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Google Briefly Punishes Oracle by Removal from Google Search


Written by Gene Quinn
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Patent Attorney, Reg. No. 44,294
Zies, Widerman & Malek
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Posted: August 13, 2010 @ 9:03 pm
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MEA CULPA

Upon further investigation it seems to me that what so many have said in the comments is, in fact, correct.  I have finally reached the person referenced who lead me to the story and based on what has been told to me now it seems relatively clear to me that Google did not at any time remove Oracle from its search database.  As many have pointed out the top screenshot (see below) does suggest that the person who lead me to this and took the screenshot visited a link explaining this was a hoax.

As regular readers of IPWatchdog.com know, I am a patent attorney and new to this whole “journalism” endeavor.  It would seem that I placed unwarranted trust in a single source.  That won’t happen again.

As far as whether this person intentionally duped me, who knows, but I do acknowledge what it seems given that a link that explains this was a hoax was visited, as evidenced by the screenshot.

I am not one to push things under a carpet, and for that reason the article below will remain, as well as the comments, to preserve this episode, apology and comments that were correct, as well as mine in defense of a hoax and erroneous single source.

**********************************************

Late yesterday Oracle announced in an exceptionally brief and direct press release that it had filed a lawsuit against Google.  The statement issued by Oracle spokesperson Karen Tillman simply said: “In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement.” But someone at Google didn’t find this amusing and seemingly tampered with Google’s search algorithm and database by eliminating Oracle altogether. This was brought to my attention earlier today and then confirmed at approximately 3:00pm Eastern Time. See what the search revealed below:

By approximately 6:00 pm Eastern Time things seemed back to normal with Google search, someone apparently getting wind that some intentionally harmful and malicious behavior was engaged in by someone somewhere.  See image below, which was captured at approximately 8:00 pm Eastern Time:

It seems to me that removing Oracle from the Google search database would be an intentional tort and actionable under a variety of unfair business practice theories.  Whether Google wants to admit it or not their search engine has become something of a public facility.  As a result, arbitrarily and capriciously denying any individual or company access smacks of censorship and a high handedness that would result in the unilateral selection of winners and losers.  With the power of Google they cannot be allowed to do something like this because if they can do it to Oracle they could do it to me or you or many others who would have little recourse.  I suspect this is why such swift action was taken to remedy the Oracle deletion.  This type of thing shouldn’t happen in the first place, but rather than condemn Google for what is likely the action of one or a few, I will compliment them for rectifying this situation quickly.

In any event, with respect to the federal complaint filed by Oracle, here are some of the highlights:

Paragraph 9 says:

9. One of the most important technologies Oracle acquired with Sun was the Java platform. The Java platform, which includes code and other documentation and materials, was developed by Sun and first released in 1995. The Java platform is a bundle of related programs, specifications, reference implementations, and developer tools and resources that allow a user to deploy applications written in the Java programming language on servers, desktops, mobile devices, and other devices. The Java platform is especially useful in that it insulates applications from dependencies on particular processors or operating systems. To date, the Java platform has attracted more than 6.5 million software developers. It is used in every major industry segment and has a ubiquitous presence in a wide range of computers, networks, and devices, including cellular telephones and other mobile devices. Sun’s development of the Java platform resulted in many computing innovations and the issuance to Sun of a substantial number of important
patents.

Paragraph 12 says:

12. Google’s Android competes with Oracle America’s Java as an operating system software platform for cellular telephones and other mobile devices. The Android operating system software “stack” consists of Java applications running on a Java-based object-oriented application framework, and core libraries running on a “Dalvik” virtual machine (VM) that features just-in-time (JIT) compilation. Google actively distributes Android (including without limitation the Dalvik VM and the Android software development kit) and promotes its use by manufacturers of products and applications.

There are 7 counts of patent infringement and one count of copyright infringement. Those patents that are claimed to be infringed are: development kit) and devices that operate Android infringe one or more claims of each of United States Patents Nos. 6,125,447; 6,192,476; 5,966,702; 7,426,720; RE38,104; 6,910,205; and 6,061,520.

Much more will be forthcoming by way of analysis in the weeks to come.

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For information on this and related topics please see these archives:

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Posted in: Copyright, Gene Quinn, Google, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Litigation, Patents

About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

149 comments
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  1. Did you actually type “oracle” in to the search engine and hit submit, or just follow somebody’s link? Because I can recreate your first screenshot with a simple encoding trick. I would believe that you’ve simply been tricked, but given that your screenshot is conveniently cropped I can’t dismiss the possibility that you already knew about this…

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%D0%BEr%D0%B0c%D0%86%D0%B5

  2. I’m amazed that a lawyer can fall into such an obvious prank, especially when it is explained directly in the results shown in the first screenshot. Look at the 5th result (which you have visited considering the color of the link) that says “search is for “oracle” with a capital I for the L.”

    No, Google didn’t do anything regarding Oracle’s placement in search results.

  3. Take a look at http://www.azarask.in/blog/post/does-google-censor-tiananmen-square-how-to-create-an-internet-hoax/ , and then look at the links in the first screenshot. You’ll find that the screenshot contains results for “oracIe” (with a capital I as the fifth letter) rather than “oracle” (spelled correctly with a lowercase l). In other words, the screenshot does not show censorship by Google, but rather an attempt to make it seem that Google was censoring. (If I hadn’t read Aza Raskin’s post earlier this week, I probably would have been upset with Google too!)

  4. You’ve most likely been hoaxed. The link passed around yesterday contained a unicode which looked like an “l”, but was in fact not. Incidentally, that search yielded the same 6 hits in your screenshot: http://www.google.com/search?q=%D0%BEr%D0%B0c%D0%86%D0%B5

  5. A public facility? Google is a private company, and they can do whatever they want in this respect. If the result is pissed off users who don’t find what they’re searching for, those users will switch to a different search engine. Google already censors content in any case – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Google#Censorship.

  6. That should be a google glitch or asome kind of trick, is impossible otherwise, they dont remove anyone from results.

  7. Actually as it turns out this is a hoax (unfortunately). The URL was encoded in a manner that general “Oracle” terms would not show up as follows:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%D0%BEr%D0%B0c%D0%86%D0%B5

    Thanx to @blueben for pointing this out to me.

    @proteusguy

  8. Incidentally, I don’t think that either IPWatchdog or Gene Quinn has attempted to be misleading. Rather, I assume that someone out there on the Internet was being mischievious in suggesting a lack of results for the misspelled “oracIe.”

  9. Correction: It appears that several characters in “oracle” are tampered with in the search:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%D0%BEr%D0%B0c%D0%86%D0%B5

    I have the impression that this search originated as an inside joke among developers/hackers, which unfortunately has spread via social networking to a wider audience.

  10. >> It seems to me that removing Oracle from the Google search database would be an intentional tort and actionable under a variety of unfair business practice theories.

    Google has removed nothing. First query is using Cyrillic letters o, a and i.

    As a lawyer you should understand that accusing Google of doing something it did not do is crime by itself.

  11. The words “tortious interference” come to mind.

  12. A simple trick with unicode and cyrillic, had nothing to do with Google itself :)

  13. Google didn’t delete anything. The search term in your first screenshot isn’t “oracle”. The characters only look like the ones in “oracle”, but they aren’t.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%D0%BEr%D0%B0c%D0%86%D0%B5

    vs

    http://www.google.com/search?q=oracle

  14. I’m calling you (or your source) out as forging these results…

    The ChripCity result in the top image explains exactly what’s going on, the search is for “oracie”; using a capital ‘i’ makes it look like “oracle”.

    But hey you fooled John Gruber which means every Mac Fanboy is going to be eating this up as another sign of Google being evil.

  15. Make sure you check your source on this one. I saw links going around yesterday to Google results that Oracle spelled with a capital “I” instead of a lower-case L. That only showed 4 results, but correcting the spelling showed the full 443,000,000 results. Try it yourself:

    Correct:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=oracle&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    Incorrect:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=oracIe&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    At the time I saw the links, Google *was not* giving suggestions for the proper spelling.

    Dan

  16. Watch it… after this post, your site may be next!

  17. hoax
    http://www.azarask.in/blog/post/does-google-censor-tiananmen-square-how-to-create-an-internet-hoax/

  18. That’s a pretty serious accusation, I think you’ve got duped, here is the trick involved:
    http://www.azarask.in/blog/post/does-google-censor-tiananmen-square-how-to-create-an-internet-hoax/

  19. Yet another example of sloppy reporting. Nothing was tampered with at Google. There was no revenge on Oracle. How could Gene Quinn have not researched this more thoroughly?

    The allegedly tampered with search results are still viewable, on Google, by anyone using the specially constructed URL used to generate the first screen capture: http://www.google.com/search?q=?r?c??

    It’s the keyword in the above search URL that results in Google’s so-called censorship. The keyword, despite it’s appearance, does not say “oracle” – it actually contains the cyrillic characters U+043E and U+0406, so it looks like “oracle” but actually isn’t.

    Thus this whole article is nothing but a sleight and is probably libellous to boot.

    First class reporting Gene, well done.

  20. Hmmm… Unicode internationalisation not working here either. The illustrative URL (see above) is: http://is.gd/eg0Kn

  21. They could just use the “updating index” excuse.

  22. How completely irresponsible of you to post this without doing any digging at all of your own and to fail to publish an update correcting yourself.

    http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/14/google-oracle-search/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+Techcrunch+(TechCrunch)

  23. This is absolutely false.

    If you had bothered to actually type “oracle” into the search box yourself to check whether this was true, you would have noticed that the link you were provided contained an intentionally malformed query.

    More information at http://giorgiosironi.blogspot.com/2010/08/google-never-removed-oracle-from-its.html

  24. I would say, using your argument, that Java has become a bit of a “public facility” as well and a lot of software is built upon the Java stack. Android is just the most profitable. Also, Sun had released Java under the GPL. So is Oracle now going after every piece of software that uses Java and is sold over the counter or is this just a stunt to get some attention that Oracle now owns Sun and Java? I would say the latter…

  25. It’s rather funny that the 5th link in the first picture actually spells out what was done to make it look like Google had removed any oracle results. It’s even more funny that the link is purple, meaning that you actually had visited that link. Were you unable to understand it?

