Listen more.

It’s a brand new year, and apparently it is also the year for bloggers to attack Google.

Google admitted to adjusting their end of year zeitgeist list to make it a bit more interesting. They admitted it. But apparently that just isn’t good enough. Elisa Camahort addresses this so elegantly:

Um, sure, what made anyone think it was supposed to mean something? It’s a fun year-end list, folks. it’s not particularly actionable. It’s only 10 words/phrases, without even numbers attached to it. What on earth were you planning to do with this list that is now hampered by the discovery about how they’ve compiled it?

More than that: I happen to like their explanation of what they’re trying to accomplish just fine. I happen to agree that seeing that "dictionary" "maps" and "ebay" were still among the top 10 search terms every year would be interesting to no one. And it certainly would not reflect the year’s "zeitgeist."

This isjust a fun list. It really doesn’t matter that much.

Then Don Dodge asksif Google’s hypocrisy is evil:

Google’s motto is "Do no evil". TechCrunch says Google is at a tipping point. The controversy is around Google promoting its own services in search result pages. The argument is that the way Google promotes its services may confuse users that they are actually clicking on a valid, relevant search result, when it is really a "tip" from Google linking to its own services.

The hypocrisy is that Google has criticized Microsoft many times for doing similar things, most recently with the release of Internet Explorer 7.0. Even in this case Google showed its hypocrisy, slamming Microsoft about Internet Explorer, while making Google search the default in Firefox, Opera, and Safari. For more details on this see "Google supports choice…except on Firefox and Opera". Google is rumored to be developing a browser. If they do, will Google be the default search vendor? Of course!

Hmm, let’s think about this.Microsoft includes their browser with their operating system which is shipped on over 95% of all computers. Purchasers are not given a choice in the matter. On a new computer that browser by default will point to a Microsoft service. Yet if Google develops a browser, users will have to make a conscious decision to download that browser, as they do with Firefox or Opera. That isn’t hyprocrisy, but merely the desire for a level playing field.

As for the whole "tip" controversy, I’d be pretty surprised if a tip could be confused with a search result. The font is smaller, and the only link is at the end of the text in a smaller font, as opposed to search results that start with a large font link. There is a substantial difference.

Google is after all a company that wants to turn a profit, albeit one with the slogan "Don’t be evil." But really, I don’t see anything that I would consider "evil". They provide an excellent service – one that I am not forced to use but do anyway. Yet for some reason a few people have decided that this is a personal affront to them.

Get over it folks. If you aren’t happy with Google then either provide some positive suggestions to help them improve, or stop using their services.

And while I’m on the soapbox, the same goes for Microsoft. While I personally won’t be using Vista, I do use a lot of Microsoft software, and in many cases they have made my life easier.

I’m sure the negative energy directed at these companies and others like them could be put to a lot better use. That’s my new year’s resolution anyway.And my best suggestion to both Google and Microsoft would be to listen a little more – maybe not always act – but listen. I’m going to do that too.


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