Apple nemesis Google once had an unofficial motto; ‘Do No Evil.’ After a few years of very evil steps which haven’t helped the company’s financials much, Google has become know as the ‘Do Know Evil‘ company.
Remember the basics. To Apple, you’re a cherished, highly valued customer who deserves to be treated well. To Google, you’re a user of free services and software, a part of the product that makes gazillions of dollars for the search engine giant who prefers not to talk to you. Guess what? Google just did something good.
Last Tangle In Paris
I’ve been following the shenanigans of the European Union for a few years; partly because our company has an office in the U.K. and France, and partly because it’s just so much fun to watch what goes on over there.
Last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that EU citizens could request that Google stop displaying links to them; specifically website pages which are deemed out of date, excessive, or irrelevant. It’s known as the ‘right to be forgotten‘ and as you might suspect, it’s full of holes bigger than a moon of Swiss cheese.
Last month, the French data commissioner ordered the ruling be applied to Google’s non-EU, international domains, too– including Google.com. It’s one thing for a Frenchman to be forgotten in France, but it’s something else to be forgotten all over the world. That would open a can of worms not easily cleaned up.
We believe that no one country should have the authority to control what content someone in a second country can access. We also believe this order is disproportionate and unnecessary, given that the overwhelming majority of French internet users — currently around 97 percent — access a European version of Google’s search engine like google.fr, rather than Google.com or any other version of Google
That’s Google’s polite way of disagreeing with the directive. Or, looked at another way, it’s a very polite way to say f@$k you to an enormously crazy idea that only the French would dare to push onto others. In this case, still unresolved and unsettled for now, Google did the right thing. If every country on planet earth ruled that the ‘right to be forgotten‘ was a universal right, then Google and other search engines would be obliged to comply, and that’s fine with me. But one country should not be allowed to dictate policy in another country, right? Hmmm. Wait a minute. I wonder what the Iranians think of that?