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Google Grim Reaper: The latest killed projects - Network WorldA fall spring clean, September 2011

In February 2010, Google bought social networking site Aardvark for $50 million, and canned it 19 months later. Users submitted questions to Aardvark via the Web, IM, or email. Aardvark hooked the requests up with friends-of-friends who might have the answer.

The seven-year-old Google Desktop Search bit the dust. Once the envy of XP-era desktop search, Google’s product worked on Windows, OS X, and Linux.

Fast Flip, a precursor to flippable news magazines like Flipboard (which appeared on iOS in late 2010), bit the dust after two years. Google Pack, which bundled apps like Desktop, Picasa, Google Earth, Chrome, and the toolbar for IE, got unglued. Google also axed Maps APIs for Flash, Web Security, Notebook (which may come back as Google Keep),...

 

A fall sweep, October 2011

Google Buzz, an odd social networking feature in Gmail, strove to take on Facebook and Twitter but failed, except in its influence on Google+. Integration with Picasa, Flickr, Google Reader, YouTube, Blogger, and Twitter presaged the let's-dump-everything-here tendency of more recent aggregators. Buzz lasted 20 months.

If you were a programmer back then, you probably remember the demise of Code Search, the remarkable attempt to make open source code more accessible, no matter where it resides. Ohloh has taken up the mantle.

Google bought Jaiku, a Twitter-like networking service, in 2007, stopped new development in 2009, and finally gave up the ghost in 2011, as tweets overwhelmed jaiks. iGoogle, which features prominently in the July 2012 spring-cleaning announcement, lost its social features

More spring cleaning out of season, November 2011

Perhaps the most-loved Google orphan, Google Wave, defies description: Start with a re-imagining of email, with the message and its replies in a single location, augmented by real-time multi-user editing capabilities. And that’s just the beginning. Google released Wave to the public in May 2010. By August 2010, Google stopped development, and killed it officially in November 2011.

Google Gears also went belly-up. Once the storage engine behind Gmail, YouTube, Docs, Reader, and many more Google products, Gears was best known for mirroring cloud files onto the local computer via the browser. Google decided to add the features to HTML5.

While Google wanted Knol to turn into a Wikipedia competitor, it didn’t happen. Google turned the content over to Annotum, an open-source academic site.

Renewing old resolutions for the new year, January 2012

In March 2010, Google bought Picnik -- best known as the default photo editor inside Flickr -- for between $40 and $80 million. In January 2012, Google announced that it was shutting Picnik down, moving the photo editing team to work on Picasa and Google+.

In October 2011, Google spent $700 million for Needlebase, a highly regarded program that scrapes data off Web databases (it was the engine behind Orbitz). In January 2012, Google announced it was killing Needlebase on June 1, absorbing the technology into other Google products.

That same month, Google killed

Spring cleaning … in spring! April 2012

April’s crop of cuts contained few that anyone would lament. The most interesting was an online mapping app developed by Google called the Flu Vaccine Finder. Google handed over all of its development tools to the HealthMap effort at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School.

We also saw the usual demise of a bunch of APIs, a browsing assistant nobody ever used called Google Related, a mobile version of Google Talk, the long-lamented Picasa for Linux (which had maybe 10 users), and the One Pass payment method for online publishers.

 

Spring cleaning in summer, July 2012

July brought the single worst Google evisceration in history. iGoogle, the build-it-yourself blocky interface for RSS feeds, got the axe. I’ve taught thousands of people (tens of thousands?) how to work with RSS feeds using iGoogle. Google didn’t summarily kill iGoogle, granting a 16-month stay of execution until Nov. 1, 2013. I will miss it.

Google Video also hit the skids. Google started merging Google Video and YouTube in 2007, finally blocking uploads to Google Video in May 2009, but retaining Video’s search functions. In April 2011, Google announced it was killing Google Video, but then backed off two weeks later. This was the coup de grace. The fat lady also sang for Google Mini enterprise search, Google Talk Chatback, and Symbian Search.

 More spring cleaning, September 2012

Just two months after the last spring-cleaning, Google lopped off eight more heads, simultaneously. The most ominous: AdSense for Feeds. Nobody was using AdSense to make money from their RSS feeds, which is why Google killed it, but few people realized at the time that Google had pretty much given up on RSS feeds: AdSense for Feeds was Google’s only way to make money from RSS.

More roadkill: Google Classic Plus let you use any image as a background for the Google search screen. Spreadsheet Gadgets were covered by the native Charts app. Google News Badges rewarded reading news items (!). Places Directory was rolled into Google Maps. Storage in Picasa and Google Drive was consolidated. Insight for Search melded into Trends.

 

Winter cleaning, December 2012

Google announced it would no longer support syncing via Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync by preventing customers from setting up new devices with Google Sync. Except, that is, for paid Google accounts. There’s little apparent reason for the axing, except to goad Microsoft into supporting CalDAV (calendar) and CardDAV (contacts) on Windows Phone, Win8, and Windows RT. The move took effect Jan. 30, 2013; there was a reprieve for Windows Phone users until July 31, but a recent Metro app update has made everything murky. MS has posted a Google Sync work-around for Windows 8 and Windows RT customers.

Google also announced that it was discontinuing some Google Calendar features, the Issue Tracker API, and a practically unknown retail customer loyalty scheme called...

 

A second spring of cleaning, March 2013

The demise of RSS aggregator Google Reader sent cries wailing in the blogosphere, with many accusing Google of corporate malfeasance, crass indifference, and a closet targeting of tech writers, who were among Reader’s most vocal victims. Of course, Reader was in decline: Tech Crunch’s MG Siegler says Reader referrals to its site were down two-thirds in the past 18 months.

Google Apps Script GUI Builder hit the skids. Google restricted direct access to the CalDAV API to select developers. Building Maker, an app that let people build 3D models for certain cities in Google Earth went, too, as did Cloud Connect, which provides a direct way to access Google Drive from Office apps. Now you need to install Google Drive separately....

 More wood, and an arrow in Google Labs’ back, July 2011

Before “spring cleaning” became an enduring Google meme 18 months ago, Google signaled the start of its serious pruning effort by cancelling Google Labs, in a July 2011 blog entitled “More wood behind fewer arrows.” Before you shed a belated tear for the group that brought us, among many others, Gmail and many of its features, Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Body, and Google Goggles, consider the not-so-surprising fact that many of the old Google Labs projects live on. They’ve just been moved to different divisions, presumably transforming them from cost centers to parts of operational divisions. The old logo’s gone, but the rest lives on. NetworkWorld has a list, compiled in October 2011.

 

What’s going to happen to Feedburner?

I fully expect Google’s next spring cleaning post will announce the demise of FeedBurner. Why? Because Google has systematically killed off every RSS-based app in its arsenal except for FeedBurner, the engine that drove them all. iGoogle went in July 2012, although it’s been granted a reprieve until November 2013, and FeedBurner will no doubt stick around until then. AdSense for Feeds crumbled last September. Google Reader bit the bucket earlier this month. Google declared the FeedBurner API deprecated in June 2011, but left the door open with “no scheduled date for shutdown.”

Google bought FeedBurner in June 2007, for a reported $100 million. If it goes down the tubes, FeedBurner will be one of the biggest products Google ever bought, then explicitly...

 The latest likely cremation candidate: Google Keep

Just five days ago, Google announced its latest creation, Google Keep. Although Google would like you to think that it’s an Evernote competitor, in fact, Keep doesn’t play in the same league. A very straightforward note-keeping app, Keep may have aspirations to compete with Microsoft’s OneNote, but even that comparison’s more than a little strained.

Keep owes a little bit to its conceptual predecessor, Google Notebook, which was killed in September 2011.

Clearly, Google created Keep to answer critics of the Google Apps suite who couldn’t find a OneNote competitor. Just as clearly, the product needs a lot of work. Will it succumb to spring-cleaning as rapidly as the others in this list? Time will tell.

 

The latest likely cremation candidate: Google Keep

Just five days ago, Google announced its latest creation, Google Keep. Although Google would like you to think that it’s an Evernote competitor, in fact, Keep doesn’t play in the same league. A very straightforward note-keeping app, Keep may have aspirations to compete with Microsoft’s OneNote, but even that comparison’s more than a little strained.

Keep owes a little bit to its conceptual predecessor, Google Notebook, which was killed in September 2011.

Clearly, Google created Keep to answer critics of the Google Apps suite who couldn’t find a OneNote competitor. Just as clearly, the product needs a lot of work. Will it succumb to spring-cleaning as rapidly as the others in this list? Time will tell.


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Old News ;-)

[Sep 16, 2018] Firefox peaked at well over 30% [statcounter.com], people were leaving IE in droves taking it from 95%+ to the low 60s before Chrome even existed

Notable quotes:
"... I used the Chrome browser for about seven years. It's a great browser -- fast, snappy, good looking, responsive. Unfortunately, it's controlled by Google, an organization that can no longer be trusted. ..."
"... I went back to Firefox. I don't trust Google and their ad ecosystem. Firefox has its problems, but it doesn't have a multi-billiondollar neoliberal fascist enterprise backing it. ..."
tech.slashdot.org

Kjella ( 173770 ) #57249058 ) Homepage

Re:This is the factual inaccuracy in the summary.. ( Score: 3 )
Sep 07, 2018 | tech.slashdot.org

IE 9 was the first non sucky IE browser and MS was forced to follow webstandards all thinks to Chrome's marketshare (...) All they know is Firefox was slow, and their worksites looked funny which is why it never took more than 15% marketshare.

What a load of bullshit history revisionism being modded up by moderators sucking Google's cock. Firefox peaked at well over 30% [statcounter.com], people were leaving IE in droves taking it from 95%+ to the low 60s before Chrome even existed. Mozilla and Firefox did all the hard work of getting sites to work in something other than IE6 and the decline continued even though Microsoft much improved standards compliance in IE7 and IE8. Yes, Chrome was good but it came long after writing MS specific HTML/CSS was dead.

which is why Google left Gecko

That never happened, Google chose Webkit from the very beginning. Perhaps because they found it better in the first place, but it's not like they built something around Gecko and then abandoned it. Don't get me wrong, Chrome was a good product that took users from Firefox and sent IE from a decline into a free fall. But it was way too late to the party to get any credit for breaking IE's monopoly and forcing Microsoft into standards compliance. Except for all the money Google funneled into Mozilla in return for search results of course, but Chrome basically walked in open doors Firefox had already knocked down.

IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) , Monday September 03, 2018 @02:33PM ( #57246940 ) Homepage Journal

Unfortunately, it's Google. ( Score: 5 , Insightful)

I used the Chrome browser for about seven years. It's a great browser -- fast, snappy, good looking, responsive. Unfortunately, it's controlled by Google, an organization that can no longer be trusted.

This sent me back into the welcoming arms of Firefox (and yes, my search engine is DuckDuckGo).

Luckyo ( 1726890 ) , Tuesday September 04, 2018 @08:13AM ( #57249902 )
Re: Unfortunately, it's Google. ( Score: 4 , Interesting)

We're talking about chromium, and the fact that it in fact does not use system hardware or software decoders. And with semi-recent changes Google made to chomium code, you can no longer just drop in the decoders into appropriate folder to make it work. ›

Waccoon ( 1186667 ) , Thursday September 06, 2018 @07:14AM ( #57262508 )
Re:Unfortunately, it's Google. ( Score: 2 )

I wouldn't say that what they're doing is worse, but I can't stand their ad campaigns championing their respect for privacy.

Google doesn't try to hide the fact they collect data. Mozilla has been caught borderline lying (and semi-backtracking) on too many occasions.

Billly Gates ( 198444 ) , Monday September 03, 2018 @03:02PM ( #57247050 ) Journal
Thanks KDE/Steve Jobs & Google ( Score: 4 , Interesting)

Webkit was a much needed improvement. Also IE 6 websites still dominated many many years after 2000 in 2007/2008 when the first iPhone came out.

Webkit was better and designed to be abstract and multi-platform unlike gecko which was why Chrome switched from gecko to webkit while it was still in alpha. Without Chrome and mobile app support IE 6 would still be here. I was one of those Firefox rebels but it was a geek thing 10 years ago. If I recall it had just 10 to 15% of the market and I had to keep IE around for some websites.

Grandma would see this site not render in Firefox and blame the browser and go back to IE which made webdevelopers scream in frustration.

Though webkit and it's blink cousin are default in all devices and platforms I think it's a good thing we the web returned to where it should be and is now an open standard. Thanks Google, Apple, and the Konqueror project for making this possible.

Anonymous Coward , Monday September 03, 2018 @03:27PM ( #57247148 )
Re:Thanks KDE/Steve Jobs & Google ( Score: 1 )

KHTML was chosen as the basis for WebKit due to being lightweight (140k LoC). After Apple seized control the number of lines of code quickly grew to 14 million (!) This was expected to be better than if Microsoft got control of the project (NaN LoC estimate).

DatbeDank ( 4580343 ) , Monday September 03, 2018 @03:03PM ( #57247054 )
And after 8 Years ( Score: 2 , Insightful)

I went back to Firefox. I don't trust Google and their ad ecosystem. Firefox has its problems, but it doesn't have a multi-billiondollar neoliberal fascist enterprise backing it.

Anonymous Coward , Monday September 03, 2018 @03:52PM ( #57247254 )
Re:And after 8 Years ( Score: 2 , Informative)
I went back to Firefox. I don't trust Google and their ad ecosystem.

Firefox has its problems, but it doesn't have a multi-billiondollar neoliberal fascist enterprise backing it.

LOL....LOL....LOL

Apparently you don't understand where Mozilla gets all their money.

Almost 100% of Mozilla's revenue (currently about $350 Million a year) comes from . . . . . . . GOOGLE!

And Mozilla is just as "neoliberal fascist" as Google. (Forced their CEO to resign because he gave some money to a political campaign they don't like).

AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) writes: < {mojo} {at} {world3.net} > on Monday September 03, 2018 @04:48PM ( #57247446 ) Homepage Journal
Re:And after 8 Years ( Score: 3 )

Chrome doesn't have ads and Google respects Do Not Track, which you can enable in Chrome.

Firefox secretly installed an advertising plugin for a TV show without permission.

Your trust is misplaced. Also, "neoliberal fascist enterprise" makes you sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist.

sremick ( 91371 ) , Monday September 03, 2018 @04:58PM ( #57247468 )
Chrome is the new IE ( Score: 3 , Interesting)

Dumbed down anti-user interface. Arrogant background processes that spawn countless instances and take over your computer. Drive-by unwanted trojan installs as Google greases the palms of every freeware dev to sneak a Chrome install into their app installer. But worst of all now are the "Only works in Chrome" websites:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/... [theverge.com]

Microsoft got raked over the coals for doing all the same shit that Google is now getting a pass for. What the fuck?

All you so-called geeks who champion Chrome are either just out of highschool or you are hypocrites with very short memories.

Babout 7⃣6⃣ ( 5434818 ) , Monday September 03, 2018 @05:42PM ( #57247578 )
amazing how quick ( Score: 3 , Insightful)

amazing how quick the fresh take on the browser became mundane and bloated.

Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) , Tuesday September 04, 2018 @10:11AM ( #57250414 )
Re:amazing how quick ( Score: 2 )
There's noting bloated about Chrome.

Tell that to my RAM usage monitor. I finally had enough headaches with Chrome's memory usage that I gave Firefox a fair shot for several weeks (I gave up due to a thousand small lacks of attention to detail), and now am giving Safari a fair shot for a few weeks.

At this point, I plan to stay with Safari. Though it isn't as full-featured, the current version feels snappier, uses less memory, and does enough of the stuff that I care about to have won me over from Chrome. ›

cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) , Monday September 03, 2018 @07:15PM ( #57247888 )
It was so much better than the competition, at the ( Score: 2 )

It was so much better than the competition, at the time.

I'm largely back to FF now. As FF seems to be regaining at least part of its sanity.

[Jun 01, 2018] Google Abandons Pentagon's AI-Drone 'Project Maven' After Employee Revolt

Notable quotes:
"... Remember "don't be evil"? Neither do they. ..."
Jun 01, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

toady -> greenskeeper carl Fri, 06/01/2018 - 18:50 Permalink

Remember "don't be evil"? Neither do they.

SILVERGEDDON -> vato poco Fri, 06/01/2018 - 20:46 Permalink

The whiney employees will become drone targets. The project will continue, for the good of the Peeples.

We have always been at war with Eurasia.

HRClinton -> Colonel Klinks Ghost Fri, 06/01/2018 - 19:04 Permalink

LOL, that's a convenient list of 4,000 revolting* people to be laid off soon.

* not to be confused with Deplorable people. ;-)

[Apr 02, 2018] The quality of Google translation from Russian is low

Apr 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

@bjd #86

Just a genera advice from a native Russian speaker, i still suggest you first trying dedicated language-specialized engine like ProMT/Stylus (my link of www.translate.ru) before stohastic engines like Google/Bing

The latter have much better vocabularies but are deaf on nuances and are affected by holywars on hot topics (to the extend of calling white black), so they better serve to clear places that dedicated engine failed at.

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31, 2018 7:45:30 PM | 90

Just for comparison of the engines.

http://www.translate.ru/site/auto/ru-en/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mid.ru%2Fru%2Fforeign_policy%2Fnews%2F-%2Fasset_publisher%2FcKNonkJE02Bw%2Fcontent%2Fid%2F3150139

Granted, the dry official style of diplomatic notes is perhaps not one where the nuancing of live language matters. It is also funny how both engines failed at legalese "Case of Teh Skripals", though in different ways.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Questions of the Russian Side to France on the "business by Skripalya" fabricated by Great Britain against Russia

618-31-03-2018

On March 31 the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Paris sent to foreign policy department of France a note with the list of questions to the French party on the "business by Skripalya" fabricated against Russia:
1. On what basis France was involved in technical cooperation in investigation of incident by Great Britain in Salisbury?
2. Whether France sent the formal notice to OPCW on connection to technical cooperation in investigation of incident in Salisbury?
3. What proofs were transferred to France by Great Britain within rendering technical cooperation?
4. Whether there were French experts at a biomaterial intake at Sergey and Yulia Skripaley?
5. Whether research by the French experts of biomaterials of Sergey and Yulia Skripaley, if yes, that in what laboratory was conducted?
6. On the basis of what signs the French experts drew a conclusion on use of fighting toxic agent like "Beginner" (on the British terminology) or its analogs?
7. What expert knowledge France in the field of studying of fighting toxic agents of this type or its analogs has?
8. On the basis of what signs (markers) the French experts established "the Russian character" of an origin of the substance applied in Salisbury?
9. Whether there are for France control approved samples of fighting Beginner toxic agent (on the British terminology) or its analogs?
10. Whether samples of fighting toxic agent of this type or its analogs in France, if yes, that in what purposes were developed?

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 31, 2018 7:50:12 PM | 92

Piotr Berman , Mar 31, 2018 9:29:04 PM | 96
"The Case of the Violins"

skripki is the Russian word for violin, it has plural form

It is a bit of mystery why "of Skripals" = Skripalyev was deconstructed as the same as "of violins" = skripok. However, Google translate has the following method: remove grammatical endings and what remains, translate verbatim, if multiple possibilities exist, pick one at random. If everything fails, leave a word untranslated. This leads to such feats of translatory:

Bishops flood blood about their expensive fury

In the original, "flood" is a verb, 3rd person singular, present tense, so it has to be bloods that flood, not the bishops who are many. Bloods flood someone = that someone is very irritated. So bishops were very irritated, and the reason was "expensive fury". Fury (pronounced foo-ry) is plural of fura, a horse driven cart for transporting bulky stuff, say, hay, but in popular slang it means a car, the topic of an article with cited title was a reaction of higher clergy to papal order not to use luxury vehicles. For some reason Google did not find the word in its dictionary. Last comment: "their" was a lucky guess by Google, because the original is randomly translated as her, his, mine, their, our, yours -- what it really means is belonging to the subject.

[Apr 01, 2018] Trouble for big tech as consumers sour on Amazon, Facebook and co

Those companies are way too connected with intelligence agencies (some of then are essentially an extension of intelligence agencies) and as such they will be saved in any case. That means that chances that it will be dot com bubble burst No.2 exist. but how high they are is unclear.
Apr 01, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Trump is after Amazon, Congress is after Facebook, and Apple and Google have their problems too. Should the world's top tech firms be worried?

rump is going after Amazon; Congress is after Facebook; Google is too big, and Apple is short of new products. Is it any surprise that sentiment toward the tech industry giants is turning sour? The consequences of such a readjustment, however, may be dire.

Trump lashes out at Amazon and sends stocks tumbling

Read more

The past two weeks have been difficult for the tech sector by every measure. Tech stocks have largely driven the year's stock market decline, the largest quarterly drop since 2015.

Facebook saw more than $50bn shaved off its value after the Observer revealed that Cambridge Analytica had harvested millions of people's user data for political profiling. Now users are deleting accounts, and regulators may seek to limit how the company monetizes data, threatening Facebook's business model.

On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission confirmed it was investigating the company's data practices. Additionally, Facebook said it would send a top executive to London to appear in front of UK lawmakers, but it would not send the chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, who is increasingly seen as isolated and aloof.

Shares of Facebook have declined more than 17% from the close on Friday 16 March to the close on Thursday before the Easter break.

Amazon, meanwhile, long the target of President Trump's ire, saw more than $30bn, or 5%, shaved off its $693bn market capitalization after it was reported that the president was "obsessed" with the company and that he "wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law".

Shares of Apple, and Google's parent company Alphabet, are also down, dropping on concerns that tech firms now face tighter regulation across the board.

For Apple, there's an additional concern that following poor sales of its $1,000 iPhone X. For Google, there's the prospect not only of tighter regulation on how it sells user date to advertisers, but also the fear of losing an important Android software patent case with the Oracle.

Big tech's critics may be forgiven a moment of schadenfreude. But for shareholders and pension plans, the tarnishing of tech could have serious consequences.

Apple, Amazon and Alphabet make up 10% of the S&P 500 with a combined market capitalization market cap of $2.3tn. Add Microsoft and Facebook, with a combined market value of $1.1tn, and the big five make up 15% of the index.

Overall, technology makes up 25% of the S&P. If tech pops, the thinking goes, so pops the market.

"We're one week into a sell-off after a multi-year run-up," says Eric Kuby of North Star Investment Management. "The big picture is that over the past five years a group of mega cap tech stocks like Nvidia, Netflix, Facebook have gone up anywhere from 260% to 1,800%."


Confess -> Nedward Marbletoe , 1 Apr 2018 16:12

The post office is a service for citizens. It operates at a loss. Being able to send a letter across the country in two days for fifty cents is a service our government provides. Amazon is abusing that service. It's whole business model requires government support.
Byron Delaney , 1 Apr 2018 15:59
Amazon's spending power is garnered simply from its massively overalued stock price. If that falls, down goes Amazon. Facebook is entirely dependent on the postive opinion of active users. If users stop using, down goes Facebook's stock price, and so goes the company. It's extremely fragile. Apple has a short product cycle. If people lose interest in its newest versions, its stock price can tank in one year or so. Google and Microsoft seem quite solid, but are likely overvalued. (Tesla will most likwly go bankrupt, along with many others.) If these stocks continue to lose value, rwtirement funds will get scary, and we could enter recession again almost immediately. Since companies such as Amazon have already degraded the eatablished infrastructure of the economy, there may be no actual recovery. We will need to change drastically in some way. It seems that thw wheels are already turning, and this is where we are going now - with Trump as our leader.
lennbob , 1 Apr 2018 15:58
'Deutsche Bank analyst Lloyd Walmsley said: "We do not think attacking Amazon will be popular."'

Lloyd Walmsley hasn't spent much time in Seattle, apparently. The activities of Amazon and Google (but especially Amazon) have all contributed to traffic problems, rising rents and property prices, and gentrification (among other things) that are all making Seattle a less affordable, less attractive place to live. That's why Amazon is looking to establish a 'second headquarters' in another city: they've upset too many people here to be able to expand further in this area without at least encountering significant resistance. People here used to refer to Microsoft as 'the evil empire'; now we use it to refer to Amazon. And when it comes to their original business, books, I and most people I know actively avoid buying from Amazon, choosing instead to shop at the area's many independent book stores.

PardelLux , 1 Apr 2018 15:54
Dear Guardian,
why do you still sport the FB, Twitter, Google+, Instagramm, Pinterest etc. buttons below every single article? Why do you have to do their dirty work? I don't do that on my webpages, you don't need to do neither. Please stop it.
Alexander Dunnett , 1 Apr 2018 15:42
Not being a Trump supporter, however there is a lot of sense in some of the comments coming from Trump,. Whether he carries through with them , is another subject.


His comment on Amazon:- " Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state or local governments, use our postal system as their delivery boy (causing tremendous loss to the US) and putting many thousands of retailers out of business."

Who can argue against that? Furthermore, the retailers would have paid some tax!

Talk about elephants in the room. What about the elephants who were let out of the room to run amuck ? Should it not have been the case of being wise before the event , rather than after the event?

Neovercingetorix , 1 Apr 2018 15:20
A quasi-battle of the billionaires. With Bezos, there's the immediate political element in Bezos' ownership of the clearly anti-Trump Washington Post, which has gone so far as to become lax in editorial oversight (eg, misspelling and even occasional incomplete articles published in an obvious rush to be first to trash POTUS), but there are other issues. Amazon's impact on physical retail is well-documented, and not so long ago (ie, before Trump "attacked" Amazon"), it was sometimes lamented by those on the American left, and Trump is correct in that critique, provided one believes it is valid in the first place. Amazon does have a lot of data on its customers, including immense expenditure information on huge numbers of people. What kinds of constraints are there in place to protect this data, aside from lawyer-enriching class action suits? Beyond that, there's also online defense procurement, worth hundreds of billions in revenue to Amazon in the years to come, that was included in the modified NDAA last year. Maybe that is on Trump's mind, maybe not, but it should probably be on everyone's mind. Maybe the Sherman Antitrust Act needs to be reinvigorated. It would seem that even Trump's foes should be willing to admit that he gets some things right, but that now seems unacceptable. I mean, look at the almost knee-jerk defense of NAFTA, which way back when used to be criticized by Democrats and unions, but now must be lionized.
Byron Delaney , 1 Apr 2018 14:46
If Amazon can get cheaper shipping than anyone else and enable manufactuers to sell direct, they can sell more than anyone else as long as consumers only buy according to total price. This means two things. One, all retailers as well as distributors may be put out of business. Two, the success of Amazon may rely almost entirely on shipping costs. American consumers also will need to forego the shopping experience, but if they may do so if they're sarisfied with remaining in their residences, workplaces, and cars most of the time. This is the case in many places. People visit Starbucks drive thrus and eat and drink in their cars. If Amazon owns the food stores such as Whole Foods and Starbucks, it's a done deal. Except for one thing. If this happens, the economy will collapse. That may have already happened. Bezos is no rocket scientist.

