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Has Google Become More "Evil" Than Microsoft?

A little-known part of the Google deal to buy part of AOL for $1 billion is a shocker: Google agreed to a link scheme that Microsoft called unethical, but that Google was only too happy to accede to, according to the New York Times. What's going on here? Isn't Microsoft supposed to be the bad guys, while Google is the "do-no-evil" company?
Well, the "do-no-evil" days are long past. The AOL deal made that clear.

The New York Times reported that Google will give AOL preferred placement for AOL's videos in Google's video search in Google's new Google Video search site. In addition, Google will include links to AOL videos on the Google Video home page --- and won't label any of those links advertising, or call the preferred listings advertising, even though they clearly are ads.

Microsoft refused to include the links or give preferred placement without labeling them ads, saying that to do so would be unethical.

Up until now, Google has very clearly separated advertising from non-ad content. That's been one of the reasons for its success --- people have thought the site's searches were not for sale. But no longer.

John Battelle, author of "The Search: How Google and its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture," told the Times that Google is "giving away is the perception in the market place that Google isn't for sale."

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