Reading Skills Required
PunditAid Please Give Generously or Nick Cohen having a good old sneer at Mary Ann Sieghart in the Independent.
It's not just me is it? He's got her point completely wrong.
Yet another AaroWatch Fail Sunday, by the way. I didn't get very far with this at all.
When you reach the search results, Google does not call the adverts running down the side "adverts" but "sponsored links", as if it were a charity and philanthropists were helping further its noble endeavour.
Google is an American company, staffed mostly by Americans. While it's not true that Eskimos have hundreds of words for "snow" the US has several words for advertisements: "these messages", "a word from our sponsors" etc. It may be euphemistic, and a cynic might think that a more accurate heading would be "Here are some scabs after your money. Flee!" but 'sponsored' to a US-ian doesn't suggest a cub-scout hike but a commercial arrangement.
I think Google has made mistakes re privacy - so has FaceBook. Targeted advertising (which is the only kind which makes sense now: before the Times went behind the paywall, every page wanted me to buy a 4x4; that's so wrong) will come at the expense of privacy. I won't have an Android phone because, like Nick, I think Google are too intrusive, but that's not going to bother millions of people. "Don't be evil" isn't "vehement", it's just missing a "man" or "dude" or, to really risque, "nigger". It's quasi-ironic. And Nick's argument that because "to google" is a verb now, "I doubt many users think of it as a business at all" applies to Hoover just as well.
Off-topic, but this piece on Tom Hanks' daughter's breakup letter to 'The Left' is jolly good.
Update 10:40 GMT 31/10/2010 Just skimmed the comments on Nick's article. They're not happy bunnies this morning.
Last week Nick wrote about Wayne Rooney. You'd be better off reading the excellent Simon Kuper on same.