[Mar 27, 2018] Why Hiring the 'Best' People Produces the Least Creative Results

Mar 27, 2018 | news.slashdot.org

(qz.com) BeauHD on Saturday February 10, 2018 @09:54PM from the fallacy-of-merit dept. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report written by Scott E. Page, who explains why hiring the "best" people produces the least creative results : The burgeoning of teams -- most academic research is now done in teams, as is most investing and even most songwriting (at least for the good songs) -- tracks the growing complexity of our world. We used to build roads from A to B. Now we construct transportation infrastructure with environmental, social, economic, and political impacts. The complexity of modern problems often precludes any one person from fully understanding them. The multidimensional or layered character of complex problems also undermines the principle of meritocracy: The idea that the "best person" should be hired. There is no best person. When putting together an oncological research team, a biotech company such as Gilead or Genentech would not construct a multiple-choice test and hire the top scorers, or hire people whose resumes score highest according to some performance criteria. Instead, they would seek diversity. They would build a team of people who bring diverse knowledge bases, tools and analytic skills. That team would more likely than not include mathematicians (though not logicians such as Griffeath). And the mathematicians would likely study dynamical systems and differential equations.

Believers in a meritocracy might grant that teams ought to be diverse but then argue that meritocratic principles should apply within each category. Thus the team should consist of the "best" mathematicians, the "best" oncologists, and the "best" biostatisticians from within the pool. That position suffers from a similar flaw. Even with a knowledge domain, no test or criteria applied to individuals will produce the best team. Each of these domains possesses such depth and breadth, that no test can exist. When building a forest, you do not select the best trees as they tend to make similar classifications. You want diversity. Programmers achieve that diversity by training each tree on different data, a technique known as bagging. They also boost the forest 'cognitively' by training trees on the hardest cases -- those that the current forest gets wrong. This ensures even more diversity and accurate forests.

[Mar 22, 2018] Know Your History Google Has Been a Military-Intel Contractor from the Very Beginning

Mar 22, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by George Washington Wed, 03/21/2018 - 23:09 206 SHARES

By Yasha Levine, Surveillance Valley .

Levine's investigative reporting on the connection between the Silicon Valley tech giants and the military-intelligence community has been praised by high-level NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, and many others. [See my interviews of Drake here:

"Google has partnered with the United States Department of Defense to help the agency develop artificial intelligence for analyzing drone footage, a move that set off a firestorm among employees of the technology giant when they learned of Google's involvement." -- Gizmodo / March 6, 2018

Gizmodo's report on Google's work for the Pentagon has been making headlines all day. It's also thrown the normally placid halls of Google's Mountain View HQ into chaos. Seems that Googlers can't believe that their awesome company would get involved in something as heinous as helping the Pentagon increase its drone targeting capability.

But the fact that Google helps the military build more efficient systems of surveillance and death shouldn't be surprising, especially not to Google employees. The truth is that Google has spent the last 15 years selling souped-up versions of its information technology to military and intelligence agencies, local police departments, and military contractors of all size and specialization -- including outfits that sell predictive policing tech deployed in cities across America today.

As I outline in my book Surveillance Valley , it started in 2003 with customized Google search solutions for data hosted by the CIA and NSA. The company's military contracting work then began to expand in a major way after 2004, when Google cofounder Sergey Brin pushed for buying Keyhole, a mapping startup backed by the CIA and the NGA, a sister agency to the NSA that handles spy satellite intelligence.

Spooks loved Keyhole because of the "video game-like" simplicity of its virtual maps. They also appreciated the ability to layer visual information over other intelligence. The sky was the limit. Troop movements, weapons caches, real-time weather and ocean conditions, intercepted emails and phone call intel, cell phone locations -- whatever intel you had with a physical location could be thrown onto a map and visualized. Keyhole gave an intelligence analyst, a commander in the field, or an air force pilot up in the air the kind of capability that we now take for granted: using digital mapping services on our computers and mobile phones to look up restaurants, cafes, museums, traffic conditions, and subway routes. "We could do these mashups and expose existing legacy data sources in a matter of hours, rather than weeks, months, or years," an NGA official gushed about Keyhole -- the company that we now know as Google Earth.

Military commanders weren't the only ones who liked Keyhole's ability to mash up data. So did Google cofounder Sergey Brin.

The purchase of Keyhole was a major milestone for Google, marking the moment the company stopped being a purely consumer-facing Internet company and began integrating with the US government. While Google's public relations team did its best to keep the company wrapped in a false aura of geeky altruism, company executives pursued an aggressive strategy to become the Lockheed Martin of the Internet Age. "We're functionally more than tripling the team each year," a Google exec who ran Google Federal, the company's military sales division, said in 2008.

It was true. With insiders plying their trade, Google's expansion into the world of military and intelligence contracting took off.

What kind of work?

Here are just a few data points from Surveillance Valley :

More from the book:

"Google has been tightlipped about the details and scope of its contracting business. It does not list this revenue in a separate column in quarterly earnings reports to investors, nor does it provide the sum to reporters. But an analysis of the federal contracting database maintained by the US government, combined with information gleaned from Freedom of Information Act requests and published periodic reports on the company's military work, reveals that Google has been doing brisk business selling Google Search, Google Earth, and Google Enterprise (now known as G Suite) products to just about every major military and intelligence agency: navy, army, air force, Coast Guard, DARPA, NSA, FBI, DEA, CIA, NGA, and the State Department. Sometimes Google sells directly to the government, but it also works with established contractors like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation), a California-based intelligence mega-contractor that has so many former NSA employees working for it that it is known in the business as 'NSA West.'"

-- Yasha Levine

Want to know more?

Read "Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet"

[Dec 16, 2017] Google vs. Bing on what is the unz review, by Steve Sailer - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... I use Bing and only resort to google for difficult searches, say 7% of the time. Also using the trackmenot extension which keeps bing and google from tracking your searches. ..."
"... I use DDG for regular searches myself since several years; it's usually good enough not to bother with the Goolag. ..."
"... Google is an off-shoot of the CIA. ..."
Dec 16, 2017 | www.unz.com

Clyde , December 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm GMT

I use Bing and only resort to google for difficult searches, say 7% of the time. Also using the trackmenot extension which keeps bing and google from tracking your searches.

On a Google search for only "Unz" I get clean and untainted results. No warnings or cautions from ADL or anyone else.

rogue-one , December 14, 2017 at 12:36 pm GMT
@Achmed E. Newman

Perhaps the problem is that if DuckDuckGo becomes the next Google, ADL, Soros, & their friends will go after DuckDuckGo for promoting "hate speech". To keep away SJWs, DuckDuckGo would resort to similar measures.

We shouldn't forget at one time Twitter was the "free speech wing of the free speech party." Today, after "abuse" allegations, it has "trust & safety council".

Progressivism is like a virus. It is attracted to healthy organizations & networks and forces them to act according to progressive values.

Pericles , December 14, 2017 at 12:51 pm GMT
@Achmed E. Newman

DuckDuckGo uses Bing as the underlying engine, in case you'd like to know.

I use DDG for regular searches myself since several years; it's usually good enough not to bother with the Goolag.

Detective Club , Website December 14, 2017 at 2:31 pm GMT
Google is an off-shoot of the CIA.

[Dec 14, 2017] Tech Giants Trying to Use WTO to Colonize Emerging Economies

Notable quotes:
"... The initiative described in this article reminds me of how the World Bank pushed hard for emerging economies to develop capital markets, for the greater good of America's investment bankers. ..."
"... By Burcu Kilic, an expert on legal, economic and political issues. Originally published at openDemocracy ..."
"... Today, the big tech race is for data extractivism from those yet to be 'connected' in the world – tech companies will use all their power to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or localisation. ..."
"... One suspects big money will be thrown at this by the leading tech giants. ..."
"... Out of idle curiosity, how could you accurately deduce my country of origin from my name? ..."
Dec 14, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

December 14, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. Notice that Costa Rica is served up as an example in this article. Way back in 1997, American Express had designated Costa Rica as one of the countries it identified as sufficiently high income so as to be a target for a local currency card offered via a franchise agreement with a domestic institution (often but not always a bank). 20 years later, the Switzerland of Central America still has limited Internet connectivity, yet is precisely the sort of place that tech titans like Google would like to dominate.

The initiative described in this article reminds me of how the World Bank pushed hard for emerging economies to develop capital markets, for the greater good of America's investment bankers.

By Burcu Kilic, an expert on legal, economic and political issues. Originally published at openDemocracy

Today, the big tech race is for data extractivism from those yet to be 'connected' in the world – tech companies will use all their power to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or localisation.

n a few weeks' time, trade ministers from 164 countries will gather in Buenos Aires for the 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC11). US President Donald Trump in November issued fresh accusations of unfair treatment towards the US by WTO members , making it virtually impossible for trade ministers to leave the table with any agreement in substantial areas.

To avoid a 'failure ministerial," some countries see the solution as pushing governments to open a mandate to start conversations that might lead to a negotiation on binding rules for e-commerce and a declaration of the gathering as the "digital ministerial". Argentina's MC11 chair, Susana Malcorra, is actively pushing for member states to embrace e-commerce at the WTO, claiming that it is necessary to " bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots ".

It is not very clear what kind of gaps Malcorra is trying to bridge. It surely isn't the "connectivity gap" or "digital divide" that is growing between developed and developing countries, seriously impeding digital learning and knowledge in developing countries. In fact, half of humanity is not even connected to the internet, let alone positioned to develop competitive markets or bargain at a multilateral level. Negotiating binding e-commerce rules at the WTO would only widen that gap.

Dangerously, the "South Vision" of digital trade in the global trade arena is being shaped by a recent alliance of governments and well-known tech-sector lobbyists, in a group called 'Friends of E-Commerce for Development' (FED), including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, and, most recently, China. FED claims that e-commerce is a tool to drive growth, narrow the digital divide, and generate digital solutions for developing and least developed countries.

However, none of the countries in the group (apart from China) is leading or even remotely ready to be in a position to negotiate and push for binding rules on digital trade that will be favorable to them, as their economies are still far away from the technology revolution. For instance, it is perplexing that one of the most fervent defenders of FED's position is Costa Rica. The country's economy is based on the export of bananas, coffee, tropical fruits, and low-tech medical instruments, and almost half of its population is offline . Most of the countries in FED are far from being powerful enough to shift negotiations in favor of small players.

U.S.-based tech giants and Chinese Alibaba – so-called GAFA-A – dominate, by far, the future of the digital playing field, including issues such as identification and digital payments, connectivity, and the next generation of logistics solutions. In fact, there is a no-holds-barred ongoing race among these tech giants to consolidate their market share in developing economies, from the race to grow the advertising market to the race to increase online payments.

An e-commerce agenda that claims unprecedented development for the Global South is a Trojan horse move. Beginning negotiations on such topics at this stage – before governments are prepared to understand what is at stake – could lead to devastating results, accelerating liberalization and the consolidation of the power of tech giants to the detriment of local industries, consumers, and citizens. Aware of the increased disparities between North and South, and the data dominance of a tiny group of GAFA-A companies, a group of African nations issued a statement opposing the digital ambitions of the host for MC11. But the political landscape is more complex, with China, the EU, and Russia now supporting the idea of a "digital" mandate .

Repeating the Same Mistakes?

The relationships of most countries with tech companies are as imbalanced as their relationships with Big Pharma, and there are many parallels to note. Not so long ago, the countries of the Global South faced Big Pharma power in pharmaceutical markets in a similar way. Some developing countries had the same enthusiasm when they negotiated intellectual property rules for the protection of innovation and research and development costs. In reality, those countries were nothing more than users and consumers of that innovation, not the owners or creators. The lessons of negotiating trade issues that lie at the core of public interest issues – in that case, access to medicines – were costly. Human lives and fundamental rights of those who use online services should not be forgotten when addressing the increasingly worrying and unequal relationships with tech power.

The threat before our eyes is similarly complex and equally harmful to the way our societies will be shaped in the coming years. In the past, the Big Pharma race was for patent exclusivity, to eliminate local generic production and keep drug prices high. Today, the Big Tech race is for data extractivism from those who have yet to be connected in the world, and tech companies will use all the power they hold to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or data localization.

Big Tech is one of the most concentrated and resourceful industries of all time. The bargaining power of developing countries is minimal. Developing countries will basically be granting the right to cultivate small parcels of a land controlled by data lords -- under their rules, their mandate, and their will -- with practically no public oversight. The stakes are high. At the core of it is the race to conquer the markets of digital payments and the battle to become the platform where data flows, splitting the territory as old empires did in the past. As the Economist claimed on May 6, 2017: "Conflicts over control of oil have scarred the world for decades. No one yet worries that wars will be fought over data. But the data economy has the same potential for confrontation."

If countries from the Global South want to prepare for data wars, they should start thinking about how to reduce the control of Big Tech over -- how we communicate, shop, and learn the news -- , again, over our societies. The solution lies not in making rules for data liberalization, but in devising ways to use the law to reduce Big Tech's power and protect consumers and citizens. Finding the balance would take some time and we are going to take that time to find the right balance, we are not ready to lock the future yet.

Jef , December 14, 2017 at 11:32 am

I thought thats what the WTO is for?

Thuto , December 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm

One suspects big money will be thrown at this by the leading tech giants. To paraphrase from a comment I made recently regarding a similar topic : "with markets in the developed world pretty much sewn up by the tripartite tech overlords (google, fb and amazon), the next 3 billion users for their products/services are going to come from developing world". With this dynamic in mind, and the "constant growth" mantra humming incessantly in the background, it's easy to see how high stakes a game this is for the tech giants and how no resources will be spared to stymie any efforts at establishing a regulatory oversight framework that will protect the digital rights of citizens in the global south.

Multilateral fora like the WTO are de facto enablers for the marauding frontal attacks of transnational corporations, and it's disheartening to see that some developing nations have already nailed the digital futures of their citizens to the mast of the tech giants by joining this alliance. What's more, this signing away of their liberty will be sold to the citizenry as the best way to usher them into the brightest of all digital futures.

Mark P. , December 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm

One suspects big money will be thrown at this by the leading tech giants.

Vast sums of money are already being thrown at bringing Africa online, for better or worse. Thus, the R&D aimed at providing wireless Internet via giant drones/balloons/satellites by Google, Facebook, etc.

You're African. Possibly South African by your user name, which may explain why you're a little behind the curve, because the action is already happening, but more to the north -- and particularly in East Africa.

The big corporations -- and the tech giants are competing with the banking/credit card giants -- have noted how mobile technology leapt over the dearth of last century's telephony tech, land lines, and in turn enabled the highest adoption rates of cellphone banking in the world. (Particularly in East Africa, as I say.) The payoffs for big corporations are massive -- de facto cashless societies where the corporations control the payment systems –and the politicians are mostly cheap.

In Nigeria, the government has launched a Mastercard-branded national ID card that's also a payment card, in one swoop handing Mastercard more than 170 million potential customers, and their personal and biometric data.

In Kenya, the sums transferred by mobile money operator M-Pesa are more than 25 percent of that country's GDP.

You can see that bringing Africa online is technically a big, decade-long project. But also that the potential payoffs are vast. Though I also suspect China may come out ahead -- they're investing far more in Africa and in some areas their technology -- drones, for instance -- is already superior to what the Europeans and the American companies have.

Thuto , December 14, 2017 at 4:58 pm

Thank you Mark P.

Hoisted from a comment I made here recently: "Here in South Africa and through its Free Basics programme, facebook is jumping into bed with unsuspecting ISPs (I say unsuspecting because fb will soon be muscling in on their territory and becoming an ISP itself by provisioning bandwidth directly from its floating satellites) and circumventing net neutrality "

I'm also keenly aware of the developments in Kenya re: safaricom and Mpesa and how that has led to traditional banking via bank accounts being largely leapfrogged for those moving from being unbanked to active economic citizens requiring money transfer facilities. Given the huge succes of Mpesa, I wouldn't be surprised if a multinational tech behemoth (chinese or american) were to make a play for acquiring safaricom and positioning it as a triple-play ISP, money transfer/banking services and digital content provider (harvesting data about users habits on an unprecedented scale across multiple areas of their lives), first in Kenya then expanded throughout east, central and west africa. I must add that your statement about Nigeria puts Mark Zuckerberg's visit there a few months back into context somewhat, perhaps a reconnaissance mission of sorts.

Out of idle curiosity, how could you accurately deduce my country of origin from my name?

Mark P. , December 14, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Out of idle curiosity, how could you accurately deduce my country of origin from my name?

Though I've lived in California for decades, my mother was South African and I maintain a UK passport, having grown up in London.

Mark P. , December 14, 2017 at 3:34 pm

As you also write: "with markets in the developed world pretty much sewn up by the tripartite tech overlords (google, fb and amazon), the next 3 billion users for their products/services are going to come from developing world."

Absolutely true. This cannot be stressed enough. The tech giants know this and the race is on.

Mattski , December 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Been happening with food for 50 years.

[Oct 22, 2017] Silicon Valley is not your friend by Dan Crawford

Notable quotes:
"... Growth becomes the overriding motivation -- something treasured for its own sake, not for anything it brings to the world. Facebook and Google can point to a greater utility that comes from being the central repository of all people, all information, but such market dominance has obvious drawbacks, and not just the lack of competition. As we've seen, the extreme concentration of wealth and power is a threat to our democracy by making some people and companies unaccountable. ..."
"... Out of curiosity, the other day I searched "cellphones" on Google. Before finding even a mildly questioning article about cellphones, I paged down through ads for phones and lists of phones for sale, guides to buying phones and maps with directions to stores that sell phones, some 20 results in total. Somewhere, a pair of idealistic former graduate students must be saying: "See! I told you so!" ..."
Oct 20, 2017 | angrybearblog.com
Vis New York Times

Growth becomes the overriding motivation -- something treasured for its own sake, not for anything it brings to the world. Facebook and Google can point to a greater utility that comes from being the central repository of all people, all information, but such market dominance has obvious drawbacks, and not just the lack of competition. As we've seen, the extreme concentration of wealth and power is a threat to our democracy by making some people and companies unaccountable.

In addition to their power, tech companies have a tool that other powerful industries don't: the generally benign feelings of the public. To oppose Silicon Valley can appear to be opposing progress, even if progress has been defined as online monopolies; propaganda that distorts elections; driverless cars and trucks that threaten to erase the jobs of millions of people; the Uberization of work life, where each of us must fend for ourselves in a pitiless market.

As is becoming obvious, these companies do deserve the benefit of the doubt. We need greater regulation, even if it impedes the introduction of new services. If we can't stop their proposals -- if we can't say that driverless cars may not be a worthy goal, to give just one example -- then are we in control of our society? We need to break up these online monopolies because if a few people make the decisions about how we communicate, shop, learn the news, again, do we control our own society?

Out of curiosity, the other day I searched "cellphones" on Google. Before finding even a mildly questioning article about cellphones, I paged down through ads for phones and lists of phones for sale, guides to buying phones and maps with directions to stores that sell phones, some 20 results in total. Somewhere, a pair of idealistic former graduate students must be saying: "See! I told you so!"

[Oct 16, 2017] Google to give $1B, help U.S. workers find jobs

Oct 16, 2017 | www.msn.com

Google to give $1B, help U.S. workers find jobs 23 / 44 USA TODAY logo USA TODAY USA TODAY Jessica Guynn 3 days ago SHARE SHARE TWEET SHARE EMAIL Samsung Galaxy S9 May Feature iPhone X Face ID Rival Google CEO Sundar Pichai addresses media at the MadebyGoogle event at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco. © Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY Google CEO Sundar Pichai addresses media at the MadebyGoogle event at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google will invest $1 billion over the next five years in nonprofit organizations helping people adjust to the changing nature of work, the largest philanthropic pledge to date from the Internet giant.

The announcement of the national digital skills initiative, made by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in Pittsburgh, Pa. Thursday, is a tacit acknowledgment from one of the world's most valuable companies that it bears some responsibility for rapid advances in technology that are radically reshaping industries and eliminating jobs in the U.S. and around the world.

Pichai's pitstop in an old industrial hub that has reinvented itself as a technology and robotics center is the first on a "Grow with Google Tour." The tour that will crisscross the country will work with libraries and community organizations to provide career advice and training. It heads next to Indianapolis in November.

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"The nature of work is fundamentally changing. And that is shifting the link between education, training and opportunity," Pichai said in prepared remarks at Google's offices in Pittsburgh. "One-third of jobs in 2020 will require skills that aren't common today. It's a big problem."

Google will make grants in its three core areas: education, economic opportunity and inclusion. Already in the last few months, it has handed out $100 million of the $1 billion to nonprofits, according to Pichai.

The largest single grant -- $10 million, the largest Google's ever made -- is going to Goodwill, which is creating the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator. Over the next three years Goodwill, a major player in workforce development, aims to provide 1 million people with access to digital skills and career opportunities. Pichai says 1,000 Google employees will be available for career coaching.

In all, Google employees will donate 1 million volunteer hours to assist organizations like Goodwill trying to close the gap between the education and skills of the American workforce and the new demands of the 21st century workplace, Pichai said.

The announcements, which drew praise from state and local politicians including Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf, come as Google scrambles to respond to revelations that accounts linked to the Russian government used its advertising system to interfere with the presidential election.

Google is embroiled in a growing number of other controversies, from a Labor Department investigation and a lawsuit by former employees alleging systemic pay discrimination, to the proliferation of misinformation in search results and extremist content on YouTube. As the controversies have multiplied, so too have calls for Washington to regulate Google because of its massive scale and global reach.

"This isn't the first time we've seen massive, market-creating and labor market-disrupting companies try to address growing public pressure and possible regulatory limits in this way. But it often has been individual corporate titans who've gotten into philanthropy -- Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller -- as a way to rehabilitate their own images, tarnished by anxiety about the size of their companies and treatment of workers," said Margaret O'Mara, a history professor at the University of Washington.

"What's interesting here is what this signals about how Google's future business ambitions. It is betting that its next era will be one not of search and apps but of devices and labor market interventions."

Google's not alone fending off critics. A recent headline in tech news outlet TechCrunch read: "Dear Silicon Valley: America's fallen out of love with you."

The tech industry, once a shiny symbol of American innovation and pride, has found itself on the defensive after the election of Donald Trump, which telegraphed the deepening disillusionment of everyday Americans who have watched the gains of the economic recovery pass them by.

While whole communities in the nation's heartland have fallen into economic decline, the tech industry, clustered in vibrant coastal hubs like San Francisco and New York, has grown wealthy off new developments that are disrupting how Americans live and work.

The pace of that innovation is quickening. For years tech companies could not deliver on promises of hyper-intelligent machines capable of performing human tasks. Now the technology is catching up to the aspirations.

In recent years, Google and other companies have made long strides, from self-driving cars that whisk you to your destination to digital assistants who answer your questions. This new wave of automation that aids consumers in their everyday lives has a dark side: It's killing off traditional jobs and stranding workers, still struggling after the recession, who are unprepared for the shift.

Google, says O'Mara, will have "undeniably disruptive impacts on the jobs people do and the skills they need for them."

In the 1960s when computer-aided automation worried the nation, presidential and congressional commissions and government agencies tackled the challenge.

"Now it's the private sector. And even though $1 billion sounds like a lot, it is a small number compared to government education programs or, for that matter, the balance sheets of large tech companies," O'Mara said.

When Pichai came to the United States from his native India 24 years ago, it was the first time he had been on a plane. Pittsburgh was the first city he saw. Though Pittsburgh was moored to its early 20th century roots as a steel town, Carnegie Mellon University was already propelling the city into the future.

"As a new arrival, I was homesick but struck by something new: the sense of optimism," he said. "I remain a technology optimist."

Pichai envisions that transformation for Pittsburg as a blueprint for the country to make the transition to a new industrial era. On Thursday, Pichai detailed other programs Google is undertaking.

- Grow with Google is a free online program to help Americans secure the skills they need to get a job or grow their business. Job seekers, business owners and teachers can learn the basics of working with tech, from spreadsheets to email, get training and certificates through google.com/grow. Google says it has rolled it out to 27,000 middle and high school students and now plans to expand it to community colleges and vocational programs.

- In January, Google will launch an IT certificate program developed with online education provider Coursera that includes hands-on labs to prepare people for jobs in eight to 12 months and then connects graduates with potential employers. Google will sponsor 2,600 full scholarships through nonprofit organizations.

- Working with Udacity, Google is creating the Google Developer Scholarship Challenge. The top 10% of applicants who enroll in Google developer courses will receive scholarships.

- Google will give away 20,000 vouchers to get G​ ​Suite​ ​certification​.

"We don't have all the answers. The people closest to the problem are usually the people closest to the solution," Pichai said. "We want to help them reach it sooner."

[Oct 03, 2017] Russian Ads On Facebook A Click-Bait Campaign

Highly recommended!
This is particular dirty campaign to implicate Trump and delegitimize his victory is a part of color revolution against Trump.
The other noble purpose is to find a scapegoat for the current problems, especially in Democratic Party, and to preserve Clinton neoliberals rule over the party for a few more futile years.
Notable quotes:
"... Congress is investigating 3,000 suspicious ads which were run on Facebook. These were claimed to have been bought by "Russia" to influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump. ..."
"... The mini-ads were bought to promote click-bait pages and sites. These pages and sites were created and then promoted to sell further advertisement. The media though, has still not understood the issue. ..."
"... A few thousand users will come and look at a page. Some will 'like' the puppy pictures or the rant against LGBT and further spread the page. Some will click the promoted Google ads. Money then flows into the pockets of the page creator. One can automatize, rinse and repeat this scheme forever. Each such page is a small effort for a small revenue. But the scheme is highly scale-able and parts of it can be automatized. ..."
"... This is, in essence, the same business model traditional media publishers use. One creates "news" and controversies to attract readers. The attention of the readers is then sold to advertisers. The business is no longer a limited to a few rich oligarchic. One no longer needs reporters or a printing press to join in. Anyone can now take part in it. ..."
"... We learned after the election that some youths in Macedonia created whole "news"-websites filled with highly attractive but fake partisan stories. They were not interested in the veracity or political direction of their content. Their only interest was to attract viewers. They made thousands of dollars by selling advertisements on their sites: ..."
"... The teen said his monthly revenue was in the four figures, a considerable sum in a country where the average monthly pay is 360 euros ($383). As he navigated his site's statistics, he dropped nuggets of journalism advice. ..."
"... After the mystery of "Russian" $3 ads for "adorable puppies" pages on Facebook has been solved, Congress and the New York Times will have to move on. There next subject is probably the "Russian influence campaign" on Youtube. ..."
"... Russian Car Crash Compilations have for years attracted millions of viewers. The "Russians" want to increase road rage on U.S. highways. This again will - according to expert Clinton Watts - "amplify divisive political issues across the political spectrum". ..."
"... "Russian interference" in Western faux democracies is just more Fake News that distracts from the real issues. And all those real issues come down to this: the need to reign in the oligarchs. This is very easy to do via progressive taxation (with no loopholes). ..."
"... The two words that the establishment fears most: Progressive Taxation . ..."
"... Great article. I especially like the tactful way that modern clickbait farming is obliquely tied to the MSM business model. Facebook and Google have a lot to answer for. ..."
"... Russia gate, since it is unnecessarily mentally exhausting and intellectually futile, it is namely pure provocation and as such it should be ignored and not proliferated even in its criticism making a fakes news a real news by sole fact of mentioning it on the respectable independent sites. ..."
"... The whole digital media and ad business that have built the Google and Facebook media juggernauts is all a giant scam. Smart advertisers like P&G are recognizing it for what it is and will slowly pullback. It is only a matter of time before others catch on and these companies will bleed ad revenues. ..."
Oct 03, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Congress is investigating 3,000 suspicious ads which were run on Facebook. These were claimed to have been bought by "Russia" to influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump.

