Google generally gets in hot water when it is thought to be abusing its pole position in the search industry. But it’s no use denying that while some moves skirt the edges of abusing monopoly, others are more than welcome. During natural disasters, for instance, Google has provided helpful links and resources for people who want to donate or volunteer. And their logo doodles pay homage to personages and events many people would otherwise have overlooked.
Today must rank among the best applications of their choice placement: a link on the Google homepage and thousands of shares have produced a mind-blowing 4.5 million signatures on their anti-SOPA petition.
When I wrote Kill Switch a few months ago, there were some petitions linked to that had tens of thousands at the time and now as many as 150,000 (the Whitehouse.gov one got just over 100,000). And the petition at Avaaz is almost to 1.5 million. The grassroots opposition to these bills has been immense, more so in fact than other rather terrifying bills like NDAA, perhaps on account of the fact that SOPA and PIPA are directly aimed at internet freedoms.
Regardless, 4.5 million is a hell of a lot, and in one day as well. I just wrote earlier today how we need to improve the way that the internet and our governing authorities interact, but things like this are certainly among the best applications of existing online methods. The numbers may, of course, be considered somewhat inflated and less salient than 4.5 million written signatures complete with social security number and voter address, but that’s not really the point. 4.5 million people took the time to go to this page, inform themselves, fill out the pertinent information to register their discontent.
It was also shared quite widely, as many of our readers will surely be able to attest; according to Facebook’s stats, it has been shared over 344,000 times, Google shows over 125,000 shares on Google+, and surely a few of those 2.4 million #SOPA, #stopSOPA, etc. tweets pointed to Google’s petition as well.