  26. The l in Oracle was spelled with a capital i. Google did not remove Oracle.

  27. Author got pwned a fool comes to mind too. *Chuckle chuckle*

  28. Even more fun that you have killed my comment in moderation.

  29. You can believe what you want, but I was not provided a link. I watched someone type “oracle” into Google search and this was what was produced. I requested a screen shot. So those, whoever they are that are claiming this is false are incorrect. Those saying I was sent a link with an intentionally malformed search term are likewise wrong. You are more than welcome to believe whatever you want and ignore the truth. No comments using foul language will be accepted. So feel free to be speak your mind if you can do it Rated G. Otherwise move along because your thought and contributions are not welcome.

  30. We believe whats painfully obvious here, you got duped and showed nothing but lazy journalism in fact checking anything. You believed that you had some amazing story and ran with it and now its coming to bite you in the behind.

    Well we HOPE that was the issue, the only other option is you knew it was bogus and ran with it in which case you can never be trusted again. You tell us we’re wrong but oddly enough all the evidence points towards us being right.

  31. Are you serious? You’re sticking to your guns even though you have no objective proof to back up your position. You might think you remember it that way, but you were fooled.

    Let me elaborate for a minute: At this moment, if you search using the malformed query in my link, some of the same results come up, plus some articles explaining the malformed query. This perfectly explains the discrepancy between your screenshots without having to resort to your totally unverifiable personal experience. There is one explanation for what happened, and it’s that someone sent you a malformed query — that is, “?r?c??” instead of “oracle” — and you fell for it. Lots of people fell for it.

    But come now — be a man, admit your mistake, and move on.

    (Also, I apologize on behalf of the commenters using foul language. There’s no excuse for that. You made a simple mistake; I would have been fooled by it too.)

  32. Hm… it looks like those cyrillic characters are showing up as question marks because of the way your comments are parsed. I suppose the only thing I can do is to point you to this blog post again. Read it, and really try to understand it: http://giorgiosironi.blogspot.com/2010/08/google-never-removed-oracle-from-its.html

    If you don’t understand what Unicode is, it may be a little difficult to grasp, but this is the explanation for what happened. Google never removed Oracle from their search results; if you desire to prove otherwise, you should have gathered more evidence than one measly screenshot that can easily be explained away. A video of someone typing in the search query, for example, would have been great.

  33. Sorry, but I agree with Garrett. You’ve been had on this one. Unless you typed the query in yourself and saw those results, but that’s clearly not what you are claiming. Watching someone else do it doesn’t cut it – its easy enough to generate the characters required to create a false search query. You really need to retract this article immediately. This could have serious consequences for both Oracle and Google. Do you really want to find yourself in the middle of this legal battle and potentially on the receiving end of an FTC investigation? You’ve been used. At least admit your mistake gracefully and move on.

  34. Garrett-

    No objective proof? Can you not see the screenshot?

    It is comical that you chose to believe someone who is looming (and incorrectly so) about what happened. The truth is I was in meetings all day on Friday and one person asked if I had seen this. They went to the computer and typed in “oracle” and the screenshot shown on top us what came up. I request a screenshot. That is what happened and since you and the incorrect source you cite were not there you can’t refute it and any hypthosis, no matter how half-baked can’t and won’t change reality.

    So believe what you want, but for those interested in the truth you can rest assured what I am writing is 100% accurate.

    The real question is why are so many pandering for Google and making excuses and try to use fictional stories to excuse what was clearly intentional and unacceptable behavior by Google.

    I expect any reasonable journalist who write anything contrary to this post will be printing a retraction shortly. I am definitely sticking by the story because it is true.

    -Gene

  35. Rockford-

    You said: “Even more fun that you have killed my comment in moderation.”

    Not true. It was just being held for moderation. Unlike so many others who are bloggers I am a professional and have a lot on my plate. I don’t sit at the computer 24/7 waiting to approve comments.

    -Gene

  36. Rockford-

    You said: “Even more fun that you have killed my comment in moderation.”

    Not true. It was just being held for moderation. Unlike so many others who are bloggers I am a professional and have a lot on my plate. I don’t sit at the computer 24/7 waiting to approve comments.

    Now that you have a comment approved your comments should appear right away unless you use certain banned terms, or you provide a link. In order to minimize the ridiculous amount of spam some comments, even by approved commentors, get caught up in hold until approved.

    -Gene

  37. Did you type it yourself on your computer ?

    You seeing someone else type on “his/her” computer in not responsible journalism. You shout have done more research. Like trying it on your machine. And trying on other machines too before you accuse someone of something this serious.

    You may have been taken for a ride or you would have been the most fortunate journalist to cover this story. But either way it was you who messed up by not trying it yourself and checking on more than one machine,

  38. Your screenshot is hardly proof, the same screenshot can still be taken using the various methods posted here, you got duped and the fact that you still refuse to admit it goes a long way to showing how little you can be trusted.

    You ask us why we defend Google but its obvious, they did nothing wrong here, however, why are you still sticking to your guns after being proved wrong. What bias do you hold against google to be able to stick to your guns on a story that has been proven to be bogus.

    This post and your follow up comments are dangerous and simply disgusting.

  39. Gene – do you really believe this? Do you really believe that Google would be so childish, in so public a manner and open themselves up to immediate litigation?

    Time for a reality check I think.

  40. Even though you saw somebody type what appeared to be the word “oracle” it doesn’t mean that’s what they actually typed. It is possible to configure Windows and other operating systems to allow Cyrillic characters to be typed on a standard English qwerty keyboard through the use of modifier keys, and even without special configuration those characters can still be typed by entering the appropriate Unicode numeric value. Note that all the non-Latin characters used in this spoof search come from the Cyrillic alphabet.

  41. Santosh-

    “either way it was you who messed up”

    So even though I am 100% correct and all those who claimed that I followed a link are WRONG and they made up lies and duped many who believed them, I am the one who messed it up. LOL. Get a grip man!

    Tech Crunch got duped by a story that was false and is pandering for Google for reasons we can only guess. Others who were not there and don’t know what happened completely falsified what they wrote, and you blame me?

    WOW! That is perhaps the worst case of denial-pass-the-buck logic I have ever seen. Thanks for the laugh!

    -Gene

  42. JoshL writes: “why are you still sticking to your guns after being proved wrong.”

    I am sticking to my guns because I am 100% correct and you and others are wrong. You and others were duped by an irresponsible individual who came up with a ridiculous theory. Tech Crunch, rather than do any leg work themselves, reprinted the same babble. I know you weren’t there when the search was performed, and I know that no one from Tech Crunch was present. I was NOT sent a link, yet that is what has been widely and irresponsibly reported across the Internet. So as it turns out I am correct and you and everyone else who engaged in fiction journalism are wrong.

    There is going to be plenty of crow eaten on this story, and while I don’t always agree with Tech Crunch I do believe they are a reputable source and endeavor to get things accurate. If I am correct it is only a matter of time before they print a retraction. So the real question is now why am I sticking to my completely true story, but why in the face of all the evidence and explanation are you trying to continue to push a falsehood. What is your agenda?

    Go back and look through the archives of IPWatchdog.com. If I make a mistake I own up to it and I have had to print mea culpas, like everyone who writes, opines and reports has to from time to time. I have no dog in this fight, and really could be consider rather stupid for pointing this out because if Google could do it to Oracle they could certainly do it to me.

    To all those who claim Google is about openness and wouldn’t do this, grow up! I am not saying Google is a bad actor, but like any organization they have naive people who could engage in activities that make little or no sense at times. We all know that from time to time things like this happen with Google, and it is an awful coincidence that this happened the day after getting sued over Java.

    So JoshL… if you think the truth is dangerous and disgusting you have the right to stop reading. But the fact that you find the truth to be dangerous and disgusting is a YOU problem, not a me problem. You have absolutely no evidence, only speculation, yet you treat it as if your made up facts and incorrect hypothesis is factual and what really happened is false. So answer me this… do you enjoy living in the twilight zone?

    -Gene

  43. Dood your such a looser. Just admit yove been had and move on. Then again its prolly too late… Everyone knows your a big looser now for not admiting you were duped.

  44. @Gene Quinn
    The availability of only 6 results suggests that it is a misspelling, since a lot of the 443 million results about oracle don’t involve the corporation, and a lot of the same results show up when you search using the cyrillic trick. If you saw this happen live, it would seem that someone fooled you with sleight of hand, which is fairly easy to do on a keyboard. You might want to check and make sure you don’t have any quarters in your ears as well.

  45. “The real question is why are so many pandering for Google and making excuses and try to use fictional stories to excuse what was clearly intentional and unacceptable behavior by Google”

    I can tell you why: Because I tested it the moment people talked about it on Google. And apparently I, and many others, unlike you, tested it instead of relying on a screenshot and/or someone typing it.

    And could you do us a favor and explain to us why http://is.gd/eg0Kn still shows the results of your first screenshot, while http://www.google.com/search?q=oracle does not? Right, because it’s still the same trick, the same hoax you’ve fallen for, the same hoax you are unwilling to recognize…

    And just because you are still unable to see it, I even created a screenshot for you, showing the exact query string, with a font that renders Cyrillic characters in a more appropriate way: http://imgur.com/XwZSo

    We can only thank God/our reason that we have more than one news source, and that not all of them are as wrong as yours is. If you consider yourself a professional, act like one, instead of blindly copying screenshots and believing whatever people tell you.

  46. Well you got yourself some extra traffic Gene – objective accomplished. But you just lost a reader. I have no faith in your reporting anymore.

  47. Gene, “When in a hole, its best to stop digging”. Anyway, your “proof” is extremely thin. I’ve no doubt that you saw someone type a query into Google. I believe that the screenshot above is what you saw and got sent. But you’ve no way to verify that the query typed was actually “oracle” and did not contain cyrillic or other characters. If you had typed the query yourself, that would be one thing, but you admit you never typed the query personally. Its interesting that you haven’t revealed who the person who typed in the search was. I’d be very interested to know how trustworthy they are. Your story’s veracity hinges absolutely on whether that person was doing what you think they were doing or not.