It now turns out that these Facebook ads had nothing to do with the election. The mini-ads were bought to promote click-bait pages and sites. These pages and sites were created and then promoted to sell further advertisement. The media though, has still not understood the issue.

On September 6 the NYT asserted :

Providing new evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Facebook disclosed on Wednesday that it had identified more than $100,000 worth of divisive ads on hot-button issues purchased by a shadowy Russian company linked to the Kremlin.
...
The disclosure adds to the evidence of the broad scope of the Russian influence campaign, which American intelligence agencies concluded was designed to damage Hillary Clinton and boost Donald J. Trump during the election.

Like any Congress investigation the current one concerned with Facebook ads is leaking like a sieve. What oozes out makes little sense.

If "Russia" aimed to make Congress and U.S. media a laughing stock it surely achieved that.

Today the NYT says that the ads were posted "in disguise" by "the Russians" to promote variously themed Facebook pages:

There was "Defend the 2nd," a Facebook page for gun-rights supporters, festooned with firearms and tough rhetoric. There was a rainbow-hued page for gay rights activists, "LGBT United." There was even a Facebook group for animal lovers with memes of adorable puppies that spread across the site with the help of paid ads

No one has explained how these pages are supposed to be connected to a Russian "influence" campaign. It is unexplained how these are supposed to connected to the 2016 election. That is simply asserted because Facebook said, for unknown reasons, that these ads may have come from some Russian agency. How Facebook has determined that is not known.

With each detail that leaks from the "Russian ads" investigation the propaganda framework of "election manipulation" falls further apart:

Late Monday, Facebook said in a post that about 10 million people had seen the ads in question. About 44 percent of the ads were seen before the 2016 election and the rest after, the company said

The original story propagandized that "Russia" intended to influence the election in favor of Trump. But why then was the majority of the ads in questions run later after November 9? And how would an animal-lovers page with adorable puppy pictures help to achieve Trumps election victory?

More details via the Wall Street Journal:

Roughly 25% of the ads were never shown to anyone. That's because advertising auctions are designed so that ads reach people based on relevance, and certain ads may not reach anyone as a result.
...
For 50% of the ads, less than $3 was spent; for 99% of the ads, less than $1,000 was spent.

Of the 3,000 ads Facebook originally claimed were "Russian" only 2,200 were ever viewed. Most of the advertisements were mini-ads which, for the price of a coffee, promoted private pages related to hobbies and a wide spectrum of controversial issues. The majority of the ads ran after the election.

All that "adds to the evidence of the broad scope of the Russian influence campaign ... designed to damage Hillary Clinton and boost Donald J. Trump during the election"?

No.

But the NYT still finds "experts" who believe in the "Russian influence" nonsense and find the most stupid reasons to justify their claims:

Clinton Watts, a former F.B.I. agent now at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, said Russia had been entrepreneurial in trying to develop diverse channels of influence. Some, like the dogs page, may have been created without a specific goal and held in reserve for future use.

Puppy pictures for "future use"? Nonsense. Lunacy! The pages described and the ads leading to them are typical click-bait, not a political influence op.

The for-profit scheme runs as follows: One builds pages with "hot" stuff that attracts lots of viewers. One creates ad-space on these pages and fills it with Google ads. One promotes the spiked pages by buying $3 Facebook mini-ads for them.

A few thousand users will come and look at a page. Some will 'like' the puppy pictures or the rant against LGBT and further spread the page. Some will click the promoted Google ads. Money then flows into the pockets of the page creator. One can automatize, rinse and repeat this scheme forever. Each such page is a small effort for a small revenue. But the scheme is highly scale-able and parts of it can be automatized.

This is, in essence, the same business model traditional media publishers use. One creates "news" and controversies to attract readers. The attention of the readers is then sold to advertisers. The business is no longer a limited to a few rich oligarchic. One no longer needs reporters or a printing press to join in. Anyone can now take part in it.

We learned after the election that some youths in Macedonia created whole "news"-websites filled with highly attractive but fake partisan stories. They were not interested in the veracity or political direction of their content. Their only interest was to attract viewers. They made thousands of dollars by selling advertisements on their sites:

The teen said his monthly revenue was in the four figures, a considerable sum in a country where the average monthly pay is 360 euros ($383). As he navigated his site's statistics, he dropped nuggets of journalism advice.

"You have to write what people want to see, not what you want to show," he said, scrolling through The Political Insider's stories as a large banner read "ARREST HILLARY NOW."

The 3,000 Facebook ads Congress is investigating are part of a similar scheme. The mini-ads promoted pages with hot button issues and click-bait puppy pictures. These pages were themselves created to generate ad-clicks and revenue. As Facebook claims that "Russia" is behind them, we will likely find some Russian teens who simply repeated the scheme their Macedonian friends were running on.

With its "Russian influence" scare campaign the NYT follows the same business model. It is producing fake news which attracts viewers and readers who's attention is then sold to advertisers. Facebook is also profiting from this. Its current piecemeal release of vague information keeps its name in the news.

After the mystery of "Russian" $3 ads for "adorable puppies" pages on Facebook has been solved, Congress and the New York Times will have to move on. There next subject is probably the "Russian influence campaign" on Youtube.

Russian Car Crash Compilations have for years attracted millions of viewers. The "Russians" want to increase road rage on U.S. highways. This again will - according to expert Clinton Watts - "amplify divisive political issues across the political spectrum".

The car crash compilations, like the puppy pages, are another sign that Russia is waging war against the people of the United States!

You don't believe that? You should. Trust your experienced politician!

Samantha Power @SamanthaJPower - 3:45 PM - 3 Oct 2017

This gets more chilling daily : now we learn Russia targeted Americans on Facebook by "demographics, geography, gender & interests," across websites & devices, reached millions, kept going after Nov. An attack on all Americans, not just HRC campaign washingtonpost.com/business/econo

It indeed gets more chilling. It's fall. It also generates ad revenue.

Posted by b on October 3, 2017 at 02:09 PM | Permalink

nmb | Oct 3, 2017 2:20:52 PM | 1

As Shock Therapy failed miserably in the 90s, the neocon dynasty seeks now direct confrontation with Russia
Jackrabbit | Oct 3, 2017 2:32:24 PM | 2
"Russian interference" in Western faux democracies is just more Fake News that distracts from the real issues. And all those real issues come down to this: the need to reign in the oligarchs. This is very easy to do via progressive taxation (with no loopholes).

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

The two words that the establishment fears most: Progressive Taxation .

Taxi | Oct 3, 2017 2:32:34 PM | 3
Oh dear intrepidus, why are you still talking about MSM's favorite weapon of mass distraction?

Even though you make a fine point or two, at this stage, you're actually adding to the whirling stupidity by indulging it it yourself, methinks.

I'm so very, very over Russiagate and it's non-existent tentacles. Pfft!

Grieved | Oct 3, 2017 2:49:24 PM | 4
Thanks, b.

You're presenting a very good concept/meme to understand: Fake news is click bait for gain.

The same can be said for any sensationalism or shocking event - like the Kurdish referendum, like the Catalonia referendum, like the Vegas shooting - or like confrontational or dogmatic comments in threads about those events.

Everywhere we turn someone is trying to game us for some kind of gain. What matters is to step back from the front lines where our sense is accosted and offended, to step back from the automatic reflex, and to remember that someone triggered that reflex, deliberately, for their gain, not ours.

We have to reside in reason and equanimity, because the moment we indulge in our righteous anger or our strong convictions, the odds are extremely good that someone is playing us.

It's a wicked world, but in fact we live in an age when we can see its meta characteristics like never before.

Anon | Oct 3, 2017 2:49:39 PM | 5
Jesus Christ, every friggin day we hear about Russians and then the next the lies falls apart, STILL the stupid dumb liberal media keep coming up with new conspiracies spread them as fact, and then try justify them even when they get debunked!
These people are indeed lunatic.

What we see is the biggest psyop., propaganda disinformation campaig ever in the western media, far more powerful than "nuclear Iraq" of 2003.
Still, and this should be a warning, majority of people in EU/US believe this nonsense.

the pair | Oct 3, 2017 3:07:19 PM | 6
$3 ads on facebook seen by nobody:

"russian meddling! their puppies hate our freedom!"

pharmaceutical ads on every evening news show and boeing/lockheed sponsoring the "p"bs news hour?"

"nothing to see here! take off your tin foil hat you f_cking alex jones putinbot!!!!"

you'd think by now most americans would realize the actual threat is other americans. the rest of the world realized it long ago.

sejomoje | Oct 3, 2017 3:08:47 PM | 7
I lol'd. But seriously the next step is a false flag implicating Russia. They're getting nowhere assassinating Russian diplomats and shooting down Russian aircraft, both military and civilian. Even overthrowing governments who are Russia-friendly hasn't seem to provoke a response.

But I consider the domestic Russia buzz to be performance art, and I imagine it's become even grating to some of its participants. How could it not be, unless everyone is heavily medicated(a lot certainly are)? Anyway it's by design that the western media and the political classes they serve need a script, they're incapable of discussing actual issues. Independence has been made quaint.

karlof1 | Oct 3, 2017 3:10:42 PM | 8
Hi Grieved--

I posted this link at the Vegas thread, but the item's contents are valid here too, and speaks to the content of your above comment, https://sputniknews.com/viral/201710031057912410-google-facebook-youtube-vegas-fake-news/

somebody | Oct 3, 2017 3:11:44 PM | 9
The line between politics and product marketing has gone.

But no matter if "the Russians" influenced the US election or not - after all that is what most countries do to each other - the FBI is correct that to be able to target audiences according to demographics and individual traits is a powerful tool.

Like the double hoax of " The War of Worlds broadcast ".

The newspapers had a clear agenda. An editorial in The New York Times, headlined In the Terror by Radio, was used to censure the relatively new medium of radio, which was becoming a serious competitor in providing news and advertising. "Radio is new but it has adult responsibilities. It has not mastered itself or the material it uses," said the editorial leader comment on November 1 1938. In an excellent piece in Slate magazine in 2013, Jefferson Pooley (associate professor of media and communication at Muhlenberg College) and Michael J Socolow (associate professor of communication and journalism at the University of Maine) looked at the continuing popularity of the myth of mass panic and they took to task NPR's Radiolab programme about the incident and the Radiolab assertion that "The United States experienced a kind of mass hysteria that we've never seen before." Pooley and Socolow wrote: "How did the story of panicked listeners begin? Blame America's newspapers. ... AND IT'S NOT A GOOD IDEA TO COPY ORSON WELLES . . . In February 1949, Leonardo Paez and Eduardo Alcaraz produced a Spanish-language version of Welles's 1938 script for Radio Quito in Ecuador. The broadcast set off panic. Quito police and fire brigades rushed out of town to fight the supposed alien invasion force. After it was revealed that the broadcast was fiction, the panic transformed into a riot. The riot resulted in at least seven deaths, including those of Paez's girlfriend and nephew. The offices Radio Quito, and El Comercio, a local newspaper that had participated in the hoax by publishing false reports of unidentified flying objects in the days preceding the broadcast, were both burned to the ground.
ashley albanese | Oct 3, 2017 3:13:06 PM | 10
Jackrabbit 2
No - the two words the Capital system fears the most are SURPLUS VALUE , the control of the 'profit principle' for social not private ends .
Lea | Oct 3, 2017 3:42:35 PM | 11
Jesus Christ, every friggin day we hear about Russians and then the next the lies falls apart, STILL the stupid dumb liberal media keep coming up with new conspiracies spread them as fact, and then try justify them even when they get debunked!
These people are indeed lunatic.

The "Russiadunnit" thingy has turned into a business in the US. And when a new market is launched in the US, as people depend on it for their living and careers, it generally doesn't go away.
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/28/the-slimy-business-of-russia-gate/

OJS | Oct 3, 2017 3:45:59 PM | 12
god bless amerika

somebody | Oct 3, 2017 3:11:44 PM | 9
The American panic was a myth, the Equadorian panic in 1949 not so much. I listened to this Radiolab podcast about same ... the details of how they pulled it off in a one-radio station country pre-internet are interesting and valuable (they widely advertised a very popular music program which was then "interrupted" by the hoax to ensure near-universal audience (including the police and other authorities). Very very fews were "in on the joke" and it wasn't a joke. whole page on WooW: http://www.radiolab.org/story/91622-war-of-the-worlds/

specific could it happen again? http://www.radiolab.org/story/91624-could-it-happen-again-and-again/

c1ue | Oct 3, 2017 3:58:38 PM | 14
Great article. I especially like the tactful way that modern clickbait farming is obliquely tied to the MSM business model. Facebook and Google have a lot to answer for.
Christian Chuba | Oct 3, 2017 3:58:49 PM | 15
Russian Trolls outed as kids from Oregon: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/taibbi-latest-fake-news-panic-appears-to-be-fake-news-w506396
"Lankford shocked the world this week by revealing that "Russian Internet trolls" were stoking the NFL kneeling debate. ... Conservative outlets like Breitbart and Newsmax and Fox played up the "Russians stoked the kneeling controversy" angle because it was in their interest to suggest that domestic support for kneeling protests is less than what it appears....

The Post reported that Lankford's office had cited one of "Boston Antifa's" tweets. But the example offered read suspiciously like a young net-savvy American goofing on antifa stereotypes "More gender inclusivity with NFL fans and gluten free options at stadiums We're liking the new NFL #NewNFL #TakeAKnee #TakeTheKnee." ...

The group was most likely a pair of yahoos from Oregon named Alexis Esteb and Brandon Krebs. "

Christian Chuba | Oct 3, 2017 4:00:46 PM | 16
Pity Rolling Stone got caught up in that fake college rape allegation, they have actually done some solid reporting. Every MSM outlet has had multiple fake stories, so should RS be shunned for life for one bad story?
Kalen | Oct 3, 2017 4:03:18 PM | 17
It is time that sane part of independent media understood that there is no more need to rationally respond to psychotic delusions of Deep State puppets in Russia gate, since it is unnecessarily mentally exhausting and intellectually futile, it is namely pure provocation and as such it should be ignored and not proliferated even in its criticism making a fakes news a real news by sole fact of mentioning it on the respectable independent sites.

There are only two effective responses to provocation namely silence or violence, anything else plays the book of provocateurs.

Susan Sunflower | Oct 3, 2017 4:13:28 PM | 18
Now they're seriously undermining their claims of intentionality ... as well as their wildly inflated claims effect on outcome or even effective "undermining" ... again, compared to Citizens United and the long-count of 2000 ... negligible....

And still insisting that Hillary Clinton is Russia's Darth Vader against whom unlimited resources are marshalled because she must be stopped ... even though she damn near won... and the reasons she lost seems unrelated to such vagaries as the DNC e-mails or facebook campaigns (unless you believe she had a god-given right to each and every vote)

Don Bacon | Oct 3, 2017 4:13:47 PM | 19

Lucky for us that television "news" doesn't use this business model. /s
Pnyx | Oct 3, 2017 5:02:54 PM | 20
Why do you think this is important enough to make the effort to write another blog entry B? Everyone who wants to know that this is all fantasy knows by now.
Mina | Oct 3, 2017 5:05:12 PM | 21
https://mobile.twitter.com/dgaytandzhieva/status/913545591757697024
brian | Oct 3, 2017 5:09:39 PM | 22
'Congress is investigating 3,000 suspicious ads which were run on Facebook. These were claimed to have been bought by "Russia" to influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump.

This is the same US congress that regularly marches off to Israel to receive orders

https://www.amazon.com/They-Dare-Speak-Out-Institutions/dp/155652482X

those who dont obey orders: http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/how-i-got-fired/

Susan Sunflower | Oct 3, 2017 5:36:59 PM | 23
@ Posted by: Pnyx | Oct 3, 2017 5:02:54 PM | 20

This isn't about the "truth" (or lies) wrt Russian involvement, it's about the increasingly rapid failure of the Government/Establishment's narrative ...

Increasingly they can't even keep their accusations "alive" for more than a few days ... and some of their accusations (like the one here, that some "Russian" sites were created and not used, but to be held for use at some future date) become fairly ridiculous ... and the "remedy" to "Russians" creating clickbait sites for some future nefarious use, I think can only be banning all Russians from creating sites ... or maybe using facebook altogether ... all with no evidence of evil-doers actually doing evil...

It's rather like Jared Kushner's now THIRD previously undisclosed private e-mail account ... fool me once versus how disorganized/dumb/arrogant/crooked is this guy?

Lochearn | Oct 3, 2017 6:43:01 PM | 24
Sorry to be off topic but yesterday the Saker of the Vineyard published a couple of articles about Catalonia. The first was a diatribe, a nasty hatchet job on the Catalan people which included the following referring to the Catalan people:

"The Problems they have because with their corruption, inefficiency, mismanagement, inability and sometimes the simplest stupidity, are always the fault of others (read Spaniards here) which gives them "carte blanche" to keep going on with it."

"... They (the independistas) are NATIONAL SOCIALIST (aka NAZI) in their Ideology"

Then Saker published an article by Peter Koenig that was reasonable and what we have come to expect. Then he forbade all comments on either of the two articles. My comment was banned, which simply said in my opinion from working for fourteen years in Spain that the Catalans were extremely efficient in comparison with their Madrid counterparts.

ToivoS | Oct 3, 2017 7:32:04 PM | 25
I must admit that I became a fan of watching those Russian car crashes that were captured by the cams many russian drivers keep on their dash boards. Some of these were very funny. I was not aware that made me a victim of Putin propaganda. In any case, they are not that interesting anymore once they were commercialized. That was about 10 years ago.
Susan Sunflower | Oct 3, 2017 7:43:29 PM | 26
I'm waiting for the expose of the Russian mail-order bride business (Do they still exist?)
ab initio | Oct 3, 2017 8:29:04 PM | 27
Very good analysis.

The whole digital media and ad business that have built the Google and Facebook media juggernauts is all a giant scam. Smart advertisers like P&G are recognizing it for what it is and will slowly pullback. It is only a matter of time before others catch on and these companies will bleed ad revenues.

ben | Oct 3, 2017 8:30:46 PM | 28
Jackrabbit @ 2: Yep!!

And here is another part to the puzzle:

http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19516:Empire-Files%3A-The-Hidden-Purging-of-Millions-of-Voters

Chipnik | Oct 3, 2017 8:42:54 PM | 29
Your answer can be found ...right ...here:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/yc7kskox
james | Oct 3, 2017 8:44:05 PM | 30
OT - more from comedy central - daily USA press briefing from today...

"QUESTION: On Iran, would you and the State Department say, as Secretary Mattis said today, that staying in the JCPOA would be in the U.S. national interest?

MS NAUERT: Yeah.

QUESTION: Is this a position you share?

MS NAUERT: So I'm certainly familiar with what Secretary Mattis said on Capitol Hill today. Secretary Mattis, of course, one of many people who is providing expertise and counsel to the President on the issue of Iran and the JCPOA. The President is getting lots of information on that. We have about 12 days or so, I think, to make our determination for the next JCPOA guideline.

The administration looks at JCPOA as – the fault in the JCPOA as not looking at the totality of Iran's bad behavior. Secretary Tillerson talked about that at length at the UN General Assembly. So did the President as well. We know that Iran is responsible for terror attacks. We know that Iran arms the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which leads to a more miserable failed state, awful situation in Yemen, for example. We know what they're doing in Syria. Where you find the Iranian Government, you can often find terrible things happening in the world. This administration is very clear about highlighting that and will look at Iran in sort of its totality of all of its bad behaviors, not just the nuclear deal.

I don't want to get ahead of the discussions that are ongoing with this – within the administration, as it pertains to Iran. The President has said he's made he's decision, and so I don't want to speak on behalf of the President, and he'll just have to make that determination when he's ready to do so."

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2017/10/274592.htm

[Sep 16, 2017] Google Drive Faces Outage, Users Report

Sep 16, 2017 | tech.slashdot.org

(google.com) 75

Posted by msmash on Thursday September 07, 2017

Numerous Slashdot readers are reporting that they are facing issues access Google Drive, the productivity suite from the Mountain View-based company. Google's dashboard confirms that Drive is facing outage .

Third-party web monitoring tool DownDetector also reports thousands of similar complaints from users. The company said, "Google Drive service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users in the near future.

Please note this time frame is an estimate and may change. Google Drive is not loading files and results in a failures for a subset of users."

[Sep 16, 2017] Creator of Opera Says Google Deliberately Undermined His New Vivaldi Web Browser

Notable quotes:
"... The latest allegation against Google? Jon von Tetzchner, creator of the web browser Opera, says the search giant deliberately undermined his new browser, Vivaldi ..."
"... Speaking at the Oslo Freedom Forum, the Icelandic programmer criticized big tech companies' attitude toward personal data, calling for a ban on location tracking on Facebook and Google. Two days later, he suddenly found Vivaldi's Google AdWords campaigns had been suspended. "Was this just a coincidence?" he writes. "Or was it deliberate, a way of sending us a message?" ..."
Sep 16, 2017 | tech.slashdot.org

(wired.co.uk) 247 Posted by msmash on Monday September 04, 2017 @05:00PM from the abuse-of-power dept.

The latest allegation against Google? Jon von Tetzchner, creator of the web browser Opera, says the search giant deliberately undermined his new browser, Vivaldi . Rowland Manthorpe, writing for Wired:

In a blogpost titled, " My friends at Google: it is time to return to not being evil ," von Tetzchner accuses the US firm of blocking Vivaldi's access to Google AdWords, the advertisements that run alongside search results, without warning or proper explanation. According to Von Tetzchner, the problem started in late May.

Speaking at the Oslo Freedom Forum, the Icelandic programmer criticized big tech companies' attitude toward personal data, calling for a ban on location tracking on Facebook and Google. Two days later, he suddenly found Vivaldi's Google AdWords campaigns had been suspended. "Was this just a coincidence?" he writes. "Or was it deliberate, a way of sending us a message?"

He concludes: "Timing spoke volumes." Von Tetzchner got in touch with Google to try and resolve the issue. The result? What he calls "a clarification masqueraded in the form of vague terms and conditions." The particular issue was the end-user license agreement (EULA), the legal contract between a software manufacturer and a user. Google wanted Vivaldi to add one to its website. So it did.

But Google had further complaints. According to emails shown to WIRED, Google wanted Vivaldi to add an EULA "within the frame of every download button." The addition was small -- a link below the button directing people to "terms" -- but on the web, where every pixel matters, this was a potential competitive disadvantage.

Most gallingly, Chrome, Google's own web browser, didn't display a EULA on its landing pages. Google also asked Vivaldi to add detailed information to help people uninstall it, with another link, also under the button.

[Sep 16, 2017] Google Abused Its Power By Quashing a Report Critical Of Its Service, Reporter Says

Notable quotes:
"... As I recall it -- and although it has been six years, this episode was seared into my memory -- a cached version remained shortly after the post was unpublished, but it was soon scrubbed from Google search results. That was unusual; websites captured by Google's crawler did not tend to vanish that quickly. ..."
Sep 16, 2017 | slashdot.org

(gizmodo.com) 279

Posted by msmash on Friday September 01, 2017 @10:40AM

In the wake of claims that Google got a think-tank research team sacked for criticizing the company , a respected journalist is alleging other abuses by the search giant. Kashmir Hill, a reporter at Gizmodo, is claiming that when she worked for Forbes six years ago, Google told the the magazine's staff that if publishers didn't add the "+" Google Plus social network button at the bottom of stories, those articles would come up lower in search results .

From her report: I published a story headlined, "Stick Google Plus Buttons On Your Pages, Or Your Search Traffic Suffers," that included bits of conversation from the meeting. (An internet marketing group scraped the story after it was published and a version can still be found here .) Google promptly flipped out.

This was in 2011, around the same time that a congressional antitrust committee was looking into whether the company was abusing its powers. Google never challenged the accuracy of the reporting. Instead, a Google spokesperson told me that I needed to unpublish the story because the meeting had been confidential, and the information discussed there had been subject to a non-disclosure agreement between Google and Forbes. (I had signed no such agreement, hadn't been told the meeting was confidential, and had identified myself as a journalist.)

It escalated quickly from there. I was told by my higher-ups at Forbes that Google representatives called them saying that the article was problematic and had to come down. The implication was that it might have consequences for Forbes, a troubling possibility given how much traffic came through Google searches and Google News. [...] Given that I'd gone to the Google PR team before publishing, and it was already out in the world, I felt it made more sense to keep the story up. Ultimately, though, after continued pressure from my bosses, I took the piece down -- a decision I will always regret. Forbes declined comment about this.

But the most disturbing part of the experience was what came next: Somehow, very quickly, search results stopped showing the original story at all .

As I recall it -- and although it has been six years, this episode was seared into my memory -- a cached version remained shortly after the post was unpublished, but it was soon scrubbed from Google search results. That was unusual; websites captured by Google's crawler did not tend to vanish that quickly.

