April 13, 2009

Is Google Trying to Squash Twitter?

After hearing of the talks between Google and Twitter, I thought one of three things would happen: 1) Google makes an offer to buy Twitter; 2)Google buys, or re-develops Twitter Search; or 3) Google and Twitter work together, likely Google using a limitless Twitter API key to include real-time Twitter Search results. Well, I was very wrong. Google, being too big to fail and too powerful to care, decided to pick d) build an "enhanced" Twitter that gets Google even more data and control over the public. First the AdSense "enhanced" user tracking and targeting, then the "enhanced" local search results, and now:

Google Latitude - Twitter for Stalkers?

Google has released a service called Google Latitude that allows you to not only send "status messages" to your friends (sound familiar?) but also adds stalking - er, sorry, location-awareness capabilities:

Why does this bother me? Well, consider the sheer amount of your data that Google has - do you have a Gmail account? There's some. AdSense DoubleClick cookie? There's some more. And now, why not give them your cell phone number, location, picture, and directions to where you sleep? Even mainstream media is willing to admit that stalkers are a serious problem on Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook - how much better can it get when a stalker can use Google Latitude to get Google Maps and even directions to their target on their cell phone?

Also consider that Google's main moneymaker is advertising. They can already make certain types of ads "follow" you around the Internet with the new permanent AdSense cookies; Soon they will be able to change the billboards around you based on the number of people around that like Pepsi vs. Coke. Or worse. Google is clearly driven 100% by profit margin and the need to grow with no concern for privacy, safety, or freedom - just like our economy, our cars, and our egos.

How to UnGoogle Google:

  • Stop using Google services - no search, no maps, no AdWords, AdSense, Gmail, everything. Don't click or publish AdSense ads, get the anti-cookie. Whatever you do, avoid Google Latitude like the plague. Switch to competitors - yes, Google still has a few competitors left, and some of them make pretty good products. Start by giving some of these semantic search engines a try.

  • Talk and write about anything and everything you find about Google: blog, Tweet, text, email, write letters, call people - expose Google and what they are trying to do, and make people aware of the reasons to UnGoogle! (Hint: you can start by simply clicking the ShareThis button below!)

  • Start your own company - compete with Google! Especially in markets where Google is the only player. And this is the important part: Don't let Google buy you out! Google would never have gotten where it is without a lot of willing company builders that wanted a way to get rich and get out.

  • Finally - let Google know you are not happy! Tell Google technicians, sales reps, support people, executives, anyone - several people have left Google recently, and the company can only stand so much attrition before they lose power and control over the people.

Be careful out there - happy unGoogling!


  1. Hey I just wanted you to know I posted a great comment and tried to post it under open ID ... of course it shows up as an error so much for doing what you think everyone should do. Look I am not a fan of Google but I get paid by clients. They want to be on page 1 on Google... who am I to argue. But let me ask you this if Google offered to pay you 1 Billion dollars for a "new" search engine would you really say no? I don't think so, I personally would love to be "ethical" and say no... but I am not going to lie I want to retire and have a nice boat on the coast of Monte Carlo. What I can offer however, is to post this story for you. :)

  2. @SEOcopy seems to be a recent problem posting on Blogger blogs using openID - I get the same complaints on my blog.. Not sure what to do about this.

    Side note about your comment - A client told me this SEO company got them on the 1st page of google. I asked to see - they show me.. and sure enough they are on the first page.. the sponsered section!! This is what happens when no1 has ethics.. I now try to explain to the client whats going on and they take the seo companies side. The unethical company LoLs to the bank.

    @peter - great post, I am for anything to ungoogle the internet

  3. Sponsored Results as "first page" - I've seen that before, and it makes me want to throw up. I hope at least the SEO company is paying Google in exchange for their clients' (I'm guessing) several thousand per month. I'm saddened every day by the fact that Google is the biggest scammer and they promote other scammers.

    As a side note, @mattcutts (the guy that tries to do Google's search and spam algorithms, poorly) noticed this post, and I was completely unranked from Google within hours. I have screenshots showing top 10 rank for all 20 "top keywords" one day (including "adsense cookie", "quad core laptop", and others), zero ranked keywords the next (note this blog is still PR 1). Funny how Google is so big they can be completely unethical while lying to my face (Matt Cutts himself said "There's no spam indexed in Google"). Sure - 93% of the Internet is spam according to Microsoft, but absolutely none of that makes it into Google. No such thing as "made for AdSense" sites either, I guess... Only sites that expose Google are actually spam - clearly this blog is, right? No real content here.

    If someone from Google would like to explain in the comments that Matt Cutts did NOT use his power as a Google employee for personal (delusional, and illegal) reasons, and there was a valid reason for my sudden de-ranking, I may be willing to forgo my new personal goal in life - taking down this unethical, despicable company.

  4. Ok, every commenter here has a blogger icon next to their name, as do I. You all are talking about "ungoogle" while commenting on a blog hosted for free on a ...wait for it.... Google Service. I'm as concerned as you about Latitude. Google pushed the mobile app update to my Blackberry yesterday, and the first thing I noticed is that on the main search screen it shows the zip code I was currently in and then the invitation to see where my friends were that you showed in the above post, creepy.

    90% of my daily computing is done thru something with Google's name on it. I daily use Docs, Gmail, Reader, Maps, Notebook, and Blogger, rarely opening any local application other than than Chrome. Every service is opt in or out, and the services all work well because of the info they collect on you. Its your choice what you give them.

    Again, I just find it ironic that someone who hosts thier blog on blogger would be so against Google.

  5. I'm wary as well, but, as some of your other commenters pointed out, Blogger is now a Google-owned service.

    In order to counter Google's voracity for my personal data, I take the proactive approach of not giving them any. I don't enter any more data than is absolutely necessary to achieve whatever goal I'm working toward, whether that be signing up for Gmail, AdSense, or Blogger.

  6. i did hear about that google has introoduced the twitter thing for stalkers
    so how is it going to work
    will it succeed ?
    Let's see

  7. Google really has the power to do this kind of stuff. Thanks for sharing some of your tips on how to ungoogle Google. Let's just see what will happen in the future, but for now I'm still hoping for the best.

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