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December 31, 2006

December Recap: Myths, Accusations, and Twists

December was a peaceful month for Google.

An AP article explained us that: "Even if Google stands by its promise to protect its users' information, there are no guarantees that mischief-making computer hackers or crusading government agencies won't eventually try to pry into the database."

After that, a site was removed from Google index because it contained spammy links and its owner complained. It turned out that the site had been hacked and Google tried to warn the owner before removing it.

Then we found out that Google is financing terrorism, even though it's a CIA-sponsored company. Both affirmations seemed hilarious to any common-sense man.

While trying to make IE6 users upgrade to IE7, Google created a customized version of Internet Explorer that included Google Toolbar. The problem was that the page that promoted this version looked the same as Yahoo's IE7 page. Blatant rip-off.

Google was also accused it treats its employees like kids. Googlers reacted: "Without seeming immodest, the work we do there has helped to change the world, and (I hope) will continue to do so in the future. It's a place where I can show up and end up working with some profoundly smart people."

Google also released the top searches in 2006, but it turned out they we're not the top searches. "We looked for those searches that were very popular in 2006 but were not as popular in 2005 -- the explosive queries, the topics that everyone obsessed over," explained Google Blog.

The brightly-colored search company did something good for programmers too by cutting the support for Google SOAP Search API.

Google added new tips at the top of search result pages that promote services like: Blogger, Calendar, Picasa Web. A post by Blake Ross, Firefox co-founder, called Tip: Trust is hard to gain, easy to lose stirred a lot of controversy. "Google's new age "bundling" is far worse than anything Microsoft did or even could do. Microsoft threw spaghetti at the wall and hoped it stuck, and likewise there's nothing wrong with Google's arbitrary front page ads. The difference here is that Google knows what users want and can discreetly recommend its products at the right time."

In December, around 60 Gmail users lost their messages, Orkut was down for almost a day (an earthquake in Asia was responsible for that), and Google promoted Firefox on the homepage.

Of course, Google did other things too: Blogger is out of beta (but the migration takes too long), Picasa Web has search (but it's too expensive), Google Toolbar 3 for Firefox is launched (but doesn't work for some users).

Some blogger decided to explain a small part of Google myths, show 12 photos that illustrate Google's activity in 2006, and start a wishlist for 2007.

But you were lucky: you just enjoyed the show and thanked God you weren't Google in December 2006. Happy New Year!

This blog is not affiliated with Google.