    You should also address the fact that typing in a known incorrect search query to Google right now brings up exactly the search results you saw. That’s pretty strong, though circumstantial, evidence that the person typing in the query you saw did not type “oracle”. The chances that exactly this set of search results were being served by Google for three hours today is very, very slim.

    We don’t know exactly what went on here. Its possible that this did happen as you claim, but simply claiming everyone else is out to get you smacks of conspiracy theory rather than careful consideration of the facts.

  48. Jonathan-

    Do I really believe this… YES. I do because I saw it. I was shocked no one else noticed, and I know the person who did the search and he was shocked as well. It makes no sense.

    Do I believe Google would be so childish… NO. Let’s talk about Google the company for a minute. This is so stupid and ridiculous that it is hard to imagine. I don’t think Google sanctioned it or would want any part of it. This (in my legal opinion) clearly violates many laws and would give Oracle many claims against them and would allow Oracle to portray Google as the big bad mean company in Court. So definitely no sanctioning.

    Do I believe someone at Google could be so childish… YES. I know this may open a can of worms, but let me go there. I am not intending this to be political or offensive, but it seems pretty clear that some young Democrats are going to Tea Party rallies saying horribly racist things to make the Tea Party look bad. This has been confirmed by video of the same people at Democratic rallies and working as campaign supporters for Democrats. That type of juvenile behavior is ridiculous and bad when it happens either way, and I know some Republicans do the same thing. So it seems increasingly there are some who seem entitled and play by rules that I just don’t understand or appreciate. I think a lot of it is due to youth and not having a good sense of consequences. Perhaps this is a byproduct of the fact that since they were 4 years old they received a trophy for everything, I don’t know.

    So long answer I know, but that is where I am at.

    I also appreciate you offering the “reality check” in a way that didn’t label me a fool. Whether you think I am or not is immaterial. Thanks for framing the question that way. You certainly raise valid questions. I just wish some of the other journalists would have asked these questions rather than jumping to false conclusions about a link, for example.

    -Gene

  49. LOL. Don’t believe everything you hear, Gene.

    First of all, even if Google removed Oracle from their search, why would there be 6 results? When I search for “oracle” on Google or other search engines, I see more way than 6 results having nothing to do with software. Google would have to remove all “oracle” entries to get to that low of a number. Which begs the question, why would there still be 6 results then instead of zero?

    Second, why would it take 0.25 seconds to return 443 million results at 8:00 PM when it took 0.68 seconds (more than twice as long) to return 6 results at 3:00 PM ? The answer is obvious if you understand the basic idea of an internet search engine. The searches are using totally different parameters, most likely non-English characters and/or different search settings.

    Thirdly, look at the links in your first image, and read the descriptions. Anything stand out to you? One of the results leads me to believe that the search was not for the word “oracle,” but for something else that looks like “oracle.”

    Fourthly “Whether Google wants to admit it or not their search engine has become something of a public facility” is ridiculous. Does Google receive taxpayer dollars? How many public facilities are wholly owned by companies that sell stock? Are Yahoo! and Bing, which provide essentially the same service, public facilities too? Arguing that a web service is a public facility sounds exactly like Socialism to me.

    You been had by someone who wants to embarrass you, or more likely by someone who wants to embarrass Google. There are many players in cyberspace, big and small, that would love to take Google down a peg or two, so that they can take the corresponding revenues for themselves.

  50. John-

    I don’t know what to say to your conspiracy theory argument (last paragraph) that could convince you. What set me off about everyone else is the fact that they say with authority that I was sent a link. That is 100% false. Simply not true. Things happened exactly like I said they did. So folks can choose to believe whatever they want, but those who chose to believe “the link theory” are choosing to believe something that is pure fiction.

    I suspect we can go round and round about this forever without resolution. I do, however, wish that folks had talked a little more about what I wrote about Google being a public facility. I see that as a growing problem on the Internet particularly with a handful of private companies that control our Internet experiences. That worries me. I am definitely pro private companies and pro market economics, but I wonder if some aspects of the Internet aren’t like public utilities. I have thought this for a while and my thinking is still developing on the issue. I’m am of two minds on the issue, which are diametrically opposed. So if anyone has any thoughts I would love to hear them.

    Thanks.

    -Gene

  51. Johnathan-

    By all means have no faith in my reporting. I suspect you didn’t know who I was or had no faith in me previously, so no big loss. When you are right, and I am 100% correct and you are wrong, I have no worries. So go ahead and don’t visit IPWatchdog.com any more. Ignore my interviews with industry insiders and my news reports about events and news in the IP sector. Your loss, not mine.

    -Gene

  52. tom3k-

    Thanks for reading IPWatchdog.com and providing such lucid insight and commentary!

    -Gene

  53. If you wanted more people to talk about Google being a public facility than I suggest you do an article just on that as this has been tainted by your lack of journalistic integrity and your pathetic level of laziness (seriously, having someone else send you a screenshot of a search query, you really couldn’t type it in yourself?).

    You go on about how you are 100% correct yet your ONLY evidence is a screenshot someone sent you… a screenshot we can all replicate. You have no evidence, NONE. The story of Oracle going after Google is massive, yet your friend is the only one in this time frame to have googled Oracle and noticed that nothing came up? Just a bit.. odd.

    You point the finger at other journalists for not doing the leg work but you admitted yourself that you did ZERO work at all, you simply had a “friend” send you a screenshot, hell the leg work other journalists did on this story far exceeds anything you have brought to the table. Don’t you think its odd that a search term for Oracle brought back pretty much nothing? You’re not claiming that someone at google simply erased mention of the company Oracle but also deleted their entire database for the term oracle which would seem to be overkill.

    Just realize the more you hold on to this story, the less anyone will ever trust you as a source for information. By staying on the sinking ship you have made yourself captain of a bad story and will truly be lost out to sea. Say goodbye to your credibility.

  54. Chris-

    Your legal analysis on public facilities is woefully wanting. Perhaps you should read up on natural monopolies for starters.

    By the way… you say: “The searches are using totally different parameters, most likely non-English characters and/or different search settings.”

    Did it ever cross your mind that this could have been exactly what someone did at Google to cause the problem? Of course not, because you are choosing to believe in the benevolence of Google rather than facts. You can treat me like I don’t know what I am talking about, but anyone who knows anything about computers knows this can be done and relatively easily. The question is whether someone at Google did it. I say yes because I know what happened and you say know because you are guessing and being swayed by journalists who lied to you. No one sent me a link, but that didn’t stop Tech Crunch and others from printing that fiction. So the question is why are you not taking Tech Crunch to task? Why not ask them why they didn’t engage in responsible journalism? Why would they lie to cover up for Google? If they are as “tech” savvy as they claim to be (which I think they are) why are they pretending that something like this couldn’t be done or wasn’t done?

    So go ahead and believe what you want. I’m not backing down from the story. It is 100% true.

    -Gene

  55. As far as not reading your interviews with industry insiders well good riddance. Why would anyone worth a damn open themselves up to be interviewed by you at this point.

  56. JoshL-

    You continue to say I lack journalistic integrity. Where you there? Did I miss you in the room when this was being confirmed and verified? Oh, right. Sorry. You weren’t there. You have NO evidence and you choose to keep your head in the sand. Probably because you, like so many others, put your neck out there in reliance on the lies printed in Tech Crunch and elsewhere.

    You were duped and yet you continue to blame me for getting it right.

    As far as my only evidence, my goodness man. Please grow up. I have sources for this stuff. I am not going to reveal them unless they find that acceptable to them, which is the appropriate journalistic thing do to. So I have proof and you have nothing but the incorrect speculation of those who like you were not there and are completely wrong.

    You also say: “Just realize the more you hold on to this story, the less anyone will ever trust you as a source for information.”

    Now that right there proves you don’t know who I am. Of course there will be people who trust me as a source. I am extraordinarily trusted and have proven that over and over and over again. This isn’t the first time I have been told I was wrong about a major story only for it to later be proved I was 100% correct. And if me holding on to the truth turns people away then quite frankly I don’t want them or need them as readers. Let them read the funny papers for all I care. I write good information and provide industry inside news. It is news because it is correct and not made up. Something you seem to know little about. So please don’t trust me. Please don’t read any more and please tell all your friends not to trust IPWatchdog.com. I write for those who care to know the truth.

    You are really quite pitiful.

    -Gene

  57. JoshL-

    LOL. You are a funny guy! If you can stomach it keep an eye on IPWatchdog.com throughout the remainder of the year and your question will be answered. You see, I am the real deal and those in the industry understand that I stand up for what is right and don’t back away from a fight when I am correct.

    And for those who think this was all about traffic, skim through the archives. You’ll be amazed at how much traffic we do get for such a small niche. We are not hurting for traffic, and this isn’t even going to be anywhere near the top story in terms of traffic.

    Carry on hating!

    -Gene

  58. Oh so now you have “sources”! Awesome, keep holding to this its great. We have 2 stories, yours and TC’s, TC’s we can all verify and pull up the same crap results you did…. your story is nothing more than a screenshot your friend gave you. You claim to have verified it but that would of required you ACTUALLY TYPING SOMETHING IN. You had all this time to put together this story but not one minute to google Oracle, wow.

    Of course you’re trusted by your sources, they can feed you nothing but BS and you will go to the grave standing up for the manure they fed you.

    You give us ZERO reason to believe this story yet keep telling us TC is full of crap, when we can actually VERIFY their story. You have nothing but these so called sources you just now brought up and someone else typing in a search for you, why should we take the word of someone who couldn’t spend 2 seconds googling Oracle on his own, such a big story and yet you did no leg work at all.

  59. JoshL-

    I know you are new to IPWatchdog, but intellectual honesty is required for comments. You are starting to display a lack of intellectual honesty, so please be careful if you want to continue to have commenting privileges.

    Sources? Which part of I was in a room when someone searched and saw him search it was confusing to you? Which part of the fact that he did the same thing earlier in the day was confusing? Is he not a source? Of course he is.

    I would also like to point out that it was you who convinced me with 100% certainty that I am correct. You asked why the search would take so long to return only a few results. That is why so many assumed that I followed a link apparently. Well, I did not follow a link and the search produced what is shown. So that would mean that internally at Google when the search term “oracle” was received there was certain hanky panky played with how the search engine interpreted the search.

