Blake Ross, Firefox Developer, Losing Faith In Google Search Practices

Posted Dec 29, 2006

Blake Ross, a young software developer known for his efforts in the Mozilla’s Firefox development pointed out in his blog that Google is now starting to give “tips” to users about other Google-owned software. Ross also points out that Ask and Yahoo! have been doing this with their search services too, but Google has a reputation to keep in their TOS to not “be evil.”

If you search for ‘Photo Sharing,’ it tips users to use Google’s Picasa. If you search for ‘Calendar,’ users are tipped to “Try Google Calendar.” And if you search for ‘Blog,’ then Google recommends you to “Try Blogger.”

Ross wrote: “The tips are differentâ??and bad for usersâ??because the services they recommend are not the best in their class.” I couldn’t agree more. I think the best photo-sharing website is not the Picasa software, but Flickr. I believe the best blogging software is WordPress, and I don’t really use calendar software, I just e-mail myself upcoming important events in ALL CAPS.

But Ross gives a worthy suggestion for a fix. Ross suggested that when searching for stock quotes on Google’s search engine [example: GOOG search], Google Finance, Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, MarketWatch, CNN Money, and Reuters are all recommended at the top.

“Would Google complain if Microsoft informed users about Live Search when they typed into Internet Explorerâ??s address bar? Donâ??t roll your eyes: it would just be another innocuous tip presented to a user en route to a destination. Google owns one of the Webâ??s command lines, and Microsoft owns the other” stated Ross. “How much does a result have to look like a Result to cross the line? Google promised not to be the type of company that needs to ask.”