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Google Checkout downchecked by UK users (The Register) and Google doesn't mind not asking about Privacy

I'm obviously in a little bit of a carefree mood as I am going to offer my personal opinion on one of the Internet greats. Google has built an amazing advertising business through search,  but their company slogan of "Do no evil" seems to be more "deny any evil doing".  Lets be honest, Google is a business, like any other who's primary aim is to live longer, grow bigger and feed shareholders.

I have seen a few things that Google do that I don't like.  I don't like them reading my e-mails, the meta data of the documents I have, my every browser move.  These have been discussed by others many times before, but this week I have seen two storied that smacked of "sorry we got it wrong... its not our fault".  I remember the reaction when I said sorry on the blog and it seems that a little bit of that humble pie is needed elsewhere (and more at Microsoft obviously).

The two areas I am thinking about are their Checkout tool and their mapping tools.

The Register, who I have had the pleasure of doing interviews with personally wrote:

Or maybe not. Here are a few emails we've received from UK Checkout users:

Google checkout is having major problems transferring money into people's bank accounts. They are ignoring emails and refusing to do comment or acknowledge the matter. I myself have 14,500 pounds stuck in google since the 21st of May and i am not alone. a quick look at their forums shows it's quite widespread.

Other users of the Google forums agree. And there's more:

The [Google Checkout] affiliate program offered by Ebuyer stole my money! I used the Google checkout function, which enticed me with the offer of a £10 discount.

The system refused both of my cards, saying they were declined (they both had plenty of credit).

I decided to shun my £10 discount and just use Ebuyer's standard checkout system. My order went through without a hitch.

Two days later, Google Checkout sent me an email saying that they were sorry about declining my card as this was a fault of theirs and not mine (too right!) and that they were helpfully resubmitting my order.

I now find myself with a duplicate £175 order to the sum of... carry the one, the five.. £350!

Terrible, terrible show.

Google Checkout downchecked by UK users | The Register


Then there is the mapping issue.  While I don't think that seeing whos rubbish is out is toooo bad, I do think that filming you, your car, publishing your license plate etc on the net is just a little two much.  Now Microsoft have a competing product - ours takes longer to process (it was available before Google's) because we try to remove faces and license plates etc.  Do we shout about this, nope, we consider this business as usual.


Anyway, for more on the Google mapping into people's houses, have a look at http://www.windows-now.com/blogs/robert/archive/2007/05/30/think-google-respects-your-privacy-think-again.aspx 

Google just got a whole lot more Big Brother-y. The big news this week was that Google introduced street-level maps in certain markets. For the record, Microsoft was in this market first, and at least they respect people's privacy. Microsoft has gone out of their way to obfuscate people's faces, license plates, etc from their street-level photography (which is why their rollout was so slow). Google has no such respect, so they show people in their houses, outside strip clubs, outside adult bookstores, and vehicle license plates. Oh yeah, and a crapload of other ones, courtesy of BoingBoing.




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Posted Fri, Jun 8 2007 9:18 PM by David Overton
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