Friday, August 10, 2012

Google: Hiding More Cookies Than a Sorority Girl.

If you had to choose, would you consider the word "Google" to be a more of a noun or a verb?

I'm going with verb in a landslide. "Googling," which has come down the trail a couple of miles behind "xeroxing" and "spooning," has now endured the noun-to-verb reassignment surgery which can only be performed by profound public familiarity.

But here's the thing—Google, the Noun, has sprinted to within half a lap of his cousin in the wake of a $22.5 million fine for duping Safari browsers.

The Federal Trade Commission didn't exactly bring down the hammer; the amount of the monetary penalty more closely resembled being spanked by a finch feather since the massive interweb goblin's fanny pack is stuffed with forty-three billion dollars in cash.

Apparently, Google's been baking secret "cookies," small files which websites place on your computer's hard drive upon your first visit to their site.

Mmmm...I love molasses cookies.

Anyway, Google designed these cookies to not be be detected and therefore blocked, by Safari, thus enabling the mammoth search engine to gather users' personal habits and reap the clandestine benefits.

Even before the company had its hand slapped for putting the cookies back into the jar,  Google's been dodging rotten public relations tomatoes over their corporate motto, "Don't Be Evil."

What the hell kind of slogan is that? Can't you aim a just a smidge higher, Googs? How about something like "Be Nice" or ""Be Cool, Fool"? Simply requesting that employees not be evil leaves a gaping vacuum which could facilitate meanness and sneakery.

Evidently, it has.

But here's the irony for a lot of us: We worry and get angry about this assault to our privacy and we chafe at the notion of someone peddling our cyber information like a pogo stick on eBay. We're appalled at the ads we started seeing after "liking" the Shake Weight.

Then we get online and tell two-hundred-eighty-three of our best friends what our daughter says we look like in bike shorts or that we're currently enjoying the beef brisket at Dixie's barbecue in Bellevue and probably won't be home until around ten. Oh yeah, and we're really irritated that we had to peel two stickers off that nectarine from Safeway.

Google has no excuse for its hijinx. I wish it had to pay a far steeper penalty than a fine for which it can generate the funding in four hours of Internet commerce. Justice would proscribe that this corporation owes us, the Safari browsers, for its underhandedness.

So come on, Google, own up to your dishonest ways and do right by your customers rather than some faceless government agency.

Free Internet for a year might be a good starting point.

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