Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is Google Squared a Content-Snatching Death Star?

Posted By on Wed, May 5, 2010 at 2:40 PM

click to enlarge This search engine is fully operational...
  • This search engine is fully operational...
Google is a "digital vampire" in the words of Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton. Furthering the vampiric metaphor, the search engine exists to "just suck on your blood," in the words of HDNet owner Mark Cuban. Taking things to the next step, the Mountain View company's experimental information-culling service Google Squared is a vampire-piloted Death Star.

Alderaan, the planet under fire, would in this case would be news and other proprietary content appropriated without credit by a Google Squared aggregating service that all but dispenses with the traditional method of teasing, boldly crediting, and linking to stories.

"Here, you're lucky if you even find the source of information for someone else's content," said Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of, speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo at San Francisco's Moscone West today. "Surely there ought to be better discussion of where their information comes from."

click to enlarge Porkins gave his life in the assault on Google Squared...
  • Porkins gave his life in the assault on Google Squared...
Sullivan compared Google Squared to the newish information aggregating site Wolfram Alpha, which mines information from the Web, then arranges it into helpful charts. Where that information originally came from, however, isn't always easy to discern. Google Squared, for its part, "takes a search query and tried to present the results in tabular form -- like an online spreadsheet of sorts," to borrow and credit SearchEngineLand's explanation of the service.

On Google Squared, information is collected from various sources, arranged on a grid, and supplemented with pop-up menus with supplementary information, in such a way that it may rarely be necessary for users to link to the actual sources of information.

Will this spur newspapers and other content produces to launch their own Jedi resistance -- and block Google from snatching information?

Sullivan suggested that, so far, there's been little incentive for content producers to resist Google.

"Google is giving far more than they're taking back," he said.

Photo   |   via JPHebert Word Press   

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

About The Author

Matt Smith


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • Best Of SF 2016
    On Thursday, May 19th, SF Weekly held it's annual Best Of SF party! Winners and guests partied at The Factory, celebrating the city with food and drink tastings, comedians, a burlesque show, music, and more.

    Photos by Marcio Rivera