Travel and History


I wish I’d blogged our Europe trip more here and I think I’ll start posting a play by play with pictures – maybe a post a day for each of the 19 days we were in Europe.

In the meantime check out the blogging family European Adventure at Travel and History

1 thought on “Travel and History

  1. Hi Joe,

    Excuse me for butting in…but I’m the new Director at the soon to re-launch Kinderstart.com, and I stumbled upon your blog from a few years ago regarding the KS/Google lawsuit and Professor Goldman’s defense of Google (May 2006).

    Here’s what I sent to Eric Goldman last night – thought you might enjoy:

    “Hi Professor Goldman,

    This is very old news by now – the Kinderstart vs Google lawsuit.

    You expressed an opinion about that suit.
    One of your key declarations was this:

    “Google, like every other search engine operator, has made that determination for its users, exercising its judgment and expressing its opinion about the relative significance of websites in a manner that has made it the search engine of choice for millions.”

    I’m not a lawyer, but one very basic question – the kind that laws/lawyers/law professors somehow manage to circumvent from time to time – was never adequately addressed by any of the Google defenders: one day, thousands (by several accounts up to 1 million a month) of freely acting individuals accessed Kinderstart (did the site provide them a useful service?) and the next day those same thousands were denied access to that site by a third party entity – why? Whose judgement about the usefulness of anything is supposed to be paramount in a free market? What individuals were asking for Google’s benign/paternalistic intercession and editing of choices on their behalf?

    Google, at the end of the day, is nothing more than a hi-tech yellow pages. Period. It is gargantuan, successful, powerful, but a yellow pages nonetheless. Last time I looked, the yellow pages did not eliminate listees (unless they are profain or breaking laws) based on their subjective judgment about a listees “significance”. The only yellow pages that might contemplate such a strategy would be a monopoly or near monopolistic entity – does that describe Google?

    Google, at that time, was posing as an objective instrument, an unbiased conduit to Internet content………..only it wasn’t. It professed algorithmically clean-hands & complete objectivity, but in fact, it acted just the opposite. The suit was largely about establishing that fact – that Google acted subjectively and was essentially lying and deceptive to the public about it’s practices, listing criteria etc.

    Google was understandably uncomfortable about probing this issue – afterall, how many corporate entities want to be accurately and fully revealed for who and what they truly are? In the world of business a little truth is good, but too much truth tends to mess up ROI or a long range business plan. Can’t have that. BP wants people to watch their ads and dream about “greenwashing” and “low carbon diets”…….some truth in that, but a bigger truth, and a nightmare, sits out in the Gulf of Mexico.

    I’m writing about this because Kinderstart is about to re-launch (with quite updated features/content to complement its screened directory)…….and I’ve always felt that Kinderstart detractors missed the heart of the issue – that a large, powerful, politically connected entity seeking to quash competition edited and limited the choice of hundreds of thousands of freely acting consumers – and who cared about that? Not Google and apparently not the law.

    Sincerely,

    Rob DeFulgentiis
    Director
    Kinderstart .com
    roberto96@sbcglobal.net

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