Facebook backstabs Google and you lose

What does Facebook's anti-Google smear campaign mean for users?

Thanks to an anti-Google smear campaign ordered by Facebook and carried out by a PR agency, the relationship between Facebook and Google is unquestionably broken beyond repair. And that's bad news for users of both services.

The dirty deed sinks the Google-Facebook rivalry to a new low, while highlighting how the giants of search and social networking are increasingly at odds. According to The Daily Beast, two representatives of PR firm Burson-Marsteller tried to solicit an independent blogger and USA Today to attack Google's privacy approach, particularly as it applies to social search results. When confronted with evidence, Facebook confirmed that it hired the agency to carry out the campaign.

As with previous scuffles between the two companies, this incident was all about user data, and who gets to control it. Facebook doesn't like how Google scrapes public Facebook data for its own social search results, and therefore claimed that the data was being used improperly. Google is looking into that allegation.

There are legitimate issues here: Google does, in fact, look at public Facebook information as part of Social Search, a type of search result that's based on links shared by people you know. If you use Google products, you can look at how Google gathers information from your contacts. Whether this is a violation of privacy should be up for debate.

But Facebook's use of a covert smear campaign only gets in the way of clear-headed discussion, and that's a shame at a time when both companies are under scrutiny. I envision a future in which both companies try to spin themselves as superior protectors of users' data, when they should really concentrate on being honest and open with users.

Meanwhile, it's unlikely that Facebook and Google will ever go back to sharing their data for the benefit of users. It's too bad, because Facebook could use Gmail users' contact lists to suggest new friends, while Google could use Facebook's vast database of "Likes" to create better search results. The companies were already acting like children before, with back-and-forth bickering over other peoples' data, and now they've grown up to be mortal enemies.

Follow Jared on Facebook and Twitter for even more tech news and commentary.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Topics: Google, web, online privacy, internet, Facebook
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?