Google's deceptive do-gooder claims turn dangerous
At risk youth
Analysis Google likes to attach a greater social significance to its varied work as an advertising broker. The best and most obvious example of this policy comes from the "Do No Evil" stamp placed on financial statements. Time and again, however, Google's actions demonstrate that there is no greater good at hand. Google is little more than a purveyor of capitalism's most despised offshoot - advertising.
The latest Google move to support this thesis is the launch of Joga.com. Nike and Google partnered to bring this "community site" to life. As the homepage tells it, Joga will nurture some kind of soccer renaissance by allowing every Tom, Dick and Harry to share their thoughts on the game and trade photos and videos.
"WELCOME TO JOGA - THE COMMUNITY FOR SOCCER PLAYERS DEDICATED TO KEEPING THE GAME BEAUTIFUL," the site says. "JOGA IS A PLACE TO MEET OTHER SOCCER PLAYERS, SHARE YOUR OWN SOCCER EXPERIENCES AND ENJOY PHOTOS AND VIDEOS FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
"JOIN US AND HELP REMIND THE WORLD HOW THE GAME WAS MEANT TO BE PLAYED.
That's some touching stuff.
The site even has a fake oil painting vibe in the background, presumably to give it some authenticity and age. It barks out "Heart, Honor, Joy, Skill, Team," instructing us all about the key tenets to soccer. (Apparently trying to counter the Adidas and Yahoo sponsorship of the World Cup with a web site is also a key tenet of soccer.)
Of course, the reality of Joga places the "community site" as little more than an advertising portal. The first image you see on the site is that of a swoosh-branded Ronaldo.The only publicly accessible video at this time is a Nike advertisement.
Apparently the way to play soccer right is with Nike shoes on, and members of this "community" will hear this message repeated again and again.
Nike and Google looking to make money off folks won't bother anyone. That's their job, even though Google often denies that its main priority is making money.
The only real problem with Joga is that it continues Google's ruse of being some kind of entity that can cure social ills via text ads. This time it's going to fix the world's most popular sport.
If you don't think people buy into this idea, you're wrong.
Take sixteen-year old Tom Vendetta, for example. This poor kid has dedicated his teenage years to being a Google fan-boy. On his blog, he has posted notes about Google CEO Eric Schmidt being "in a city three and a half hours away from me. . . . I think I am going to sneak out of the house tonight and ride my bike to new york. If I am lucky I will make it there sunday morning."
Vendetta goes on to talk about how Google "is showing that they arent afraid to fight the government" by trying to protect their proprietary search data from US legislators.
"I like it how they actually care about there users," Vendetta writes. "It makes me feel good to know that my search data is between me and google."
Just before posting that, Vendetta basically gives Google a free pass for conspiring with the Chinese government to censor information. While not enamored with Google's decision, Vendetta hopes that software developers will be inspired "to help the Chinese citizens get around the censorship."
We doubt that Chinese dissidents have the same "feel good" relationship with Google that Vendetta holds or that they place much stock in software developers freeing them from Communist shackles.