Guess what? Google just pissed on the SEO community and tried to call it rain.

Again!

Since Google’s announcement yesterday that they would now be encrypting search result URLs by default for all users, the community has been out for blood. The change is going to fix known privacy issues, so why is this a bad thing?

How will this change impact Google Analytics users?
When a signed in user visits your site from an organic Google search, all web analytics services, including Google Analytics, will continue to recognize the visit as Google “organic” search, but will no longer report the query terms that the user searched on to reach your site. Keep in mind that the change will affect only a minority of your traffic. You will continue to see aggregate query data with no change, including visits from users who aren’t signed in and visits from Google “cpc”.’

As of this morning, here’s what we see in Outspoken Media’s Organic Search Traffic report for the last 24 hours:

Google Not Provided Referral Data

According to Google’s Matt Cutts, the change is only supposed to affect referral data in the single digit percents — only users who are signed into Google and searching.

That’s a pretty big assumption on Google’s part about my client’s users and referral sources. Remember, they’re AVERAGING based on the entirety of the Internet. In the case of Outspoken Media, yes, this “(not provided)” data does account for a small percent of traffic for that 24-hour period of time. To be exact, it accounts for 1.2% of our visits for that timeframe. But what about clients who have a stronger user base with Google accounts? We spoke with one such client yesterday and approximately 30% of their current users are signed up with Gmail accounts. That’s more than a single digit percentage and they already have a small amount of traffic!

When I asked Matt Cutts about the update on Twitter he said:

Matt Cutts on Google's Encrypted URLs

This is when my head exploded (I’m sure Lisa heard me from across the office). Google’s logic is that because no one noticed that data was disappearing, it makes it ok?

Really?!

I’m going to use that with our clients from now on – I’ll just stop reporting on certain links or keywords and hope they don’t notice. What’s worse… on the backend I’ll be selling that data to competitors that want to use our other services.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Yes, the data that is missing is likely a small percent of referral data for the majority of website owners and we still have other methods of optimizing websites for conversions and meeting user intent. In my eyes — this is not the point.

The point is that this data is still available to those willing to pay for it. To quote a friend, Google has shown “irreconcilable favoritism to paid users.”

Dear SEO, CRO, usability, marketing and digital strategist friends – welcome to Google’s perception of you. We’ve known for a long time that Google openly profiles SEOs as criminals, now they withhold information from us under the guise of privacy, but it’s really for the sake of padding their bottom line and protecting Google from competition.

But wait, Google’s philosophy is “do no evil.” Why would Google do something that was such an obvious double standard?

When is the last time you took a look at Google’s core principles? Do no evil doesn’t appear in any of this language.

Meet principle number 6 (emphasis mine):

You can make money without doing evil.
Google is a business. The revenue we generate is derived from offering search technology to companies and from the sale of advertising displayed on our site and on other sites across the web. Hundreds of thousands of advertisers worldwide use AdWords to promote their products; hundreds of thousands of publishers take advantage of our AdSense program to deliver ads relevant to their site content. To ensure that we’re ultimately serving all our users (whether they are advertisers or not), we have a set of guiding principles for our advertising programs and practices:

  • We don’t allow ads to be displayed on our results pages unless they are relevant where they are shown. And we firmly believe that ads can provide useful information if, and only if, they are relevant to what you wish to find–so it‘s possible that certain searches won’t lead to any ads at all.
  • We believe that advertising can be effective without being flashy. We don‘t accept pop–up advertising, which interferes with your ability to see the content you’ve requested. We’ve found that text ads that are relevant to the person reading them draw much higher clickthrough rates than ads appearing randomly. Any advertiser, whether small or large, can take advantage of this highly targeted medium.”
  • Advertising on Google is always clearly identified as a “Sponsored Link,” so it does not compromise the integrity of our search results. We never manipulate rankings to put our partners higher in our search results and no one can buy better PageRank. Our users trust our objectivity and no short-term gain could ever justify breaching that trust.

What’s curious is that at no point in this language does Google mention evil with respect to their actual search results or users outside of how they are impacted by advertising.

How is this update not evil?

By encrypting the URLs, Google has fixed the privacy concern. The referral data itself in Google Analytics was not the problem and we know this because it’s visible in the report, we just can’t see the keywords, and it’s still visible to advertisers.

SEOs are not naïve. We believe in privacy. We believe in improving the quality of our clients’ websites and optimizing conversions. We believe in transparency.