[Aug 17, 2017] Google Culture Wars

Notable quotes:
"... So, noting that on average, men have 90% more upper body strength than women, would I not be able to claim that any woman my height or less will not have my upper body strength? ..."
"... The problem is that PC is on the way to functioning like militant Islam with regard to unbelievers and apostates. ..."
"... "It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them". ..."
"... "There are only two important days in the life of any person, the day that your are born and then day you find out why." ..."
"... The supreme irony of l'affaire Damore is that was a primary point of Damore's memo and the response was perhaps the best proof of the validity of that point possible. Hence my "inept thinkers" comment. ..."
"... Look how Canadian 'hate speech laws' began with silencing 'Neo-Nazis' (fake ones, btw) and then spread to going after those who don't use proper pronouns. Self-Righteous Addiction created all these Self-Righteous Junkies. ..."
"... The bigger question is why Homo Sapiens is the only primate on the planet where The female is expected to be equal to the male ..."
"... The whole argument "for equality" is fundamentally flawed – it is the wrong goal. As individuals we humans want to be different – not equal. We want to bring something different to the table of social interaction. People who are equal have nothing to give to each other. ..."
"... P.S. No matter our intellectual capabilities, for 99% of us – doing a good job of raising our children – is the most lasting thing that we can ever do. They are our true legacy – what we do on the job is all too soon lost in the evolution of business. ..."
"... it is quite likely that variation is bigger in males, as usual with many other traits. ..."
Aug 17, 2017 | www.unz.com

Peripatetic commenter > , August 16, 2017 at 4:20 pm GMT

OT, but I am looking for a list of references to criticism of the criticism of The Bell Curve or supporters of The Bell Curve.

Can anyone help. A quick search via Duck Duck Go turned up a couple.

James Thompson > , Website August 16, 2017 at 5:05 pm GMT

@Peripatetic commenter Fine, but better to read a few chapters of the book.

res > , August 16, 2017 at 5:09 pm GMT

Thank you for your comprehensive post.

One thought about:

This argument makes me smile. Hyde seems to take as granted that males have an advantage on "tightly timed tests for mathematical and spatial tasks". Is it simply my male point of view that to do well on any test, in the sense of getting things right, and doing so quickly, would be considered a double advantage? Why regard speedy thinking as a complexity of interpretation? Why is speed in correctly completing a task judged to be "speed as much as skill"? Absurdly, the prompt and correct completion of a task seems to be cast as mere male impetuosity. Furthermore, any employer reading this argument would be justified in thinking "On difficult tasks involving maths and spatial analysis, women need more time" so, given a chance, it might be better not to employ them.

Agreed, but the timing issue for spatial tests actually strikes me as even more important than that. I am good at typical spatial tests, but one thing I have noticed is that for the hardest items I find myself going through a very working memory loaded process of checking whether a rotation works for a variety of details (number of details being limited by WM). I am pretty sure this process is more g loaded than spatial (have to find, remember, and analyze these differences). It is also slow at my WM limits (I trial and error choose which details to focus on for the hardest items). I am certain I could improve my performance by making pen and paper notes, but consider that cheating on those tests. It would be interesting to explore differences in solution speed and style both within and between groups (e.g. do similar scoring men and women differ in technique?).

Thus I tend to think the need for more time indicates a relative deficit in "real" spatial skill in favor of g. Whether this "real" spatial skill is what drives the relationship of spatial skills with programming is unclear, but I think it might be. I would hypothesize that it might not be easy for someone like me to emulate the reasoning a higher spatial ability person might use to solve real world problems (rotations are a relatively simple special case problem). If so, presumably this problem would be even worse for someone with even less "real" spatial ability.

Part of what I base my self assessment on is my sense that some people just immediately see the answer to hard spatial problems. Another part of this is my experience with tasks like navigating in complex topographical environments (I suspect that is a related skill). I routinely encounter people who I think are much better at navigation than I am (especially considered in tandem with more g loaded differences). My sense is that this instant recognition correlates with g but is a separate ability (perhaps more separate than the spatial test correlations indicate given my substitutability observation above). I would be very interested in either anecdotal observations or research discussing this!

Overall, my takeaways from the whole l'affaire Damore (surprised I haven't seen this pun used yet, just searched and here is a use , though I disagree with it that post and the comments are worth a look) are:

res > , August 16, 2017 at 5:20 pm GMT

@Peripatetic commenter Perhaps a good start is to read (or at least skim) Intelligence, Genes, and Success: Scientists Respond to The Bell Curve as a collection of critiques of The Bell Curve which seem better than most. Then look for critiques of that book and its papers.

Another approach would be to look at Linda Gottfredson's work, most notably: Mainstream Science on Intelligence: An Editorial With 52 Signatories, History, and Bibliography

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.366.7808&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Though IIRC that is more useful as a source of information to form critiques than as ready made rebuttals to any particular work.

P.S. I agree with Dr. Thompson about reading TBC, but based on your other comments assume you have done so already.

Peripatetic commenter > , August 16, 2017 at 6:29 pm GMT

The Note makes it very clear that men and women "differ in part due to biological causes", that many such differences are small, with significant overlaps, and that you cannot say anything about an individual on the basis of population level distributions.

So, noting that on average, men have 90% more upper body strength than women, would I not be able to claim that any woman my height or less will not have my upper body strength?

res > , August 16, 2017 at 7:40 pm GMT

@Peripatetic commenter Short answer, no. Though it arguably depends on where you fall in the male range and the population size (which controls how much of an outlier one can expect to occur). If you want to make this more concrete, here is a paper on strength differences which seems to imply (though I don't see it stated) a Cohen's d of about 3 for upper body strength: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756754/
Plugging that into the visualizer here (3 is the maximum value supported) you see only 13% overlap: http://rpsychologist.com/d3/cohend/
Worth noting that these analyses don't account for size differences (so your equal height condition skews things).

To answer your question a different way, try looking at world championship weightlifting results. Can you lift more than the strongest woman there less than or equal to you in height (or weight as a proxy)? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world_records_in_Olympic_weightlifting

https://rawpowerlifting.com/records/world_records/

Razib's grip strength post is a worthwhile look at this sort of thing: https://www.unz.com/gnxp/men-are-stronger-than-women-on-average

Peripatetic commenter > , August 16, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT

To answer your question a different way, try looking at world championship weightlifting results. Can you lift more than the strongest woman there less than or equal to you in height (or weight as a proxy)?

I don't do weight training but if I did, I think I could and I would assert that world championship male weight lifters could.

Peripatetic commenter > , August 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT

I started reading https://people.ok.ubc.ca/lgabora/papers/Gabora-Russon-EOI-2011.pdf

and found this:

The more we learn about nonhuman intelligence, however, the more we find that abilities previously thought to be uniquely human are not. For example, it was thought until the 1960s that humans alone make tools. But then Jane Goodall (1963) found wild chimpanzees making them. Later, several other species were found making tools too (Beck, 1980). Thus, ideas about what marks the boundary between human and nonhuman intelligence have undergone repeated

There is an enormous qualitative difference between the tools that Chimps (or other primates) use and something like, say, https://www.thoughtco.com/acheulean-handaxe-first-tool-171238 .

What is the use of making such statements? Chimps are not going to suddenly start making screw drivers or knives or bows and arrows etc. Is it thought that all other tool making is layered on top of the neural support Chimps use for making their very primitive tools?

Priss Factor > , Website August 17, 2017 at 4:38 am GMT

2 Kevins says we are living 'matriarchy'.

wayfarer > , August 17, 2017 at 4:44 am GMT

"Google Memo: Fired Employee Speaks Out!"

utu > , August 17, 2017 at 4:44 am GMT

@Peripatetic commenter

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 8:44 am GMT

I suspect that no one with enough intelligence to think clearly understands what all the fuss is about. I have never been particularly successful at anything, despite my IQ of over 160 (according to Mensa). The only clearcut effect this has had, as far as I can make out, is that most people find my conversation obscure and boring.

If an IQ 60% above average confers no apparent practical advantage, what is the point in squabbling heatedly about hypothetical differences on the order of 1%? It is surely well established, even if it weren't glaringly obvious to common sense, that while pure intelligence is vital in some fields of work, its effects are usually swamped by those of other characteristics such as persistence, enthusiasm, charisma and empathy.

Indeed, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the very most intelligent people are disproportionately prone to mental disorders, existential horror, and despair. There is a lot to hate and fear in the world, and most people seem to be spared the worst consequences by the simplest of defence mechanisms – a sheer failure to notice.

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 8:52 am GMT

@Peripatetic commenter "Is it thought that all other tool making is layered on top of the neural support Chimps use for making their very primitive tools?"

Yes. Although of course we are not chimps, nor are we directly descended from chimps. The human brain is immensely flexible and adaptable, and once the practice of solving problems by making tools became established, a whole vast new world opened up. Note that people were making stone tools for a very, very long time before the first metals were discovered. Note also that many of the human race's greatest discoveries may have been made only once or twice before spreading worldwide.

One serious weakness that most humans suffer from is an inability to visualize long periods of time. Just as, to the average citizen, a million, a billion, and a trillion are all more or less just "lots and lots", most of us really cannot conceive of a million years or what might happen in such a time. At about three generations per century, a million years represents about 30,000 generations. A mere 50 generations ago the Roman Empire was still flourishing.

James Thompson > , Website August 17, 2017 at 10:27 am GMT

@res Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed comments.

On the speed issue, for all tasks, I was objecting to Hyde's implied distinction between speed and ability, because ability is related to speed. I think that W.D.Furneaux was onto this issue years ago, and progressed it well. From memory, I have classified his key insight as saying that intellectual achievement depended on: speed, accuracy and persistence.

The first two are often a trade-off, though of course the brightest people are both speedy and accurate. Persistence is often an ignored characteristic, though it is a key part of most great intellectual achievements.

As regards g, at higher levels of ability it account for less variance.

1. Furneaux, W. D., Nature, 170, 37 (1952). | ISI |
2. Furneaux, W. D. "The Determinants of Success in Intelligence Tests" (paper read to Brit. Assoc. Adv. Sci., 1955).
3. Furneaux, W. D., Manual of Nufferno Speed Tests (Nat. Found. Educ. Res., London, 1955).
4. Furneaux, W. D., in Intellectual Abilities and Problem Solving Behaviour in Handbook of Abnormal Psychology (edit. by Eysenck, H. J.) (Pergamon Press, London, 1960)

James Thompson > , Website August 17, 2017 at 10:50 am GMT

@Peripatetic commenter I think you are right if we alter it from "any woman" to "almost any woman", simply because the difference in body strength (in the paper Res references, and in the others) is a d of 3.5 so I wouldn't bother with further calculations to correct for height. What would make a difference is the small numbers of elite women athletes, as shown in the paper Razib posted.

If one simplifies the whole issue to look at height, weight and body strength together, then women are at risk in any physical encounter with men, even old ones. This has been noticed before, resulting in kind societies paying extra respect to and showing more consideration for women, and in less kind societies to their abuse.

Miro23 > , August 17, 2017 at 12:21 pm GMT

I find the ferocity of some of the replies to Damore extreme. The vehemence of the opposition is coruscating, and absolute. These issues should be matters of scholarly debate, in which the findings matter, and different interpretations contend against each other.

Or maybe it's not for ferocious attacks or scholarly debate. It's just a difference of opinion (remember "diversity") – not something to get so excited about. The problem is that PC is on the way to functioning like militant Islam with regard to unbelievers and apostates.

Moi > , August 17, 2017 at 1:10 pm GMT

Free speech is an interesting concept – but don't try to put it into practice.

James Thompson > , Website August 17, 2017 at 1:19 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh Dear Tom,
An IQ of 160 is only found in 1 in 31,560 persons, being higher than 99.9976142490% of the population. This is more than a 60% advantage over the average citizen. IQ points are not percentages.

The work of Benbow and Lubinski shows that the higher the intelligence the greater the achievement. While other personality factors may be involved, they have yet to be shown to be as important. Typically, high ability people are shown to be more balanced than average, with lower rates of mental disorder.

dc.sunsets > , August 17, 2017 at 2:10 pm GMT

@James Thompson Not to worry. We have Hollywood providing young women with all the confidence necessary that, should she walk down a dark alley and be accosted by a man, she will likely strike him a few times in the face and walk away unscathed.

/sarc off.

If women grasped even vaguely just how great is the gulf between them and the overwhelming majority of men, I suspect we'd see a lot fewer women using their divorce attorney to torment their soon-to-be (or already) ex-husband. I've watched women metaphorically poke the most dangerous animal on Planet Earth, an adult male human, as he sits in a cage that lacks bars.

The only time I've seen the "Entertainment Industry" show what can really happen in a confrontation between a typical woman and a typical (in this case viciously predatory) man, it was in a foreign-made film titled "Irreversible," available on Amazon Video. It was without a doubt the most horrifying rape-beating ever put on film, and watching it would scare the living daylights out of women. It ran rings around any horror film ever made.

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 2:10 pm GMT

@Moi That's nothing new, either.

"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them".

– Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar, Ch. XX

Moi > , August 17, 2017 at 2:54 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh Sam Clemens was sui generis. And I love this one of his: "There are only two important days in the life of any person, the day that your are born and then day you find out why."

szopen > , August 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm GMT

Well, I was looking for people-vs-things preference differences expressed in easily calculable terms (i.e. something in terms of "men are rated as 10 on this trait, with SD 2, while women as 8, with SD 1.8″) but I couldn't; Can anyone help?

The best I could found was the study which claimed that in people-vs-things rating, within the top 25% of topc scorers – which would be, if I understood correctly, people who are the most interested in things (as contrasted with "interested in people") ratio of women to men is 0.287. That would mean there would be around 78% men, 22% women.

Now, the question is what is the cutoff for going to STEM, ie. what is average "things" preference for people to decide to follow career in STEM (or, more specifically, in engineering and computer science). Depending on value of this cutoff, the gap in CS and engineering might be, indeed, completely explained away by difference in people-vs-things interest, or even might imply men are discriminated against, HOWEVER, seeing as some of those preferences are calculated, I wonder whether it is not a kind of circular argument, kind of "there are more men into computer-related work, because more men are interested in computers".

Also, it seems that i saw in one study taht this difference decreases with age, which is strange. This would contradict the theory that the preference is driven by the social expectations (because, then "sexist" expectations would cause is to go up with age) but this could be explained by "it is caused by biology" theory; HOWEVER, the bad thing and the weakness is that "it's caused by biology" could be used to justify BOTH increasing and decreasing the gap – a realisation which leaves bad taste in my mouth.

Anyway I'd love to see
(1) studies quantifying the differences on a scale, not saying "the effect is large with Cohen's d=1.23″
(2) studies looking at specifically computer science and comparing their preferences with general population
(3) studies measuring the trait in very early age

res > , August 17, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT

@James Thompson Thanks for expanding on the speed, accuracy and persistence idea. And giving references!

I am having trouble chasing down your references though. This 1967 letter gives a very similar list of references but states that there were errors in the 1952 Furneaux paper equations: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v214/n5092/abs/2141056a0.html

This book (The Measurement of Intelligence, edited by Michael? Eysenck, copyright 1973, I actually have a copy but am having trouble finding it, I think that chapter would be a good starting point for me): https://books.google.com/books?id=wjLpCAAAQBAJ&pg=PA236&lpg=PA236
gives a title for your first reference: Some Speed, Error and Difficulty Relationships within a Problem-solving Situation
From which I find: https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v170/n4314/abs/170037a0.html
It is nice that Nature assigns DOIs to its old papers. That appears to be a two page letter. Interesting, but I am having trouble drawing inferences from it.

I am not sure I communicated my agreement with your earlier speed, accuracy, and persistence comments. I was trying to extend the idea to consider that slow speed might be an indicator of the substitution of skills (other than persistence, though that is certainly critical there) for the skill nominally being tested for. In my earlier example, g for spatial ability. For another example, I took an online autism test a while ago (identifying emotions from pictures). I scored above average (in a good way ; ), but found myself again using a more "logical" (g based IMHO) process for the harder items. I doubt that is the way most people approach that test (though I could be wrong) and my result might overstate my ability on the skill they are trying to test .

The fundamental distinction I am trying to make is between solving a problem in the same way (or sufficiently similar) just more slowly and solving the problem using a fundamentally different approach (or skill/ability?!). The former could be viewed as changing the clock speed on a computer and I think corresponds with the point you make about persistence. For the latter envision a case where one person solves a problem using visual intuition and a quick mathematical check while another person uses an extended mathematical derivation. I think this kind of substitutabiltity could be a problem in subtests intended to measure a specific skill (e.g. spatial!). And g is a very useful Swiss army knife ; ).

Perhaps this is a second order effect relative to the basic speed/persistence issue and should (could?) not really be considered until that has been solved? I guess I am just interested in anyone who has thought about this substitutability idea in the more general form. Furneaux seems focused on the speed side. In particular, Furneaux limits his consideration to the 10-85% range of difficulty while my personal experience is much more about the hard end of the difficulty scale.

This seems like a fairly obvious idea to me so I presume it has been considered. Perhaps some combination of "second order effect" and "hard to test" prevents something having been done about it?

One other thought that occurs to me. Does Furneaux's deemphasis of higher D(ifficulty) items say something about the difficulty of creating high ceiling tests? Is it possible that the combination of substitutability and more idiosyncratic skill profiles at the high end are part of that problem?

res > , August 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT

@Miro23

It's just a difference of opinion (remember "diversity") – not something to get so excited about.

The supreme irony of l'affaire Damore is that was a primary point of Damore's memo and the response was perhaps the best proof of the validity of that point possible. Hence my "inept thinkers" comment.

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm GMT

@dc.sunsets "No one is insuring your foods are safe".

Actually, Western governments have for decades been going out of their way to recommend actively unhealthy foods and drinks. In 1865, in 1910 and in 1939 it was clearly understood everywhere that meat, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, and nuts, together with some dairy and fruit, were the essential dietary items. Carbohydrates, sugars and grains in particular, were clearly understood to be fattening and probably causative of many diseases.

Yet since the US government led the charge with its McGovern Committee Report in the 1970s, Western governments have been warning against meat, saturated fat, and other healthy foods while urging consumption of more foods made from sugars and grains. We all require about 20% of daily energy from protein, and the rest is a mixture of fats and carbs. Cut out the fats, and that means 70-80% carbs, which leads inexorably to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and for many people eventual diabetes.

Did I mention that Senator McGovern represented a grain-producing state?

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 3:51 pm GMT

@res

I would like, in this context, to repeat my quotation of Alfred Korzybski's declaration.

"I have said what I have said. I have not said what I have not said".

Intelligent, let alone constructive, discourse will not be possible until everyone understands that saying and takes care to make sure they understand what others mean.

James Thompson > , Website August 17, 2017 at 4:15 pm GMT

@res Good points. Sorry about the references: I took the first ones to hand, and should have searched through my own posts. Have done that now, and found this:

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/you-want-it-good-or-you-want-it-tuesday

This will add some content, but I agree that I did not properly answer your question. I think the question you raise would be considered a task solving strategy problem: "I have tried shape, as I did on the easier items, but that doesn't work for this more difficult problems, so I will try feature categorization". That is, you went from a modular solution to a g-loaded general strategy when the module seemed to fail you.

My first point is that if we can find someone who solves even the difficulty problem easily, we hire them because their module does the job for us!
Second, and more interestingly, most problem solving approaches fail when the problem is both novel and very difficult. (I cannot say what makes a problem difficult, but it probably relates to the number of items and the number of operations involved in solving it). At that point in the act of creation, people try all manner of re-framings and re-descriptions, in the hope that an analogy might open up a new line of attack. For example, I cannot assist anyone with finding new elements. Despite that, out of ignorance I can make some suggestions. For example, would anything be gained by taking the target close down to absolute zero? Would it make it easier to hit something?

So, problem-solving strategies often become the real test. That also involves working out what problems you don't have to solve. During the Manhattan project one group started worrying that in focusing the charges they would get wear in the system which would throw out their very crucial calculations about the critical mass required. After a while a team member pointed out the obvious fact that the firing mechanism would only be used once.

You are right that a different approach is what we generally need for very difficult problems.
Sorry that I cannot answer all your interesting questions.

res > , August 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh That is a good quote. Perhaps I am being a bit dense, but I don't see the applicability to my comment 32. Especially given that I was not responding to you. Perhaps you could elaborate?

If anything the obligation to understand lies first with those criticizing Damore's memo.

Priss Factor > , Website August 17, 2017 at 6:34 pm GMT

@schrub

I don't mind DS not existing. The question is IF they can go after DS, where does it end?

Look how Canadian 'hate speech laws' began with silencing 'Neo-Nazis' (fake ones, btw) and then spread to going after those who don't use proper pronouns. Self-Righteous Addiction created all these Self-Righteous Junkies.

Delinquent Snail > , August 17, 2017 at 6:40 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh What? 3 generations a century? That would mean people are having kids in their 30s . Which didn't happen until this last century. Its more like 4-5, maybe even 6, generations a century.

I agree humans can't visualize large spans of time. Plus, a very large minority think the world was created 2017 years ago, so that doesn't help.

Astuteobservor II > , August 17, 2017 at 7:08 pm GMT

I find the ferocity of some of the replies to Damore extreme. The vehemence of the opposition is coruscating, and absolute. These issues should be matters of scholarly debate, in which the findings matter, and different interpretations contend against each other. Expressing different opinions should be a cue for debate, not outrage.

this is why I support him.

Bill Jones > , August 17, 2017 at 7:50 pm GMT

The bigger question is why Homo Sapiens is the only primate on the planet where The female is expected to be equal to the male .

Art > , August 17, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT

The whole argument "for equality" is fundamentally flawed – it is the wrong goal. As individuals we humans want to be different – not equal. We want to bring something different to the table of social interaction. People who are equal have nothing to give to each other.

Our goal is to find a niche for ourselves – there is room for all different capabilities in a rational society. There is only so much need for rocket scientists.

Proving that men and women are equal is fools work.

Smart people will endeavor to prove that all work is of value – and deserving of a living compensation.

Peace -- Art

P.S. No matter our intellectual capabilities, for 99% of us – doing a good job of raising our children – is the most lasting thing that we can ever do. They are our true legacy – what we do on the job is all too soon lost in the evolution of business.

Bill Jones > , August 17, 2017 at 8:27 pm GMT

@James Thompson

Cspan had an excellent two hour or so interview of the guy on one of their weekend book shows a decade or so ago. Worth the search and a download of at least the audio.

szopen > , August 17, 2017 at 8:57 pm GMT

@res Thanks a lot for a link to "interpretating cohen's d"! FInally I understood the concept

However, the problem with COhen's d is that it assumes – if I am not mistaken – the equal standard deviations, while I think it is quite likely that variation is bigger in males, as usual with many other traits. That would mean that using "d" would not truly reflect the ratios of population over some cutoff, am i right?

res > , August 17, 2017 at 10:02 pm GMT

@szopen My understanding is the official definition of Cohen's d uses the pooled SDs of the subpopulations, but I am not sure how rigorously that subtlety is observed. For example, this page gives them as alternate definitions: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Cohen%27s_d

I am not sure how much of a difference that makes in practice. That might be a good thing to investigate with some simulations.

Bill Jones > , August 17, 2017 at 11:45 pm GMT

@CanSpeccy

"To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not O.K."

Even if it demonstrably true. Can't let reality get in the way of the religion , can we?

[Aug 11, 2017] The federal government recognizes Diversity as a number of protected class groups that self-identify as being underprivileged, oppressed, disadvantaged, underutilized, and underserved. by Thompson

Aug 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Simply because the immediate reaction to the Google Memo concentrated on sex differences I gathered together some posts on sex differences, showing that the sexes differ somewhat in their abilities: not very much, but enough to make a difference at the extremes, and it is the extremes which make a difference to technology based societies, and to a technology dependent world. I left out any mention of the notion that a "diverse" workforce is better than better than a workforce selected purely on ability to do the task in question. My mistake, which I will try to repair now.

I wondered, some years ago, what evidence there was for the proposition that diversity was a good thing. I would like to collect more proposals, because the ones sent to me proved unconvincing. You may have heard a claim that having women in the workforce boosts profits by 40%. This turns out to be a misunderstood joke.

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/davos-diversity

Now to the general claim that having women in a group boosts anything, or that having a variety of intellectual levels in a group boosts anything. That was taken apart in a set of experimental studies by Bates and Gupta.

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/group-iq-doesnt-exist

My conclusion was:

So, if you want a problem solved, don't form a team. Find the brightest person and let them work on it. Placing them in a team will, on average, reduce their productivity. My advice would be: never form a team if there is one person who can sort out the problem.

Perhaps Damore was a guy who could sort out problems, until the last problem, that is.

I repeat my January 2015 request: if you have any good studies showing that having a sexually or racially diverse workforce boosts profits over a workforce selected on competence alone, please send me send them to me in a comment to this item.

Roast beef, August 10, 2017 at 4:18 pm GMT

https://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/index.cfm?fileid=8128F3C0-99BC-22E6-838E2A5B1E4366DF

Some of the findings of our initial report are confirmed – greater diversity in boards and management are empirically associated with higher returns on equity, higher price/book valuations and superior stock price performance. However, new findings emerge from this added management analysis – we find no evidence that female led companies reflect greater financial conservatism where leverage is concerned. Also, dividend payout ratios have been shown to be higher. Female CEOs have proven to be less acquisitive than men when assuming the leadership position. The analysis makes no claims to causality though the results are striking.

epochehusserl , August 10, 2017 at 4:40 pm GMT

Diversity and inclusion are buzzwords made up by Gramscian marxists to rationalize group rights made up by the courts after not being satisfied with equality under the law. Those buzzwords do nothing to resolve the existential and morals issues raised by group rights. Whose diversity and inclusion are the best anyways? What if I think I would be enriched by this rather than that diversity and inclusion?

TheJester , August 10, 2017 at 5:42 pm GMT

An Example: Talented Individuals vs. Mediocre Groups

In the late 1990s, I was in charge of a regional office of a high tech company that had a problem. We had delivered a complex air defense system but the command module could not communicate with the missile batteries. This was serious stuff. The company put teams of software developers on the problem back at the main campus. They worked for over a month without result. The customer was getting antsy, which is a euphemism for nasty.

Then, the company deployed Burt (not his real name) to the customer location to see what he could do. Burt sat at the conference table in my outer office reading reams of code printed in large binders like a novel (I'm not kidding) no notes, just reading and noticing. Burt didn't even bother with a computer screen or debugging software.

Then, he exclaimed, "I've got it!" (I'll always remember that moment.) Burt noticed that the date format for the commands being sent from the command module was in a different format than the date format expected by the missile batteries.

QED a technical problem that had been plaguing the company for months, that had immobilized a major air defense system, and that had put the company's product line at risk solved by an individual with a few hours of work. I made sure that Burt got a big bonus.

The point: If you ran a startup hoping to bring "creative destruction" to a sector in a high-tech society, would you want (1) a politically correct software development team carefully tailored to meet affirmative action quotas for males, females, Blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals, lesbians, and the transgendered in spite of their IQs and personal qualities or, as James Damore argues, would you want (2) a group of "Burt's" acting alone or in concert because of their IQs and unique personal qualities?

The histories of Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and Google suggest the latter. The former brings with it progressively higher social and financial "carrying costs" that prejudice the success of any bleeding-edge high-tech endeavor.

