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Is Google Polluting the Internet? 378

Pickens writes "In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin made a promise: 'We believe the issue of advertising causes enough mixed incentives that it is crucial to have a competitive search engine that is transparent and in the academic realm.' Now, Micah White writes in the Guardian that the vast library that is the internet is flooded with so many advertisements that this commercial barrage is having a cultural impact, where users can no longer tell the difference between content and advertising, and the omnipresence of internet advertising constrains the horizon of our thought. And at the center of it all, with ad space on 85% of all internet sites, is Google. In the gleeful words of CEO Eric Schmidt, 'We are an advertising company.' The danger of allowing an advertising company to control the index of human knowledge is too obvious to ignore, writes White. 'The universal index is the shared heritage of humanity. It ought to be owned by us all. No corporation or nation has the right to privatize the index, commercialize the index, censor what they do not like or auction search ranking to the highest bidder.' Google currently makes nearly all its money from practices its founders once rightly abhorred. 'Now it is up to us to realize the dream of a non-commercial paradigm for organizing the internet. ... We have public libraries. We need a public search engine.'"

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