We do not believe in using a privacy fix as a thinly veiled method of strong-arming third party applications, other analytics providers, potential competition for search retargeting and other sites using data for relevance factors (cough, Bing, cough). Am I alone in wondering what Google’s plans are with the two display advertising companies they acquired in the past year? A number of SEOs have already weighed in on the subject, so take a closer look at why they believe Google is blocking access to organic referral data.

This was predicted by Tom Pitts back in February. Hat tip to Kevin Spence for sharing a link to Pitts’ post from February in which he called this exact situation. However, Pitts also gave a more kind recommendation to Google on how to still provide this data to users:

Google could also strip the referring keywords and still provide keyword data to website owners. They could provide the data through Google Webmaster Tools, and potentially through an integration with Google Analytics. Hopefully if Google goes this route, they open up the integration to all web analytics vendors and don’t use their competitive advantage with Google Analytics.

Guess what? Even the privacy studies conducted around the issues that instigated this update did not have recommendations that were as dire as what Google has begun to implement.

Let’s take a quick nerd break to identify what privacy groups were actually seeing and recommended.

Last night Danny Sullivan tweeted a link to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s post on the news. In it were two studies conducted on the user privacy through Google’s search results. I read both of them. To spare you the pain of reading through them (unless you’re into that kind of thing), here’s the gist:

The decision to move to encrypted URLs by default is a result of hijacked cookies that made it possible to reconstruct a user’s Google Web History by typing prefixes into Autocomplete and capturing recommendations from the user’s past search queries, as well as other “new features” in the search results that left data exposed, like:

  • Star features (ability to star a result as a bookmark or favorite page)
  • Personalized search results (“view customizations” link and number of visits and last visit data)
  • “More search tools” like the “social” filter which display’s a user’s network and contacts and “visited” which displays recent Web History

The caveat… you had to be signed into Google and have Web History enabled (though anonymous cookies are given to signed out users, which would still leave them susceptible to attack for the lifetime of the cookie).

Session hijacking left many Google Services open to attack including:
Google Privacy Study Results

Facebook has actually been protecting your privacy better than Google! Facebook has both encrypted URLs and redirects that strip out discriminating user information.

The recommendations from both studies were immediate action on the part of Google to correct these issues:

“We argue that solutions should be quickly deployed to protect users against these two types of attacks. The session hijacking attack is harmful not only because it allows an attacker to collect a lot of private information, including sometimes the search history, but also because it can be exploited to add potentially compromising entries [25]. It can also be used to modify the search results displayed to the victim. In fact, Google allows to delete or promote—i.e., show as first—results using a button associated to them. An adversary hijacking a session cookie can perform searches on the victim’s behalf and influence the results corresponding to these searches as she wishes. For instance, this attack can be a powerful tool for censorship, as it can be used to remove or promote some pages displayed after a Google search.”

In each document were recommendations to both users and Google on how to counteract the threat of hijacking:

USER ACTIONS

  • Log out from any Google service when performing a search
  • Delete and disable the Web History service
  • Disable personalization from anonymous cookies or always delete Google cookies
  • Sign out from Google accounts when connecting from a shared network or to use a vpn to encrypt the traffic and prevent cookie interception.

GOOGLE ACTIONS

  • Discontinue the Personalized Search service
  • Let the users choose to enforce HTTPS for web searches (for instance, by clicking on a special link when surfing from unsecure networks) and trade off speed with privacy
  • Keep separate histories based on the networks from which user’s searches originate. Then, provide different search suggestions (and personalized results) based on different locations. Use an extension to the google.com/history web page to allow a user to configure such locations and the privacy settings related to them.
  • Allow user agents to bind the authentication cookies to the current IP address.

Despite so many options on how to protect user’s privacy without castrating organic referral data, we see where Google fell on the subject. This just setback Google/SEO relationships by years and demonstrates that Google’s 1st core principle (“Focus on the user and all else will follow”) really isn’t that important when there’s an opportunity to make a buck.

I’m not comfortable with this update because of what it says about Google’s treatment of SEOs and third-party applications. It’s not about the data, it’s that never has the message been more clear – Google is a business, don’t threaten their profits or they’ll take their ball and go home.


About the Author

Rhea Drysdale

Rhea Drysdale is the Chief Executive Officer of Outspoken Media. When she isn't fighting for the SEO industry, she's She-Ra on Twitter. Connect with Rhea on Google.


67 thoughts on “Google Invests in Privacy for Profit


  • Chris on said:

    Amen sista!

