Pick your headline: Google steals content… Google declares war on publishers… Google violates copyright…. Google is evil…. None of the above… All of the above….
: Correct me if I’m wrong, but Google is repeating one of the great sins of AOL, promising to “accelerate” the web by caching — that is, copying and storing — web pages to serve to you.
It’s one matter when the search engine caches a page you can’t get anymore; that’s a copyright violation but an all-in-all benign one in the sense that it’s only giving you content you could not otherwise see (no different from, say, the web archive).
But it’s quite another matter for Google to get in the way of serving current content. This means that the page is served from Google rather than from a publisher’s server, which means that the publisher cannot count the traffic and serve targeted and dynamic advertising.
It also means that Google is copying content on its servers and serving it from there and thus is violating copyright.
And it means that Google is in a position to snoop on data on consumers’ usage of sites that Google does not own: That is, Google will know what the consumers on my site are doing better than I will for these “accelerated” pages.
I’m also reading that Google shortstops cookies, which affects not only publishers but also users. Cory Doctorow points out: “…but of course you’re not anonymous to Google, which knows about your search history (if you’ve got cookies on), your email address (if you register for Groups, etc), your friends (if you use Orkut), your email (if you use gmail), and even has your credit card (if you use AdWords or Answers).”
And all this is done in the name of accelerating the web in an era when most of us have broadband and it doesn’t need much acceleration.
Again, if I’m getting that wrong, please tell me. But I’ll just bet we’ll see publishers telling their lawyers go to fetch.
Search Engine Journal reports that the accelerator is screwing up, serving the wrong pages to the wrong people and even signing people into forums under the wrong names.
Fantomas gives instructions on how to block the Google accelerator.
Bottom line: I see no reason why I should be expected to trust these guys anymore.