MikeyParks , August 10, 2017 at 6:35 pm GMT

When the "diversity" is strictly cosmetic and all points of view are basically identical, what you have is not diversity, it's as Damore described it, an "echo chamber." Google should be smart enough to know this. I would guess that this kind of non-diverse diversity hinders productivity because there are no new ideas, just regurgitations of the party line.

res , August 10, 2017 at 6:44 pm GMT

I like this one: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/diverse-backgrounds-personalities-can-strengthen-groups

In a recent article disentangling what researchers have learned over the past 50 years, Margaret A. Neale finds that diversity across dimensions, such as functional expertise, education, or personality, can increase performance by enhancing creativity or group problem-solving. In contrast, more visible diversity, such as race, gender, or age, can have negative effects on a group!at least initially.

Of course viewpoint diversity is never what is actually meant by "diversity."

Sadly that article did not include a link to the research. I think this is it (free full text): http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1529-1006.2005.00022.x
The summary has a paragraph matching my quote above.

Anonymous , Disclaimer August 10, 2017 at 7:09 pm GMT

We used to abhor meetings back in the days before the US military was feminized and subject to collaborative group think. So much to do so little time.

We called meetings and other collaborative exercises "circle jerks".

From Wikipedia:

A circle jerk is a sexual practice in which a group of men or boys form a circle and masturbate themselves or each other. In the metaphorical sense, the term is used to refer to self-congratulatory behavior or discussion amongst a group of people, usually in reference to "boring time-wasting meetings or other events".

I suspect that "circle jerks" will become more frequent as Google transitions to a more female-friendly, collaborative organizational structure.

James Thompson , Website August 10, 2017 at 8:35 pm GMT

@Roast beef Thanks. Reading it now. Makes good points, but hard to find appropriate comparison companies for longitudinal comparisons. As authors say, it could be bigger companies doing the "female quota" thing while smaller companies are less inclined or less able to do so. Still reading it, and mostly thinking about the methods .

lump1 , August 11, 2017 at 1:52 am GMT

This is definitely an important question to tackle directly. My two bits is that we should try to disentangle causality if possible. It's not enough just to find correlations between high valuation and racial diversity. It might be like finding correlations between high valuation and having Michelin-star chefs in the company cafeteria. I bet the correlation exists, but it happens because already-successful companies get money to blow on inessential nice things. Diversity is a nice thing that already-successful companies can buy when they have money to spare, but just because they end up with it doesn't mean that it helped them succeed. I mean, it might – I don't know the data – but mere correlations could mislead us. Correlations across time would impress me more. If individual companies grow faster when more diverse and slower after they lose diversity, then the findings would be harder to dismiss.

YetAnotherAnon , August 11, 2017 at 8:56 am GMT

Off topic, but it seems Guardian readers are woke to the "everyone must go to university" scam. Bit late but never mind.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/02/i-feel-like-wasting-life-readers-overqualified-jobs

Top rated comment

I think the "50% of the population must have degrees" brigade are to blame for this. It was always going to devalue the worth of an academic degree by attempting to have half of the population wandering the job centres armed with a useless (but very costly) scrap of parchment.

What on earth were successive governments thinking?

But even if the degrees are not as valuable as the salesman (who came to your school and persuaded you, age 17, to sign up for a £60k loan with hefty interest rates) told you, at least you've had three years of leftie indoctrination (e.g. "no borders, no nations" or "Farage is a racist") which will stand our elites in good stead over your lifetime. And you've paid for it yourself!

Dieter Kief , August 11, 2017 at 11:17 am GMT

"if you want a problem solved, don't form a team"

Novels are written by one person – (as Steve Sailer mentions here and there, novels, especialy the really good ones, are very complex things). Great works of art or compositions, – mostly the same thing as in the novels-example.

Pop-music (Rock etc. too) might be an exception: Here, groups yield very interesting results.
(On usually not that high intellectual levels – is that the reason for this exception?)

James Thompson , Website August 11, 2017 at 1:56 pm GMT

Interesting example of pop-music. Usually the song writers are far fewer than the song players.

Joe Franklin , August 11, 2017 at 3:23 pm GMT

@epochehusserl Diversity and inclusion are buzzwords made up by Gramscian marxists to rationalize group rights made up by the courts after not being satisfied with equality under the law. Those buzzwords do nothing to resolve the existential and morals issues raised by group rights. Whose diversity and inclusion are the best anyways? What if I think I would be enriched by this rather than that diversity and inclusion? Diversity and Inclusion are euphemisms when employed by leftist (i.e. Democrats and Neocons) .

The federal government recognizes Diversity as a number of protected class groups that self-identify as being underprivileged, oppressed, disadvantaged, underutilized, and underserved.

Protected class groups identify the Nazi and white supremacist as their common oppressor.

The federal government recognizes Inclusion as federal entitlements for protected class groups.

Here's an example of several federal protected class groups recognized and entitled by the University of Nebraska:

http://www.unk.edu/about/compliance/aaeo/hiring_guidelines/identification_of_protected.php

Identification of Protected Class Groups

The following five groups are considered "Protected Classes" under various federal laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires reporting employment information on the first two groups, females and minorities, which are traditionally underutilized.

See also

Google Sex French Fries Fear and Loathing in Psychology Friday Movies

The Motivational Quotient

The Lack of Progress in Science: Sex Differences Razib Khan July 31, 2016 1,300 Words 100 Comments Genetics Allows the Dead to Speak from the Grave Razib Khan June 14, 2015

[Aug 11, 2017] Making Sense of the Google Memo

Notable quotes:
"... Neuroscientist Debra W. Soh, writing at Quillette, observes that ..."
"... It is well-established by Pinker and other scientists that women have higher IQs on average, while men preponderate the extremes of brilliance and dullness. ..."
Aug 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

...Damore has joined an increasing number of people from the worlds of business and academia to be sacrificed at the altar of diversity. In an unsurprising public relations move, Google has succeeded in saving some face by appeasing the partisans of political correctness and of so-called equality. Meanwhile, those who don't subscribe to the progressive delusion may feel more anxious at the prospect of failing to play the coward's game correctly. Can one sneeze these days without offending the HR department?

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, in a memo laden with incoherence and hypocrisy, says that

we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it. However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace. Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives. To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects "each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination."

The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender. Our co-workers shouldn't have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being "agreeable" rather than "assertive," showing a "lower stress tolerance," or being "neurotic."

At the same time, there are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint). They too feel under threat, and that is also not OK. People must feel free to express dissent. So to be clear again, many points raised in the memo!such as the portions criticizing Google's trainings, questioning the role of ideology in the workplace, and debating whether programs for women and underserved groups are sufficiently open to all!are important topics. The author had a right to express their views on those topics!we encourage an environment in which people can do this and it remains our policy to not take action against anyone for prompting these discussions.

What were those "harmful gender stereotypes," so "offensive" to the good team members at Google? Let's take a look at the first paragraph of the memo that has so many people worried about the white patriarchal obstacle that, now as ever, stands cruelly in the progressive path.

I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don't endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can't have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I've gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.

Surely no unbiased reader can fail to find Damore's words eminently reasonable. Though recently fired, the man is no enemy of diversity and inclusion, nor does he say sexism is not a real problem. There is nothing here (or elsewhere in the memo) to suggest he is not fair-minded. Indeed, if you read his memo, you will surely see!so long, again, as you are not biased!that as people go, Damore is exceptionally fair in his perceptions and reasoning, though it is well to remember Emerson's maxim: "To be great is to be misunderstood." Damore is concerned to give some nuance to understanding the issues since, after all, it is not prima facie evident that men and women are utterly the same; with the result that, where a corporation's representation of gender does not wholly reflect the national population, sexism is present by definition. The crucial phrase is "differences in distribution." Though feminists, progressives and Leftists generally are keen to deny it, men and women are not mere blank slates on which the "unequal" environment imprints its ink; we should not assume as a matter of course that something is awry if the workplace reflects! as it inevitably must !those gender differences which we all seem to notice the moment we leave it.

Neuroscientist Debra W. Soh, writing at Quillette, observes that

within the field of neuroscience, sex differences between women and men!when it comes to brain structure and function and associated differences in personality and occupational preferences!are understood to be true, because the evidence for them (thousands of studies) is strong. This is not information that's considered controversial or up for debate; if you tried to argue otherwise, or for purely social influences, you'd be laughed at.

Sex researchers recognize that these differences are not inherently supportive of sexism or stratifying opportunities based on sex. It is only because a group of individuals have chosen to interpret them that way, and to subsequently deny the science around them, that we have to have this conversation at a public level. Some of these ideas have been published in neuroscientific journals!despite having faulty study methodology!because they've been deemed socially pleasing and "progressive." As a result, there's so much misinformation out there now that people genuinely don't know what to believe.

Also at Quillette , eminent evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller remarks that "almost all of the Google memo's empirical claims are scientifically accurate. Moreover, they are stated quite carefully and dispassionately. Its key claims about sex differences are especially well-supported by large volumes of research across species, cultures, and history."

Steven Pinker himself!he of the very solid liberal credentials!has published much rigorous work on natural gender differences, in both intelligence and personality traits. Here he is on YouTube, giving a talk which might be used to support James Damore's case:

Note, what is so revealing, that Pinker takes care to appease the dogmatic academic crowd via the usual trite and simplistic reduction of human history to patriarchal oppression, lest, like Ibsen's Dr. Stockmann, he be thought an enemy of the people. It can't be that man simply found himself in a harsh world in which his superior brute strength was an immense advantage. It can't be that a severe division of labor was for most of history inevitable for the sexes. Like the Jews, man has always been behind the scenes, conspiring to oppress everyone. Well, at least Pinker was prudent. After all, those aggressive, broad-shouldered feminists have been known to body slam many an hysterically logical speaker.

Like Geoffrey Miller's, Pinker's work helps us to see better what ordinary people already know well enough from everyday life (and which, thankfully for them, they feel no need to deny, outside of the increasingly touchy workplace, anyway): that men and women are indeed different; nor is it obvious, in a sane world, why that should be such a scandal. For these differences, qua differences, are value neutral. My working-class mother, who never finished high school, is not obviously inferior as a person to Heather MacDonald, despite my own admiration for that excellent and courageous scholar-journalist.

It is well-established by Pinker and other scientists that women have higher IQs on average, while men preponderate the extremes of brilliance and dullness. Many if not most Google employees surely do have exceptionally high IQs. That men should so excel at the Google corporation!as they do at so many other things at the highest level!reflects Nature itself and is consistent with a massive amount of empirical findings. It is also consistent with many traditional stereotypes, for the most part. The psychologist Lee Jusim, among others, has done excellent work on the overwhelming accuracy (though typically, much suppressed) of stereotypes. If you want to see a humorous example of the truth of stereotypes, see the exceedingly emotional reactions by the female Google employees!who have made their disgust well-known on Twitter!that Pichai describes in the second paragraph where I quote him above. It is reported that many female Google employees stayed home from work on Monday, triggered into melancholy by Damore's truthful words. Tragically, the feminist quilting bee soon degenerated into a wild intersectional tizzy, the rotund blue and pink-haired ladies of various races and gender identities squabbling over whose cat should first be allowed to peck at Damore's soon to be flayed carcass. Looking at the photos and social media accounts of Google's Diversity-rabble, one is struck by how stereotypical they are; virtually everyone looks fresh from a Judith Butler conference at Bryn Mawr college: trans-this, queer-that, communist, ad nauseam . Defective specimens of divorce culture, therapy culture, and human folly and degeneration generally. Persons who, hardly ever having been around traditional masculinity, cannot but misunderstand it, and with the all-too-human fear and hatred of the unknown. Perusing pictures of Google CEO Sundar Pichai, one perceives, quite palpably, a typical skinny, weak, effete twenty-first century Last Man: born to take orders from nasty women and resentment-pipers generally

Gender differences may be bad news for Feminist Dogma, yet as Pinker says in his talk, the truth cannot be sexist, nor should it be "harmful"!to an adult mind, at least. Of course, like Lawrence Summers, who was obliged to step down from the Harvard Presidency a while back for not going along with Feminist Dogma, Pinker has caught fire from feminists!increasingly nasty women, as it were. Sundar Pichai, like our feminists, says all the right things about diversity and the like, but when it comes to the reality of one gender being better, on average, at, say, engineering, he goes in for cant about "harmful gender stereotypes." If, though, anybody was to say, what there is also much evidence to support, that women, on average, are better at language skills than men, nobody would be troubled. Such hypocritical intolerance by the partisans of tolerance should be expected to continue apace, unless we others make a principled stand. Looking at the academy and at our intellectuals in general, we may wonder how so many people can manage to walk upright without a spine. Alas, more vital work for the deplorables.

The Diversity Idol is confused and inherently self-defeating. As Debra W. Soh puts it in the The Globe and Mail ,

research has shown that cultures with greater gender equity have larger sex differences when it comes to job preferences, because in these societies, people are free to choose their occupations based on what they enjoy.

As the memo suggests, seeking to fulfill a 50-per-cent quota of women in STEM is unrealistic. As gender equity continues to improve in developing societies, we should expect to see this gender gap widen.

The Diversity Idol also reeks of hypocrisy. Where are all the calls for more women in bricklaying and coal mining, fields in which there are hardly any women?

As for women's relative lack of leadership positions, at Google and elsewhere, much the best explanation is that by Jordan Peterson. The issue is not so much lack of ability as (sensible) lack of interest. Why, Peterson asks, should women want anything to do with what is commonly called leadership, seeing as it is generally a quite mad and foolish affair (endless work and stress, all for wealth that does not make happy)? Women's relative lack of interest in so-called leadership!which ultimately, today as yesterday, amounts in the main to men vying to outdo one another in order to win the favor of women in the sexual marketplace!signifies their greater good sense, which certainly is of a piece with their greater psychological and emotional discernment generally, and quite a long way from man's lunatic competitiveness and zeal for mammon. It is well to reflect on just what women are really missing out on by not exercising the power that men do, all in all. Is it a power worth having, most of the time? Do we not find our highest good when we are free to pursue that which has inherent value? Then too, there is the reality, hardly recognized in our time, that, as G.K. Chesterton put it, "feminism is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands." For my own part, though an awful cook, I should rather be a house husband at home tending to my children than live a professional death-in-life at some touchy, humorless office.

In our status-obsessed society, there are constant gripes about how women are "excluded" from exercising power in the workplace. Meanwhile nobody says anything about the enormous psycho-biological power women possess simply by virtue of being women. This power, of course, is essentially determined by a woman's attractiveness, which is closely associated with youth and good health. No surprise, then, that women all over the world are forever trying to appear as attractive as possible, to the cost of billions every year. Such power, though inevitably prevalent in the workplace itself, far transcends it: it is a law of Nature itself, and indeed one of the strongest. As noted above, the endless male struggle for status mostly comes down to being able to obtain a desirable woman.

Today we see countless attractive young women spending vast amounts of time uploading photos of themselves on social media. How many wish to be a star! Hence that increasingly common phenomenon the duck face, which some might take for a kind of strange medical affliction: "Pucker up," thinks the generic young beauty in her vanity; "everybody's watching!" Like women on the many dating websites and apps, these social media darlings find that they can hardly keep up with all the male attention!surely an intoxicating pleasure, although doubtless often corrupting. No matter their intentions, and whether they are aware of it or not, such women are extremely powerful. The notion that a woman like Emily Ratajkowski is "oppressed" because of her "objectification" is absurd beyond description. Hers is a most willful objection; there is massive power in it; and even if the stunner was not affluent through her modeling and other endeavors, she would still not have to work: countess men would get in line to provide for her, now as ever. On the other hand, take away Bill Gates' billions, and how many women would even give that unattractive, uncharming fellow the time of day?

Google and other corporations, to maximize their profits, feel obliged to keep the diversity crowd happy. Yet there is, ironically, nothing the diversity crowd opposes more than diversity itself. To see this, consider that to effect "social justice," we must all become thesame , like a mad God who chooses to bungle His creation. For, so long as I differ from you in some way or other, it will always be possible to make a value judgment!of inferiority, of superiority, or of whatever!concerning that difference. And this would be true even if everyone had the same amount of money, even if there were no private property, and so on. For the most part, the social justice crowd is not motivated by benevolent justice, but by wicked resentment: that is why it wants not universal economic sufficiency (which I strongly support, insofar as it is achievable), but equality of outcome; with the result that comparative value judgment will be impossible.

Now equality of outcome derives from human psychology, from the permanent truth that there's nothing we children of pride detest more than the thought: "That person is better than me." Seeing other people perceive that superiority induces the same burning, violent envy, like a child who wants to destroy his parent's favored sibling. Indeed, from childhood on, man!the esteeming animal!defines himself in terms of competition, of rank, of hierarchy. No artist or athlete wants to be equal to another. Not every person, waxing indignant about inequality, wants to make the same income as every neighbor; very few do, in fact. Like suffering and death, this extreme competiveness is a law of Nature, from which we merely issue. Try to get rid of it, and see what mediocrity, corruption and degeneration follow. I say, look around you.

Biographical note: Christopher DeGroot is a writer and independent scholar in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

CanSpeccy > , Website August 11, 2017 at 4:27 am GMT

regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it.

Pichai is is an idiot. If a vast majority of "Googlers" disagreed with Damore's memorandum, how come most oppose his firing .

If Google's board wishes to avoid massive damage to the company, they should fire Pichai without delay on the grounds of his dishonesty and stupidity.

But the won't.

Good.

Let the manipulative, globalist, scum suffer massive damage to their credibility: credibility they do not deserve.

bliss_porsena > , August 11, 2017 at 4:58 am GMT

I have just staggered through Pepe Escobar on the Goolag Deep Swamp Memo and beg to be excused from more of the same, or similar.

jilles dykstra > , August 11, 2017 at 6:10 am GMT

Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London
already argues that truth does not matter any more.

TG > , August 11, 2017 at 7:46 am GMT

The field of Optometry is increasingly dominated by women. I have served on the admissions committee for an optometry school, and we'd like a better balance between male and female, but if most of the best applicants are female, well that's that and nobody whines. Many of these applicants are quite up-front about choosing optometry because it offers a better work-life balance than, say, ophthalmic surgery, and again, so what?

New enrollment in US medical schools is now 50/50 between men and women, and will likely become majority female before too long. Where is the angst?

And I remind you that, on average, people with degrees in medicine and optometry have significantly larger salaries than people with degrees in engineering, and significantly longer careers. On balance, I'd not say that professional women are doing all that bad. It's just that, for whatever reasons, the smart women tend to choose medicine over engineering. I fail to see a problem here.

Dieter Kief > , August 11, 2017 at 8:56 am GMT

The Pope, Emerson an Chesterton quotes are great. Especially the Pope-quote.
Thanks for putting Pinker, Peterson and Soh at the right place in the big picture.

These lines are a little bit misleading, because siblings rivlary is nothing exclusively boyish. There are women-athletes who want to win too, aren't there?

Seeing other people perceive that superiority induces the same burning, violent envy, like a child who wants to destroy his parent's favored sibling. Indeed, from childhood on, man!the esteeming animal!defines himself in terms of competition, of rank, of hierarchy. No artist or athlete wants to be equal to another. Not every person, waxing indignant about inequality, wants to make the same income as every neighbor; very few do, in fact.

((Article is very good – if a tad long, maybe.))

Zogby > , August 11, 2017 at 11:13 am GMT

How come noone is discussing the role that Pinchai is himself a product of affirmitive action plays in this? Do people really believe an Indian immigrant would serve as CEO of Google, as CEO of Microsoft if not for affirmitive action? Being CEO is not an engineering position. There are plenty of native-born mainstream Americans that could do these jobs. Most large American companies would never give the job of CEO to an immigrant from a 3rd-world country. Some of the business men that founded large companies may be immigrants, but it's different if they built the company. They're in control. Pinchai is just a hired hand, like Damore was.

Njguy73 > , August 11, 2017 at 11:26 am GMT

"Science is an odd sort of pursuit, way off the beaten track of human intellection There were theologians and politicians long, long, long before there were scientists. In dark moments I am inclined to think the former will still be with us long after the latter have been eliminated, probably via mass lynching Scientists themselves tend to forget this because they associate mainly with other scientists."

John Derbyshire, 2007

http://www.johnderbyshire.com/Opinions/Religion/religionandpolitics.html

jim jones > , August 11, 2017 at 11:28 am GMT

Good thread on Reddit by a hiring manager about the realities of diversity:

https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/6scd84/long_my_experience_as_a

Anonymous > , Disclaimer August 11, 2017 at 1:02 pm GMT

"It is well-established by Pinker and other scientists that women have higher IQs on average, while men preponderate the extremes of brilliance and dullness."

First time I'm hearing that claim. I've heard about the flatter, wider Bell Curve for men but the average IQ was either the same or even higher. That's also more logical since men need higher IQs to both prove themselves as providers and charm the pants off their mates. Women love intelligence + health in their mates while men look for beauty + health. A highly stratified, unequal and un-meritocratic (old money, castes or arranged marriages) system can distort the choices quite a bit but that's the baseline.

This is also interesting if true:

Recent research using DNA analysis answered this question about two years ago. Today's human population is descended from twice as many women as men.

I think this difference is the single most underappreciated fact about gender. To get that kind of difference, you had to have something like, throughout the entire history of the human race, maybe 80% of women but only 40% of men reproduced.

https://archive.is/9F5rK

CanSpeccy > , Website August 11, 2017 at 3:24 pm GMT

@The Alarmist Damone is somebody's shill. Nobody with two functioning brain cells would publish that memo in that environment without some expectation of losing his job; either he is looking for fame and a payout, or he is simply insane.

Damone [sic] is somebody's shill.

.So exposing the reality of liberal-leftist bigotry, bullying and discrimination is proof that you're "sombody's shill"? What kind of bullshit argument is that?

Nobody with two functioning brain cells would publish that memo in that environment without some expectation of losing his job; either he is looking for fame and a payout, or he is simply insane.

Which reveals what a scoundrel mentality you have. Exposing corruption, bigotry, and manipulation of the public mind through the control of information is something you think a sane person would do, only for fame or money.

The idea of blowing the whistle on a bunch of dirty manipulators, bigots, bullies and scumbags who routinely misdirect the public for both political ends or to boost profits because you no longer wish to work with them, or because you think the public should know what such people are doing, or because you believe in propagating truth not using the most powerful tools for the enlightenment of humanity for the purpose of pushing some grotesque leftist agenda is, apparently, to a moral numbskull such as yourself, unintelligible.

What a sick society America has become, that it can produce individuals who not only think as you do, but who think anyone who thinks otherwise is insane.

But the cherry on the cake is that Damore did not blow the whistle on anyone. He merely circulated a memorandum among what Pichai, Google's idiot savant CEO, calls "Googlers". It was Pichai, confirming his own idiocy, who blew the whistle on himself by firing Damore.

What delicious irony. The shit CEO of the dirty search engine company, dicked himself.

anonymous > , Disclaimer August 11, 2017 at 3:41 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London
already argues that truth does not matter any more. Thanks for referencing this book. Read it when it was first published. As such it served as my introduction to Lasch, who was a very prescient thinker (read "The True and Only Heaven"). And here's what's disturbing: Lasch, as I recall, pointed out that narcissism is in fact a mental disorder which is considered to be so deep-seated as to be impossible to cure.

[Aug 11, 2017] Steve Sailer

Aug 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

From Ben Kurtz :

Google has just earned itself a lawsuit.

California Labor Code § 1102 requires that "no employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity." Furthermore, the "whistleblower" provisions at §1102.5 prohibit employers from adopting rules preventing disclosure of, or retaliating against an employee for having disclosed, "information to a person with authority over the employee, or another employee who has authority to investigate, discover or correct the violation if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation of or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal rule or regulation, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the employee's job duties."

The memo in question quite plausibly falls into both statutory sections -- advocating that someone "stop alienating conservatives" sure sounds like political activity, and warning of corporate policies and procedures "which can incentivize illegal discrimination," and asking that the employer cease "restricting [certain] programs and classes to certain genders or races" sure sounds like information which an employee would have "reasonable cause to believe" concerns noncompliance with federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

Even better: Somebody could go to jail for this.

Section 1103 provides: "An employer or any other person or entity that violates this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable, in the case of an individual, by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year or a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) or both that fine and imprisonment, or, in the case of a corporation, by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).

Alec Leamas (hard at work) > , August 11, 2017 at 2:26 pm GMT

@jjbees I had this thought this morning, and while I know it has been said a million times, it still leaves me in awe:

It is so obviously true that men and women are different, that people of different races are different, that for someone to say otherwise is simply insane. These people are insane.

It is so obviously true that men and women are different, that people of different races are different, that for someone to say otherwise is simply insane. These people are insane.

The people at the top don't really believe it. But they do think saying so or acting as if it is true is a fatal breach of decorum and evidence that the speaker doesn't want it to be true. It's like telling a committed Christian that heaven doesn't seem all that nice or desirable.

From a practical perspective, it's harmful to say at Google because of the inevitable flip-outs and resultant lack of productivity.

Think about being in Babu's shoes – you've taken over a tech giant headquartered in the most socially radical region of the United States, which has employed countless employees who skew young and have been steeped from childhood in equalist fantasies. Even if James Damore's statements are correct and even if acting in conformity with the realities he sets forth would lead to the long term financial health and well-being of the Company, in the short term it's a disaster to have all of your Monster Baby employees pitching fits and potentially acting as saboteurs inside the organization to punish you for not getting rid of the heretic. It's easier to throw the occasional James Damore into the volcano (ensuring he will probably be the last) and take the legal consequences than to leave him in place and see the place burnt to the ground.

oddsbodkins > , August 11, 2017 at 2:27 pm GMT

@jjbees It's always tempting to think that one's enemies are collectively insane. They aren't.

Even Japanese soldiers who held out on islands for years were not insane. What they were is loyal, dedicated, and convinced.

tullamore92 > , August 11, 2017 at 3:11 pm GMT

@jjbees https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/124952-in-my-study-of-communist-societies-i-came-to-the

schmenz > , August 11, 2017 at 3:30 pm GMT

@reiner Tor This makes them all the more dangerous. Exactly.

anon > , Disclaimer August 11, 2017 at 3:33 pm GMT

I think Google should just pack up and move a little north. They can setup shop in Canada (Vancouver is a nice city; they have lot of real estate on Vancouver Island, if they want to build a silicon valley). The politics in US is simply too poisonous for an information/knowledge/wisdom plumber.

Tim Howells > , August 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm GMT

Yeah, yeah but does the employee belong to a protected class? Don't get your hopes up.

