Google's informal webcast to Oxford


Google had an informal webcast with Alexander Macgillivray, their Senior Product and Intellectual Property Counsel last week at Oxford. (Their counsel's have very Scottish names, I know another one called Andrew McLauchlin who never got married in Ireland recently!)

Some of the stuff to come out of it was:

Someone asked whether the "Don't be evil" phrase translates to trust Larry and Sergey and whether that would scale. He said that Google's culture is strong.

A few times he was asked whether Google is asked by governments to anti-up with information. Basically he said that he's not allowed to say, but he did mention that it's less than other big companies. He also said that the law prevents him from giving a real answer to the question but he didn't say which law, UK or US or both.

He said that Google is not becoming an ISP. It has wired a local pizza place and a local gym, and has put in a bid to wire San Francisco. He also confirmed that it's buying up dark fiber for its own internal use. But it's not going to become an ISP. (Do you think the pizza store sells fish?)

Jonathan Zittrain had checked Google's user license which turns out to say that if Google is sold, users will be notified that their data is going into new hands, but there is nothing in the license giving users the ability to opt out. Alexander said that he'd raise that back at the Plex.