Sunday, January 29, 2006

Google Video - democratic or dangerous?

Google's march towards taking over the internet, and nowadays, the world, continued recently with the launch of their latest service, Google Video. The idea behind it is to allow everyone to be a movie producer, director and publisher all at once. Actual tv companies can put out trailers, episodes and snippets; while amatuer videos where anything goes are now going to be available under one mass library run by the esteemed search engine creators Google.

The problem that comes with this is like anything that happens regarding the internet and censorship. Critics have already attacked Google's new tool for, as the charge goes, allowing content which isn't suitable for all ages and natures, and with such easy availability. Google's argument is that it is, and always has been, about allowing users democratic access to information. By doing so they have become the number one search engine online, and are now a giant of a company within the internet industry.

Obviously, Google isn't allowing vidoes of child porn, hardcore porn, violence or anything of such extreme nature, and its content is monitored and censored when it gets put online. These sort of areas are the ones that always come up when it comes to the regulating the internet so it would be ridiculous for them to attempt it. However, one user's softcore is another user's hardcore, etc, so it becomes hard to draw the line. Google, naturally, want to attract as much attention and business as possible in order to compete with and outdo rivals, and that means innovating and constantly reinventing the boundaries. As I've said, there are obvious boundaries of acceptable content which Google has not crossed. But since Google is the first major company to offer such a service, they also want to be able to capture as much of the market as possible: to do otherwise would be stupid because someone (Murdoch) comes along, and raises the stakes that little bit more to offer something extra for users, and takes away the business. At the end of the day, Google's worth hundreds of millions, and you don't get like that in the media by playing nice.

Google have been scrutinised so because of their familiarity: I mean, if you really do want to see a busty blonde girl getting ruined by a big black cock, there are millions of websites just waiting for your credit card. In fact, you'd probably go to to search for the websites. Google has always been a tool; for finding sites, images and more, and now they're offering a service that allows anyone to put out videos, and anyone to watch them for free. With their censorship they enforce, Google are still being as democratic as they can be. While the internet era is well and truly today, and the world will never (barring a meteor) return to pre-internet days, the glory of its emergence has now fizzled out. Like just about anywhere in the world; the internet is a beautiful city, but there are some streets you really don't want to go down. The internet isn't a nice place, in truth, but the sweeping arguments that go with regulating it have missed the point rather: that Google is a business in an industry where innovation rules, and user hits are power.

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