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Search Biz: Google Vs. Viacom, Pakistan Vs. Facebook, Google Vs. US, Apple Vs. Google & The Russians Are Coming!
It’s been a little while since we’ve done a Search Biz column. So it’s time to dust off the old snark machine and get right into it. First up there’s a very entertaining post on some new, unsealed records from the YouTube-Viacom litigation featuring a range of colorful expletives as both sides insult one another relentlessly. Here’s a select excerpt:
- Viacom complains that YouTube employees “sneered at rights holders as ‘copyright bastards’ and ‘a-holes.'”
- Google retorts that Viacom can’t complain about this language, and it quotes numerous Viacom execs to make its point. Sample outbursts include, “fuck you, you Google bastards,” “bastards at Google are harassing me,” and the eloquent “fuck those mother fuckers.”
PaidContent has more from the unsealed documents and points to email showing how badly Viacom wanted to own YouTube:
MTVN CEO Judy McGrath telling M&A execs: “Help us get YouTube. We cannot see it go to Fox/NBC” and “I want to own YouTube. I think it’s critical asnd if it goes to a competitior!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even if we have to buy it with a partner to keep it below the line.” Then-Viacom CEO Tom Freston:”If we get UTube… I wanna run it.” McGrath: “You’ll have to kill me to get to it first.”
Hell hath no fury like a corporate suitor scorned.
During last week’s Google TV demo at Google I/O live TV was showing on the giant screen behind the stage. Among the news items the audience saw was footage of Pakistani protesters up in arms about a Facebook page promoting “Everyone Draw Mohammed Day.” Google CEO Eric Schmidt says that censorship of YouTube and Facebook in Pakistan is primarily political and intended to appease domestic audiences.
Half a world away in Europe, Google has stopped destroying private WiFi data that it was previously inadvertently collecting but then stopped collecting. It began to destroy the personal data but some European governments objected. Others meanwhile had sought the data’s destruction. According to the Financial Times:
Google halted the global deletion of collected private WiFi data on Friday following confusion over what it should do with the material.
The move came after several European governments asked the internet company to delete the data while others called for a halt.
Privacy International, a UK pressure group, threatened Google with a police complaint if the company did not stop destroying the data by Monday.
Privacy International argued that privacy authorities were wrong to ask for the data to be destroyed as it might be needed as evidence for criminal investigations.
Along similar lines, the NY Times published an article this weekend that took a sweeping look at Google’s relationship with US regulators and the anti-trust question:
Google has managed to squeak by most regulatory reviews. On Friday, the Federal Trade Commission approved Google’s $750 million acquisition of AdMob, a mobile advertising start-up. Staff members had initially planned to oppose the purchase, even saying in a statement that the deal “raised serious antitrust issues.” . . . At the same time, Google’s own missteps have prompted a new round of scrutiny. This month, it admitted that its camera-equipped cars, which drive around photographing the world’s neighborhoods for Street View images within Google Maps, had inadvertently collected fragments of communications from people using unsecured WiFi networks. Privacy advocates howled, while the F.T.C. and regulators in Europe said they were looking into the matter.
Despite anti-trust scrutiny Google’s acquisitions continue unabated. And M&A activity that captures smaller companies is unlikely to draw much FTC/DOJ notice. Accordingly Google has acquired or hired the group behind the social travel site Ruba. Travel has long been a vertical that Google has been interested in. We’re likely to see more pronounced travel tools and features in Google Maps and perhaps a dedicated site in the future.
On the Google vs. Apple front, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is set to do a keynote at the upcoming Apple developer event (in the very building Google just did their event). Emails allegedly from Steve Jobs himself promise that Apple will answer Google and Android 2.2 (Froyo).
Turning finally to social media, Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism conducted a detailed analysis of social media platforms and news content vs. traditional news outlets. Here’s the breakdown of the content and categories of coverage appearing on these sites:
In addition Pew said that each social media site had a “different personality” in terms of the content shared there and the nature of the sharing:
The stories and issues that gain traction in social media differ substantially from those that lead in the mainstream press. But they also differ greatly from each other. Of the 29 weeks that we tracked on all three social platforms, blogs, Twitter and YouTube shared the same top story just once. That was the week of June 15-19, when the protests that followed the Iranian elections led on all three.
Each social media platform also seems to have its own personality and function. In the year studied, bloggers gravitated toward stories that elicited emotion, concerned individual or group rights or triggered ideological passion. Often these were stories that people could personalize and then share in the social forum — at times in highly partisan language. And unlike in some other types of media, the partisanship here does not lean strongly to one side or the other. Even on stories like the Tea Party protests, Sarah Palin and public support for Obama both conservative and liberal voices come through strongly.
On Twitter, by contrast, technology is a major focus — with a heavy prominence for Twitter itself — while politics plays a much smaller role. The mission is primarily about passing along important — often breaking — information in a way that unifies or assumes shared values within the Twitter community . . .
Social media’s 900 pound gorilla Facebook was previously the beneficiary of major investment from Russia’s Digital Sky Technologies (DST). DST also invested heavily in social gaming company Zynga. But DST CEO Yuri Milner says these are the beginning of a wave of investment in internet firms that have “disruptive” potential wherever they may be around the globe.