Archive for the ‘UK economy’ Tag

4 things that are bothering me about Google

Google Christmas message

Don't be evil

‘My Google Team’ sent me (and zillions of other punters like me) this message over the holidays [to which I’ve added my own thoughts in square brackets]:

“Merry Christmas from Google

Hello,

As we near the end of the year, we wanted to take a moment to thank you for the time, energy, commitment, and trust [and personal information] you’ve shared with us in 2009.
With sharing in mind, this year we’ve decided to do something a little different. We hope you’ll find it fits the spirit of the Christmas season.
We’re looking forward to working with [working on?] you to build lasting success [for our corporation/international quasi-monopoly] in 2010.

With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,
Your Google Team”

Call me a cynic if you like but international near-monopolies bother me for this kind of reason…

1.

According to the recently published accounts for Google UK for 2008 on £1.6 Billion of ad revenue from this country Google UK paid £141,519 in corporation tax. Our Google Team avoided £450M of UK corporation tax by channeling all its advertising earnings from UK customers through its Irish subsidiary. Now Ireland’s got problems of its own of course but all signs are that Google doesn’t give a monkey’s about them either – Google’s Dublin operation’s latest accounts show that only €7.5m of  tax was paid in the Emerald Isle in 2008, even though the lion’s share of Google’s €6.7 billion  European earnings went through Ireland.

2.

In that same year of £1.6 Billion UK revenue Google UK donated £5,662 to charity.

3.

The fact Google can’t spell “reggae” has been bothering me all Christmas. (It makes this link from the above message feel rather thrown together, and it already felt as calculated and American-centric as the corporation itself.)

4.

Google is putting back graphic design by years with its second-rate illustrations, not least over these holidays.

I’m being a bit silly of course but there is a fundamental issue here – it’s a fundamentally parasitical entity, sucking ad revenue off to the US (some 13% of Google’s global revenues now come from the UK) without putting much back into this country and not really caring about it. Which is why a message like the above rings so hollow, more balls than (jingle) bells. And on that metallic theme, why I won’t be embracing Chrome at the expense of much less evil Firefox.

Google graphics

Don't look evil

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4 things that are bothering me about the Credit Crunch

McQueenTo celebrate our record recession as marked by today’s announcement of a neat 0.4% shrinkage of the UK economy between July and September, making this recession the longest since records began, here are 4 things that have been bugging me on this front…

1
Earlier this week I read in the Evening Standard an article celebrating the rise in retail sales figures in September with a woman from Selfridges revelling in all the spending, just like the good ol’ pre-Crunch times. Are we all just going to slip back into buying all that Chinese-made shit we don’t really need?

2
There seems to be no sign of genuine banking reform. Even Boris Johnson is now feeling stiched up by the bwankers. Short-term thinking (if you can call it thinking) is the nemesis of long-term well being.

3
In the wake of the oil prices hitting their peak, the moment they started coming down a bit, I remember reading the depressing newspaper headline: Supermarket forecourt price wars. This just after you started noticing people really thinking twice before making a car journey. Our capacity to fall back into old ways is frankly depressing.

4
People keep referring to it as if it’s another run-of-the-mill, cycle-of-things recession, perhaps a bit worse but still a known quantity. My instinct about it is that it contains elements the like of which we have not seen before and understand no better than the bwankers understood what they were doing when they bought those packages of cancerous debt.

We had a chance for a moment there to stop and reflect and consider where true value lies, make some radical changes and get our lives back into balance, perhaps healing our battered environment to a sufficient degree in the process. I hope that moment hasn’t passed but I wouldn’t bet my bottom dollar on it (if I could afford dollars these days).

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