Achmed E. Newman > , Website August 11, 2017 at 3:56 pm GMT

@reiner Tor

It is so obviously true that men and women are different, that people of different races are different, that for someone to say otherwise is simply insane. These people are insane.

This makes them all the more dangerous.

Hence, the invention of the straight-jacket – probably by some white man or something. Go long straight-jackets, bitchez! [/style: zerohedge-commenter]

San Fernando Curt > , Website August 11, 2017 at 3:56 pm GMT

The day they haul out Cherry Sundae and clap him in irons would be de day ob de Jubilee. I won't hold my breath.

KM32 > , August 11, 2017 at 4:08 pm GMT

There is zero chance that he'll be prosecuted for this. What the law says is one thing, and how it is interpreted is another.

NickG > , August 11, 2017 at 4:59 pm GMT

Is a Google Executive Headed for Jail?

This would have been vastly more entertaining in pukka colonial vernacular .

Is Google's top coolie to be banged up in the chokey?

James Bowery > , Website August 11, 2017 at 5:02 pm GMT

It's an execrable law but I wouldn't be honest if I didn't recognize the perverse "social justice" it would provide, if not selectively enforced. Of course, it will be selectively enforced, as are all such execrable laws.

If I could, I'd sentence every CEO, and every journalist covering the Damore story to read this:

http://jimbowery.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-mau-mauing-of-james-damore.html

Desiderius > , August 11, 2017 at 5:03 pm GMT

@jjbees It's sad funny reading the Heterodox Academy's response which bends over backward to take the madness seriously in a vain (in more ways than one) attempt to preserve their centrist brand.

Jack D > , August 11, 2017 at 5:11 pm GMT

@reiner Tor Any child can believe things that are simply and obviously true, but as Orwell observed, "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them."

Therefore, believing in absurd stuff is sort of an intellectual badge – "I believe in stuff that is absurd on its face and have the ability to rationalize anything. So you know that I must be a bona fide intellectual."

reiner Tor > , August 11, 2017 at 5:48 pm GMT

@Jack D Yes, but it doesn't make them any less crazy. Or dangerous.

Jim Don Bob > , August 11, 2017 at 5:57 pm GMT

Please God!

whorefinder > , Website August 11, 2017 at 5:57 pm GMT

Yeah, he ain't going to jail.

Everyone knows these kinds of "crimes" are really there to be used against white men. They are selectively enforced. So California will either decline to prosecute!and if questioned, say Newspeakingly that there "not enough evidence"!or, if they are forced prosecute, give him probation.

This is rather how "hate crime" legislation (which is clearly unconstitutional, but hey, Diversity!) works. Blacks whined about how they're always criminals and whitey isn't, legislators responded with legislation giving judges the power to overpunish whiteys in white/nonwhite crimes to satisfy the bloodlust. And when blacks commit one? The prosecutors ignore the hate crime aspects and treat it as a non-hate crime.

This happens in a lot of physical fights. In fights, people tend to scream lots of demaning insults at each other; it's the nature of the adrenaline (and in men, also testosterone) kicking in. SO if a white and black and get in a fight and the white lets a racial slur slip out!even if the fight clearly began over something non-racial(i.e. a traffic incident, a fight over a girl)!-the prosecutors will climb all over each other to get whitey on a hate crime. But even if a blacks starts out with the clear intention to assault white people for being white!"I'm going to go beat up some white people, yo, I hate them"! you watch how rarely they get the "hate crime" charge.enhancement.

It's Bonfire of the Vanities 's theme writ into law.

keuril > , August 11, 2017 at 6:08 pm GMT

@Jack D Any child can believe things that are simply and obviously true, but as Orwell observed, "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them."

Therefore, believing in absurd stuff is sort of an intellectual badge - "I believe in stuff that is absurd on its face and have the ability to rationalize anything. So you know that I must be a bona fide intellectual."

Therefore, believing in absurd stuff is sort of an intellectual badge – "I believe in stuff that is absurd on its face and have the ability to rationalize anything. So you know that I must be a bona fide intellectual

That is, by the way, exactly how Amazon has achieved its ludicrous valuation!an army of insecure, pseudo-intellectual analysts affirming that a company that has never managed a substantial profit in more than 20 yrs as a public corporation can indefinitely "reinvest revenues something something." The same madness we find in the political sphere exists in the financial sphere as well.

[Aug 11, 2017] Google's ideological echo chamber

The most stupid thing to do was to fire this guy. The paper raises an important question -- at what point affirmative action becomes discrimination. But the author does not understand that gender bias is an important part of identity wedge -- a powerful tool under neoliberalism to split and marginalized opposition to neoliberal fat cats adopted and polished by Clintonized Democratic Party (DemoRats).
Notable quotes:
"... ( Editor's note: The following is a 10-page memo written by an anonymous senior software engineer at Google.) ..."
"... This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed. ..."
"... [1] This document is mostly written from the perspective of Google's Mountain View campus, I can't speak about other offices or countries. ..."
"... [2] Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason. I'd be very happy to discuss any of the document further and provide more citations. ..."
"... [3] Throughout the document, by "tech", I mostly mean software engineering. ..."
"... [4] For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal. ..."
"... [5] Stretch, BOLD, CSSI, Engineering Practicum (to an extent), and several other Google funded internal and external programs are for people with a certain gender or race. ..."
"... [6] Instead set Googlegeist OKRs, potentially for certain demographics. We can increase representation at an org level by either making it a better environment for certain groups (which would be seen in survey scores) or discriminating based on a protected status (which is illegal and I've seen it done). Increased representation OKRs can incentivize the latter and create zero-sum struggles between orgs. ..."
"... [7] Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn't going to overthrow their "capitalist oppressors," the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the "white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy." ..."
"... [8] Ironically, IQ tests were initially championed by the Left when meritocracy meant helping the victims of the aristocracy. ..."
"... [9] Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power. ..."
"... [10] "The traditionalist system of gender does not deal well with the idea of men needing support. Men are expected to be strong, to not complain, and to deal with problems on their own. Men's problems are more often seen as personal failings rather than victimhood,, due to our gendered idea of agency. This discourages men from bringing attention to their issues (whether individual or group-wide issues), for fear of being seen as whiners, complainers, or weak." ..."
"... [11] Political correctness is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against," which makes it clear why it's a phenomenon of the Left and a tool of authoritarians. ..."
Aug 11, 2017 | www.wnd.com

( Editor's note: The following is a 10-page memo written by an anonymous senior software engineer at Google.)

I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don't endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can't have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I've gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.

TL:DR

Background [1]

People generally have good intentions, but we all have biases which are invisible to us. Thankfully, open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, which is why I wrote this document.[2] Google has several biases and honest discussion about these biases is being silenced by the dominant ideology. What follows is by no means the complete story, but it's a perspective that desperately needs to be told at Google.

Google's biases

At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices.

Left Biases

Right Biases

Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.

Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google's left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I'll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that's required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.

Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech [3]

At Google, we're regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it's far from the whole story.

On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren't just socially constructed because:

Note, I'm not saying that all men differ from women in the following ways or that these differences are "just." I'm simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there's significant overlap between men and women, so you can't say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

Personality differences

Women, on average, have more:

Note that contrary to what a social constructionist would argue, research suggests that "greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men's and women's personality traits." Because as "society becomes more prosperous and more egalitarian, innate dispositional differences between men and women have more space to develop and the gap that exists between men and women in their personality becomes wider." We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.

Men's higher drive for status

We always ask why we don't see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.

Status is the primary metric that men are judged on[4], pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail. Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths.

N on-discriminatory ways to reduce the gender gap

Below I'll go over some of the differences in distribution of traits between men and women that I outlined in the previous section and suggest ways to address them to increase women's representation in tech and without resorting to discrimination. Google is already making strides in many of these areas, but I think it's still instructive to list them:

Philosophically, I don't think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women. For each of these changes, we need principles reasons for why it helps Google; that is, we should be optimizing for Google!with Google's diversity being a component of that. For example currently those trying to work extra hours or take extra stress will inevitably get ahead and if we try to change that too much, it may have disastrous consequences. Also, when considering the costs and benefits, we should keep in mind that Google's funding is finite so its allocation is more zero-sum than is generally acknowledged.

The Harm of Google's biases

I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However, to achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices:

These practices are based on false assumptions generated by our biases and can actually increase race and gender tensions. We're told by senior leadership that what we're doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled left ideology[7] that can irreparably harm Google.

Why we're blind

We all have biases and use motivated reasoning to dismiss ideas that run counter to our internal values. Just as some on the Right deny science that runs counter to the "God > humans > environment" hierarchy (e.g., evolution and climate change) the Left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ[8] and sex differences). Thankfully, climate scientists and evolutionary biologists generally aren't on the right. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social scientists learn left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what's being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap[9]. Google's left leaning makes us blind to this bias and uncritical of its results, which we're using to justify highly politicized programs.

In addition to the Left's affinity for those it sees as weak, humans are generally biased towards protecting females. As mentioned before, this likely evolved because males are biologically disposable and because women are generally more cooperative and areeable than men. We have extensive government and Google programs, fields of study, and legal and social norms to protect women, but when a man complains about a gender issue issue [sic] affecting men, he's labelled as a misogynist and whiner[10]. Nearly every difference between men and women is interpreted as a form of women's oppression. As with many things in life, gender differences are often a case of "grass being greener on the other side"; unfortunately, taxpayer and Google money is spent to water only one side of the lawn.

The same compassion for those seen as weak creates political correctness[11], which constrains discourse and is complacent to the extremely sensitive PC-authoritarians that use violence and shaming to advance their cause. While Google hasn't harbored the violent leftists protests that we're seeing at universities, the frequent shaming in TGIF and in our culture has created the same silence, psychologically unsafe environment.

Suggestions

I hope it's clear that I'm not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn't try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don't fit a certain ideology. I'm also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I'm advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

My concrete suggestions are to:

De-moralize diversity.

As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the "victims."

Stop alienating conservatives.

Confront Google's biases.

Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races.

Have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs.

Focus on psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity.

De-emphasize empathy.

Prioritize intention.

Be open about the science of human nature.

Reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.

[1] This document is mostly written from the perspective of Google's Mountain View campus, I can't speak about other offices or countries.

[2] Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason. I'd be very happy to discuss any of the document further and provide more citations.

[3] Throughout the document, by "tech", I mostly mean software engineering.

[4] For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal.

[5] Stretch, BOLD, CSSI, Engineering Practicum (to an extent), and several other Google funded internal and external programs are for people with a certain gender or race.

[6] Instead set Googlegeist OKRs, potentially for certain demographics. We can increase representation at an org level by either making it a better environment for certain groups (which would be seen in survey scores) or discriminating based on a protected status (which is illegal and I've seen it done). Increased representation OKRs can incentivize the latter and create zero-sum struggles between orgs.

[7] Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn't going to overthrow their "capitalist oppressors," the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the "white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy."

[8] Ironically, IQ tests were initially championed by the Left when meritocracy meant helping the victims of the aristocracy.

[9] Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power.

[10] "The traditionalist system of gender does not deal well with the idea of men needing support. Men are expected to be strong, to not complain, and to deal with problems on their own. Men's problems are more often seen as personal failings rather than victimhood,, due to our gendered idea of agency. This discourages men from bringing attention to their issues (whether individual or group-wide issues), for fear of being seen as whiners, complainers, or weak."

[11] Political correctness is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against," which makes it clear why it's a phenomenon of the Left and a tool of authoritarians.

[Aug 09, 2017] Equality Or Diversity - An Outrageous Memo Questions Google

That reminds my witch hunt against Summers after his unfortunate speech (although there were other, much more valid reasons to fire him from his position of the president of Harvard; his role in Harvard mafia scandal ( Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia ) is one ).
Notable quotes:
"... Google's Ideological Echo Chamber - How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion ..."
Aug 09, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
memo about " Google's Ideological Echo Chamber - How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion ":
At Google, we're regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it's far from the whole story. On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren't just socially constructed because:
- ...
- ...

Google company policy is in favor of "equal representation" of both genders. As the existing representation in tech jobs is unequal that policy has led to hiring preferences, priority status and special treatment for the underrepresented category, in this case women.

The author says that this policy is based on ideology and not on rationality. It is the wrong way to go, he says. Basic differences, not bias, are (to some extend) responsible for different representations in tech jobs. If the (natural) different representation is "cured" by preferring the underrepresented, the optimal configuration can not be achieved.

The author cites scientific studies which find that men and women (as categories, not as specific persons) are - independent of cultural bias - unequal in several social perspectives. These might be life planning, willingness to work more for a higher status, or social behavior. The differences evolve from the natural biological differences between men and women. A gender preference for specific occupations and positions is to be expected, Cultural bias alone can not explain it. It therefore does not make sense to strive for equal group representation in all occupations.


From James Damore's memo

From there he points to the implementation of Google's policy and concludes:

Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

Google fired the engineer. Its 'Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance' stated:

We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company. [..] Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.

(Translation: "You are welcome to discuss your alternative policy views - unless we disagree with them.")

The current public discussion of the case evolves around "conservative" versus "progressive", "left" versus "right" categories. That misses the point the author makes: Google's policy is based on unfounded ideology, not on sciences.

The (legal) "principle of equality" does not imply that everyone and everything must be handled equally. It rather means that in proportion with its equality the same shall be treated equally, and in proportion with its inequality the different shall be treated unequally.

The author asks: Are men and women different? Do these differences result in personal occupation preferences? He quotes the relevant science and answers these questions with "yes" and "yes". From that follows a third question: What is the purpose of compelled equal representation in occupations when the inherent (natural gender) differences are not in line with such an outcome?

Several scientist in the relevant fields have stated that the author's scientific reasoning is largely correct. The biological differences between men and women do result in observable social and psychological differences which are independent of culture and its biases. It is to be expected that these difference lead to different preferences of occupations.

Moreover: If men and women are inherently equal (in their tech job capabilities) why does Google need to say that "diversity and inclusion are critical to our success"? Equality and diversity are in this extend contradictory. (Why, by the way, is Google selling advertising-space with "male" and "female" as targeting criteria?)

If women and men are not equal, we should, in line with the principle of equality, differentiate accordingly. We then should not insist on or strive for equal gender representation in all occupations but accept a certain "gender gap" as the expression of natural differences.

It is sad that Google and the general society avoid to discuss the questions that the author of the memo has asked. That Google fires him only confirms his claim that Google's policy is not based on science and rationality but on a non-discussible ideology.

Posted by b on August 8, 2017 at 01:41 PM | Permalink

TSP | Aug 8, 2017 2:03:15 PM | 1

I worked under a lady CEO. It was so refreshing compared to life under men. There was open dialogue, I felt I could voice ideas safely.

I think all CEO's would be females. It's like their social approaches to inclusion is unilaterally better than (white) men.

Is that sexist?

(From a 50 year old white man).

karlof1 | Aug 8, 2017 2:06:12 PM | 2
Thanks, b, for the change in academic realms from geopolitics to anthropology. You wrote:

"The biological differences between men and women do result in observable social and psychological differences which are independent of culture and its biases."

I disagree. From an anthropological perspective, biological differences form the basis for all cultures and thusly cannot be independent of culture since they form its core. Yes, Google's policy is ideological, but what policy can claim to be ideologically neutral? IMO, the answer is none. Here I invoke Simon de Beauvoir's maxim that females are "slaves to the species" that she irrefutably proves in The Second Sex . Fortunately, some societies based upon matrilineal cultures survived into the 20th century thus upending the male dominated mythos created to support such culturally based polities.

marxman | Aug 8, 2017 2:18:30 PM | 3
bell curve much? read the Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould. generally your work is excellent but this post is of poor quality.
Thegenius | Aug 8, 2017 2:45:39 PM | 4
The truth is google only hire women so that the nerds working there can get laid.
Thegenius | Aug 8, 2017 2:48:13 PM | 5
@TSP

Were you beaten senselessly by your dad when you were a child?

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 2:50:21 PM | 6
Social engineering is what it is. Social engineering is what it does.

It's an elite corporate project to androgynise humanity, a la 1984.

Simply put, women will not achieve their full potential outside the family.

The corporate project will continually have to put in place special discriminatory measures to pretend they're equal in the SMET areas when all the evidence shows they're not, other than in very special cases.

It's a project that's doomed to failure in the end, but much misery will be caused to both men and women as this elite project continues.

Thankfully, the rest of the world isn't as brainwashed as Westerners.

They're the future.

Bruce Ballai | Aug 8, 2017 2:52:24 PM | 7
You can disagree with B's science, and you can disagree with James' science. James was fired for expressing his opinions and beliefs. This is so little about sexism and so much about freedom of speech and freedom to consider other ideas. Bias shut that down at Google. These comments are in line with shutting down independent thinking. I'm a little surprised to see that sort of ideology here. When people - like B, like James - put their own circumstances at risk for the sake of open mindedness, they deserve as much support as culture and society can offer.
Thegenius | Aug 8, 2017 2:54:50 PM | 8
If Google or other silicon valley tech companies dont hire unqualified women, the place would be a sausage fest of socially inept nerds
Bamdad | Aug 8, 2017 2:55:42 PM | 9
Ivan Illich wrote a very interesting and controversial book "Gender" on the difference between Gender and Sex. I do recommend every one to read this book (and all of other Illich's writings).
james | Aug 8, 2017 2:57:20 PM | 10
thanks b... this is more politically correct material.. it is what canada and probably many western countries have been doing for some time.. google is a piece of crap corporation as far as i am concerned, so this is in keeping with their neo-liberal agenda..

@7 bruce... i agree it is about freedom of speech, something sorely missing in the politically correct realm of western society at this point in time..

dh | Aug 8, 2017 3:04:46 PM | 11
'non-discussible ideology'.....great phrase b. None of it much matters because in 10-20 everybody will be bi-sexual or trans-gender anyway. Any hold outs will be required to attend re-education courses.
anon | Aug 8, 2017 3:12:33 PM | 12
he says men are better than women - women are "neurotic" and can't handle stress and don't do as much hard work as men and spend more money and on and on and on....

his level of argument and citation is about that of a teenager. he makes a lot of statements with no support, such as men are better coders than women because women like social interaction more. and even if men really are more cutthroat than women, his assumption is that being cutthroat in management makes better companies. (Microsoft made great money, not great products.)

furthermore, his definition of 'left' and 'right' are narrowed to probably his entire life experience which appears to be just out of college?

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 3:14:18 PM | 13
There is some hope though.

The whole SJW thing is being exposed day and daily for the complete nihilistic fraud it is.

Especially in America.

If you wanted to destroy a country then Gender Games is the way to go.

Globalists must destroy the US and Europe to achieve their goal, but they must just keep them alive until Russia is destroyed.

A delicate balancing act.

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 3:18:11 PM | 14
Left and Right are elite frauds, though the Left primarily carried forward the gender destruction project.

The Right was bullied into it and for the most part has jumped aboard.

They seem to be fighting back a bit now.

james | Aug 8, 2017 3:20:20 PM | 15
@11 dh.. lol.. that's about it... it isn't enough us old white males are trying to be flexible here...
Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 3:21:12 PM | 16
@6

"Simply put, women will not achieve their full potential outside the family.

The corporate project will continually have to put in place special discriminatory measures to pretend they're equal in the SMET areas when all the evidence shows they're not, other than in very special cases."

I really wonder how someone can go through life interacting with women every day, and most likely having wives, daughters, nieces, etc, and still hold the opinion that "by the way, you're inferior shit and stupid and only good for producing babies". I would think first of all that actual interaction with women would reveal this not to be the case, but if nothing else I would think not being a freaking sociopath with a bleak worldview would prevent someone from being ending up as such a douchebag.

I also love stuff like this: "It's an elite corporate project to androgynise humanity, a la 1984."

Good god, masculinity is the most fragile thing in existence. Anything, absolutely anything, that in any way threatens its privileged position brings forth the waves of hyperbolic whinging. Talk about being triggered. How about you stop defining your manliness by subjugating women. Efforts to correct inequalities do not mean men are being turned into women, or whatever gibberish you're complaining about.

T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 3:22:14 PM | 17
With respect to the commenter alias "karlof1", you seem to have drifted off-topic somewhat.

Please point out specifically where the author of the now infamous Google memo seeks to in any way denigrate women to a position in any way resembling slavery.

You have signally failed to refute anything in the memo as you have resorted to the lazy straw man of sexism.

You can doubtless try harder and probably do better -- 0/10, for now, and see me at the end...

And while you're at it, why is feminism preferable to chauvinism - do please explain clearly and try to stay on point.

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 3:25:23 PM | 18
Who, I mean who!

Who truly believes that women prefer coding all day long.

You need to be a bit autistic spectrum to enjoy that.

That's why there's so many nerds in these areas.

Perhaps women need to be given extra vaccines at a young age and then they'll develop the skills necessary to succeed in these spheres.

Trading your sociality for nerdom is not a choice many women want to make.

I wouldn't make it myself, and I worked in this area.

Used to make my brain hurt, a lot.

All abstract, nothing tactile.

keep women human, is what I say!

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 3:29:57 PM | 19
Merasmus

The family is not an inferior thing. Women are not an inferior thing.

The family is the centre of life and women its masters.

That's where they will achieve a truly fulfilling life.

Why should women want to demean themselves by accepting the poor male equivalent of female creativity.

Dafranzl | Aug 8, 2017 3:36:05 PM | 20
I was a pilot for Lufthansa and really had no problems with our
ladypilots. Of course they had and have the same salary as males. But what was interesting:only a few chose to apply for the job, with LH this meant to pass a test then enter the pilotschool and passt al checks, incl. licencing. But:the percentage of the few who reallly passed all this was around 90 percent, I mean, a girl who wants this real tech job and is intelligent will get it. Boys tend to overestimate their abilities and therefor fail. Only about 10 percent who try the test actually pass it. That is pne typical gender difference. PS:I am male ;)
T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 3:42:57 PM | 21
Completely agree with poster "Anti-Soros" -- "Merasmus" is twisting this obtusely beyond all recognition, read the memo, "Merasmus", and make your own mind up, so as you don't come over so utterly lopsided and brainwashed in your awareness of sexual politics. And, on that note, as to "Dafranzl", is your comment not verging on real, like genuine, sexism in that you are expressing some kind of shock horror that women can actually pass a couple of tests and fly a plane?
Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 3:46:10 PM | 22
@Anti-Soros

I'm pretty sure it should be up to the women to decide what they want to do with their lives. Some may want to be housewives, others don't. It's about freedom of choice (you know, that thing conservatives are always claim they care so much about). You really don't see any problem with men telling women what women truly want in life, and ensuring that that one thing is the only option available to them, do you? It's amazing how men will declare that the different sexes have different natural spheres, and then put family in the women's column, and literally everything else, and the freedom to choice from all those other things, in the men's column.

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 4:03:23 PM | 23
Merasmus

You seem to think that the family and children are some sort of lower form of achievement.

Where'd you get that idea?

As I said, female creativity is the closet thing to godliness any human can get.

Don't trade that for poor male efforts at creativity.

There only sadness and frustration lie.

So much so indeed that the elite project in creativity is currently engaged in attempting to undermine God and Female creativity with its own version of androids, robots and all the rest of the cheap Frankenstein tricks for which frustrated males and their ersatz creativity are famous.

When will a bridge or an app, a poem, a book, a piece of music, ever come close to creating and nurturing life itself.

Johan Meyer | Aug 8, 2017 4:07:20 PM | 24
There is a big cultural problem that keep women out of technical fields. In the west, the striving to a career leads to a sudden mid 30s realization that maybe they do want a family. My experience with west Africans is that they marry younger, have their families and get on with careers. This also has the benefit of them going into the work force when they are a bit more mature, and have actual life responsibilities.
okie farmer | Aug 8, 2017 4:19:29 PM | 25
The Mismeasure of Man
From Wikipedia

The Mismeasure of Man

Stephen Jay Gould

The Mismeasure of Man is a 1981 book by Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.[1] The book is both a history and critique of the statistical methods and cultural motivations underlying biological determinism, the belief that "the social and economic differences between human groups!primarily races, classes, and sexes!arise from inherited, inborn distinctions and that society, in this sense, is an accurate reflection of biology."[2]
The principal assumption underlying biological determinism is that, "worth can be assigned to individuals and groups by measuring intelligence as a single quantity." This argument is analyzed in discussions of craniometry and psychological testing, the two methods used to measure and establish intelligence as a single quantity. According to Gould, the methods harbor "two deep fallacies." The first fallacy is "reification", which is "our tendency to convert abstract concepts into entities"[3] such as the intelligence quotient (IQ) and the general intelligence factor (g factor), which have been the cornerstones of much research into human intelligence. The second fallacy is that of "ranking", which is the "propensity for ordering complex variation as a gradual ascending scale."[3]
The revised and expanded second edition (1996) analyzes and challenges the methodological accuracy of The Bell Curve (1994), by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray. Gould said the book re-presented the arguments of what Gould terms biological determinism, which he defines as "the abstraction of intelligence as a single entity, its location within the brain, its quantification as one number for each individual, and the use of these numbers to rank people in a single series of worthiness, invariably to find that oppressed and disadvantaged groups!races, classes, or sexes!are innately inferior and deserve their status."[4]

Piotr Berman | Aug 8, 2017 4:22:17 PM | 26
For starters, good coding is not a male characteristic, because most of the gender is quite terrible. So the question is: are "good coders" a more sizable minority among men or women? Both percentages are culture related, and they probably have a gender component.

A weird thing is the gender ratio of women/men students of computer science seems quite even in some Asian cultures, like Iranian, and very lopsided (1-9, 2-8) in American culture that has a "feminity ideals" like "girls are not good at math". That is overlayed with relatively meager rewards in American society for engineering fields, compared to law and medicine. I suspect that the ratio of male jurists in Iran is very lopsided, so girls, for the want of good legal jobs, go for engineering and math. (That is not a serious theory.)

Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 4:37:41 PM | 27
@Anti-Soros

Ah, benevolent sexism. Putting women on a pedestal and making it their prison.

"Women are not an inferior thing."

It would help in convincing others that you actually believe this if you hadn't literally opened with (and then reiterated later) saying that women are generally too stupid to work in STEM fields.

"Who truly believes that women prefer coding all day long."

You could start by asking some women programmers. Though I really should point out the false dichotomy you're engaging in here: women can be mothers or they can be something else, in your mind they can never be both.

"So much so indeed that the elite project in creativity is currently engaged in attempting to undermine God"

Because I'm sure the (supposed) creator of the entire universe can be undermined by a hairless chimpanzee. "And I would have gotten away with it too, if hadn't been for you meddling humans!"

@T-Sixes

I don't particularly care about the memo or its asinine content. I'm responding to what people have said in these comments.

