, been blog-buzzing to that effect for many months and even years now.  But the basic point here is that I don’t blog about Google as a matter of daily duty, merely out of occasional curiosity, and even I now know that Google is now facing a lot of bad vibes.  Be afraid, Google.

It’s all rather like IBM and Microsoft, in other words.  Nothing lasts for ever.  But the good news for Google is that the cash cow business can trundle on for a long time.  Again, look at IBM and Microsoft.  They both manage, still, to scratch a living.

It’s probably totally predictable that people turn against Google, much as they turned against Microsoft. It was made easier once Google began to operate as a corporation, making corporate decisions such as the strategic ‘arrangement’ they made with the Chinese authorities. However, no matter how much we collectively cast them as the new evil, I still use them as my homepage. I prefer their blank search page over anything that forces me to look at pictures of the latest Big Brother contestants. It’s is a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils.

Posted by David B on 02 January 2007

I am not sure people did turn against Microsoft. They were widely hated pretty much since they came into existence in 1976, as Bill Gates was always pretty ruthless (and in 1976 the infant PC industry was not like that) and their products were always perceived by many people as low quality. Google were not hated initially, and despite certain blog vibes I still don’t think they are hated very widely, because there are many things they do right. The blank search page is one, and any company that gives me Google Earth for free wins lots of kudos.

And a “Long Tail” discussion is about the England cricket team, presumably.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 03 January 2007
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