I did not expect to find a human-powered, systematic, months-long, fraudulent (falsely claiming to be collaborating with us, and worse) attempt to undermine our business, being perpetrated from call centres on 2 continents.
Stefan’s evidence is damning, to say the least, especially when the address accessing their databases comes directly from Google. I’m not sure that Google proper (as in Mountain View) would have approved this, but from their recent changes to search, it’s hard to say what they might be doing anymore. Perhaps they’ve just instated a new motto: “Do no good.”
Honestly, though, I don’t believe this is known within Google, at least not outside of some corrupt group.2 The lack of technical prowess (“human-powered”) about the operation is strange for Google, given its tendency to over-engineer its way out of all situations. Where’s the MapReduce or the AI callers with synthesized voices?3 As much as I would love to believe this goes all the way up through Google, this sounds like something a small group wanted kept under wraps - it’s still pretty damned awful, but no reason to break out the tin foil hats.
Via beamso over on the Ars Technica IRC happy-land.↩
You are free to debate (since I like responding to comments) how corrupt Google is overall and what have you. Let’s just say that whatever the corruption status quo is, these guys are four times that.↩
Does Google use AI with synthesized voices to handle calls? That’d be neat, though I’m sure it would rapidly become just as frustrating as all other voice-recognizing call handlers. How many times have you been forced to shout and mash buttons (or the screen) on your phone due to those fun little things?↩