Google Calls The Wall Street Journal 'Confused' - InformationWeek

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Commentary
12/15/2008
10:40 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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Google Calls The Wall Street Journal 'Confused'

The Wall Street Journal ran a story last night suggesting that Google has been trying to convince network operators to give its traffic preference to that of others. If true, the idea would have been a serious blow to the idea of Net neutrality. Google says the Journal got it wrong.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story last night suggesting that Google has been trying to convince network operators to give its traffic preference to that of others. If true, the idea would have been a serious blow to the idea of Net neutrality. Google says the Journal got it wrong.I read the Journal's story last night and had my reservations. In the original article, it reported, "Google Inc. has approached major cable and phone companies that carry Internet traffic with a proposal to create a fast lane for its own content, according to documents... Google has traditionally been one of the loudest advocates of equal network access for all content providers."

Google's idea, called OpenEdge, would position some of Google's servers within the Internet service providers' networks. This would have provided a "fast lane" for Google's traffic.

If this scenario played out, it would have had a dramatic affect on the Internet and its denizens. Powerful companies such as Google could get preferential treatment and leave less-powerful competitors in the dust. If true, this scenario also would have completed Google's switch to the "dark side." There's no way it could say its motto, "Don't be evil," plays any sort of role in how Google runs its business.

This morning, says the AP, Google responded via a blog post written by Richard Whitt, Google's Washington-based telecom and media counsel. He said, "Google remains strongly committed to the principle of Net neutrality, and we will continue to work with policymakers in the years ahead to keep the Internet free and open."

He calls the Journal's report a misunderstanding, and that Google isn't trying to get preferential treatment.

I think the story isn't so black and white. Whether or not the Journal misunderstood Google's intent, we need to hear directly from the players involved. That means Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and from the management of the Internet service providers with which Google is supposedly talking.

What say ye, Schmidt? What's the real story here?

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