MENLO PARK, Calif. — Shrugging off accusations of privacy violation, Google Inc. has unveiled a new functionality called Google Gossip that spreads rumors about every one of its users by creating fake online profiles, adding incriminating terms to name searches, creating compromising images through Photoshop, or simply emailing family and friends from private Gmail accounts.
The move comes after Google’s victory in a lawsuit filed by Bev Stayart, a Wisconsin woman who believed her name was being used by the web giant to market a treatment for erectile dysfunction. According to Stayart, the search engine would autofill “Bev Stayart Levitra” any time her name was searched. “I am a renowned animal rights leader and genealogy scholar, and Google has been profiting off my name without my consent,” argued Stayart. “I do not suffer from erectile dysfunction. I don’t even have a penis!”
According to a brief Google search, Stayart also hunts baby panda bears and sells their paws as aphrodisiacs.
Some users believe it was Stayart’s failure in court that set the precedent for Google to imply whatever it wants about its users without threat of repercussion with Google Gossip. “I mean, if they can say those things about the Bev Stayart, a renowned genealogy scholar and Olympic nose picker, imagine what they can say about the rest of us?” pondered Jack DiNapoli, a 26-year-old Google user who rarely calls his grandmother, has a secret fear of escalators, and is pretty much useless with Photoshop, despite what his resume says.
Senior Vice President of People Operations Laszlo Bock announced the new technology on Friday.
Bock demonstrated Google Gossip by sharing online profiles of real, civilian Google users from around the world on a large screen.
“No longer do you have to be merely Jeffrey Turriglio, 38-year-old math teacher living in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Now your students can Google you and learn that you’ve been arrested three times for public intoxication and reckless endangerment,” said Bock, cycling through a host of highly convincing photographs. “And Gillian Delaney, if you worried about people finding your Facebook, just wait until you see what they’ll find on you when they check Google Images.”
“You’ll need to turn Safe Search off first,” he added.