August 12, 2011

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Friday, August 12, 2011

This week, we look into the monolithic impact Google has on our lives for better and for worse.

The Case Against Google

At the end of June, federal regulators launched an antitrust probe into Google’s business practices after rivals complained that Google was abusing its market dominance by favoring its own search products over those of other companies. Bob spoke with Danny Sullivan about how this inquiry might affect the search giant and whether or not it’s missing the mark.

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Google's Wi-fi Problem

Google was the subject of an international public relations nightmare when the public learned that the cars Google uses to take pictures for their Google Street View service were also picking up information over unsecured wireless networks as they drove by. Now, a US District Judge has said that Google can be sued for violating the wiretap act. Ars Technica senior editor Nate Anderson talks to Bob about the potential ramifications of this lawsuit.

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Blurry in Germany

Since Google began taking pictures for their Google Street View service in Germany in 2008, it has been a controversial topic in the country. So controversial, in fact, that three percent of the population opted to have their homes blurred on the service, and backlash was so vicious that in April, Google abandoned the service in Germany entirely. OTM's Michael Bernstein traveled there last summer to try to understand why it was so universally reviled.

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Making Maps, the Google Way

In February 2010, a government official from Cambodia wrote a letter to Google, complaining about one of the company’s maps. The letter claimed that Google’s depiction of a stretch of border between Cambodia and Thailand was “devoid of truth and reality, and professionally irresponsible.” In an interview from July of 2010, writer and editor John Gravois points out that 21st-century mapmaking can be politically thorny.

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Matt Cutts, Head of Google's Web Spam Team

When most companies try to improve their search engine optimization, the search engine they're optimizing for is Google. But the ease of a Google search belies the hard work that Google engineers like Matt Cutts do behind the scenes to assure that search results aren't unfairly manipulated. In an interview from February of this year, Cutts explains how Google must set the search rules, over and over again.

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Confessions of a Google Employee

Before Google was Google, it was a research project by Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin.  And before there was a Googleplex, its headquarters was a friend's garage in Menlo Park, California.  Fifteen years later, Google now has more than 28,000 employees and offices all over the world, and the search engine has become so much more than just search.  Doug Edwards is the former director of consumer marketing and brand management at Google and author of I'm Feeling Lucky: Confessions of Google Employee Number 59.  Brooke spoke with Edwards about witnessing Google's growth from the inside.

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