As for the memo itself, neither side comes out looking particularly good. The engineer's memo essentially boils down to "girlz r stoopid, and need to get out of my workplace" (he's not attempting to engage in debate, which some of his defenders have claimed, as in 'he's just asking questions and the PC police are too scared to engage him'), and Google's response was "you voiced an unacceptable opinion so we're going to fire you" (they aren't interested in debate either, but he wasn't offering one in the first place). It also has a lot of the inane 'both sides have good points, the best answer is in the middle' centrist faux wisdom I've come to expect from the type of idiot who makes up most of the Silicon Valley echo-chamber. Ah yes, the right is 'pragmatic'. They're pragmatically destroying their economies by forever seeking tax cuts and the reduction of a national 'debt' they don't even understand the nature of. Spare me.

Thegenius | Aug 8, 2017 4:38:00 PM | 28
@26
Women are more group oriented and dont like to do solitary work like coding
Damon Harris | Aug 8, 2017 4:46:21 PM | 29
Convenient that we just ignore the substantial body of research on gender bias in professional fields, particularly tech.

Abstract

Biases against women in the workplace have been documented in a variety of studies. This paper presents a large scale study on gender bias, where we compare acceptance rates of contributions from men versus women in an open source software community. Surprisingly, our results show that women's contributions tend to be accepted more often than men's. However, for contributors who are outsiders to a project and their gender is identifiable, men's acceptance rates are higher. Our results suggest that although women on GitHub may be more competent overall, bias against them exists nonetheless.

Damon Harris | Aug 8, 2017 4:47:03 PM | 30
Link to the earlier post: https://peerj.com/articles/cs-111/
Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 4:50:17 PM | 31
@26

The explanation for Iran I've heard is that STEM fields simply aren't held in high esteem in Iran, so at a minimum it's a dearth of male interest in the area that has created a lot of openings for women. On top of that there may be cultural/social pressure for women to go into less prestigious fields while all the 'more important' areas are dominated by men. It's certainly fun to think about how projects like Iran's recent ballistic missile test are in large part facilitated by female input. If Iran is to hold the US at bay (or punish it heavily should it actually attack), it's going to be with weapons created by people working in fields that are apparently held in low esteem.

james | Aug 8, 2017 4:58:00 PM | 32
one thing women can do that men can't? that's right.. some things are factual.. a lot of stuff is culturally and socially imposed though... women working doing coding.. have at it.. forcing equal numbers being hired sure seems like 'politically correct thinking' to me... give the job based on the qualifications.. skip with the politically correct bullshit..
Johan Meyer | Aug 8, 2017 5:05:11 PM | 33
@okie farmer
Perhaps different types of intelligence exist, but if they do, they are highly correlated, hence the emphasis on (the mathematically dubious) g .

FWIW, I advocate a modified lead/iodine deficiency model to explain most variation in IQ. Unlike older studies, more recent studies have found a small IQ gap between men and women, and women having a narrower IQ range (standard deviation) than men, i.e. fewer outliers high and low. If you look at US blacks, they have a narrower standard deviation of IQ than whites as well as a lower mean IQ. This may be understood quite readily:

Healthy pubertal brain development adds to the standard deviation e.g. 9 points standard deviation in my proposed model---12^2+9^2=15^2, where 15 is the defined std deviation over population of IQ. Poor environment e.g. poison or lacking nutrition cause mean to differ as well.

The environmental argument is usually attacked on the basis of twin studies, e.g. using the Falconer equations. That is because the equations are not usually derived from first principles. To wit, one has mean environmental effect, deviation from mean environmental effect correlated with gene, and uncorrelated with genes, which might not even be environmental, but simple developmental noise. Those arguing that twin studies show the environmental effect to be small, ignore that means are subtracted in calculating the Pearson correlation.

For women, especially after bromide replaced iodine in preparing dough for bread, late 70s or early 80s, the need for iodine will not be met sufficiently during puberty, as both breasts and the brain require iodine for development, in large quantities, and with feminising endocrine disruptors in greater quantities in the environment, breast sizes have risen on average (cup size inflation). Note deviation from previous generations' size should matter for same genes, not deviation from population mean, so if daughter is bigger than mother, e.g., then lower IQ expected, but not because daughter is bigger than agemate, as the environmental mean is shared (but does not enter Falconer equations' correlations, being subtracted)...

With US blacks, lead poisoning is still an issue, albeit much smaller than during the 90s. Look at the NHANES III data---the histogram of blood lead is nearly inverse, which suggests sporadic poisoning (lead paint, with dBLL/dt=R-BLL (ln 2)/\tau_{1/2} where R is the rate of intake (function of time, zero most of the time under sporadic poisoning). Also, sub-Saharan Africa largely avoided the Bronze Age, going straight to iron work---the Bantu used a bit of copper but not much evolutionary pressure to develop resistance to lead uptake. If you read e.g. Unz review, I did previously argue that blacks in US are more likely to live in lead painted housing, based on BLL, but US data show whites as likely to live in such housing---blacks take up more lead for same environment.

Johan Meyer | Aug 8, 2017 5:07:33 PM | 34
Forgot to add---lead almost always is present in soft metal e.g. copper deposits.
ab initio | Aug 8, 2017 5:10:44 PM | 35
I find it fascinating that the liberal snowflake SJWs claim to promote diversity except diverse opinion. There's a reason that the neocons were liberals.

And the communist heroes of the left including Lenin & Mao are comparable to the fascists with my way or the highway to death.

ben | Aug 8, 2017 5:12:48 PM | 36
depends entirely on the type of jobs applied for. If one can pass the physical and mental tests for the job applied for, gender or race shouldn't matter. That's assuming the employer's requirements are reasonable.
somebody | Aug 8, 2017 5:13:08 PM | 37
Google probably knows that Russia and China have competitive advantage in employing women.

BBC

According to Unesco, 29% of people in scientific research worldwide are women, compared with 41% in Russia. In the UK, about 4% of inventors are women, whereas the figure is 15% in Russia.

or here

Is engineering destined to remain a male-dominated field? Not everywhere. In China, 40% of engineers are women, and in the former USSR, women accounted for 58% of the engineering workforce.

Women get these jobs when they are needed, if not, they are expected to stay at home. It is not about free speech, feminism, ability or choice.

This plateau is of concern to policy experts. For the last decade, the European Commission has highlighted the risks related to the shortage of engineers and has called on member states to draw more widely on the pool of female talent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics warned last year that the demand for computer engineers in the U.S. would see an increase of 36% by the year 2012. It seems urgent in these conditions to train more women. So what are the obstacles?

Google needs those female engineers. As simple as that.

ben | Aug 8, 2017 5:19:14 PM | 38
P.S.---If men weren't so afraid of the power women weld, because of our lust for pro-creation, things could be different.
karlof1 | Aug 8, 2017 5:19:39 PM | 39
T-Sixes @17--

I didn't address the content of the memo, if you had read more carefully. I quoted a sentence b wrote and went on from there. Seems your knee-jerk hit you I the head.

Lea | Aug 8, 2017 5:34:19 PM | 40
The same thing had been said in 2011 by a Norwegian documentary, "Brainwash" (highly recommended viewing, it can be found on Youtube with English subtitles).
The Norwegian government cut its funding for "Gender studies" after its airing.

I am a woman, and its seems to me the politically correct comments here all have one thing in common: they confuse two distinct notions, difference and inferiority.
I feel different from men, I know I am, but in no way do I feel inferior. I am not interested in sports, cars or coding. I am interested in psychology, childhood and fashion. Sorry, it's not cultural, since it's the same the world over. I will add it cannot be cultural, because the sex roles are differentiated in the animal kingdom too. Take a male lion and a female - the male naps, she hunts. All the other animals equally show different patterns of behaviour according to their sex, save ants, amoebae, viruses and other microbes, bugs or non-mammals. So, pretending that there are no differences between men and women, when all it takes is two minutes of observation of nature (let alone a clothes shop during sales) is sheer gaslighting.

Men and woman are complementary, which is way more beautiful, diverse and life-enhancing than that drab uniformity/sameness that, it seems to me, emanates from people who are so narcissistic they are scared stiff of anything that is not their mirror image.

As for me, I love men, and I love the fact we are different. With men's abilities and women's, there is nothing we can't accomplish together.

T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 5:36:15 PM | 41
@Merasmus

"I don't particularly care about the memo or its asinine content. I'm responding to what people have said in these comments."

-- OK, so be a good girl and make yourself useful: you can start with the housework. Please explain how can you comment so vitriolically upon specific matters you admit that know almost nothing about?

"As for the memo itself, neither side comes out looking particularly good. The engineer's memo essentially boils down to "girlz [sic] r stoopid [sic], and need to get out of my workplace""

-- You are mistaken, as usual: the points are societal, biological and anthropological in their character and not AT ALL driven by chauvinism, which your bitter and ill-informed input, certainly, is.

"(he's [sic] not attempting to engage in debate, which some of his defenders have claimed, as in 'he's just asking questions and the PC police are too scared to engage him'), and Google's response was "you voiced an unacceptable opinion so we're going to fire you" (they aren't interested in debate either, but he wasn't offering one in the first place)."

-- Absolute nonsense, as usual: the guy's gripe seemed to be that there's no oxygen in which to engage with certain subject matter. There's a stultifying, stifling, suffocating, oppressive atmosphere perpetuated and sustained by people just like you, "Merasmus".

"It also has a lot of the inane 'both sides have good points, the best answer is in the middle' centrist faux wisdom I've come to expect from the type of idiot who makes up most of the Silicon Valley echo-chamber."

-- You mean, it's balanced and considered? Have you finally read it now, then?

"Ah yes, the right is 'pragmatic'. They're pragmatically destroying their economies by forever seeking tax cuts and the reduction of a national 'debt' they don't even understand the nature of. Spare me."

-- Are we drifting tediously away from the salient points, due to your total lack of knowledge or awareness of what you are talking about?

T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 5:41:10 PM | 42
@karlof1 - so, to be clear, you are commenting on an article regarding a memo you haven't read? Do you not think it might be an advisable next step for you to take the time to read the memo, in order to better inform yourself, so that you don't keep jerking and hitting yourself in the head?
T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 5:46:05 PM | 43
If you would like to read the memo, let me help you: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-Ideological-Echo-Chamber.pdf
Temporarily Sane | Aug 8, 2017 6:26:24 PM | 44
@TSP 1
I worked under a lady CEO. It was so refreshing compared to life under men. There was open dialogue, I felt I could voice ideas safely.

I think all CEO's would be females. It's like their social approaches to inclusion is unilaterally better than (white) men.

Is that sexist?

Your experience says more about your boss as an individual and has little or nothing to do with her gender. The worst boss I have had was a woman and so was the best boss I have worked for.

The myth of the "kinder, gentler" female leader has been thoroughly debunked. Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher were both women. Thinking woman are morally and ethically "purer" than men is ridiculous.

As for Google vs. the engineer...of course he was fired. Corporations are not democracies. They are top-down dictatorships.

smuks | Aug 8, 2017 6:38:28 PM | 45
Sorry, but you miss a or perhaps 'the' crucial point here.

So let's say that men & women are indeed different, and this also influences their job preferences, independently of societal influence. I have my doubts, but let's just assume it for now.

Now if an employer thinks that men and women have different qualifications and strengths, s/he might come to the conclusion that they complement each other. It would thus make perfect sense to build teams with a balanced gender mix, in order to optimize results for the company. Whether or not each individual employee is the best possible hire is secondary - it's overall performance that counts.

Actually the first commenter TSP pretty much confirms this thesis, albeit only anecdotally.

PS. had to laugh reading post #4, thanks!

james | Aug 8, 2017 6:50:00 PM | 46
@40 lea. thanks.. i see it much the same way as you..

@45 smuks... as i mentioned - hire people, regardless of sex, race, and etc - based off merit and qualifications.. skip with the politically correct bs.. yes, i agree with @1, however anecdotal is it and i got a laugh from @4 too!

as for a lack of engineers and etc in the west.. i always think back to the joke about their being 30 engineers for every 1 banker in japan, verses 30 banker types for 1 engineer in the usa.. it was something like that... i guess you could throw in real estate sales people instead of bankers if you want... it paints a picture that probably has a good degree of relevance to the changing fortunes of countries, or cultures that pursue a certain path, over other ones also available.

George Smiley | Aug 8, 2017 7:07:43 PM | 47
What awful discussion here. Says a lot that the most adult and mature commentators here are those that I find myself somewhat in disagreement with.

Looking forward to your next piece though as always Bernard. Not that I don't like this either per se - but I'd be lying if I didn't say I find your non-geopolitical work to result in the silliest and most ideological of discussions and commentators. Though I still encourage you to keep doing what fufils you regardless.

Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 8, 2017 7:49:44 PM | 48
...
Good god, masculinity is the most fragile thing in existence.
...
Posted by: Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 3:21:12 PM | 16

How dare you ponder male flaws in a debate about female flaws!?

Curtis | Aug 8, 2017 8:26:23 PM | 49
I agree with his ultimate conclusion:
Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

Forced equality is not the way to go. It winds up twisting society in bad ways. Is this the number one problem facing the US and American businesses? Isn't group think bad whether from the inside or the outside? Playing one group (sex, race, etc) off against the other does make a good distraction.

Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 8:42:28 PM | 50
@T-Sixes

I'm not a woman, you idiot. And I never said I hadn't read it, I said I wasn't addressing it, only responding to things said in these comments.

>various [sics]

Good job! It's almost like I was mocking the memo-maker as a grown up version of the kind of boy who puts 'No Girls Allowed' signs outside his treehouse. A kind of manchild, if you will.

"Absolute nonsense, as usual: the guy's gripe seemed to be that there's no oxygen in which to engage with certain subject matter. There's a stultifying, stifling, suffocating, oppressive atmosphere perpetuated and sustained by people just like you, "Merasmus"."

Riiiiiiiiiiight.

The part about centrism is in relation to the memo explicitly talking about Left and Right politics, and how each side supposedly has valid points. This is precisely the type of centrism that is a. destroying the US and the EU, and b. rapidly disintegrating, especially in America.

@Lea

One key difference would be that humans are (ostensibly) a higher lifeform that isn't driven entirely by instinct. So appealing to how things work in the wider natural world is something of a non-starter. Regardless, even if you were going to do that, there are creatures far more closely related to us than lions we could draw comparisons to. For some *strange* reason people appealing to nature never have much to say about the Bonobo...

"So, pretending that there are no differences between men and women, when all it takes is two minutes of observation of nature"

Literally no one is making this claim though. I have literally never met a feminist who claimed sexual dimorphism didn't exist in humans. What I seen is a whole lot of people who absolutely refuse to differentiate between sex and gender, however.

"Men and woman are complementary [...] With men's abilities and women's, there is nothing we can't accomplish together."

Nice sentiment. The problem is I have never met anyone who, while complaining about women in the workplace and talking about how there's some natural division of labor, then suggested anything like a 50/50 split. Or even 60/40, or 70/30. Instead, they do what Anti-Soros above does, and relegate women to breeding and housekeeping, making the divide more like 90/10 or 95/5 or some similar extremely lopsided value. They give to men by far the greater share of opportunity and freedom, and claim this is a natural and fair division, while telling the women they shouldn't even desire more, and should be content with a 'woman's unique happiness'.

NemesisCalling | Aug 8, 2017 8:46:56 PM | 51
@40 Lea

Nailed it. And I believe the purpose of b's foray into gender and/or lgbtq discrimination is that, currently, it is intrinsically tied to the empire's tactics of subversion and infiltration. It upsets me to no end that fomenting discord between the yin and the yangs of the world is the lockstep modus operandi of the bringers of chaos. "Linear" thinking a la "women can't do it" or "women must do it" are really just distractions, and they are important architectural designs of the true believers in the uniparty who are trying to crush the way to peace.

Any meddlesome actions taken by any entity, whether affirmative action or discrimination against men due to preferencing female hires, is sure to end in disaster anyway. Look at the US and tell me it is not a powder keg. Russia, in the wisdom of ages, saw the ngos in their country for what they were. Eliminating these meddlesome devices is best by nipping them in the bud.

The female always overcomes the male anyway by weakness and stillness. Water over rock. When women want to be rock (Hillary Clinton), you've got problems.

ben | Aug 8, 2017 9:08:59 PM | 52
Lea @ 40: Very thoughtful and insightful comment, thanks..

Unfortunately, most men can't get by the second strongest drive in human existence, the drive to pro-create, and it clouds our thinking. History gives credence to this theory.

psychohistorian | Aug 8, 2017 9:15:31 PM | 53
I haven't seen the term patriarchy introduced to this discussion. I think patriarchy is a good term for the historical attitudes that assert innate/generic/gender related qualitative differences between female/male capabilities.

I posit that women are better at gestating children than men and any other comparison is mostly self serving conjecture because of woefully inadequate science.

And I agree with NemesisCalling that ".....it is intrinsically tied to the empire's tactics of subversion and infiltration. It upsets me to no end that fomenting discord between the yin and the yangs of the world is the lockstep modus operandi of the bringers of chaos. "Linear" thinking a la "women can't do it" or "women must do it" are really just distractions, and they are important architectural designs of the true believers in the uniparty who are trying to crush the way to peace."

x | Aug 8, 2017 9:15:51 PM | 54
@ Posted by: Lea | Aug 8, 2017 5:34:19 PM | 40

A pleasently mature position expressed clearly.

Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 8, 2017 9:22:18 PM | 55
...
..."Dafranzl", is your comment not verging on real, like genuine, sexism in that you are expressing some kind of shock horror that women can actually pass a couple of tests and fly a plane?

Posted by: T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 3:42:57 PM | 21

There was nothing ambiguous about what Dafranzl wrote. He expressed genuine respect and explained why he is NOT surprised by their success.

falcemartello | Aug 8, 2017 9:27:45 PM | 56
Oh the totalitarian times we are living.
gepay | Aug 8, 2017 9:31:14 PM | 57
I read the memo. Compare the tone of the memo to the misogyny and sexism of the miners in the movie North Country starring Charlize Theron - the racism of the segregated South of the 50s. There were a number of statements he definitely should have left out even if he thinks they are true. "Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power." or "Women are more prone to stress" (although I would agree with him if he had said - women who are mothers worry more than men) "Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance). This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs." He could have left out his poor analysis of left-right. It is true for me that suffocating and/or just silly political correctness is found more often on the left liberal side. Of many conservatives it can be said, "The totally convinced and the totally stupid have too much in common for the resemblance to be accidental." Robert Anton Wilson He did show a bias when discussing the differences between men and women. Maybe because I'm an older white man I didn't find them so much insulting as debatable.
There are many other statements that I found correct "men take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths." "Philosophically, I don't think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women." It certainly is true that many of the problems that diverse peoples or women have are equally true of many white men not in the upper crust. "This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed." (Have I found this to be true - revisionist Holocaust history for example)
I certainly think he shouldn't have been fired for bring up these issues. The differences between men and women as they relate to employment should be considered and studied. His firing, in fact, proves one of the points he was trying to make.
Grieved | Aug 8, 2017 9:39:28 PM | 58
Wow.

So this is what they call identity politics. And this is how it drives out issue-based discussion - in this case freedom of expression within the corporation.

Got it, thanks.

ps.. @ 37 somebody - thanks for that slice of real life.

fudmieer | Aug 8, 2017 10:28:34 PM | 59
observable biological diffs (karlof1); womanless females (AntiSoros). google perks (thegenius); thought blockouts (Ballai); neo-liberal agenda (james); non-discussible ideology (dh); a unique corporate category-classified androgine (Merasmus); blinder-enhanced directed-answer response (T-Sixes); amazing test results (Dafranzl); the (statistically) mature woman (Hohan Meyer); determinism (okie farmer); absolutes (ab initio); train more women (somebody); different but not inferior; even complimentary (Lea); top down dictators (Sane); flaws (Hoarsewhisperer); discriminatory (Curtis); rocking women are problems (NemesisCalling);
please consider the following http://www.unz.com/jman/the-five-laws-of-behavioral-genetics/
Johan Meyer | Aug 8, 2017 10:48:34 PM | 60
@59 I actually referred to that piece obliquely, by calling variation not correlated with genes, 'noise,' in particular his last point, from Emil Kierkegaard. Btw if the latter is reading, Mr Kierkegaard, in our last email exchange, in references to a paper by Debes, you interpreted his beta (-2.2) times his proxy (blood lead level's base 10 logarithm) naively, to wit that the logarithm of blood lead level predicts IQ. A simple problem, involving that same ODE---maternal leave, paid or not---expectant mothers' exposure to lead during the pregnancy, under the frequent poisoning regime (gasoline/petrol) will roughly stop upon taking maternal leave, and thus the (linear) dose during the pregnancy will be linearly related to the logarithm of the cord (birth) blood lead level. There is more to say, and I shall email a more detailed commentary shortly...
Thirdeye | Aug 8, 2017 11:34:00 PM | 61
@45

The memo actually said something similar about using the complementary traits of men and women in teams. He mentioned how women's traits were good for the design of user interfaces and men's traits were good for the back end. What made Steve Jobs so distinctive wasn't that he was a great engineer or inventor (he wasn't). He thought about user experience like a woman. Apple was great on the "female" side of software engineering while Microsoft was great on the "male" side. Microsoft did, and still does, better on the back end but, as Jobs famously criticized them for about 25 years ago, their products lacked culture and taste.

Thirdeye | Aug 8, 2017 11:37:08 PM | 62
Camille "if it were up to the women we would still be living in grass huts" Paglia would have a field day with this one.
Thirdeye | Aug 8, 2017 11:53:56 PM | 63
@25

IQ is not biological determinism. Saying that it is strictly hereditary is. There is a strong correlation between IQ and ability to perform intellectual tasks, and with social performance up to about IQ 120. The correlation drops away above that because the extremely profound thinking at which higher IQ provides an advantage is less tied to social performance. I see no contradiction between saying IQ is a valid measure of cognitive ability and saying that it is culturally influenced. Some cultures do not foster the development of cognitive ability.

[May 19, 2017] There are other search engines, browsers, email services besides those operated by the giants. DuckDuckGo, protonmail, and the Opera browser (with free built-in VPN!) work well for me

As soon as DuckDuckGo shows ads and you have Javascript enabled your privacy evaporate the same way it evaporated in Google, unless you use VPN. But even in this case there are ways to "bound" your PC to you via non IP based methods.
May 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

lyman alpha blob , May 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

There are other search engines, browsers, email services, etc. besides those operated by the giants. DuckDuckGo, protonmail, and the Opera browser (with free built-in VPN!) work well for me.

The problem is, if these other services ever do get popular enough, the tech giants will either block them by getting their stooges appointed to Federal agencies and regulating them out of existence, or buy them.

I've been running from ISP acquisitions for years, as the little guys get bought out I have to find an even littler one.

Luckily I've found a local ISP, GWI, that I've used for years now. They actually came out against the new regulations that would allow them to gather and sell their customers' data. Such anathema will probably wind up with their CEO publicly flayed for going against all that is good and holy according to the Five Horsemen.

[May 01, 2017] Google is the largest private spying agency: Is It Time to Break Up Google?

Yes. Next question? And for those who might have missed this Matt Stoller piece read it now. The evidence is piling up - Silicon Valley is being destroyed Business Insider
Notable quotes:
"... It is impossible to deny that Facebook, Google and Amazon have stymied innovation on a broad scale. To begin with, the platforms of Google and Facebook are the point of access to all media for the majority of Americans. ..."
"... According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, newspaper publishers lost over half their employees between 2001 and 2016. Billions of dollars have been reallocated from creators of content to owners of monopoly platforms. ..."
"... In 2015 two Obama economic advisers, Peter Orszag and Jason Furman, published a paper arguing that the rise in "supernormal returns on capital" at firms with limited competition is leading to a rise in economic inequality. ..."
"... There are a few obvious regulations to start with. Monopoly is made by acquisition - Google buying AdMob and DoubleClick, Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon buying, to name just a few, Audible, Twitch, Zappos and Alexa. At a minimum, these companies should not be allowed to acquire other major firms, like Spotify or Snapchat. ..."
"... The second alternative is to regulate a company like Google as a public utility, requiring it to license out patents, for a nominal fee, for its search algorithms, advertising exchanges and other key innovations. ..."
"... Removing the safe harbor provision would also force social networks to pay for the content posted on their sites. A simple example: One million downloads of a song on iTunes would yield the performer and his record label about $900,000. One million streams of that same song on YouTube would earn them about $900. ..."
"... Woodrow Wilson was right when he said in 1913, "If monopoly persists, monopoly will always sit at the helm of the government." We ignore his words at our peril. ..."
Apr 27, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

Is It Time to Break Up Google? by JONATHAN TAPLIN

In just 10 years, the world's five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place.

They're all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.

We have been transported back to the early 20th century, when arguments about "the curse of bigness" were advanced by President Woodrow Wilson's counselor, Louis Brandeis, before Wilson appointed him to the Supreme Court. Brandeis wanted to eliminate monopolies, because (in the words of his biographer Melvin Urofsky) "in a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people." We need look no further than the conduct of the largest banks in the 2008 financial crisis or the role that Facebook and Google play in the "fake news" business to know that Brandeis was right.

While Brandeis generally opposed regulation - which, he worried, inevitably led to the corruption of the regulator - and instead advocated breaking up "bigness," he made an exception for "natural" monopolies, like telephone, water and power companies and railroads, where it made sense to have one or a few companies in control of an industry.

DenisPombriant
April 26, 2017
You don't need to look as far back as Brandise or as far forward as Google to see the pernicious effects of monopoly. Just look at airlines...

fortress
April 26, 2017
I have no awareness of how google harms me, I use Bing for searches, and yes they are an octopus, but with efficiencies of scale that...

SR
April 26, 2017
"True, the internet never had the same problems of interoperability."...but not for want of trying. The old Microsoft Network-MSN-was a...

Could it be that these companies - and Google in particular - have become natural monopolies by supplying an entire market's demand for a service, at a price lower than what would be offered by two competing firms? And if so, is it time to regulate them like public utilities?

Consider a historical analogy: the early days of telecommunications.

In 1895 a photograph of the business district of a large city might have shown 20 phone wires attached to most buildings. Each wire was owned by a different phone company, and none of them worked with the others. Without network effects, the networks themselves were almost useless.

The solution was for a single company, American Telephone and Telegraph, to consolidate the industry by buying up all the small operators and creating a single network - a natural monopoly. The government permitted it, but then regulated this monopoly through the Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T (also known as the Bell System) had its rates regulated, and was required to spend a fixed percentage of its profits on research and development. In 1925 AT&T set up Bell Labs as a separate subsidiary with the mandate to develop the next generation of communications technology, but also to do basic research in physics and other sciences. Over the next 50 years, the basics of the digital age - the transistor, the microchip, the solar cell, the microwave, the laser, cellular telephony - all came out of Bell Labs, along with eight Nobel Prizes.

