Google CEO Eric Schmidt has provided a classic example of Google's maddening hypocrisy, punishing reporters for publishing public information about himself while suggesting everyone else should just give up on privacy.
What company wouldn't want to be bought by Google?
That's probably what Google executives were asking themselves when present with a revolt by shareholders in its now-completed acquisition of digital-video technology developer On2.
On2's management even agreed, but everyday shareholders became apoplectic at the terms of the deal, which was finalized in a vote today, though still some are mad -- and this is after Google sweetened the deal with a few more million in cash and stock.
Still, the original anger towards the deal probably came as a surprise to Googlers.
Sort of like how the company went into "Code Red" when concerns about Buzz being tied to their Gmail accounts and their lists of frequent email contacts published for the world to see.
And that came only weeks after Facebook basically did the same thing -- foist new "features" upon users without their advice or consent -- and with nearly identical results: The Federal Trade Commission asked to launch an investigation, bad publicity explodes online and now it is facing a lawsuit that could turn into a class action.
So when a study reveals that "typosquatters" that use slightly misspelled domains of popular Web sites and then lathering them up with Google-sold ads, potentially earning Google millions, you have to wonder if requiring notification from the sites that are being gamed for attention is a cynical excuse not to improve its fraud detection algorithms.
After all, why should it when the current situation is so profitable?
Within Google, and Silicon Valley at large, privacy only seems highly valued among the executive class. Certainly the employees are asked to spend much of their lives at the office, and have no workplace protections from having everything they do on company computers logged.
But at Google, one has to wonder if within the walls of the Googleplex they actually believe the statements of good intentions made to the public by the public relations team. If they do, they aren't necessarily cynical.
More like brainwashed.
But hey, as far as cult memberships go, at least Google's pay well. And the food is apparently pretty good, too.
If their real-estate plans come to fruition, no one will ever have to leave.
Jackson West worries for his friends and acquaintances who work at Google.