    So please go ahead and believe Tech Crunch. If you read what they wrote you will notice there are NO facts. They ripped off someone else and offered speculation. They then admit that this sort of thing has happened in the past with Google. Yet you choose to ignore TC’s lack of reporting and pure speculation and then ignore the facts I provide. You have a problem; a real big problem.

    Time will tell that I am correct and you and others, including Tech Crunch, are wrong. So just keep watching this case. If it gets to discovery I suspect Oracle will be making requests, and at that point you will have to eat your words, or come up with some conspiracy theory to further absolve Google from intentional wrongdoing.

    Cheers!

    -Gene

  60. If it really happened, surely someone else would have caught it and reported it besides the one twitterer that was playing a joke, and played said joke before you saw it. I’m not exactly sure if twitter displays my local time or their local time, but he was from the Netherlands and the post appears to be at 10:37 AM, which would be before you were shown this either way.

    My posts seem to get delayed when I post a link, so maybe this will get through right away.
    http://twitter.com/seveas/status/21064289590

  61. And for all those who are buying the “this is a search for Oracle using a capital letter i,” take a look at this:

    http://ipwatchdog.com/images/ScreenShot027.png

    You see, when you make a mistake like that Google corrects you and asks whether you really were searching for something else. We have all seen that, but notice that in the screen shot at the top of the article that doesn’t appear. Quite interesting!

    Another of the fictional arguments debunked.

    _Gene

  62. Gene,

    I would not characterize Google as a natural monopoly. If it enjoys a monopoly at all, it’s an efficiency monopoly. You should read up on that. :)

    There are no special cost barriers associated with starting a new metasearch engine – indeed, new ones keep being created every year. There are already major-league competitors, such as Yahoo! and Bing. Yahoo! was in the market years before Google. Yahoo!, Altavista, etc. lost market share to Google through a bandwagon effect, not through infrastructure barriers or government-spurred standardization. It’s more like what Coca-Cola and Pepsi have – there is a lot of competition, but one still dominates the soft drink market. In the meantime, there are any number of competitors that are ready to strike if Google’s (Coca-cola’a) pricing gets too high, including Yahoo! (Pepsi).

    Saying that Google is engaging in anti-competitive behaviors is far different from saying their search engine should be regulated as a “public” entity. Anti-trust laws may apply, but I don’t think anyone can reasonably argue that tax dollars should be used to subsidize Google’s projects, or that Google has a responsibility to provide its service to the public. Would you call TV or radio stations “public facilities?” What about if the stations are not broadcast, but accessible over subscriber services (like Cable TV or radio)?

    By the way, I haven’t been “swayed by journalists who lied” to me. Your piece is the only one I have looked at on the matter. Whatever TechCrunch posted about you is between you and TechCrunch as far as I’m concerned, as I don’t read that site regularly. Sure, I like Google a lot, and I enjoy your blog too. I’m sure that you know way more about software in general than I do, but Occum’s Razor applies here. Based solely on looking at the two images you posted, the statement that Google “punished” Oracle just doesn’t pass the smell test, for at least the 3 reasons I previously listed.

    My best guess is that Google and Oracle will settle out of court, and that the story above will fade into the ether (no matter who was right or wrong), and we’ll all forget it eventually.

  63. Oh for the love of [deity] … it’s nothing to do with capitalisation. As I and many others have pointed out both here and elsewhere, this “news” is a non-story, a fabrication, based on nothing more than a simple gaming of the Google search engine using Unicode characters. It’s been done before and it’ll no doubt be done again.

    The evidence is right here: http://is.gd/eg0Kn

    Gene you are defending an indefensible position. Regardless of what you “saw,” simple logic dictates that Google (or even a rogue element within Google) couldn’t have done what you are claiming was done. It is absolutely stunning to me that you seem to believe and are willing to stake your reputation on this ridiculous “story”.

    You seem to be claiming that a rogue element (person or persons) within Google would be able to change, seemingly on the fly, the search results of the World’s biggest search engine – then revert their changes at a moments notice.

    Do you seriously believe that it could be that easy, or even possible. Do you not realise that there would be umpteen levels of security and procedures to be negotiated before any code changes could be committed to the intellectual property, the bread-and-butter product of Google. Do you really, honestly, hand-on-heart think that this could be pulled off?

    How do you spell “gullible”? Anyone?

  64. You know there are literally groups of people who are excitedly IM’ing each other or posting to forums whenever you say anything new because you’re hilariously pathetic and it’s obvious you’re trying to defend a mistake [which no one would really fault you for]? We’ve all been on the internets much longer than you, and some of us work at the Google – you’re just wrong.

    Thought I might let you know and maybe spare you a scrap of dignity.

  65. JoshL,
    I question the one with the integrity problem and it’s pointing towards the adamant defenders of the Google Franchise blindly, you seem so sure but all we have your assumptions and flagrant attempts at trying extremely hard to make others believe your theory

    T.Crunch. has been wrong on too many occasions and have been proven wrong on many so called true postings. Arrington will do anything for page hits do to his arrogance and he has never once apologized for any of the many post they put up and have been proven wrong. T.Crunch. baits for clicks, but it seems like a few fall into believing them as real reporters. “what a joke”.

    Now sit back for a few days, I will expect you back to apologize Josh in the next few day’s, or then again maybe not since you are acting like a 12 year old that has to be correct all the time or throws a temper tantrum when confronted that you may be wrong.

    It is clear josh you are of “non leader” stock, but a follower that will blindly follow or do what is expected as the establishment leads you down the path of falsehood & destructiveness.

    Now fakes can be proven, but other then your hypothesis you have nothing but strong words and allot of time on your hands.

    We will see in the next few day’s, But blindly following the path of the Google followers I will not, Google has proven time and again that they can talk to your face with a smile and throw-up that garbage on Being Open and Free but then have a totally different agenda to let them gain more ground in advertising revenue.

    Talk about being locked in to the use of one product, Google has it all wrapped up nicely in a completely controlled package, and to many people are blind to the obvious control they really have on those who keep digging themselves deeper into that hole.

    I would not be so eager to write off this reporting as a fake or being Coerced into a false posting.

    Time will tell, But Google has its own agenda, and some overzealous employees of Google may have orchestrated this, and Google is now trying to play coverup and cleanup due to the obvious legal implications.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if josh that you have some type of connection with Google, or maybe you are part of the Google cleanup team that spreads disinformation to smooth out corporate problems that have or could become a Public .Relations Nightmare,
    Now thats some food for thought.

    “But a Smart Man or Women will not steer a course without having a reliable map to follow.”
    Meaning: To believe you have the answer to a question without all the fact’s makes a fool look even more foolish.

  66. Man, I never seen someone so wrong and so convinced they are right. Your reputation is dropping with every comment.

  67. @Gene
    “Another of the fictional arguments debunked.”
    Now debunk the cyrillic argument that produces results similar to yours, gives no spelling suggestion, and was posted in the link I supplied before you searched, and this was later shown to be a joke. As for how your source managed to pull it off, I propose sleight of hand or some other trick, such as changing the keyboard configuration.

    For everyone that is not you, this is how it is weighted:

    Someone played a joke using cyrillic characters to resemble the word ‘oracle’ in a search result on twitter. Later, someone within Google actually changed the results of actually searching for oracle to match those of that same cyrillic characters, and reverted it before anyone but Gene and his source noticed. Note: this was shortly after the announcement, meaning searches involving Oracle would be much higher than normal.

    OR

    Gene’s source played a clever trick on him.

    Unless you can provide more evidence, we’d have to be crazy to believe you.

  68. Gene, you are clearly demonstrating that you don’t even understand the basics of our argument when you sum it up as “this is a search for Oracle using a capital letter i.” If you had been listening you would understand that it is slightly more complex than that. When you search using a nonsense combination of cyrillic letters, Google will not suggest corrections.

    Let me make sure I and your readers understand this:
    - The first mention of this online that I can find is http://twitter.com/seveas/status/21064289590 (Aug 13, 7 AM)
    - You post about the same subject fourteen hours later (Aug 13, 9 PM), without bothering to provide more proof than a screenshot which is trivial to duplicate using the same cyrillic trick that was used FOURTEEN HOURS EARLIER when this story originally broke.
    - Your basis for your position is (a) personal experience, which is worthless in this argument and (b) … a screenshot. Great work.

    Furthermore:
    - You don’t understand what Unicode is. (You apparently think my position is “this is a search for Oracle using a capital letter i”.)
    - You don’t understand what Cyrillic lettering is.
    - You move the focus of the argument when challenged: “Why are so many pandering for Google and making excuses and try to use fictional stories to excuse what was clearly intentional and unacceptable behavior by Google.”

    What is fictional about our “stories”? Why are we supposed to accept that Google’s behavior was “intentional and unacceptable”? How have you even come close to making this “clear”? We have shown that your screenshot is easily duplicated using a simpler explanation that doesn’t involve a conspiracy. All you have shown is that, given fourteen hours, you can turn a Twitter post into a full-blown article, and then have the audacity to claim that you have done some real journalistic “leg work.”

    Rather than admit that there is a simple explanation for this (after all, if I may quote you, “anyone who knows anything about computers knows this can be done and relatively easily”), you have invented a conspiracy theory in which a disgruntled employee changes the entire Google search algorithm. Also, in case I have not made this clear enough already, your supporting evidence is *one screenshot*, and you do not understand the basics of my argument. Nor have you addressed it.

    What, exactly, would need to happen for your opposition to retract their statements? What evidence would need to come to light? Please, spell this out for me. Also, if you can give me a coherent explanation of a time where a Google employee has deindexed MILLIONS of results for a single search term in the past, please, let us know. Journalistic leg work… you know how that goes. I’ll be waiting here, popcorn in hand, to watch you continue to try and defend your position while demonstrating a total lack of knowledge of your opposition. It’s really quite entertaining.

