[LINK] RFI: Scroogle

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Wed Mar 21 22:01:59 AEDT 2007

I was about to whinge about my normally reliable Link Institute 
colleagues having let me down.

A subscriber on the privacy list (while researching the deservedly 
infamous Bagaric, the pro-torture Law Professor at Deakin) wrote:
>I can highly recommend scroogle for scraping away all the page one and
two gloop from google searches, including the increasingly annoying
wikipedia spam:  http://www.scroogle.org/

I thought to myself "Scroogle? Who?".

But there was indeed, in the whole of my (I think, complete) link 
archives, a single notification, 3 years ago - copy below.

They're a straightforward-enough proxy / consolidator / 
pseudonymiser.  Not difficult in principle, but a very useful 
service, especially in view of this critique of 'a Google that knows 
more about you':

Does anyone have the low-down on the service and the organisation, 
and particularly on how they survive, with names named, and a P.O. 
Box in San Antonio TX??

They're presumably tolerated (fly-on-wall at Google Board meeting: 
'What's the readout on the credibility of our 'do no evil' myth if we 
take them out?').  The trademark issues alone are problematical and 
verrrry expensive, let alone breach of contract, and even (giggle) 
copyright breach.

>To: link at anu.edu.au
>From: jeff.evans at iird.vic.gov.au
>Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 10:01:20 +1100
>Subject: [LINK] Keeping an Eye on Google
>This article touches on a few recent Link threads such as the abuse of big
>business/market power...
>      Keeping an Eye on Google
>      <http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/print_version/roush20304.asp>
>      By Wade Roush March 2004 Technology Review
>      Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Microsoft: a handful of companies are so
>      dominant in their markets that almost everything they do is condemned
>      by someone as an abuse of power. Now Google has joined that exclusive
>      club. As the proprietor of the Internet's most popular search engine,
>      Google has become the de facto gatekeeper of the Web - with the
>      ability to make or break a site simply by moving it up or down a few
>      notches in its search rankings. And while that hasn't affected
>      Google's pristine brand image among hundreds of millions of Internet
>      users, it has some programmers and Web publishers thoroughly riled.
>      "Search engines are an essential part of the Internet now, and yet
>      they're all controlled by private organizations, and their mechanisms
>      are secret," says Doug Cutting, an independent software consultant
>      based in Petaluma, CA. "There's a lot of room for these companies to
>      manipulate their services for commercial gain. It's an unhealthy
>      situation."
>      Cutting's remedy is an open-source search engine, called Nutch, that
>      uses ranking algorithms similar to Google's, but with a twist: each
>      search result is accompanied by a link labeled "Explain" that produces
>      a detailed accounting of the various scores and weights that gave the
>      result its rank...
>(Perhaps a Queensland equivalent whould have "Ployz explayn"?)
>      ...After a major reshuffling of the Google rankings in November 2003,
>Brandt published a tool he called Scroogle; it shows which sites are
>"missing" from      Google's top 100 search results for a given term.
>The Scroogle site seems to be history; <http://www.scroogle.com/> produces
>a 400 error and <http://www.scroogle.org/> is a placeholder page - "coming
>soon". Ironically though, you can find out more via Google
>It seems the real site is <http://www.google-watch.org/scroogle.html> A
>page on this site <http://www.google-watch.org/fiasco.html> includes a
>February 16 2004 update where the author claims "Google has apparently
>decided to separate web sites into "information" and "commercial."", and
>gives his reasoning.
>Jeff Evans
>Manager, Business Channel
>Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development
>Victoria, Australia
>Ph 03 9651 9590 Fax 03 9651 9725
>Email jeff.evans at iird.vic.gov.au
>  _____________________________________________________________
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Roger Clarke                  http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in Info Science & Eng  Australian National University
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program      University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW

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