Friday, January 20, 2006

Google, and the Bush Administration from ABC News - Bob Woodruff

I think the U.S. Government is stepping way off base here, and I think they have a little more up their sleeves than worrying about who's searching for PORN, I think that they are looking for people who type words into a search engine looking to be evil...

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Jan. 20, 2006 —
Google Inc., known for its online search engine, is the fastest growing company in the United States. Its name has become a verb, and its stock trades at more than $400 a share. Google is quickly moving well beyond search.

Its Earth satellite mapping provides 3-D digital models of the entire world. After Hurricane Katrina, emergency responders used it to orient themselves for rescues.

The company offers the e-mail service Gmail and Google Video, where users can purchase anything from television shows to homemade movies.

Through all of this, Google is collecting a massive database of personal information.

The Bush administration wants to know how often computer users search for child pornography on the Web — specifically how many times Google users look for the sites. It says it needs the data to prove that the problem is so widespread that criminal penalties are needed to stop it.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin — the 33-year-old multibillionaires who founded Google — resisted the request today, saying it was not necessary and raised serious privacy concerns.

The Child Online Protection Act, which carries criminal penalties for online pornographers, was passed in 1998. But the Supreme Court stopped it from being enforced and ordered a lower court to determine whether filtering software could protect kids from the Web sites without violating adult free speech.

According to the Justice Department, America Online, Yahoo and MSN have all handed over their search data. But Google is holding out.

"I think people are both fascinated and terrified frankly," said John Battelle, author of "The Search."

"This wonderful, cuddly California startup with this warm and friendly 'Don't be evil' motto — we realize that if Google lives up to the potential that we've created for it, that might be a company that is extraordinarily powerful."

Google's Corporate Culture

Brin and Page share an office space not much bigger than a walk-in closet. The 3,000 employees who work at company's headquarters appear to be very happy.

About 1,000 have become millionaires, and sometimes it's hard to tell when they are working.

"I love working at Google," Camille Hart said. "It's the next best thing to not working at all."

"I feel like this is a little part of home for me," Corin Anderson said.

The campus, as they call it, has everything workers need or could ever want — free massages, free use of a gym, free snacks, free laundry service, and a barber shop.

"I can bring my dog to work every day," Hart said.

Doug Banks, a Google software engineer, even enjoys a game of volleyball during work.

"Get to work at 9:30, see if anyone wants to play volleyball, come out here at 10:30 — in between do some work," he said.

Google also offers three square meals a day — for free.

"Breakfast, lunch and dinner every day," said Google chef Robert Morgan. "It seems like the better we feed them, the more creative they are."

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