    I will be really curious to see if the new premium (paid) analytics will gain access to the keyword data? Then we will know that it’s all about the Benjamins baby!!! =]


  • Rhea Drysdale on said:

    Note – Dave Minchala first mentioned Google pissing on us in this solid Plus thread: rain analogy. Didn’t remember the mention once I sat down to write the post, but he wants credit for the crude analogy. ;) To be fair, it’s actually toned down from my alternative… “c*ckblocked.”


  • Charlie on said:

    “Google is a business”- Yes, no doubt.
    The “free” service like Google Analytics will be ending sooner or later. The organic listings itself are coming invisible for users too! In few words: Google is taking the money and reputation from the SEO’s in some way…

    This is the first time Google take care about user’s privacy but in a really weird way… just like you explain Rhea. Great post!


    • Rhea Drysdale on said:

      I do believe that Google cares about privacy and has cared about it in the past, I just don’t understand the unrelated move of blocking organic keywords. Absolutely a business move, but call a spade a spade. I can’t help but notice the deafening silence from anyone at Google about why this makes sense.


    • Dan Patterson on said:

      That’s one of the things that I thought of as well. My Android is always logged in to the Gmail app, but when I go to my Browser app I still have a ‘Sign In’ link when I go to Google.com. So it would seem that the Gmail app and the Browser app have separate logins.


  • Minchala on said:

    :D
    I dunno, the thought of Google peeing on me is way more offensive IMO.

    Yesterday, for me, was like finding out one of my heroes is actually funding genocide in a 3rd world country. It’s not so much about the data itself – that sucks but lots of folks agree this is just another interesting problem to solve. It’s the fact that Google has expose itself as a liar and just another dumb, anti-competitive, controlling corporation. It’s almost out fault for believing they’d somehow be special and be the first mega-corporation ever to rise above that.


    • Rhea Drysdale on said:

      David – we have to talk about your heroes at Searchlove. Google never should have been one in the first place. Call me jaded, but I just don’t trust their motives. Pretty much ever, which means I’m usually not disappointed in jerk moves.


  • Doc Sheldon on said:

    Obviously, we’re all going to suffer from this, ’til we find a way to compensate for the loss of information. My first reaction was rage… at Google thinking we’re all so stupid that we’d buy into their “protection” as their motivation, in spite of the fact that the information in question is still available to those willing to pay dearly for it.

    The only initial notion that came to my mind as their possible motivation was one of gaining additional advantage over the competition. But after sitting in on a very informative chat this morning, I’ve about come around to believing that any gain was incidental. A very convincing argument was made that the action was probably preemptive, and some nitwit just decided that John Q. Public would buy the privacy thing as an excuse.

    If that’s true, then the other argument made, that there’s more to come – this being a necessary first step – makes equal sense.

    I think a wait and see approach is the best at this point. Although I’m sure Mark Z. is tickled pink to see Google on the hotseat, thus taking the focus off FB for a bit. ;)


  • Brian LaFrance on said:

    While I think that Google’s reasoning is a bit shady on this, I think everyone is going a little overboard on their reactions.

    People are complaining about something that’s been provided to them free of charge. If you don’t like how Google’s handling things, feel free to just remove your site from their index. See how well that one works for you :)

    Even if they are doing this as a way to monetize data, they’re perfectly within their right to do that. You run a business…you’re not going to supply a bunch of info for free, especially to your competitors, are you? Why would it be acceptable to expect Google to do so?

    Your analogy about not providing data to clients is skewed and not valid. We’re not clients of Google. We don’t pay them to send us organic traffic. Without Google, a lot of SEOs would be broke or doing something else. Remove a few sites from their index and Google still survives and plugs along just fine. People need to stop feeling like their entitled to something just because it has been there before.

    If you don’t like it when someone tells you how to run your business, step back and consider how your actions & whining appear to Google. Doing so isn’t going to make them like SEOs any more than they do ;)


    • Minchala on said:

      Agreed on business side – don’t think i’ve seen anyone say they want to keep getting stuff for free. But let me ask you this: it doesn’t bother you that G fed you a line of crap about privacy & security to justify this move? Would it not have gone down a lot smoother if they were up front about it and said “we’d like to monetize this and here’s where/how you can pay to get this insight now”?


      • Brian LaFrance on said:

        How they’re spinning it is shady for sure. I think that’s a load of crap…but they’re perfectly within their right to do so. Do we complain like this about all the other millions of companies out there that spin something so they look good? No. Does their spin have an effect on our lives every day. Yes.


