Re: Automating Searches

John Ersatznom <j.ersatz@nowhere.invalid>
Fri, 05 Jan 2007 15:59:28 -0500
Chris Uppal wrote:

And they do actively work to prevent abuse. There are many kinds of possible
abuse, and I imagine Google work to prevent most of them, but I doubt if there
are many things they dislike more than people attempting to steal their data.

All of this depends on what constitutes "stealing" their data. Copying
it and publishing it? Sort of -- it's some kind of infringement but not
really "theft".

Merely doing with one mouse click or zero what you'd do anyway with
twenty keypresses? I don't see how the amount of clacking emanating from
someone's workstation at location A is in any way relevant to Google as
long as a) a single user isn't suddenly hogging their resources and b)
the user is using the results "normally" rather than to compete with
Google or whatever.

The red flags that would make them look into their logfiles would be a)
excessive bandwidth use and b) a Google clone or whatever springing up
all of a sudden and competing for their revenue streams.

Personal use of the search results isn't anything they can fault. Nor
however a person chooses to generate the requests (so long as they
aren't excessively frequent) or however they choose to filter and use
the results so long as they don't use them commercially.

I see no logical reason for them to care whether the 3 requests a given
IP gave them in a given day came from 30 typed characters and 3 mouse
clicks, 3 mouse clicks, or 0 mouse clicks at the requesting end, as long
as they don't consider 3 requests in one day from one source to be
excessive and as long as they aren't using those results in a way that
competes somehow with Google.

Unless, of course, the real intent is to enforce terms that let them use
a business model based on charging ordinary users a premium merely to
avoid tedium. I hope that isn't their intent; it would violate their
famous motto. A tiered "typed queries are free, bookmarked are a dime
each, and cron jobs require a monthly $59.99 subscription fee and
special account" service where it actually costs them exactly the same
amount (next to nil) to provide for all three use cases seems not merely
silly, but tantamount to fraudulent. A tiered "more than xx queries a
day requires a premium $10/month account" thing with xx in the dozens or
hundreds might not be considered evil -- after all, generating that many
queries actually scales up the amount serving you is costing them per
day. And of course disallowing commercial use of the results (other than
incidentally, like researching a purchase or new hire -- more selling
the results themselves in some manner) without a licensing arrangement
where Google gets a percentage. That's only fair.

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