    Also, for what it’s worth, I don’t read TechCrunch, sorry. :)

  69. @Bobby: You are exactly right. I would still like to hear Gene’s explanation as to why a Google employee changed the actual Google search results for “oracle” several hours after someone jokingly posted the cyrillic link to Twitter. Here is the link again, for anyone who missed it. http://twitter.com/seveas/status/21064289590

  70. Google Can Cover for Themselves,

    You can sit around and wait for me to apologize in a couple days but you will probably be waiting longer than that. My problem with all of this is that we are presented zero evidence. His source by his own admittance is some random guy in the office showing him something, sorry but is that really the only thing to back this story up? Why should we be asked to trust someone who could not take the few seconds needed to gather proper evidence when the other side can show us how to duplicate the exact screenshot he is showing as proof. Kind of odd that his proof looks just like what happens when you do the search using Cyrillic characters.

    Beyond that, what is there for the other side to debunk? We’ve been provided nothing else to support this story, you can’t make up stories and expect people to prove you wrong when they have no evidence to work with. You claim that I’m of “non leader” stock so I’m guessing you are trying to claim that Gene is? Is this what it takes to be a leader? Grab a hold of 1 piece of non evidence as proof and run off with a story? Seems more like poor journalism to me.

    You attack us as some blind followers of Google but it seems to be the other way around, we looked at the evidence before us and came to the sane conclusion. We are to either believe that ONLY Genes friend saw this massive change on Google or that maybe Gene has it wrong and he was duped, given the evidence, it would seem Gene was screwed with.

    As to the rest of your post, WOW you have issues, seriously, put the tin foil hat back on and go outside and find help, holy crap man you are truly truly crazy. Yes I am part of the massive Google clean up crew, you might recognize our work behind other whacky conspiracy clean up jobs such as the JFK assassination plot, the moon landing and Roswell. Keep searching man, the truth is out there*!

    *Don’t search too hard or the Google clean up crew may need to make you disappear.

  71. Bobby and Garrett-

    I don’t have to explain why Google did what they did. I just reported that they did it. But maybe someone though that was a good idea. Did that ever occur to you? Probably not given you seem blinded by bad case if Google myopia.

  72. Garrett, You already know the answer you’ll get to that, it’s part of the conspiracy! Obviously the guy who posted it to twitter works for Google and only did it as a safety net so there was some way out of blaming Google for it.

  73. Gene — please explain the details of my Google myopia; I’m having trouble reading between the lines in your post there. Of course you don’t have to explain *why* Google did what you accuse them of doing, but you certainly have to explain *how*. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of hot air. As a journalist, surely you must understand this.

    Also, I’m not accountable to you when it comes to my feelings about Google. You just look silly accusing me of being a Google shill when I’m just asking you to explain yourself. I could just as easily accuse you of having anti-Google myopia, but I have little evidence for it. I don’t think you are anti-Google or anything, I just think you were misled, that’s all. Try addressing my argument instead of my character next time.

    Actually, you know what, it’s time for FULL DISCLOSURE. I have a Gmail address that I use and I… well… my browser’s homepage is set to google.com. There goes my credibility, huh? :(

  74. JoshL-

    WOW! You are spending a lot of time on this. Either you have no life, which could be believable, or you have some kind if unnatural interest in this story. Quite interesting.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on what is said above about how Tech Crunch is wrong frequently. I’m just curious because with the exception of one story where I was only partially correct I can’t remember getting a fact story wrong. But TC is wrong a lot. Yet you think this is a me issue. Curios!

  75. To address your latest post — you are right, TechCrunch is wrong a lot of the time and Arrington is an idiot. That doesn’t mean *my* argument holds no water. Please. Take the time to address your critics’ arguments rather than insinuate that their character, and thus their arguments, are not worth considering. I don’t have an “unnatural interest” in this story… unless reading your comments for a bit of entertainment on a Saturday afternoon is unnatural.

    Really though, if you get the time, please address the arguments in my post a little farther up. I’d like to see what you have to say about them. You ought to be able to do so without accusing me of shilling for Google.

  76. @Gene Quinn
    They definitely have a motive for doing this, and the capability, but I’ve given an explanation that throws your only evidence into question. I can’t prove something didn’t happen, just as you can’t prove I don’t have a pink invisible unicorn. You are making a positive claim with poor evidence, and it’s incredibly unlikely that Google would do the same trick as a twitterer for only the window of time when your source found it.

    I think you just need to deal with most likely happened. You were duped. What’s more concerning is that your coworker may be tied to a Linux developer who probably doesn’t like software patents and is likely to not have a problem with smoking pot.

  77. Gene –
    It’s obvious you were fooled here. That happens to everyone. But you’re exponentially compounding your own embarrassment by hanging on so tightly to your original contention, now shown to be – most probably – ill-founded.

  78. Gene:

    Just kill the thread. You saw what they saw, and they don’t believe you.

    Nobody is going to convince the other side otherwise.

    I wasted 10 minutes of my life browsing this thread. Don’t waste any more of your time on this …

    Just some friendly advice ….

  79. Gene – thanks for the new customers.

    My favorite so far is “Why would anyone worth a damn open themselves up to be interviewed by you at this point.

    Given the heavyweights of the IP world that Gene has interviewed, this comment alone sets the appropriate level of credence that the poster deserves.

  80. Hey, look! Oracle’s gone
    http://www.google.com/search?q=?r?c??

    No wait, it’s back
    http://www.google.com/search?q=oracle

    Hey, it’s gone again!
    http://www.google.com/search?q=?r?c??

    No, wait, It’s back!
    http://www.google.com/search?q=oracle

    It’s magic!

    (No dude, honestly it’s two different searches. You were played.)

  81. It’s very easy to verify this is a fake. The evidence screenshot you provided has a unique URL in it – “http://www.mixx.com/stories/22287525/_r_c_google_search”. It also appears to highlight the term “oracle”.

    So search for that URL on Google again – there is only one hit. If you copy and paste the “oracIe” part you can see definitively the matching term is ORACIE not ORACLE! 5 minutes of due diligence.

    Now where’s that retraction?

  82. Blind-

    Thanks for chiming in. That one made me chuckle too.

    Just-

    I tend to agree now, but watching the Tech Crunch apologists squirm to support the unsupportable has been fun.

    -Gene

  83. Sorry Gene but thedank wins, read his post, do as he says, be proven wrong.

  84. “It’s very easy to verify this is a fake. The evidence screenshot you provided has a unique URL in it – ‘http://www.mixx.com/stories/22287525/_r_c_google_search’. It also appears to highlight the term ‘oracle’. So search for that URL on Google again – there is only one hit. If you copy and paste the ‘oracIe’ part you can see definitively the matching term is ORACIE not ORACLE! 5 minutes of due diligence. Now where’s that retraction?”

    Hmmmm… you make a convincing argument. However, something Google apologist something TechCrunch something believe what you want something. Clearly your argument is invalid. Q.E.D.

  85. But seriously… Gene, I’ve asked you several times now to address my points from 6:24 pm today, but you haven’t. I’m not sure why you’re ignoring me — maybe it’s because you feel I’ve been rude to you. I admit I’ve been a little smart-aleck in my disagreement with you, but what fun is an argument without a little sarcasm, right? I don’t mean to disrespect the other great work you’ve done; I just think you’re wrong on this issue.

    Please have the intellectual honesty to address my very serious, very real objections to your argument. I’m not all that crazy, you know. :)

  86. Josh-

    So following those instructions will prove that what really transpired was a dream? WOW!!! Grow up man. I have proof and everyone else has speculation. I really feel sorry for you and the others.

  87. Garrett-

    Are you always self absorbed like this? Ever cross your mind that I might be on vacation? LOL. Really.

    Why don’t you respond to what I have written rather than ignore it. All this animosity over something you have no first hand knowledge of. Pathetic.

  88. Gene, no need to get so personal over this. Honestly.

    I’m saying that I’m right, and you’re saying that you’re right. We’re both “self absorbed” in that sense, I suppose. But here’s the difference — I am offering you the courtesy of an explanation and (what I hope is) a coherent argument. You’re not offering me that same courtesy, instead opting to insult me because of my viewpoint. It’s awfully intellectually dishonest of you.

  89. Garrett give it up, he’s just trolling at this point, I mean, he is a lawyer so I guess it should be a given but hey! He’s been wanting to drag this down and make it personal than so be it. The Dank used his own evidence to show how Gene was wrong…. and Gene ignored it.

    Ok Gene, you came out of a meeting, friend called you over and typed in oracle and showed you…. obviously he didn’t type it in the way you think he did, the exact text from your OWN image proves he didn’t simply type out oracle, we’re now using YOUR evidence, the screenshot your friend provided you and it shows you were mistaken with what you saw this morning. Theres no way around it, that image is what your friend gave you, exactly what you saw him type in, and its wrong.

  90. Gene,

    I enjoy your commentary. I really do. But it is now widely accepted that this is a hoax. So you probably cut and paste “oracIe” (that was with an “I” and not an “L” by the way) from another source, and forgot you did it. A lot of people are focusing on you now – there are other websites pointing out how you fell for the hoax. It’s time to admit it, have a good laugh, and move on to what you do best – reporting IP matters.

  91. OK Josh, that is a little unfair. Just because he’s a lawyer shouldn’t reflect poorly on his character. At this point I’m doing my best to be unassuming and uninsulting to Gene. Our argument should stand on its own merits and not on ad hominem attacks. Seriously — I am not being sarcastic at all, just calling you out on the same thing I find upsetting about Gene’s approach to this argument. I also have to admit, it may have been a little rude for us to come into his blog and pick a fight with him in the comments… and on top of that, while he’s on vacation!

    Go play with your kids, Gene; this argument isn’t that important. It was fun while it lasted, I guess. If you’re willing to post some kind of a rebuttal in the future, I’m willing to continue the discussion, but until then, have a nice vacation. Oh, and enjoy your 19,000 pageviews on this article, that’s got to be a record! ;)

  92. I can confirm your “screenshot proof” actually proves you where duped. Whoever you where watching type this in, Typed an uppercase “i” right in front of you. This is confirmed by the result set in your screenshot. Following the URL’s and checking the search term against any Monospace font reveals the “L” is actually an “i” and the searched term was “oracie” not “oracLe”. Further to that, an uppercase “i” is shorter than a lowercase “L” by one pixel and only slightly bolder, so it is quite deceiving to the eye.