        • Minchala on said:

          They’re within their rights to lie? I’m no expert, but i think the FTC has rules against that. Not saying there’s an out and out FTC violation here, but where is the bar we use to measure businesses set? If we’re willing to accept that everyone is going to lie to us and that’s okay then the bar is pretty freakin low and eventually chaos ensues since you probably shouldn’t believe ANYTHING any business says.


    • Steve Magruder on said:

      It seems like it never fails that when a topic like this comes up, a few chime in to say “stop whining, it was free.” And they always miss the point, at least as far as the providing of search keywords in referrer data is concerned.

      It’s actually an expectation of the web that a website sees the referring URL. It’s supposed to be free, and part of the natural data website owners expect to see.

      That Google would be suppressing a natural data stream, and thus ending a free piece of data isn’t the point. The point is that there was always an expectation that this data would always be there, and therefore naturally people came to depend on this data for various purposes. And Google with little warning suppressing this natural web data isn’t technically about taking something away they were giving away for free, but taking away something they were expected to supply, because this is how the WWW works!

      If anything, this is a breach of web/Internet ethics. And no entity on the web should be able to get away with such a breach. Website owners have a WWW-designed right to referrer data.


      • deepsand on said:

        Quite right.

        The problem is that there are so very many for whom the web begins & ends with Google, to the extent that they lack any real perspective.

        They are wholly clueless as to how these things came to be, how and by whom they were designed, and for what purposes. And, Google knowingly feeds on their ignorance.


  • Randy S on said:

    All I can think about is boiling a frog — You start the pot at room temperature and slowly heat it up. Before the frog realizes that his critical data is missing, he’s dead.

    However, here comes the practical question: What, if anything, can we do?


  • Alan Bleiweiss on said:

    Is it frustrating Google keeps changing the rules, the playing field, the business model? Yes, of course it is. Is the “double standard” infuriating? Absolutely.

    Yet the level of anger permeating so much of the industry over this change is really amazing. It smacks of arrogance grown out of complacency based on the false premise that for-profit businesses should first and foremost care more about competitors or any other 3rd party that profits from their services instead of their business model, just because some marketing spin was thrown out for people to rally around (the “do no evil” claim).

    The only reason SEO exists as a business model is because of search engines. Having unrestrained access to searcher keyword data is not a right, it’s a bonus.

    We ARE 3rd party entities profiting from their business model. When was the last time an SEO paid Google a commission for the profits we gain? What’s the fiduciary responsibility they have to us to provide us unhindered access to their data?

    The outcry referring to “do no evil” always conveniently comes up when the “evil” perceived centers around the fact that we as 3rd party entities are challenged to find other ways to get our work done and no longer get a free ticket to profits through a particular method previously available.


    • netmeg on said:

      That screenshot I posted up there – I didn’t post that as an SEO, but as a site owner. That’s one of my personal sites.

      That said, what I’ll do about it is the same thing I do about any or all Google idiocies; put my head down and work around it. I have businesses to run.


      • Alan Bleiweiss on said:

        same thing I said about profiting from Google applies to site owners as it does to SEOs. #JustSayin


    • Matt Crouch on said:

      “When was the last time an SEO paid Google a commission for the profits we gain? ”

      Every time we pitch a new client SEO / PPC and tell them how important Google is.


    • Alan Bleiweiss on said:

      wait til they roll it out to anyone not signed-in. Can’t wait for the articles that come out when that day comes.


  • Mike Feiman on said:

    Wow, that’s a lot of complaining about products and information that Google gives you for free. Google has spoiled the web community for years giving out more tools and data than any other search player, yet all everyone seems to do nowadays is piss and moan about Google making their jobs harder (jobs they have because of the emergence of search engines and Google in particular).

    Really, its starting to sound a little like this: “God Dad, I can’t believe you only got me the blue mega ranger. You’re so stupid. I need the green mega ranger and the yellow mega ranger to make the Ultra Supreme Mega Ranger. Its like I’m living in a 3rd world country or something. Ugh!”

    Google is not a public utility. They are a for profit corporation who’s responsibility is to their shareholders and have every right turn off the free tools and information faucet at any time. Feel free to ask Yahoo, Bing, Blekko or any other search provider for free analytics software and see what they give you in return.


