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."