    I would suggest following up this post with a quick retraction before damaging your reputation further.

  93. In the screenshot, the left sidebar is almost empty in the “bad” search… that’s what happens when you search for the weirdly encoded search: http://www.google.com/search?q=%D0%BEr%D0%B0c%D0%86%D0%B5 if you search for the real word oracle, it’s expanded automatically: http://www.google.com/search?q=oracle

  94. Gene, if it is really true that your source typed in oracle and got these search results, then there might be a way to prove this. I’m guessing he hit print screen and cropped out this portion from the screenshot. The complete screenshot will most likely contain the URL field in the browser as well. Why not share the complete screenshot and let the people see for themselves. It will silence all the disbelievers once and for all. Win-win for everyone.

  95. Lack of technical understanding can be forgiven and rectified; the refusal to accept so many posters’ completely correct technical explanations without a cogent counterpoint is beyond reprehensible.

    Have you heard of Occam’s razor? Or the following: never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.

  96. Since I debunked you and you continue discrediting Google and all of us that understand what Unicode is, I extracted proofs *from your own screenshot* that you were using a fabricated query, and put that up in a follow-up article:
    http://giorgiosironi.blogspot.com/2010/08/public-response-to-gene-quinn-on-google.html

  97. One more data point:: A couple of days a ago, Mark Chu-Carroll, a science blogger and Google employee, states rather forcefully and in an entirely unrelated context that with the systems and algorithms Google uses they could not do the type of search results gaming that you are describing. Of course, given enough time and effort, I am sure they could add that ability, but Mark Chu-Carroll says that they do not currently have the capability, and he is in a position to know.

  98. Oh come on, guys, how long have you been reading this blog? Mr. Quinn may get a bit personal and reactive in his responses and is very sure of his opinions (that’s what editorials are for!) but he doesn’t lie and he has shown a strong personal integrity throughout this blog.

    One of two things happened. He had a source (or friend in the office) who saw this cool way to make it look like Oracle had disappeared and tried to play a joke on him – which has now gone horribly wrong and he hasn’t wanted to ‘fess up yet – or somebody at Google thought it would be fun to play a joke on Oracle and rickrolled anybody who typed in Oracle into a search for Oracie instead. A joke which went horribly wrong and he either hasn’t or can’t fess up, at least in a public forum. I’m sure somebody at Google knows which, but if they did nothing they will say they did nothing and it was all a hoax, and if somebody there really did something, they will say they did nothing and it was all a hoax. Only a keylogger would be able to tell for sure, but I have to say I trust Mr. Quinn’s word a whole lot more than I trust a public statement from Google.

    Technically, it seems ludicrous to think that Google could have eliminated almost all 400 million references to Oracle and restored them in the time suggested by this article, but it certainly seems plausible that someone with access to the search engine could have slipped in a few lines of code reinterpreting Oracle.

    So guys, do something more productive than making personal attacks on someone who was either the butt of a joke from his own sources, or who is reporting a shadow of somebody’s inside joke in Oracle. If it was Gene’s own source and he ever finds out, I’m sure he won’t lose any time reporting it as prominently here as he reported the original story, and if it was an inside job at Google, I really hope that somebody inside will actually be willing to come forth and say so. (Not that I expect them to). And that Gene doesn’t crow “I told you so” more than enough times to make his point…

  99. “It certainly seems plausible that someone with access to the [Google] search engine could have slipped in a few lines of code reinterpreting Oracle.”

    I’m sorry but as a professional programmer myself, working in a lot less of a significant code-base than Google’s, I say that it’s not at all plausible that a programmer at Google could have “slipped in a few lines of code.”

    That’s a laughable suggestion.

  100. @Jonathan Hollin,

    Thanks for the critique. I am not a professional programmer, and unfortunately don’t know any professional programmers to ask, so let me ask you – could somebody at Google have pulled this off? One or two people probably – what position would they have to be in, what sort of access would they have to have, and what would have been required to have a search typed in as “oracle” return search results for “oracie”, even for just a few hours, before somebody caught on?

  101. @Michael:

    - No one’s accusing Gene of lying (at least I’m not), just of being over-confident and unwilling to admit that he was mistaken.
    - I don’t doubt that Gene has strong personal integrity, but wouldn’t that imply he would be willing to “‘fess up,” regardless of if it’s in a public forum?
    - It wasn’t a difference between “oracle” and “oracie” — the difference was cyrillic instead of Latin characters.
    - Google has made no public statement on this issue.
    - As Jonathan Hollin pointed out, yes, it is technically ludicrous to suggest what Gene is suggesting.
    - I don’t think Gene has a “source,” at least in the sense that journalists usually have sources reporting on what’s going on within their company. He’s got an experience with a guy at the office, a screenshot which fits perfectly our technical explanation as to what happened (see @thedank’s explanation of the Mixx link, above), and a pile of insults to throw at those who disagree with him — nothing more.

  102. This is becoming comical. Everyone says they know what happened without any proof. The erroneous link theory still sees the conspiracy theory of choice, and now we have people citing Google sources saying this could never happen. We have alleged programmers saying this couldn’t be done because it is too complicated.

    Relying on Google for proof of their own benevolence is naive at best. Programmers who say this can’t be done simply cannot be trusted. Any sophisticated programmer knows that it can be done and the attitude of “can’t” shows one is just an amateur. If it can be dreamed it can be accomplished via programming and to pretend there are not those with extreme programming abilities is to ignore reality in favor of ignorance.

    Those who are most vocal need to be careful. Responsible journalist will eventually be retracting their Google defenses. So you all have been warned, and I have explained exactly what happened as it happened. I do wonder how many will be back here to apologize and retract once I am proven correct. Probably few. Anyway, I am standing behind the story because I know it to be true. Don’t believe at your own risk.

    One final thought. Seems the tech folks are jealous they didn’t get the story first. Sad.

  103. Since the search results in the screenshot are clearly for the Cyrillic encoded word, your claim is that Google
    rewrote the query, is that right? The screenshot offers absolutely no proof of that, since it is 100% consistent with either explanation, that your co-worker was pulling a joke on you, or that Google rewrote the query. It is not as if you are even saying that you yourself typed in the word “oracle”, just that you saw someone else type it, leaving open a very large opportunity for that person to have scammed you. There have now been hundreds of reports of people that followed the link and got the results you saw, and then typed in the word themselves and got the expected results. And you yourself even say that when you typed the word yourself, you got the expected results.

    I can’t find anybody else that claims that they typed in the word themselves and got the Cyrillic results and you don’t either. So we have a timing problem too. Your co-worker discovered the re-writing and showed you during what apparently was a small window during which the re-writing occurred, and at this same time somebody else sent out the message with the re-written URL with the encoded word which just happens to continue to work even after the re-writing is stopped. But nobody else has continued to claim that they themselves typed the word and had the re-writing occur. Just you.

    You haven’t even mentioned whether or not your co-worker continues to make this claim. Did you go back
    and ask whether he was playing a joke on you?

    As far as trusting Google. Perhaps it is naive to accept the word of one of their employees on this, but since
    in this case it is from an employee that is in a position to know, who is not making this claim about this
    specific issue, and who has just relocated his blog because he did not want to be associated with a blog
    site that hosted a blog that had a corporate backer and therefore would have a possible conflict of interest
    and loss of the perception of integrity, I am inclined to accept his word on this, rather than yours. Given the
    choice of saying that you are mistaken and were taken in by someone who was trying to fool you or calling Mark Chu-Carroll a liar, which would you take?

  104. Since the search results in the screenshot are clearly for the Cyrillic encoded word, your claim is that Google
    rewrote the query, is that right? The screenshot offers absolutely no proof of that, since it is 100% consistent with either explanation, that your co-worker was pulling a joke on you, or that Google rewrote the query. It is not as if you are even saying that you yourself typed in the word “oracle”, just that you saw someone else type it, leaving open a very large opportunity for that person to have scammed you. There have now been hundreds of reports of people that followed the link and got the results you saw, and then typed in the word themselves and got the expected results. And you yourself even say that when you typed the word yourself, you got the expected results.

    I can’t find anybody else that claims that they typed in the word themselves and got the Cyrillic results and you don’t either. And we have a timing problem too. Your co-worker discovered the re-writing and showed you during what apparently was a small window during which the re-writing occurred, and at this same time somebody else sent out the message with the re-written URL with the encoded word which just happens to continue to work even after the re-writing is stopped. But nobody else has continued to claim that they themselves typed the word and had the re-writing occur. Just you. Or rather, you claim that you saw someone else do it.

    You haven’t even mentioned whether or not your co-worker continues to make this claim. Did you go back
    and ask whether he was playing a joke on you?

    As far as trusting Google. Perhaps it is naive to accept the word of one of their employees on this, but since
    in this case it is from an employee that is in a position to know, who is not making this claim about this
    specific issue, and who has just relocated his blog because he did not want to be associated with a blog
    site that hosted a blog that had a corporate backer and therefore would have a possible conflict of interest
    and loss of the perception of integrity, I am inclined to accept his word on this, rather than yours. Given the
    choice of saying that you are mistaken and were taken in by someone who was trying to fool you or calling Mark Chu-Carroll a liar, which would you take?

  105. Since the search results in the screenshot are clearly for the Cyrillic encoded word, your claim is that Google
    rewrote the query, is that right? The screenshot offers absolutely no proof of that, since it is 100% consistent with either explanation, that your co-worker was pulling a joke on you, or that Google rewrote the query. It is not as if you are even saying that you yourself typed in the word “oracle”, just that you saw someone else type it, leaving open a very large opportunity for that person to have scammed you. There have now been hundreds of reports of people that followed the link and got the results you saw, and then typed in the word themselves and got the expected results. And you yourself even say that when you typed the word yourself, you got the expected results.

    I can’t find anybody else that claims that they typed in the word themselves and got the Cyrillic results and you don’t either. And we have a timing problem too. Your co-worker discovered the re-writing and showed you during what apparently was a small window during which the re-writing occurred, and at this same time somebody else sent out the message with the re-written URL with the encoded word which just happens to continue to work even after the re-writing is stopped. But nobody else has continued to claim that they themselves typed the word and had the re-writing occur. Just you. Or rather, you claim that you saw someone else do it.

