September 29, 2006

The 800 pound gorilla in the room

It's hard to deny that Google is the Colossus bestriding the info world these days (in fact, I just used it to make sure Colossus has 1 L & 2 Ss). As such it behoves all of us to make sure that we know where they stand on various issues, such as censorship (generally not good) and copyright. When you're a mouse sleeping beside and elephant, it pays to monitor the elephant's nocturnal rustlings. Thankfully Google has usually been rather upfront about where they stand on issues.

From a recent post in their official blog, Our Approach to Content:

The Internet has broken down many of the barriers that exist between people and information –- effectively democratizing access to human knowledge. By typing just a few keywords into a computer you can learn about almost any subject. Google is one of many organizations that work to make this possible.

But today only a fraction of the world’s information is available online. Our aim to help organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful means working with a lot of information – newspaper articles (many written over a century ago), books (of which there are millions), images, videos (including all of the new footage users are creating), websites, important financial information and much, much more.

Because we don’t own this content, over the years we’ve come up with three primary principles to ensure that we respect content owners and protect their rights:
  • we respect copyright;
  • we let owners choose whether we index their content in our products;
  • we try to bring benefit back to content owners by partnering with them.
The much more detail in the post on each of the principles, so I won't go into it here in detail. I'm just glad we know.

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