Encore of Revival: America, July 22, 2019

Washington is all excited because this week Mueller is scheduled to testify, again, about a report he already handed in. If the report had said enough on its own then there would be no need for him to testify, again. Democrats are all excited, but not as excited as Senator Graham, who plans to launch his own investigation investigation.  While Washington is distracted with theatrics of Russians and the “fab four”, a much deeper problem is swelling, one which will not escape Trump’s tenure unchanged: social media.

Social media giants are out of control. One current argument on the table is to make Google’s “index” public.

This “index” is Google’s inside stockpile of information that a “Google search” queries. Right now, it’s on lockdown and no one can access it without going through Google. Making it public would allow anyone to use it—if they know the right code, which code monkeys could learn. And, that’s where the trouble is…

Publicizing Google’s search index would be difficult to prove because it would need a new computer language—or API—to access. What’s to keep Google from making that API language too difficult to use? And, what’s to ensure the same idiots in Washington who tried to ram SOPA & PIPA down everyone’s throats—or wondered if Hillary wiped her server “with a cloth”—would know whether Google is making the API too difficult to use?

It could be done. It would need oversight. It should apply to Yahoo, Microsoft, and any other publicly traded tech giant with a search index. And, it would be a game changer.

According to Bloomberg, Google gets over 90% of all search traffic; Microsoft’s Bing at second place gets under 3%. That’s a lot of power to be in just one place.

While the current thinkers have “thunk” up this as the way to regulate Google under laws governing “public utilities”, there’s another important argument to consider. Google’s search index isn’t an index about Google’s own intellectual property—Google’s search index is an index about private information owned by everyone. So, the real question is whether it should be legal to “index the public”, which is essentially what Google does. If it’s legal to “index the public”, then of course the public should have access to that index, duh.

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