4 thoughts on “Google snark: we’ve been doing it wrong

  1. I feel like there are some distinctions that can be made.

    “We have no idea, so let’s do SCIENCE and experiment” is fine.

    “We didn’t think about default privacy settings for Google Buzz” is not so fine.

    There has to be some give and take that goes on here. But yeah, I generally agree: if you’re willing to admit you made errors and have the capacity to rapidly change, then absolutely, go forth and try lots of things that’ll turn out to be errors. 🙂


    1. Yeah, this is why I’m interested in criticisms which come from an out-of-the-box direction — not “you’re playing a traditional metadata game wrong” (when they’re not even playing that game at all) but “the game you are playing turns out to interact with these things from TOTALLY OTHER BOXES, and [here’s why that’s conceptually challenging/here’s why you needed to think about that box before you launched/etc.]”.

      Those privacy concerns are really serious and interesting. The sociological arguments, that Google employee culture is a small and unrepresentative fraction of all the culture in the world — yet they produce tools for the entire world — hence blind spots are both likely and problematic — that’s interesting.

      Definitely not advocating that people stop snarking on Google. But I would like higher-quality snark.

      Hey look, rabid agreement.

      (Also, nice to see you here!)


  2. “What if the point is saying — we have data. We have computational powers on a scale incomprehensible only a decade or two ago. What can we do with that?”

    From the point of view of a cog in the very big machine, that’s exactly the point. No one’s figured out yet how people do some of this stuff (though in the case of book metadata we’ve apparently figured out that they do a pretty lousy job of it), so naturally there are going to be some mis-steps trying to get machines to do it for us.

    By contrast, when we behave in a tone-deaf manner towards people—and force them to put up with our tone-deafness—by all means, dig in.


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