  • Justin Howley on said:

    I see it this way… as an SEO myself we all know that what’s good for the user is good for SEO. I don’t agree with Google’s change, but, if we get back to the core of providing great information and a great user experience, then we really don’t need to know the specific keywords attributed to arriving to your site/page. We will still see conversion metrics without being so dependent on technical SEO rather than holistic SEO.


  • James on said:

    I’m a silver lining kind of guy. If this makes SEO a bit harder, then that sucks, but it will suck proportionately more for the legions of bad SEOs.

    This change might actually work out well for the top players of the industry because they will have an easier time adjusting their strategies to compensate for the sudden drop in the amount and quality of information, whereas the bad SEOs will continue to use the strategies that they pulled from web articles that were out of date 5 years ago.

    So yeah, Google’s screwing SEOs (again), but that doesn’t mean that there wont be new opportunities as a result.


  • Minchala on said:

    Reached limit of nested commenting so picking up where http://outspokenmedia.com/seo/google-invests-in-privacy-for-profit/#comment-31657 left off here:

    I felt they shed a little light on WHY the privacy/security claims are at best at conflict with the way Google actually operates and at worst, A LIE. You’re talking about the ends – Google making money. Which i haven’t said they arent allowed to do. I Even said MULTIPLE TIMES i want to pay Google for good data. The specific issue im honing in on is the line of crap we’re all supposed to swallow about why they did this. The moment a corporation gets away with LYING about why they do anything, wouldnt that license to keep trying to get away with that? Wouldn’t it eventually take them past the limits of what is perfectly reasonable for a business to do?


  • Jill Whalen on said:

    Now all those new (Not Set)s showing up in Google recently make sense. Those were the tests. And, at least on the sites I’ve been looking at, it’s been a fairly substantial number.

    Matt Cutts says nobody noticed. How could we notice? They didn’t say why there were suddenly (Not Set)s where they didn’t belong. I almost did Tweet about it the other day as I was wondering if others were seeing the same, but I just figured it was a weird anomaly.


    • deepsand on said:

      IMO Matt is being more than a bit disingenuous here.

      His comment is a bit like saying that, because you thought your plants were dying of natural causes, that you never noticed that I was poisoning them, that you therefore have no complaint.


  • Doc Sheldon on said:

    I think it’s a real possibility that their statement of “privacy” concerns was technically correct, even if unintentionally (or intentionally) misleading. Has anyone considered the possibility that this was a preemptive action, designed to protect THEM? ;)


  • Dennis G on said:

    Getting data for free, where Google is taking it away later, sucks. But I’m not going into that!

    But what I really think this industry should be more focused on, where Microsoft got large penalties in the past, is using it’s dominant position to push other companies in adjacent industries out of business.

    Just imagine how all web analytics companies are having fire drills today to come up with any solution which would make their product still a viable consideration as soon as Google Analytics gets access to the full referral data.

    This is what we call anti trust! Using your dominant position in one market, to enter a new industry and destroy business’ to make a reasonable living. Nobody can deny Google is dominant in the US in search. All other analytics companies are impacted in their ability to report the referral keywords by this change.


    • Jon Payne on said:

      And some “Google Plus” thing I keep reading about. Even if we buy that its only single digits right now, isn’t the whole point of Google Plus to drive a huge user base that is signed in to Google all day? If it stays single digits then G+ would be a huge failure.


  • Kevin Burke on said:

    Google is a public company. You get the data if you want to pay for it via PPC. Otherwise you do not get it. They are not altruistic. They are a corporation charged with maximizing profits. Can we just stop pretending they are anything more or less. At least not today. We do not like it. They do not care…nor do 99.9999% of searchers.

    All in all it’s just another brick in the wall. Do no evil is not a corporate slogan…. Make more profits is. Let’s all grow up and take off the rose colored glasses.


  • deepsand on said:

    So, just to get this straight, query strings are “sensitive” data, the likes of which Google is to be entrusted with, as are those who pay for AdWords listings, but all other are suspect?

    Welcome to Wonderland.


  • John on said:

    Wow, it really is getting annoying now. Google is monopolizing the internet, I know it doesn’t look like it right now but they are taking 1 step at a time and soon they will be able to dictate every aspect of an online business structure.


  • Jon Payne on said:

    I’ll pretty much second Kevin’s comments above. I don’t think they are trying to “do evil” here. At the same point, I don’t think they give a darn about what the SEO community thinks. They are looking out for themselves and making decisions they feel are in the best interest of their business. As SEOs and as businesspeople we need to do the same.