In a 1956 consent decree in which the Justice Department allowed AT&T to maintain its phone monopoly, the government extracted a huge concession: All past patents were licensed (to any American company) royalty-free, and all future patents were to be licensed for a small fee. These licenses led to the creation of Texas Instruments, Motorola, Fairchild Semiconductor and many other start-ups.

Changes at the Top

The five largest companies in 2006

    Exxon Mobil $540 General Electric 463 Microsoft 355 Citigroup 331 Bank of America 290


BILLION MARKET CAP


and now

    Apple $794 Alphabet (Google) 593 Microsoft 506 Amazon 429 Facebook 414

All figures in 2017 dollars; 2017 companies as of April 20. Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices By The New York Times

True, the internet never had the same problems of interoperability. And Google's route to dominance is different from the Bell System's. Nevertheless it still has all of the characteristics of a public utility.

We are going to have to decide fairly soon whether Google, Facebook and Amazon are the kinds of natural monopolies that need to be regulated, or whether we allow the status quo to continue, pretending that unfettered monoliths don't inflict damage on our privacy and democracy.

It is impossible to deny that Facebook, Google and Amazon have stymied innovation on a broad scale. To begin with, the platforms of Google and Facebook are the point of access to all media for the majority of Americans. While profits at Google, Facebook and Amazon have soared, revenues in media businesses like newspaper publishing or the music business have, since 2001, fallen by 70 percent.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, newspaper publishers lost over half their employees between 2001 and 2016. Billions of dollars have been reallocated from creators of content to owners of monopoly platforms. All content creators dependent on advertising must negotiate with Google or Facebook as aggregator, the sole lifeline between themselves and the vast internet cloud.

It's not just newspapers that are hurting. In 2015 two Obama economic advisers, Peter Orszag and Jason Furman, published a paper arguing that the rise in "supernormal returns on capital" at firms with limited competition is leading to a rise in economic inequality. The M.I.T. economists Scott Stern and Jorge Guzman explained that in the presence of these giant firms, "it has become increasingly advantageous to be an incumbent, and less advantageous to be a new entrant."

There are a few obvious regulations to start with. Monopoly is made by acquisition - Google buying AdMob and DoubleClick, Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon buying, to name just a few, Audible, Twitch, Zappos and Alexa. At a minimum, these companies should not be allowed to acquire other major firms, like Spotify or Snapchat.

The second alternative is to regulate a company like Google as a public utility, requiring it to license out patents, for a nominal fee, for its search algorithms, advertising exchanges and other key innovations.

The third alternative is to remove the "safe harbor" clause in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows companies like Facebook and Google's YouTube to free ride on the content produced by others. The reason there are 40,000 Islamic State videos on YouTube, many with ads that yield revenue for those who posted them, is that YouTube does not have to take responsibility for the content on its network. Facebook, Google and Twitter claim that policing their networks would be too onerous. But that's preposterous: They already police their networks for pornography, and quite well.

Removing the safe harbor provision would also force social networks to pay for the content posted on their sites. A simple example: One million downloads of a song on iTunes would yield the performer and his record label about $900,000. One million streams of that same song on YouTube would earn them about $900.

I'm under no delusion that, with libertarian tech moguls like Peter Thiel in President Trump's inner circle, antitrust regulation of the internet monopolies will be a priority. Ultimately we may have to wait four years, at which time the monopolies will be so dominant that the only remedy will be to break them up. Force Google to sell DoubleClick. Force Facebook to sell WhatsApp and Instagram.

Woodrow Wilson was right when he said in 1913, "If monopoly persists, monopoly will always sit at the helm of the government." We ignore his words at our peril.

[Dec 26, 2016] Google Employee Sues For $3.8 Billion Over Confidentiality Policies

Dec 26, 2016 | tech.slashdot.org
(theverge.com) 101 Posted by msmash on Wednesday December 21, 2016 @01:40PM from the company-policies dept. An anonymous reader writes: A Google product manager has filed a lawsuit against the company for its confidentiality policies on the grounds they violate California labor laws. California labor laws give employees the right to discuss workplace issues with law enforcement, regulators, the media, and other employees. Google is accused of firing the employee for exercising his rights, then smearing his reputation in an internal email sent to the rest of the company. These policies are put in place to allegedly prevent the leaking of potentially damaging information to regulators or law enforcement. They in turn prohibit employees from speaking out about illegal activity within the company, even to its own lawyers, and encourage them to report other employees suspected of leaking information. The Verge has obtained a copy of the complaint, linked below in full. "Google's motto is 'don't be evil.' Google's illegal confidentiality agreements and policies fail this test," the lawsuit reads. One policy allegedly even prevents employees from writing a novel about working for a large Silicon Valley corporation -- like, for instance, Dave Eggers' dystopian novel, The Circle -- without first getting final draft approval from Google. The Information confirmed that this lawsuit was filed by the same individual, known in the suit only as "John Doe," who filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board earlier this year over many of the same confidentiality policies.

[Dec 05, 2016] Why I left Google -- discussion

Notable quotes:
"... "Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn't invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation," Whittaker wrote. "The fact that no one came to Google's party became the elephant in the room." ..."
"... Isn't it inevitable that Google will end up like Microsoft. A brain-dead dinosaur employing sycophantic middle class bores, who are simply working towards a safe haven of retirement. In the end Google will be passed by. It's not a design-led innovator like Apple: it's a boring, grey utilitarian, Soviet-like beast. Google Apps are cheap - but very nasty - Gmail is a terrible UI - and great designers will never work for this anti-design/pro-algorithms empire. ..."
"... All of Google's products are TERRIBLE except for Gmail, and even that is inferior to Outlook on the web now. ..."
"... I used Google Apps for years, and Google just doesn't listen to customers. The engineers that ran the company needed some corporate intervention. I just think Larry Page tried to turn Google into a different company, rather than just focusing the great ideas into actually great products. ..."
"... It seems the tech titans all have this pendulum thing going on. Google appears to be beginning its swing in the "evil" direction. ..."
"... You claim old Google empowered intelligent people to be innovative, with the belief their creations would prove viable in the marketplace. You then go on to name Gmail and Chrome as the accomplishments of that endeavour. Are you ****** serious? ..."
"... When you arrived at Google it had already turned the internet into a giant spamsense depository with the majority of screen real estate consumed by Google's ads. The downhill spiral did not begin with Google+, but it may end there. On a lighter note, you are now free. Launch a start-up and fill the gaping hole which will be left by the fall of the former giant. ..."
"... Great post. Appreciate the insights the warning about what happens when bottom-up entrepreneurship loses out to top-down corporate dictums. ..."
"... The ability to actually consume shared content in an efficient and productive manner is still as broken as ever. They never addressed the issue in Buzz and still haven't with G+ despite people ranting at them for this functionality forever. ..."
"... Sounds like Google have stopped focusing on what problem they're solving and moving onto trying to influence consumer behaviour - always a much more difficult trick to pull off. Great article - well done for sharing in such a humble and ethical manner. Best of luck for the future. ..."
Apr 02, 2012 | JW on Tech

Whittaker, who joined Google in 2009 and left last month, described a corporate culture clearly divided into two eras: "Before Google+," and "After."

"After" is pretty terrible, in his view.

Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) once gave its engineers the time and resources to be creative. That experimental approach yielded several home-run hits like Chrome and Gmail. But Google fell behind in one key area: competing with Facebook.

That turned into corporate priority No. 1 when Larry Page took over as the company's CEO. "Social" became Google's battle cry, and anything that didn't support Google+ was viewed as a distraction.

"Suddenly, 20% meant half-assed," wrote Whittaker, referring to Google's famous policy of letting employees spend a fifth of their time on projects other than their core job. "The trappings of entrepreneurship were dismantled."

Whittaker is not the first ex-Googler to express that line of criticism. Several high-level employees have left after complaining that the "start-up spirit" of Google has been replaced by a more mature but staid culture focused on the bottom line.

The interesting thing about Whittaker's take is that it was posted not on his personal blog, but on an official blog of Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500), Google's arch nemesis.

Spokesmen from Microsoft and Google declined to comment.

The battle between Microsoft and Google has heated up recently, as the Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission begin to investigate Google for potential antitrust violations. Microsoft, with its Bing search engine, has doubled its share of the search market since its June 2010 founding, but has been unsuccessful at taking market share away from Google.

Microsoft is increasingly willing to call out Google for what it sees as illicit behavior. A year ago, the software company released a long list of gripes about Google's monopolistic actions, and last month it said Google was violating Internet Explorer users' privacy.

Despite his misgivings about what Google cast aside to make Google+ a reality, Whittaker thinks that the social network was worth a shot. If it had worked -- if Google had dramatically changed the social Web for the better -- it would have been a heroic gamble.

But it didn't. It's too early to write Google+ off, but the site is developing a reputation as a ghost town. Google says 90 million people have signed up, but analysts and anecdotal evidence show that fairly few have turned into heavy users.

"Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn't invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation," Whittaker wrote. "The fact that no one came to Google's party became the elephant in the room."

Ian Smith:

Isn't it inevitable that Google will end up like Microsoft. A brain-dead dinosaur employing sycophantic middle class bores, who are simply working towards a safe haven of retirement. In the end Google will be passed by. It's not a design-led innovator like Apple: it's a boring, grey utilitarian, Soviet-like beast. Google Apps are cheap - but very nasty - Gmail is a terrible UI - and great designers will never work for this anti-design/pro-algorithms empire.

Steve

I have to be honest with you. All of Google's products are TERRIBLE except for Gmail, and even that is inferior to Outlook on the web now.

I used Google Apps for years, and Google just doesn't listen to customers. The engineers that ran the company needed some corporate intervention. I just think Larry Page tried to turn Google into a different company, rather than just focusing the great ideas into actually great products.

Matt:

It seems the tech titans all have this pendulum thing going on. Google appears to be beginning its swing in the "evil" direction. Apple seems like they're nearing the peak of "evil".

And Microsoft seems like they're back in the middle, trying to swing up to the "good" side. So, if you look at it from that perspective, Microsoft is the obvious choice.

Good luck!

VVR:

The stark truth in this insightful piece is the stuff you have not written..

Atleast you had a choice in leaving google. But we as users don't.

I have years of email in Gmail and docs and youtube etc. I can't switch.

"Creepy" is not the word that comes to mind when Ads for Sauna, online textbooks, etc suddenly begin to track you, no matter which website you visit.

You know you have lost when this happens..

David:

A fascinating insight, I think this reflects what a lot of people are seeing of Google from the outside. It seems everybody but Page can see that Google+ is - whilst technically brilliant - totally superfluous; your daughter is on the money. Also apparent from the outside is the desperation that surrounds Google+ - Page needs to face facts, hold his hands up and walk away from Social before they loose more staff like you, more users and all the magic that made Google so great.

Best of luck with your new career at Microsoft, I hope they foster and encourage you as the Google of old did.

Raymond Traylor:

I understand Facebook is a threat to Google search but beating Facebook at their core competency was doomed to fail. Just like Bing to Google. I was so disappointed in Google following Facebook's evil ways of wanting to know everything about me I've stopped using their services one at a time, starting with Android.

I am willing to pay for a lot of Google's free service to avoid advertising and harvesting my private data.

root

You claim old Google empowered intelligent people to be innovative, with the belief their creations would prove viable in the marketplace. You then go on to name Gmail and Chrome as the accomplishments of that endeavour. Are you ****** serious?

Re-branding web based email is no more innovative than purchasing users for your social networking site, like Facebook did. Same for Chrome, or would you argue Google acquiring VOIP companies to then provide a mediocre service called Google Voice was also innovative?

When you arrived at Google it had already turned the internet into a giant spamsense depository with the majority of screen real estate consumed by Google's ads. The downhill spiral did not begin with Google+, but it may end there. On a lighter note, you are now free. Launch a start-up and fill the gaping hole which will be left by the fall of the former giant.

RBLevin:

Great post. Appreciate the insights the warning about what happens when bottom-up entrepreneurship loses out to top-down corporate dictums.

Re: sharing, while I agree sharing isn't broken (heck, it worked when all we had was email), it certainly needs more improvement. I can't stand Facebook. Hate the UI, don't care for the culture. Twitter is too noisy and, also, the UI sucks. I'm one of those who actually thinks Google+ got 21st century BBSing right.

But if that's at the cost of everything else that made Google great, then it's a high price to pay.

BTW, you can say a lot of these same things about similar moves Microsoft has made over the years, where the top brass decided they knew better, and screwed over developers and their investments in mountains of code.

So, whether it happens in an HR context or a customer context, it still sucks as a practice.

bound2run:

I have made a concerted effort to move away from Google products after their recent March 1st privacy policy change. I must say the Bing is working just fine for me. Gmail will be a bit tougher but I am making strides. Now I just need to dump my Android phone and I will be "creepy-free" ... for the time being.

Phil Ashman:

The ability to actually consume shared content in an efficient and productive manner is still as broken as ever. They never addressed the issue in Buzz and still haven't with G+ despite people ranting at them for this functionality forever.

Funny that I should read your post today as I wrote the following comment on another persons post a couple days back over Vic's recent interview where someone brought up the lack of a G+ API:

"But if it were a social network.......then they are doing a pretty piss poor job of managing the G+ interface and productive consumption of the stream. It would be nice if there was at least an API so some 3rd party clients could assist with the filtering of the noise, but in reality the issue is in the distribution of the stream. What really burns me is that it wouldn't be that hard for them to create something like subscribable circles.

Unfortunately the reality is that they just don't care about whether the G+ stream is productive for you at the moment as their primary concern isn't for you to productively share and discuss your interests with the world, but to simply provide a way for you to tell Google what you like so they can target you with advertising. As a result, the social part of Google+ really isn't anything to shout about at the moment."

You've just confirmed my fear about how the company's focus has changed.

Alice Wonder:

Thanks for this. I love many of the things Google has done. Summer of code, WebM, Google Earth, free web fonts, etc.

I really was disappointed with Google+. I waited for an invite, and when I finally got one, I started to use it. Then the google main search page started to include google+ notifications, and the JS crashed my browser. Repeatedly. I had to clear my cache and delete my cookies just so google wouln't know it was me and crash search with a notification. They fixed that issue quickly but I did not understand why they would risk their flagship product (search) to promote google plus. The search page really should be a simple form.

And google plus not allowing aliases? Do I want a company that is tracking everything I do centrally to have my real name with that tracking? No. Hence I do not use google+ anymore, and am switching to a different search engine and doing as little as I can with google.

I really don't like to dislike google because of all they have done that was cool, it is really sad for me to see this happening.

Mike Whitehead

Sounds like Google have stopped focusing on what problem they're solving and moving onto trying to influence consumer behaviour - always a much more difficult trick to pull off. Great article - well done for sharing in such a humble and ethical manner. Best of luck for the future.

jmacdonald 14 Mar 2012 4:07 AM great write-up

personally i think that google and facebook have misread the sociological trend against the toleration of adverts, to such an extent that if indeed google are following the 'facebook know everything and we do too' route, i suspect both companies may enter into issues as the advertising CPMs fall and we're left with us wretched consumers who find ways around experiences that we don't want

more on this stuff here: www.jonathanmacdonald.com

and here: www.jonathanmacdonald.com

for anyone that cares about that kinda angle

Mahboob Ihsan:

Google products are useful but probably they could have done more to improve the GUI, Standardization and Usability. You can continue to earn business in short term enjoying your strategic advantage as long as you don't have competitors. But as soon as you have just one competitor offering quality products at same cost, your strategic advantage is gone and you have to compete through technology, cost and quality. Google has been spreading its business wings to so many areas, probably with the single point focus of short term business gains. Google should have learnt from Apple that your every new offering should be better (in user's eye) than the previous one.

Victor Ramirez:

Thanks for the thoughtful blog post. Anybody who has objectively observed Google's behavior and activity over the past few years has known that Google is going in this direction. I think that people have to recognize that Google, while very technically smart, is an advertising company first and foremost. Their motto says the right things about being good and organizing the world's information, but we all know what Google is honestly interested in. The thing that Google is searching for, more than almost anything else, is about getting more data about people so they can get people better ads they'll be more likely to click on so they make more money. Right now, Google is facing what might be considered an existential threat from Facebook because they are the company that is best able to get social data right now. Facebook is getting so much social data that odds are that they're long-term vision is to some point seriously competing in search using this social data that they have. Between Facebook's huge user-base and momentum amongst businesses (just look at how many Super Bowl ads featured Facebook pages being promoted for instance, look at the sheer number of companies listed at www.buyfacebookfansreviews.com that do nothing other than promote Facebook business pages, and look at the biggest factor out there - the fact that Facebook's IPO is set to dominate 2012) I think that Facebook has the first legitimate shot of creating a combination of quality results and user experience to actually challenge Google's dominance, and that's pretty exciting to watch. The fact that Google is working on Google+ so much and making that such a centerpiece of their efforts only goes to illustrate how critical this all is and how seriously they take this challenge from Facebook into their core business. I think Facebook eventually enters the search market and really disrupts it and it will be interesting to see how Google eventually acts from a position of weakness.

Keith Watanabe:

they're just like any company that gets big. you end up losing visibility into things, believe that you require the middle management layer to coordinate, then start getting into the battlegrounds of turf wars because the people hired have hidden agendas and start bringing in their army of yes men to take control as they attempt to climb up the corporate ladder. however, the large war chest accumulated and the dominance in a market make such a company believe in their own invulnerability. but that's when you're the most vulnerable because you get sloppy, forget to stop and see the small things that slip through the cracks, forget your roots and lose your way and soul. humility is really your only constant savior.

btw, more than likely Facebook will become the same way. And any other companies who grow big. People tend to forget about the days they were struggling and start focusing on why they are so great. You lose that hunger, that desire to do better because you don't have to worry about eating pinches of salt on a few nibbles of rice. This is how civilization just is. If you want to move beyond that, humans need to change this structure of massive growth -> vanity -> decadence -> back to poverty.

Anon:

This perceived shift of focus happens at every company when you go from being an idealistic student to becoming an adult that has to pay the bills. When you reach such a large scale with so much at stake, it is easy to stop innovating. It is easy to get a mix of people who don't share the same vision when you have to hire on a lot of staff. Stock prices put an emphasis on perpetual monetization. Let's keep in mind that Facebook only recently IPO'd and in the debate for personal privacy, all the players are potentially "evil" and none of them are being held to account by any public policy.

The shutdown of Google Labs was a sad day. Later the shutdown of Google Health I thought was also sad as it was an example of a free service already in existence, akin to what Ontario has wasted over $1 billion on for E-Health. Surely these closures are a sign that the intellectual capital in the founders has been exhausted. They took their core competencies to the maximum level quickly, which means all the organic growth in those areas is mostly already realized.

There needs to be some torch passing or greater empowerment in the lower ranks when things like this happen. Take a look at RIM. Take a look at many other workplaces. It isn't an isolated incident. There are constantly pressures between where you think your business should go, where investors tell you to go, and where the industry itself is actually headed. This guy is apparently very troubled that his name is attached to G+ development and he is trying to distance himself from his own failure. Probably the absence of Google Labs puts a particular emphasis on the failure of G+ as one of the only new service projects to be delivered recently.

After so much time any company realizes that new ideas can only really come with new people or from outside influences. As an attempt to grow their business services via advertising, the idea that they needed to compete with Facebook to continue to grow wasn't entirely wrong. It was just poorly executed, too late, and at the expense of potentially focusing their efforts on doing something else under Google Labs that would have been more known as from them (Android was an acquisition, not organically grown internally). There is no revolution yet, because Facebook and Google have not replaced any of each others services with a better alternative

The complaints in the final paragraph of the blog regarding privacy are all complaints about how much Google wants to be Facebook. Thing is that Google+ just like all the aforementioned services are opt-in services with a clear ToS declared when you do so, even if you already have a Google account for other services. The transparency of their privacy policy is on par if not better than most other competing service providers. The only time it draws criticism is when some changes have been made to say that if you use multiple services, they may have access to the same pool of information internally. It's a contract and it was forced to be acknowledged when it changed. When advertising does happen it is much more obvious to me that it is advertising via a Google service, than when Facebook decides to tell me who likes what. Not to give either the green light here; but the evolution is one of integrating your network into the suggestions, and again, it isn't isolated to any one agency.

One way to raise and enforce objections to potential mishandling of information is to develop a blanket minimum-requirement on privacy policy to apply to all businesses, regarding the handling of customer information. We are blind if we think Google+ and Facebook are the only businesses using data in these ways. This blanket minimum requirement could be voluntarily adopted via 3rd party certification, or it could be government enforced; but the point is that someone other than the business itself would formulate it, and it must be openly available to debate and public scrutiny/revision. It is a sort of "User License Agreement" for information about us. If James Whittaker left to partake in something along these lines, it sure would make his blog entry more credible, unless Microsoft is focused so much more greatly on innovation than the profit motive.

It is also important for customers and the general public not to get locked into any kind of brand loyalty. One problem is Facebook is a closed proprietary system with no way to forward or export the data contained within it to any comparable system. Google is a mish-mash of some open and some closed systems. In order for us as customers to be able to voice our opinions in a way that such service providers would hear, we must be provided alternatives and service portability.

As an example of changing service providers, there has been an exodus of business customers away from using Google Maps as they began charging money to businesses that want to use the data to develop on top of it. I think that this is just the reality of a situation when you have operating costs for a service that you need to recoup; but there is a royalty-free alternative like Open Street Map (which Apple has recently ripped off by using Open Street Map data without attribution).

Google won't see the same meteoric growth ever again. It probably is a less fun place for a social media development staffer to work at from 2010 to present, than it was from 2004 - 2010 (but I'm betting still preferable to FoxConn or anything anywhere near Balmer).

Linda R. Tindall :

Thank you for your honest comments Mr. Whittaker. And yes, Google is not like it was before..

It is Scary, Google may destroy anyone online business overnight!

Google penalize webmasters if they don't like a Website for any reason. They can put out anyone they want out of business. How does Google judge a webmaster's?

Google's business isn't anymore the search engine. Google's business is selling and displaying ads.

GOOGLE becomes now the Big Brother of the WWW. I think it is scary that Google has so much power. Just by making changes, they can ruin people's lives.

As it turned out, sharing was not broken. Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just wasn't part of it. People were sharing all around us and seemed quite happy. A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn't even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, "social isn't a product," she told me after I gave her a demo, "social is people and the people are on Facebook."

Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn't invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation. The fact that no one came to Google's party became the elephant in the room.

[Nov 12, 2016] Why I left Google

Notable quotes:
"... The days of old Google hiring smart people and empowering them to invent the future was gone. The new Google knew beyond doubt what the future should look like. Employees had gotten it wrong and corporate intervention would set it right again. ..."
"... Had Google been right, the effort would have been heroic and clearly many of us wanted to be part of that outcome. I bought into it. I worked on Google+ as a development director and shipped a bunch of code. But the world never changed; sharing never changed. It's arguable that we made Facebook better, but all I had to show for it was higher review scores. ..."
Apr 02, 2012 | MSDN Blogs

... ... ...

It wasn't an easy decision to leave Google. During my time there I became fairly passionate about the company. I keynoted four Google Developer Day events, two Google Test Automation Conferences and was a prolific contributor to the Google testing blog. Recruiters often asked me to help sell high priority candidates on the company. No one had to ask me twice to promote Google and no one was more surprised than me when I could no longer do so. In fact, my last three months working for Google was a whirlwind of desperation, trying in vain to get my passion back.

The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.

Technically I suppose Google has always been an advertising company, but for the better part of the last three years, it didn't feel like one. Google was an ad company only in the sense that a good TV show is an ad company: having great content attracts advertisers.

Under Eric Schmidt ads were always in the background. Google was run like an innovation factory, empowering employees to be entrepreneurial through founder's awards, peer bonuses and 20% time. Our advertising revenue gave us the headroom to think, innovate and create. Forums like App Engine, Google Labs and open source served as staging grounds for our inventions. The fact that all this was paid for by a cash machine stuffed full of advertising loot was lost on most of us. Maybe the engineers who actually worked on ads felt it, but the rest of us were convinced that Google was a technology company first and foremost; a company that hired smart people and placed a big bet on their ability to innovate.

From this innovation machine came strategically important products like Gmail and Chrome, products that were the result of entrepreneurship at the lowest levels of the company. Of course, such runaway innovative spirit creates some duds, and Google has had their share of those, but Google has always known how to fail fast and learn from it.

In such an environment you don't have to be part of some executive's inner circle to succeed. You don't have to get lucky and land on a sexy project to have a great career. Anyone with ideas or the skills to contribute could get involved. I had any number of opportunities to leave Google during this period, but it was hard to imagine a better place to work.

But that was then, as the saying goes, and this is now.

It turns out that there was one place where the Google innovation machine faltered and that one place mattered a lot: competing with Facebook. Informal efforts produced a couple of antisocial dogs in Wave and Buzz. Orkut never caught on outside Brazil. Like the proverbial hare confident enough in its lead to risk a brief nap, Google awoke from its social dreaming to find its front runner status in ads threatened.

Google could still put ads in front of more people than Facebook, but Facebook knows so much more about those people. Advertisers and publishers cherish this kind of personal information, so much so that they are willing to put the Facebook brand before their own.

Exhibit A: www.facebook.com/nike, a company with the power and clout of Nike putting their own brand after Facebook's? No company has ever done that for Google and Google took it personally.

Larry Page himself assumed command to right this wrong. Social became state-owned, a corporate mandate called Google+. It was an ominous name invoking the feeling that Google alone wasn't enough. Search had to be social. Android had to be social. You Tube, once joyous in their independence, had to be … well, you get the point. Even worse was that innovation had to be social. Ideas that failed to put Google+ at the center of the universe were a distraction.

Suddenly, 20% meant half-assed. Google Labs was shut down. App Engine fees were raised. APIs that had been free for years were deprecated or provided for a fee. As the trappings of entrepreneurship were dismantled, derisive talk of the "old Google" and its feeble attempts at competing with Facebook surfaced to justify a "new Google" that promised "more wood behind fewer arrows."

The days of old Google hiring smart people and empowering them to invent the future was gone. The new Google knew beyond doubt what the future should look like. Employees had gotten it wrong and corporate intervention would set it right again.

Officially, Google declared that "sharing is broken on the web" and nothing but the full force of our collective minds around Google+ could fix it. You have to admire a company willing to sacrifice sacred cows and rally its talent behind a threat to its business.

Had Google been right, the effort would have been heroic and clearly many of us wanted to be part of that outcome. I bought into it. I worked on Google+ as a development director and shipped a bunch of code. But the world never changed; sharing never changed. It's arguable that we made Facebook better, but all I had to show for it was higher review scores.

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