    You haven’t even mentioned whether or not your co-worker continues to make this claim. Did you go back
    and ask whether he was playing a joke on you?

    As far as trusting Google. Perhaps it is naive to accept the word of one of their employees on this, but since in this case it is from an employee that is in a position to know, who is not making this claim about this specific issue, and who has just relocated his blog because he did not want to be associated with a blog site that hosted a blog that had a corporate backer and therefore would have a possible conflict of interest and loss of the perception of integrity, I am inclined to accept his word on this, rather than yours. Given the choice of saying that you are mistaken and were taken in by someone who was trying to fool you or calling Mark Chu-Carroll a liar, which would you take?

  106. Well, apparently Google did the only sensible thing and removed ipwatchdog from its index, too: http://i.imgur.com/IcrRx.png

  107. dominikh-

    I realize you are probably all that knowledgeable, so allow me to explain. If you ACTUALLY type “ipwatchdog” into the Google search engine text box you will see that IPWatchdog.com has not been removed.

    You see, it really is quite simple. Not sure why you have such trouble with it. But then again, you are denying that typing “oracle” into the Google search engine text box returned virtually no results, so we know you are incapable of thinking for yourself and are merely a Tech Crunch lemming.

    In any event, thanks for reading IPWatchdog.com. Please do come back and visit us again!

    -Gene

  108. Brian-

    You say: “Since the search results in the screenshot are clearly for the Cyrillic encoded word…”

    Doesn’t being wrong bother you? You say this with such authority as if it is true. Same with others. Are you all just Tech Crunch lemmings?

    -Gene

  109. Calling me a “Tech Crunch lemming” is quite fun, because I actually don’t even read Tech Crunch.

    But you raised an interesting question: Do you *seriously* think that you were the only one who searched for “oracle” during a specific timespan, which surely lasted for more than a minute?

    And to quote you: “If you ACTUALLY type “ipwatchdog” into the Google search engine text box you will see that IPWatchdog.com has not been removed.“

    Well, if you ACTUALLY had typed “oracle” into the Google search engine text box *yourself*, you would’ve seen that oracle had not been removed… See what I did there?

    “But then again, you are denying that typing “oracle” into the Google search engine text box returned virtually no results, so we know you are incapable of thinking for yourself and are merely a Tech Crunch lemming.”

    We are incapable of thinking for ourself because we are not blindly trusting you? Awesome logic… And just by the way, I did search for “oracle” myself at virtually the same time your friend did.

  110. “Doesn’t being wrong bother you? You say this with such authority as if it is true. Same with others. Are you all just Tech Crunch lemmings?”

    Really? Do you have ANY idea how badly you are playing this?
    1) Sarcastic but nice people point out in excruciating detail that YOUR OWN SCREENSHOT proves you’re wrong
    2) You show no ability to even try to understand these points (or blatantly misunderstand)
    3) You use ad hominem attacks to deflect the real discussion

    The internet is HOWLING with glee over your argument style. You have become the new Glen Beck, we’re just waiting for the tears….

    Please, you seem like a good man that has done good work. STOP, walk away from the computer and have a friend, a trusted friend, read these comments and give you some honest feedback.

  111. 22,000 page views and counting. Nice job, Gene, I think your strategy is working!

  112. It’s a poor strategy though Garrett, while it is a short term boost, he has no leg to stand on as far as an argument goes. Instead he comes off as a total jackass who is either too dull to see the truth or just another dishonest lawyer who isn’t worth the considerable amount of space his body takes up. It’s not like he’s even having a discussion, he’s sticking his fingers in his ears yelling lalalalala like a 5 year old throwing a fit.

    It does long term damage to his reputation (but so does being a lawyer) and credibility.

  113. Well, Josh, he certainly isn’t here to have a discussion. You are right about that. But at this point I’m just chalking that up to the fact that he’s on vacation. Maybe we’ll get to hear a more comprehensive rebuttal later on when he has the time.

    Or… maybe he’s sitting on a really important piece of evidence that he has yet to share with us! He’s just waiting to whip it out when we least expect it…

    *the plot thickens*

  114. Oh no! no more results for ipwatchdog on google!
    http://bit.ly/c44ZZZ

    …man up, retract, you’re not the first to get duped, and won’t be the last either. Its okay.

  115. Nor do I read Tech Crunch. There is much evidence in the screen shot that it is showing the standard results for the Cyrllic encoding. First as pointed out above, the left sidebar is showing the normal results for a search that has unusual encodings. Second, the Mixx.com results show the search term in the URL. It maps unusual encoded characters to “_”, so you see the r and the c while the encoded o and a are translated. There are the other hits that talk about this very issue, for instance the Chirp City URL, which almost certainly had the encoded version on the page.

    So, the point again is that the screenshot shows exactly what you would expect if you had searched for the Cyrillic encoded string shortly after the message got out. The question is not whether the screenshot shows the encoded search results (it does) but whether or not the encoded string is what was originally typed in. That is to say, if we assume that you are correct about what you reported, then Google accomplished this not by removing Oracle from their search indexes, but by mapping the search string “Oracle” to the encoded Cyrillic form.

    So we are back to the same point I made before. Either Google remapped the search or you are mistaken. The only proof you have offered is your personal observation of what someone else did. The screenshot is no proof, since it really works against you, or at least does not support your case. So either Google did something that they claim is impossible and is certainly very difficult for no reason whatsoever and which in fact will likely damage their reputation and was not seen by anyone but you and your co-worker, or you were mistaken. Not that you reported anything other than what you truly believed to be the case, but that you fell for a joke that someone else was actually trying to fool you with.

    Was the computer the search was done on your own? It would be easy to setup the system so that the jokester could type in the O and a in cyrillic without your knowing. I have set up systems to do magic tricks of this sort before. And you still have not responded to my question. Did your co-worker deny any trickery since this has happened?

    I suppose that the actual encoding is not Cyrillic but is some other encoding other the normal. But other than the actual characters, everything else I said (and pretty much everyone else) stands.

  116. Flabber-

    Grow up man!! The screenshot does no such thing. You have to ignore the truth that an independent search for “oracle” into the Google search box produced that screenshot. So please save your self righteousness.

    And to all who want me to retract, simply not going to happen. I know the truth and accurately reported. So no amount of lemming followers will get me to retract a story I am correct about. Time will tell.

  117. Brian-

    If you are serious then why not humor me for one minute. Assume for just 1 second that what I say is correct and that the search was legit and “oracle” was typed into the Google search box without any foul play. How could that produce what you say is produced by code? I can assure you this is what happened. I realize I am not going to convince folks who don’t know me and who are not familiar with IPWatchdog, and that is fine. My core audience will trust me and in time I suspect the truth will really get out and a lot of folks will be eating crow. So what is the harm in playing devil’s advocate for a minute? Maybe it leads somewhere. And if I am correct shouldn’t this story get out and be of major concern to all users of the Internet?

    Look. I know what happened and you and others are guessing, and incorrectly so. Why not look at the real issue for 1 minute. What you all are saying happened didn’t happen. So that means something else is at work. With Google control of so much on the Internet I think that is the real story and should bother many.

  118. I can’t believe you could possibly be so stupid as to ignore the evidence in your own screenshot, the screenshot itself proves it wasn’t a normal language search for Oracle that your friend did. Maybe the concepts expressed here are simply beyond your ability to understand them.

    Either way you’ve gone from being hilarious to being an arrogant ignorant dick.

  119. “Look. I know what happened and you and others are guessing, and incorrectly so. Why not look at the real issue fir 1 minute. What you all are saying happened didn’t happen. So that means something else us at work.”

    An eloquent defense. Bravo.

  120. The problem is, you’re asking us not to trust you but to trust some random employee at the office who could of easily screwed with you without you knowing. We can’t assume you’re right for one moment because you’ve given us no proof to back up your story, the only proof you offer actually proves you wrong. Say what you will about the monkeys at TC but hell even they don’t go as far as acting like a 5 year old with their fingers in there ears refusing to listen to what anyone says.

  121. Josh-

    Valid point about trust. In a rush at the moment. I am efforting more for next week, but on a mini vacation at the moment. Won’t give more on the personalities involved until I clear it with them, but there was no screwing around incolved. Stay tuned v

  122. Sounds like this might get a little more interesting.

  123. 22,000 page views and counting. Nice job, Gene, I think your strategy is working!

    What can I say – Gene has seen my Kool Aid sales and wanted in on the flow. Can’t say as I blame him.

  124. How much do you charge Gene for the industrial-strength earplugs?

  125. 22,000 page views and counting. Nice job, Gene, I think your strategy is working!
    Yeah, lotsa people saw that ‘Numa Numa’ guy too, but I don’t think he puts it on his resume.

  126. Gene-

    As a part of your core audience (at least one page view a day), I have some concerns about how the story and subsequent comments here are reflecting on ipwatchdog.

    -2 cents

  127. Gene, did you read what I wrote.? I did address the scenario where everything is exactly as you described. The screenshot shows the results of an encoded string search. If what you say happened, happened, then Google must have re-written the search string. That would certainly be one way to block out Oracle as a search target, don’t you agree? The two obvious ways to block such a query are to modify the backend indexes, or modify the front end search strings. Maybe the backend is too difficult to modify, or is too dynamic or whatever. Maybe the front-end is easier. The screenshot shows that the string was either re-written or entered encoded.

    You are right, we are only guessing. We are analyzing the data as provided and forming an opinion. The data we have been provided includes your description of what happened, which leaves out a lot of details, so there is no way to easily assess the probabilities. What you describe is a casual observation of someone else typing in “oracle” and getting the results you have in your screenshot. Maybe it wasn’t casual, but that is what you describe and have not elaborated. So, we do not have even a first hand report of what happened, only an observation. No corroboration of this event, no one else has come forward. Just you saying you saw someone else do it.

    Against that we have a respected blogger who has publicly said he would never distort the truth for his employer saying that Google could not do this. His reputation is on the line. If you are wrong, you are mistaken, but he is becomes a liar.

