Google's own blog, the Public Policy Blog has described this summer for Google brass as a 'Summer of Public Policy'. No joke. The guys who write an algorithm are attending meetings with dignitaries and politicians around the country, getting on the platform and addressing such topics as 'health care, patent reform, immigration, privacy and consumer issues.'
Go ahead and call me stupid, but what does a building full of math geniuses know about health care? And immigration? And who is the 'presumer' who presumed that these people had any authority whatsoever to address such issues?
For me, the charade that pushed me over the edge was when Google's CEO spoke at the National Governor's Association meeting in Michigan last week. He got on the stage and told our nation's governors that, "education must evolve to teach students how to research and access information instead of memorizing facts". Wow. Mr. Google is an expert on education. Mr. Google has such a solid understanding of education and the entire learning process that he can summarize all of education as simply, "memorizing facts," and pontificate what would be a better educational model for the kids in this country.
Pardon me for one moment while I hurl.....
OK. Feeling better now. But isn't that kind of summary of education just a little, um, convenient for Google? Not only has education been reduced to 'memorizing facts' but lo and behold, the solution lies in the hands of search, and ergo, Google, the search super-hero! How lucky those governors were to be present when this enlightenment was unveiled!
And as much as I know Google has Big Brother ambitions, but is still lacking a few shock troops to be able to pull that off yet, I just do not remember them ever being in any of the classrooms I taught in (in my other life) for them to actually know what is going on in education. Yet they want to give direction on education to governors. I think Google just wandered out of the kiddie pool and in to the deep end. Loaded diaper and all.
Another incredulous 'public policy' adventure was when a Google VP testified before a House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration last month. The VP said that, "due to limits on the number of H-1B visas, Google is regularly unable to pursue highly qualified candidates." Google cannot pursue highly qualified candidates? What happened to the recent graduates of colleges and universities in, let's say, the United States? (Or, maybe US students were all too busy, um, searching and weren't paying attention to their studies...?!) Oh, but that's right, Google's stated hiring qualifications are that the ideal candidate has graduated from a 'top-tier college or university.' That's right, this is the Stanford & Associates club. So maybe Google cannot pursue highly qualified candidates because they are unwilling to look at US students other than those from the 'top-tier' schools...Doesn't sound like an immigration problem to me. Sounds pretty much like old-fashioned arrogance!
Google's Public Policy Blog also reported that the VP also "encouraged Congress to significantly increase the annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visas, and urged them to address the backlog of employment-based green cards for highly-skilled workers." Now is that the immigration policy that you feel comfortable with? Are you thinking we should add to the number of people coming in to this country? Me either. So if Google is not speaking for you, and it is not speaking for me, then who is Google speaking for? Well, the answer, of course, is Google.
Look at where they are pushing. We all know that immigration is out of control. Yet Google, because of arrogance or whatever you call it that rejects normal American students, want us to increase immigration rather than placing more restrictions on it. Is this "public policy" what is best for America and Americans? Clearly not. It is Google Policy. Self-serving corporate ambition. Not to be confused with American policy. And, frankly, I have no desire to be Stanfordized. Sure, they can do the math, but their football team bites! Always has. I'll pass on the Stanford culture.
So lest we begin to think that Google has any authority to speak on current issues because Mr. Google is showing up in political places and a microphone is thrust before him, let us remember that Google isn't interested in national public policy, Google is interested in manipulating national public policy so that it lines up with Google Policy!