Google bans CNET

question fear

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 10, 2003
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The "Garden" state
From the NY Times:
Google's Chief Is Googled, to the Company's Displeasure
Google says its mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." But it does not appear to take kindly to those who use its search engine to organize and publish information about its own executives.

CNETNews.com, a technology news Web site, said last week that Google had told it that the company would not answer any questions from CNET's reporters until July 2006. The move came after CNET published an article last month that discussed how the Google search engine can uncover personal information and that raised questions about what information Google collects about its users.

The article, by Elinor Mills, a CNET staff writer, gave several examples of information about Google's chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, that could be gleaned from the search engine. These included that his shares in the company were worth $1.5 billion, that he lived in Atherton, Calif., that he was the host of a $10,000-a-plate fund-raiser for Al Gore's presidential campaign and that he was a pilot.

After the article appeared, David Krane, Google's director of public relations, called CNET editors to complain, said Jai Singh, the editor in chief of CNETNews.com. "They were unhappy about the fact we used Schmidt's private information in our story," Mr. Singh said. "Our view is what we published was all public information, and we actually used their own product to find it."

He said Mr. Krane called back to say that Google would not speak to any reporter from CNET for a year.

In an instant-message interview, Mr. Krane said, "You can put us down for a 'no comment.' "

When asked if Google had any objection to the reprinting of the information about Mr. Schmidt in this article, Mr. Krane replied that it did not.

Mr. Singh, who has worked in technology news for more than two decades, said he could not recall a similar situation. "Sometimes a company is ticked off and won't talk to a reporter for a bit," he said, "but I've never seen a company not talk to a whole news organization."
 

jimsowden

macrumors 68000
Sep 6, 2003
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I don't know how to feel about this. On the one hand, I tend to side with google. On the other, it was information gained from their site. Strange.
 
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Mr. Anderson

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Nov 1, 2001
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Mr. Singh, who has worked in technology news for more than two decades, said he could not recall a similar situation. "Sometimes a company is ticked off and won't talk to a reporter for a bit," he said, "but I've never seen a company not talk to a whole news organization."
Sounds like they're trying to throw their weight around - that or someone up high at Google is taking this a bit too personal. Either way, its a bit silly, almost immature....

D
 
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munkle

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Aug 7, 2004
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This is extremely petty from Google and it doesn't put them in a good light.

Ultimately CNet just reported information that Google freely provided. Can Google stop speaking to itself for a year...?
 
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strider42

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Feb 1, 2002
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munkle said:
This is extremely petty from Google and it doesn't put them in a good light.

Ultimately CNet just reported information that Google freely provided. Can Google stop speaking to itself for a year...?
I sort of agree with you except to say that the fact that information is available doesn't mean it has to be publicized. What relevence did this man's personal information have to anyone. Too many "news" organizations publish stuff that isn't news. I'd like to see editors take more responsibility for the content of what they publish.

And if CNET has a right to publish, then google has a right not to give them quotes. Freedom of speech is also the freedom not to speak if that's what you want.

Maybe google is being petty, but cnet, and other news orgnaizations, should have more editorial responsibility.
 
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bousozoku

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Jun 25, 2002
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I was surprised to find quite a while back that I could use google to search on my home phone number in the form (123) 456-7890 and my address, etc. were shown. It was somewhat comforting that they provided a way to remove myself from that search but still...odd and a bit revealing.
 
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highres

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Jul 1, 2005
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Google gathers and distributes information on web users, so it's employees should be subject to the same policies, I am glad Google got a taste of it's own medicine...Maybe not everyone wants a satellite viewable image of their home address or work easily accessible on the net?
 
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Johnny Rico

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Feb 17, 2005
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Cnet is not a news organization, it is an advertisement posing as news peppered with more advertisements posing as editorial commentary.
 
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bousozoku

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Jun 25, 2002
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Gone but not forgotten.
Johnny Rico said:
Cnet is not a news organization, it is an advertisement posing as news peppered with more advertisements posing as editorial commentary.
When it was new, it wasn't nearly as bad but with ZDNet falling on hard times, C|Net has gone from bad to worse.
 
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wordmunger

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Sep 3, 2003
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North Carolina
Okay, this isn't quite as bad as the headline makes it sound. I thought it meant that Google wouldn't be indexing cnet articles. It only indicates that Google won't be granting cnet interviews. Sounds like a pretty reasonable response to cnet publishing personal information about Google's CEO.
 
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mac-er

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Apr 9, 2003
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wordmunger said:
Sounds like a pretty reasonable response to cnet publishing personal information about Google's CEO.
Actually, its pretty hypocritcal. All the information CNET got was from Google. It was a way CNET was showing that Google has too much information on people.

Besides, if his information was on so many websites that it showed up on a Google search...wasn't that personal.
 
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maxterpiece

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Mar 5, 2003
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mac-er said:
Actually, its pretty hypocritcal. All the information CNET got was from Google. It was a way CNET was showing that Google has too much information on people.