    We know that Google has no motive to do this. You said so yourself.

    Google has a strong motive not to do this. In addition to damaging their reputation as being impartial, it would put people on notice that such a thing is possible. No longer would Goggle be considered a reliable source for data.

    No one else saw it, but plenty have reported seeing the encoded string trick. Seems a little coincidental that the encoded string trick makes the rounds exactly when you said you saw this result without an encoded string. Amazing timing involved here.

    As they say, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Your evidence is weak at best, while there is strong evidence the other way. I don’t distrust you. If you said you did it yourself, then we would be having a different conversation. But you didn’t do it yourself, and you have not offered any more info to indicate how closely you watched what was done. You haven’t even said whether or not the co-worker has denied trying to trick you. At least we would then have a chain of trust, but as it stands now, all you offer is your belief that your co-worker typed “oracle” unencoded.

    Maybe you just haven’t had a chance to ask yet? Perhaps you won’t see him until Monday? If so, just say so.

  128. Haven’t you guys figured this out yet? Gene Quinn is either a troll, or someone has taken his account (while he’s on vacation) and is trolling on his behalf. No normal person would put up this type of “LA-LA-LA I’m not listening” defense (or the obviously silly ad hominem attacks) without blatantly being a troll.

    Stop feeding him.

    Let’s all go home, this guy is already toast, why watch it burn?

  129. Brian-

    I actually am trying to turn a business trip into 2-3 days of R&R. I haven’t talked with the person I referenced, but have been in touch with someone high up at his company. At some point this week I expect to have a call to discuss more. This timeline may seem unacceptable and if it is I apologize. Real professionals without any stake are involved and who could have expected the wild and irresponsible speculation by those guessing and demanding proof.

    And I didn’t read your comment as carefully as I could have or should have. Doing most of this from an iPhone, which opresents at least some challenges.

    I agree the timing looks suspicious. I know

  130. Doubts-

    Sorry you have doubts and are questioning how this reflects. If you have to wonder then perhaps you should give up on IPWatchdog. I am standing up because I am 100% correct and only guessing without evidence is provided by the Google defenses. However, as long as the questioning is done without foul language I will approve it. I hate censorship and I am not going to engage in that. Likewise, I am not going to reveal information on the names of the persons involved without permission. This was not an on the record conversation, so until I talk with the individual I won’t say more about the particulars. I am not going to ruin my reputation for keeping confidences and being trustworthy for any story. Not going to happen.

    If any if this offends you or others maybe they should simply go elsewhere for their news. I will always keep it honest and real.

  131. Hi,
    just wanted to interject that you can find out if it’s “ORACLE” or “ORACiE” in the first screenshot. The word is highlighted in several search results. Just type in these URL’s and see what’s what.

  132. You are right, we are only guessing. We are analyzing the data that we want to analyze, and ignoring anything that does not fit our pre-conceived notions and forming an opinion.

    Fixed.

  133. You are right, we are only guessing. We are analyzing the data that we want to analyze, and ignoring anything that amounts to nothing more than hearsay in the office and therefore is impossible to discuss objectively.”

    Fixed fixed. :p

    Gene, don’t you realize that you have made it impossible to argue with you? There is literally nothing we can say to address your personal experience; all we can address is your (poorly-gathered) evidence. Before you start talking about “wild and irresponsible speculation,” maybe you ought to take a look in the mirror: You are the one who made the positive claim that “somebody at Google changed the search results,” and in any reasonable debate the one who makes the positive claim is responsible for defending that claim with evidence. We aren’t obligated to accept your claim without vetting your evidence. Because you are (so far) unable to come up with satisfactory explanations to certain issues with your screenshot and your logic, your positive claim is in question and is thus difficult for any reasonable person to accept. It has nothing to do with “blind dogma” or a “lemming mentality” or whatever you want to call it, and everything to do with a reasonable doubt of your claim.

    Again, I understand you’re on vacation and apparently typing on an iPhone, which understandably limits the quality of your responses. But at the very least, you ought to apologize to those you insulted for daring to question you, and for daring to reject “it is comical that you chose to believe someone who is looming (and incorrectly so) about what happened,” whatever that means, and “why are so many pandering for Google and making excuses and try to use fictional stories to excuse what was clearly [emphasis mine] intentional and unacceptable behavior by Google,” as valid defenses. Bad form.

  134. Call me naive but if I was going to break a story like this I would do a lot more checks than someone demoing it on their (not your) machine. I would run the same test on my machine by manually typing in the search term and then asking a few friends on the internet to do the same (again no links just ask them to search for Oracle). This would be a good check just in case someone is doing something clever with your router/keyboards as a clever prank.

    If you have an iPhone or other phone with mobile internet I would check that as well. The real reason I don’t believe that Google did anything is as follows:

    1.) Changing database results on a worldwide basis for all data centres then making it reappear again within hours is quite a task.
    2.) Assuming some programmer could change google’s live code without anyone noticing is pushing credibility. I am sure live site changes are heavily checked for errors/changes.
    3.) Assuming as a starting point that Google would remove a company from their results just because they are being sued makes no sense as the repercussions are severe.
    4.) The EXACT same results of your “removed results” can be generated by using the unicode prank method which makes me think someone has played a prank on you is more likely than google changing search results for a few hours.
    5.) This search prank was doing the rounds on Twitter hours before you “had it demoed” making it even more likely that it was a trick.
    6.) None of your screenshots contain the urls etc which could help provide more information.
    7.) You did not check this on other machines and have other people test it via other ISP/locations before reporting.

    If Google had done this it would have been huge news and needs to be throughly checked and evidence gathered before reporting, however as you did not do any follow up checks at the time you have no credible evidence that Google did anything, in fact your screenshots point to you having being the victim of a prank. I am not saying that you did not report originally in good faith just that all the evidence (and there is not much of that) points towards a standard internet spoofing prank and not some crazy conspiracy by Google.

  135. Gene:

    I warned you ….

  136. Garrett,

    no limit to bad form – including mixing my comments with Gene’s (and you better keep your hands off trying to mix my Kool Aid profits as well).

  137. “MEA CULPA”

    Wow… kudos, Gene.

  138. Gene,

    “So go ahead and believe what you want. I’m not backing down from the story. It is 100% true.”

    It’s your intransigence that made you look like a fool, far more than the fact that you were originally duped into believing what you wanted to believe. For me, not having read anything about it other than your post, the two screenshots just didn’t suggest that Google had done anything, for the reasons I stated above.

    Gene said “Did it ever cross your mind that this could have been exactly what someone did at Google to cause the problem? Of course not, because you are choosing to believe in the benevolence of Google rather than facts”

    You should take your own advice about believing in facts. Even if the screenshots were 100% accurate, there was still no factual basis for the statement you made “Google Briefly Punishes Oracle by Removal from Google Search.” Politically motivated opinions should never take the place of cold, hard facts. I hope for your sake that Google does not coose to address your comments specifically.

    Of course The G-man (as some call them) “has its own agenda” as someone pointed out. So do Microsoft, Oracle, and Yahoo!. They’re each enormous multinational companies, and each has their fingers in many, many pies.

  139. I have a lot of feelings about this. I will be honest with you, the biggest feeling is “Hell yes, we were right”.
    The other feelings are:
    - This should not have happened
    - I hope you learned your lessons for future stories
    - You definitely still owe as a *proper* apology. “Mea culpa” definitely does not cut it for all the insults, calling us ignorant, lemmings and blind followers.

    Anyway, good luck with future stories…

  140. … and good luck with your reputation as well, Gene.

  141. dominikh-

    I am sorry.

    I will, however, point out that you didn’t read the horrible and inappropriate things that never made the comment list because they aren’t appropriate for any audience. That no doubt colored many of my responses, as well as the ton set early on by those who refused to acknowledge that this could happen. Of course it could happen. It didn’t happen though and I got the story wrong.

    -Gene

  142. Chris-

    The story is now dead and I got it wrong, but to call what I did politically motivated is ridiculous.

    If Google wants to come after me they can. I am apparently a much better attorney and pundit than news journalist, and I will know what to do with them if they want to screw with me.

    -Gene

  143. ^ Now THAT would be fun to watch. :)

  144. Garrett-

    I don’t know whether your “kudos” comment is sincere, although it seems it is and I will take it at face value.

    I thought I knew what was right and it turned out to be wrong. Unlike many who like to run away from mistakes I stand up and take responsibility. I don’t fear any backlash or loss of reputation. Many will have been turned off and won’t come back, and that is fine. I have built a reputation as being honest and at least somewhat connected. I am glad to say I have never gotten a patent story wrong, and my sources and methods there in my comfort zone are beyond reproach. So I got duped, and as a result of my believing and trying to get others to come off the “it couldn’t ever happen” I got frustrated.

    Anyway, a part of my reputation is coming clean when wrong. Many news organizations seem to do it quietly, and that type of pass the buck personal responsibility or take responsibility in a footnote on page B22 isn’t may style. So many will think what they want, but those still reading will hopefully realize that I call it like I see it, even when what needs to be outed is me!

    -Gene

  145. Oh, wow. Yeah, kudos… and thanks.

  146. Funny, in all of the media reports about this, nothing that I have read has referred to Oracle as a “patent troll.” However, you can be sure that, if a smaller company had filed a patent enforcement suit to protect patents that it had recently acquired, everyone would immediately denounce it as a troll. It shows that there is a pretty strong double standard, and that a troll is in the eye of the beholder.
    http://www.generalpatent.com/media/videos/patent-troll

  147. @patent litigation
    They are practicing their patent, so it’s not what most definitions consider a patent troll. When it comes to how people perceive this case, Oracle has been widely criticized with James Gosling included among the detractors.

  148. For more information regarding the lawsuit and the patents involved, check out Sunlight Research’s upcoming webinar “Will Oracle’s Java Patents Take Down Google’s Android Platform?” at http://www.SunlightReseach.com. It promises to shed light on the outcome of a very important battle.

  149. Duped? I wonder. Hoax or scandal…only you and your source know for sure. One thing is true, it did make for some juicy blog content which was a great segue into the real meat and potatoes of this face off. Isn’t talking trash and pulling stunts always a part of any boxing match, regardless of the venue.