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July 10, 2006

Google-ness

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There’s even more Google news than normal today. And some of it is even interesting.

Eric Schmidt doesn’t care about click fraud. Many are still fuming over Eric Schmidt’s assertion (from last March but only now getting attention) that click fraud is “self-correcting” and that even if instances of fraud were “rampant”, eventually the problem would “fix itself”. This is going to make San Jose very uncomfortable for poor Eric.

Eric opened a giant can of worms saying:

“Eventually, the price that the advertiser is willing to pay for the conversion will decline, because the advertiser will realize that these are bad clicks, in other words, the value of the ad declines, so over some amount of time, the system is in-fact, self-correcting. In fact, there is a perfect economic solution which is to let it happen.”

Please, please tell me he didn’t really say that. Because if he said what I think he said it means I’m going to spend the next week reading about it. Tell me I read that wrong and he really said click fraud was a serious problem and that him, Larry and Sergey are staying up nightly racking their Stanford-educated brains thinking of new ways to attack it. That’s what he said, right?

No. Unfortunately my ears heard it right the first time. Aaron Wall calls Eric’s stance “quite ignorant, selfish, and shortsighted“. I may be inclined to add the term “self-serving”. It’s a little disheartening to know that the folks at Google are merely having “great fun” trying to get ahead of this whole silly click fraud issue. It’d be nice if it was, you know, an actual priority as opposed to a joking matter. And despite what Google has said in recent months about taking click fraud seriously, I think Eric’s quip represents Google’s true feelings on the matter. They’ve given click fraud a lot of lip service lately, but they haven’t done much to correct the problem, or to right past instances of abuse.

To me, it doesn’t matter if click fraud is self correcting or not. Right now it’s a problem to Google’s users, a serious problem, and that alone should make it important to Google. We haven’t forgotten that they profit from this so-called non-issue, and we recommend they don’t forget either.

Nick Wilson dug up a Greg Boser quote from last March when he responded to Eric’s statement that click fraud was a non-issue. It seems to sum things up nicely:

“That doesn’t account for all the big spending advertisers who are bidding to generate leads that won’t produce revenue for quite some time, or advertisers who are trying to acquire long-term customers. If you remove click fraud for those types of companies (who also happen to bid in many of the highest per click spaces) you will not see any of them raise their bids. That money will simply go back into their bank accounts.”

I can’t wait to see how Google tries to spin this in the coming days. Just one more reason why advertisers should be proactive about monitoring their campaigns.

GDrive is alive. Or is it? Corsin Camichel found the first legitimate-looking glimpse of Gdrive (via Phil), codenamed Platypus. While snooping though Writely (are they ever going to open that up again!?), Corsin found what looks to be a Gdrive download page.

The Gdrive download page promises “a filer for the whole world. But Better”.

Here’s a look at the features:

  • Backup. If you lose your computer, grab a new one and reinstall Platypus. Your files will be on your new machine in minutes. [okay, that’s awesome!]
  • Sync. Keep all your machines synchronized, even if they run different operating systems.
  • VPN-less access. Not at a Google computer? View your files on the web at http://troutboard.com/p.
  • Collaborate. Create shared spaces to which multiple Googlers can write.
  • Disconnected access. On the plane? VPN broken? All your files are still accessible.
  • Publish. All of the files you store on Platypus are automatically accessible from the (corporate) web.
  • Share. Other Googlers can mount your Platypus folders and open your files in read-only mode.
  • Collaborate. It also has advantages over storing your files in your filer or WWW directory.
  • Local IO speeds. Open and save as quickly as you could if you were accessing them from your C: drive.

But not so fast.

“Not at a Google computer?”

“Create shared spaces to which multiple Googlers can write…”

“Other Googlers can mount your Platypus folders…”

Is Platypus for users or for Google employees? Susan (you remember her, right?), who is far smarter than me, thinks it’s the latter. I guess that means no free t-shirt for pesky bloggers who hunt for bugs. Foiled again! Sometimes Susan ruins all my fun.

Long Island <3s Google Spreadsheet. Or at least a columnist at my old paper does. Lou Dolinar wants to know why there wasn’t a stir when Google released Google Spreadsheet. Excuse me? I do believe there was practically a 24 hour countdown in place after news of Spreadsheets impending release broke on a late Monday afternoon. In fact, I remember the poor iRows site crashing just because people thought it was involved, which it wasn’t.

Regardless, Lou is determined to give Spreadsheet a second coming. Interesting considering his main reason for liking Spreadsheet is that it’s free, readily available from any Internet connection, easily shared with others and you can allow others to edit the spreadsheet. So basically, he likes it because it’s Google?

For me, it’s a great spreadsheet for people who don’t really need a spreadsheet. It’s functional, pretty and friendly. You just can’t make it think too hard.

Dolinar promises readers a second installment of his Google Spreadsheet column, so we’ll see what else he likes about it. And if you haven’t fallen under the Google Spreadsheet spell just yet, maybe you’ll find something here that interests you.

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