Tomorrow, Google’s US homepage will include a link declaring its opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. The news was reported on CNET and confirmed by Google in a statement emailed to TechCrunch:
Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet. So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our US home page.
SOPA and PIPA have been criticized as potentially inflicting enormous harm on existing Web companies and services in the name of fighting piracy, and Google has already been pretty vocal in its opposition to the bills. But a homepage link could highlight the issue for a much broader audience, particularly those who aren’t following tech or policy news.
Google says the link won’t replace the logo on its front page. This won’t be quite as dramatic as the complete blackouts planned tomorrow by Wikipedia, Reddit, and others. For Google, though, including a front-page link is a pretty big step.
There’s been some public hand-wringing about how far tech companies should go to take a stand against SOPA and PIPA — CloudFlare offers one solution, allowing sites to black out specific content in protest, without entirely “going dark.” When asked if Twitter would follow Wikipedia’s lead, CEO Dick Costolo tweeted that it would be “silly” close a “global business in reaction to single-issue national politics”, later adding that Twitter might show its opposition in other ways: “Watch this space.”
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...