Besides, if his information was on so many websites that it showed up on a Google search...wasn't that personal.
yes, exactly. This information was already published on the internet. All CNET did was put it in a different context. CNET did not alter in any way the availability of this information!!! True, more people may have read the info because CNET is a widely read site, but the information was freely and easily accessible before. It is equally accessible after the fact.

I think google has absolutely no right to act as they did. It just proves that corporations cannot be moral. Google wouldn't have thrown a hissy fit if cnet had instead used all of MY personal information in their article. And if i then emailed google about such an article, explaining how brutally I felt my privacy had been invaded, they would have sent me an email explaining exactly what i said in my first paragraph - that all the info has always been freely available online.
 
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Sun Baked

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May 19, 2002
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Credit card purchase information is "public information" and used to be included in quite a few news stories when people were searching for the person of the minute -- wasn't long ago when you'd hear what people purchased yesterday.

Now it's used more for newshounds trailing people, and not something tossed onto the evening news much anymore.

Just because the information is public and available to free or available to willing to pay for it doesn't mean it has to be published in a news story.

If they were saying they could print the info because it was already public information, they might as well erase the line and publish his credit card purchases. Which might be more interesting than where he lives and a satellite view of his house (if you use maps.google.com).
 
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weldon

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May 22, 2004
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Denver, CO
Maybe the reporter should have written about his own personal information, net worth, address, etc. in the article.

It's hard to see how Schmidt's personal info was relevant to the issue of discovering personal information. I would think that most readers would be more interested in how much info you could find on the average joe (themselves) rather than the rich and famous.
 
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Apple Hobo

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Mar 19, 2004
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A series of tubes
So the guy's a billionaire, a pilot, a participator in a charity, and he lives in California. Are these supposed to be some deep secrets that should never have been released?


highres said:
Google gathers and distributes information on web users, so it's employees should be subject to the same policies, I am glad Google got a taste of it's own medicine...Maybe not everyone wants a satellite viewable image of their home address or work easily accessible on the net?
I don't understand why people are afraid of Google's map/telephone number features. What ever happened to phone books? Those have addresses. As for Google's satellite service, if someone has your address, couldn't they <gasp> simply drive up to your house look at it? If it's that big of a problem, get an unlisted phone number, a tin foil hat, and a termite tent to cover and hide your house from those evil satellites. ;)

On the other hand, I think the media does go too far sometimes. Remember Steve Bartman and the 2003 Chicago Cubs? Most of Chicago wanted to lynch the guy, yet the media printed his name, address, workplace, etc. His home phone was even listed in various places. Why post this guy's info? So you can be the first newspaper on the block to get some guy killed? :rolleyes:
 
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efoto

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Nov 16, 2004
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bousozoku said:
I was surprised to find quite a while back that I could use google to search on my home phone number in the form (123) 456-7890 and my address, etc. were shown. It was somewhat comforting that they provided a way to remove myself from that search but still...odd and a bit revealing.
I just searched my parents home number and their names/address are listed, which as you said is a bit revealing but at the same time it doesn't tell you anything more than the residential white-pages book would in your area, this is just national (global perhaps). The nice part about this is that you can actually search by number if you don't know the name, great for random callers to your caller-id equipped phone ;)
 
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LethalWolfe

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Jan 11, 2002
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Los Angeles
The guy is acting like a child. He doesn't care about all the info out there Google indexes until he's the one getting Googled.

In the context of the story, I don't see anything wrong w/publishing the info. And, unless I'm misreading the story, neither does Google. Not to mention that the info published by CNET is completely mundane. It's like they unearthed some deep, dark secret. What a completely pointless thing to be a man-child about.


Lethal
 
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Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
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Location Location Location
efoto said:
I just searched my parents home number and their names/address are listed, which as you said is a bit revealing but at the same time it doesn't tell you anything more than the residential white-pages book would in your area, this is just national (global perhaps). The nice part about this is that you can actually search by number if you don't know the name, great for random callers to your caller-id equipped phone ;)
My address and phone number is in the telephone book, but if it was published on CNET, I'm sure a lot of people would be prank calling me. My address and phone number may be in the public domain somewhere, but that doesn't put my personal information in the spotlight like this does, so I don't buy any of this, "But it was already on the internet!" stuff, because being on the internet doesn't mean that it is being singled out for everyone to see. Even people who would never.....NEVER search on Google for this man's info may now read it. If CNETNews wants to publish personal info about him, or myself, they can ask for an interview, or at least for permission. It's not like this guy is a celebrity. He's just a businessman ---- a very very rich businessman.
 
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Lord Blackadder

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May 7, 2004
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Sod off
Actually publishing the personal information (as opposed to merely saying that it could be found via Google) was stupid on CNET's part; Mabye the ban is a bit silly as well, but certainly deserved.
 
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emw

macrumors G4
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
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Not sure I'd qualify CNet as the "little guy".

In any case, I tend to side with Google. CNet was being petty by publishing the information - there was no good point to doing so, other than to rile Google.

I don't think it's hypocritical for Schmidt to be upset - hypocritical would be if Google disabled searching for information on him, not being upset that a national magazine published an article with the information in it. Sure, it's not anything all that dramatic, but in my opinion, it was unnecessary.
 
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