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Fight Club nasties flood Google Video

The first rule of user generated content is, you don't mention user generated content

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Anticipation ran high when Google announced it would be throwing its mighty clusters open, to host all the world's video. What a potent combination. Surely it would only be a matter of time before 'Big Media' crumbled, taking with it the tyrannical copyright regime, as a new wave of technologically-empowered citizens demonstrated their emergent, peer-to-peer creativity?

The autistic would supplant the artistic, in a rainbow revolution, powered by what The Economist describes as 'The Church of the Algorithm' - Google.

Alas, the results are exactly what any rational person might have predicted. Now we can see what Google Video looks like - and it looks like gigabytes of tiny clips of pets and children performing in home made holiday videos or 'bloopers', interspersed with advertisements from religious fringe groups and cults, and quite bizarre public information films.

We had to pinch ourselves that we were watching a slow-motion PowerPoint presentation entitled Monitoring and Controlling Post-Pasteurization Contamination (PPC) - although as it sooned turned out, this was the educational high point of the evening.

For the Guardian newspaper has beaten us to the scoop - again! - and found much tastier nastier content.

As Bobbie Johnson reports today, in only a fortnight Google has become the world's favorite repository for playground bullies and "happy slappers" to dump the gory recordings of their contests.

"'Black Dudes Fighting', features a bloody, bare-knuckle brawl between two men in a backyard. Another, boasting the long-winded title 'Girls Fighting Punching Kicking Chick Fights Cat Fight' is a 17-minute film of violent altercations, with the combatants egged on by a crowd of onlookers. At the end of one brawl, a teenage girl appears to have been knocked unconscious," we learn.

We did some research of our own. It's amazing what you can find in five minutes using the random button, and we urge you to try it out for yourself.

This is the kind of thing the Guardian discovered, and it's much in evidence:

More curious however is Google's approach to sexual content. When Google co-founder Larry Page announced the project last April, he appeared to welcome saucy clips.

"There might be an adult section, or something like that. I don't think that is going to be a big issue," said Page, hopefully.

One like this, we wondered?

Although it was a delight to see Caramelhoneys.com star Angel after all these pasteurization safety videos, it doesn't quite seem to chime with Google's official policy of monitoring risqué content.

And when we found this gem, we could only conclude it would belong in the public safety information film, section, if only such a thing existed

Safety at work, indeed.

Rarely, and commendably for a report about Google in the mainstream media, the Guardian dares approach the core of the problem. Which is that at the Church of the Algorithm, algorithms don't really help with judging subjective artistic merit. Whether something's good or bad. A drunken Eurovision Song Contest judge from the Boom-lang-a-lang era would surely have done a better job than the technicians from the brightest New Media company on earth.

"Some experts suggest that any selection process could undermine the key strength of the company," reports Johnston, quoting a consultant who charmingly puts it sweetly, like this -

"Google is basically the spirit of the internet. I can't see that they will want to change that."

Ain't that the truth. ®

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