November 3, 2021
Google makes me sick

I posted a critical comment under this Keynote video of the Chrome Dev Summit “What’s new in Chrome”. I got deleted immediately by the Google team, which made me write the comment below instead. But first some context. We are talking about this video. Did you watch it? Here is my reaction:

“Why did you remove my comment?

I said something critical about Google losing income due to the massive amount of privacy rules, ad blockers and browsers blocking cookies and cross site requests by default. I said that this was the real reason why Google is changing its profiling strategy. They do not really care about privacy (which Barb is suggesting but carefully avoids to say). The other thing I said is that this video is having a childish design on purpose (simplified look, bright colors, scribbly lines). I said this was manipulative and made me feel like an infant listening to the story of Santa Claus. I also said that the whole video was an insult to the intellect of web developers. The things Barb is saying in this video are the worst. I commented on her talking about “cross-site tracking mechanisms that weren’t designed with privacy in mind”. I asked if she was refering to Google Analytics, Google DNS or Google’s retargeting. I asked her if “a healty eco-system” was actually a “healty paycheck”. We know that Google is all about profiling, making billions with it. She must know this too, doesn’t she?

My comment was very critical, harsh if you will. But (to my defense) I am very passionate about this topic. I think Google is destroying the web/world with its monopoly on search, browser and mobile OS and the way they try to monetize it. They are creating content silo’s in which they profile and target people (and apparently censor opinions too). By now we all know this creates distorted world views and fuels extremism. Sure, I was attacking Barb personally, but I had good reason to doubt her honesty and intentions. I cannot believe she is not aware of the revenue model of Google. I think people need a mirror every now and then. Me too. In the end a business is nothing more than a group of people, each of them with their own beliefs. People can change. Attacking them might not be the smartest approach… but it might plant a seed.

However, Google decided to remove my message immediately, which is a well known tactic in non-democratic regimes. This message cannot be removed, as I reposted it here on my personal blog. I think censorship is the most awful thing a company can do. Sure, if I would have attacked HER instead of what she was saying, I could have understood the removal. But I was ‘only’ saying that she was manipulating us by saying what she did. That could have easily been countered with arguments why she was not. Paul Kinlan from Google said that I made baseless claims with no evidence, which (he said) was a reason for removal conform the TOS. I think the discussion about morality and ethics is essential and should not be censored in any way. Controlling the public opinion by censoring ‘baseless claims with no evidence’ might be even worse than massively invading people’s privacy. Critisism (valid or invalid) should be fought with arguments and intellect, not with censorship. Paul should know, and so should his peers.”

But later I was thinking: What does he want evidence for? For the growing use of ad blockers? That Google making billions with profiling? That Google is profiling at all? That Google needs an alternative for its current cross-site tracking mechanism? That the income of Google relies on this profiling? Or does he want evidence that Barb did not say a word about this and posed it as ‘a problem of the community’ and ‘something the community wants’? No… that is not it. He wants evidence for her being a manipulator, because that is what I called her. Well… here you have it, Paul. All of the above.

Paul, Barb and peers… may I remind you that not allowing critisism is unethical. However, the fact that you guys deleted all negative comments except for the one of Kurt W. tells an interesting story. He wrote: “Third party cookies need to go. Y’all have been delaying this to consumers for reasons of corporate greed. The original timeline had passed some time ago.” A negative comment. All other comments were positive. Why did you NOT delete this one? Let me explain: You want us to think that without 3rd party cookies there will be no more tracking, no more profiling and no more corporate greed. Unfortunately, that is not true and Google does not have plans to stop with any of that. You may say that I am a conspiracy thinker, but Barb HAS been honest about this particular subject. She said clearly that you are replacing 3rd party cookies with new tracking mechanisms. Mechanisms that make it easier to fingerprint and that have not yet been forbidden by European law.

Let us look at it from the bright side: Barb’s presentation was so poor it made the truth shine trough. She did not lie in our faces, but was beating around the bush, which made clear she was hiding something. From that perspective I have to thank her. However, I expected a more honest approach from Google. I remembered them to be nicer, more co-dependent towards developers. Times must have changed…

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