Video courtesy of Botgirl Questi
I don’t remember your handle in the days you were an active participant of the USENET, over a decade ago, when “web crawlers” and “search engines” were interesting mathematical problems to be tackled. To be honest, I don’t even remember my own handle those days. But what I remember very clearly is RFC 1855. Those days, we all abided by the Netiquette — or faced banning — and one of the rules, which everybody accepted, was 4.1.2, which states on its last paragraphs:
– Don’t badger other users for personal information such as sex, age, or location. After you have built an acquaintance with another user, these questions may be more appropriate, but many people hesitate to give this information to people with whom they are not familiar.
– If a user is using a nickname alias or pseudonym, respect that user’s desire for anonymity. Even if you and that person are close friends, it is more courteous to use his nickname. Do not use that person’s real name online without permission.
Privacy mattered in those days, even considering that the ‘net was such a small place (only 10 million web pages by the time you launched your first Google prototype! How many are stored on your servers’ memory these days? In 2008 or 2009, I believe it was over 6 billion pages). But there was a whole atitude that was part of being a netizen — a citizen of the Internet. And you and Sergey embodied that atitude quite well on the “Ten things we know to be true” philosophy for Google: namely, 1. Focus on the user and all else will follow and, more importantly, 6. You can make money without doing evil. The do-no-evil policy has been pretty much the trademark of Google over the time, and is still what makes Google and Google’s products and services unique: to the best of my knowledge, no other company has stated that so clearly and stuck to it for so many years as a fundamental principle in their business relationships.