- Google has updated, sorry expedited, new maps of New Orleans after the Katrina 'airbrushing' incident, which led to questions in the US Congress.
- It's launched a free Website Optimizer.
- GeoIQ have released a service for generating heat maps on top of Google Maps.
- Ask.com has launched an obscure, anti-Google campaign [TV Ad link]
Apparently I've seen it but I can't recall it at all (we seem to have a surfeit of obscure. weird ads at the moment - consequently less impact). Can't recall seeing anyone handing our Ask buttons in 'Che Guevara-like dress' either. They even plastered the slogan "free the information" onto the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey and have you seen any coverage?
The campaign was described as 'risky' by the Wall Street Journal, primarily because it isn't clearly branded and web users don't like being duped. The landing site isn't clearly branded either.
Such is Google's domination, especially in the UK, that Ask admit that they have "little to lose" despite.
- Ask's strategy does seem to chime with the current suspicious (paranoid?) Zeitgeist around Google. On John Batelle's Blog, he was corrected on what Google new Mac version of Google Desktop actually does:
John, I'm with you on the fear that big organizations, however well intentioned, will ultimately abuse the trust placed in them. Since your clickstream, search history, credit record, phone calls and emails all traverse corporate - or government-controlled - networks, they're vulnerable.
But in the case of Google Desktop, this product sends no data to Google unless you specifically request it to. You can't accidentally send your hard-disk contents, or even an index of your PC, to Google.
From the Google Desktop Privacy FAQ:
1. Does Google Desktop share the contents of my computer with anyone?
No. Your Google Desktop index and copies of your files are currently stored only on your computer.
2. What does Google Desktop do with the information on my computer?
Google Desktop stores copies of the items it finds on your computer's hard drive ... Your Google Desktop index and copies are currently stored only on your computer ...
(Though that word "currently" makes it sound like it may not always be true!)