Greetings. About a week ago or so, an alert reader (presumably with far too much time on his hands) reminded me that it is now almost exactly five years since I gave my Internet and Empires talk at Google Santa Monica, covering a bunch of issues that I thought were interesting at the time, including privacy, censorship, Street View, China, and other sundry topics. He suggested that I should look it over again in light of events that have since transpired regarding both Google and the Internet.
The original talk was on January 24, 2006, and I posted and blogged it on the following April 14th. I believe it was the first "outside" talk taped at the Santa Monica office, and I'm sitting on a table since there wasn't a podium available yet (but for me, the more informal the better).
A bit over a month ago I uploaded (but didn't really watch) the approximately one hour video as a test of newly unlimited length uploading on my YouTube account, but hadn't planned to make it public to supplant the originally uploaded seven part version (split for the then standard YouTube 10 minute limit).
I hadn't actually viewed the entire spiel in years, but having been reminded of the anniversary, I forced myself to do so, and in light of that I've decided to make the new "all in one chunk" version publicly available, and I've updated the original blog item's links and such appropriately.
Five years seems like a century in Internet time, and it's interesting to see how controversial associated issues have changed -- and in some important cases remain very much with us today.
Part of the reason for my focus on China during that presentation was the coincidence that I was speaking at Google on the very day that the original Google.cn censored search site experiment was announced.
Google of course announced the end of search results censoring in China almost exactly one year ago, a decision that was widely applauded (including by me).
In any case, if you have an hour to kill, there may be worse ways to spend your time than to consider, compare, and contrast the Google and Internet issues of January 2006 with January 2011.
But the real question now is, where will we be in January 2016? I'm not taking any bets on that one.