Eeky Geeky: Weekly Peeky at the Freaky

Carl Brooks

This week, the posterior edition of my two-part series, “birth of Google nation,” or, as I like to refer to it, “afterbirth of a columnist’s unhealthy brain.” In the vanguard of this series, which might, I warn the faint of heart and those not possessed of intestinal fortitude, stretch to three parts, I noted that Google has passed that mark on the culture-o-tron that reads, “Part of Your Life, Like It or Not.”

I also asked whether Google was having a hard time dealing with the vox populi now that it is the default information and media filter for large parts of the world, and implied that Google should run away very fast from public ownership.

So is Google the next Evil Empire? Will we be googled and detained by John Ashcroft or his equally jowly and fanatic successors? Will our lives be a hell of unsolicited advertising, targeted media, and spammers that know our anatomical stats to within a quarter of a humiliating inch? But first, the news.

The big news of the day is that Microsoft has been found to be a monopoly engaged in unfair business practices that quash creativity and open standards. No really-you can’t make this stuff up.

Cocksman Darren James got diagnosed with HIV. This is huge. Really important news. Many of you prudes and frustrated, sexually deviant geeks (future column, mental note-Ed.) shriek, “Yay for just desserts, you scum!” But let’s put this in perspective. You can have HIV for a while before showing a plus. James, while a rather lackluster schlongschlager, is popular in the porkin’ poon industry.

Porn is one of the biggest industries on the planet. A serious slowdown in the Hollywood/Sac region will affect the national economy.

The porn barons en masse have put a quarantine on James’ contacts and James has quite sensibly fled to parts unknown (lots of those girls have serious boyfriends, pal-stay down low). This won’t stop fly-by-nighters from making squishy on digital video, but it could cripple the major industry. If they can’t get up from this, or if James turns out to have infected many others, it could send California to its knees. And for the rest of you, just wait until your boss cans you because he can’t get his hands on Naughty Nymphets 36 and got caught peeping on his daughter’s cheerleading squad.

Welcome back to our regular programming. The short answer is, “No.” Google is a tool of frightening scope and amazing power, but it lacks the key characteristics that could make it as influential as say, Microsoft or the DoD.

It is not monolithic in ability and it does not practice exclusionary market strategy. It might be a great search engine, but there are plenty others, and though thousands of frantic, greasy “search engine optimizers” might have to live on ramen while they shuffle their link farms around, Google could disappear tomorrow without doing serious damage to IT because the economies that parasitize it aren’t locked down.

It is a threat to privacy, and an IPO would practically guarantee that Google would sell off some of its data assets (read: your life). But the real threat to your privacy is, and will always be, the government. Which has resources that make $2 billion Google look like a smurf in Gargamel’s castle.

Last, since Google is currently getting gamed so hard by so many, it may have lost its usefulness…

That’s what they call a cliffhanger. Read EGWPATF next week to find out how good Google is at getting you the know.