In an effort to be more transparent (and maybe make you feel a little sorry for them?) Google has introduced its “Transparency Report”. Heck, didn’t Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt proclaim that “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it’? Funny thing is, this report is not so much about what Google is doing but rather what people are trying to do to Google by blocking traffic etc.
On Tuesday, Google will introduce a new tool called the Transparency Report, at google.com/transparencyreport/. It publishes where and when Internet traffic to Google sites is blocked, and the blockages are annotated with details when possible. For instance, the tool shows that YouTube has been blocked in Iran since the disputed presidential election in June 2009.
The Transparency Report will also be the home for Google’s government requests tool, a map that shows every time a government has asked Google to take down or hand over information, and what percentage of the time Google has complied. Google introduced it in April and updates it every six months. Government requests could be court orders to remove hateful content or a subpoena to pass along information about a Google user.
“The idea is to provide transparency, and we’re hoping that transparency is a deterrent to censorship,” said Niki Fenwick, a Google spokeswoman.
Just so you know, transparency is a relative thing since Google admits that the data is not complete because of certain limitations (at least in the Government Requests section).
Google says that this is a first step in this attempt and that they want people to come to the report and ‘play with it’. The idea is one that was hatched during the 20% “work on a pet project” ethos that is part of the Google way of life.
So if you are looking for more transparency from Google this is your best shot for now.