  • Jami Broom on said:

    In response to “no one noticing the data changing” — I don’t believe that for a second. What I DO believe is that Google didn’t notice that people noticed the missing data, because Google ignores the people who use its software and has virtually NO CUSTOMER SERVICE.


  • Mike on said:

    As a web developer all I can say is: learn more about HTTPS. There’s some sentences in your post that make no sense (like encrypting URLs, that’s not happening at all).

    Once you do, you will realize the nature of referrals from https to non-https and why the ad network does receive referral headers.

    Also, privacy in general is a trend. It will slowly increase, beginning in the EU. Get used to harder job if you need to analyze data!


    • deepsand on said:

      What has this to do with the issue of Google withholding query string data?

      The SSL session is between the user and Google only. Google possesses said data and has made a discretionary decision to not pass it along to the target site.

      Such decision has absolutely nothing to do with either security or privacy.


    • Rhea Drysdale on said:

      You’re right, I do need more technical knowledge. Danny Sullivan wrote an excellent post on this subject today that goes into far greater detail with hopefully more accurate descriptions than my non-tech brain can comprehend (http://searchengineland.com/google-puts-a-price-on-privacy-98029). I’d be the first to openly admit this is my weak area, but as Mike stated, it doesn’t make the post moot. I don’t have to know how to build a car to know when mine isn’t working.

      As for privacy being a trend… pretty sure I never mentioned being opposed to the privacy update, so you seem to have missed the purpose of the post.


  • Michael King (iPullRank) on said:

    Hey Mike. We get it. You develop. That’s awesome. Hope you get a Webby or something.

    Surely there was a far more classy way to inform Rhea of her semantic mistakes with regard to he Secure Protocol. She may have worded her ideas incorrectly but she is not wrong. Rhea also never claimed to be a developer, she is a damn good Search Marketer and HTTPS is something that typically sits outside of SEO except for when we were talking about canonical URL issues.

    Also privacy is such a cop out. There is no increase of privacy from not knowing what keyword you searched for. God forbid you telegraph your intent — oh no that can lead to such bad things like better content and user experience!!!!

    If Google was passing your IP or user name and decided to stop doing that then I’d understand where this is a privacy issue but they are only stopping us from understanding your intent and therefore killing possibilities of tailoring user experience to that intent.

    Surely privacy is becoming a larger issue but this is not an issue of privacy in the least. Of course we will have a harder time analyzing data and I’m fine with that but I’m not feeling your holier than thou attitude because someone made a mistake.

    -Mike


    • deepsand on said:

      Can you guarantee that that will always be so? Or, that such will be the experience of others?

      More importantly, does the fact that only a small harm is done make it acceptable?


      • Ani Lopez on said:

        There is no absolute guarantee for anything involving SEO + Google as you might know.
        small harm acceptable? it is up to you to consider that small or big. I try to put those things on context and taking into account the general level of inaccuracy we usually deal with SEO matters it is not something remarkable in my opinion even if it rises to a 5% in example


        • deepsand on said:

          So, as long it remains petty theft, it’s acceptable?

          At what point does it become grand larceny?


          • Ani Lopez on said:

            Again, it is up to you.
            We’ll have to live with any % they want to give to us. Even if it becomes something like a 20% SEO is adapting to circumstances every day.


            • deepsand on said:

              The point is one re. the principle.

              We do not need to acquiesce to that which is bad simply because it’s presently unavoidable.


            • Ani Lopez on said:

              (I can not reply to your comment #61 so I’ll do it here)
              Google is a non-public company with the right to do whatever they want with their products. Nothing related to principles here.
              Take or leave it


            • deepsand on said:

              To the contrary, and setting aside the fact that Google is a PUBLIC STOCK COMPANY, being a business of any type does not confer unfettered rights or privileges.

              Have you not noticed that Google is globally being scrutinized re. matters re. anti-competitive behavior.

              Furthermore, said query data is NOT GOOGLE’S PRODUCT/SERVICE, but common data intended by convention for the target site.


            • Ani Lopez on said:

              I tend to misuse ‘public’ word, sorry about that, due to bad translation of concepts. Yes, it is a public stock company, not a government-owned corporation.

              Yes. Google is globally being scrutinized as any other company when related to privacy protection and such. Nothing strange here.


            • deepsand on said:

              Unlike other companies, Google is also being globally scrutinized for multiple instances of anti-competitive behavior.


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