Wednesday, September 7

You're English, right? No? Irish?

It's weird how Google and Yahoo! are alike in so many underlying ways. They share a lot of common IT environment DNA, and Google has poached a lot of good people from Yahoo! over the last few years (hello Katie!) but some of the similarities go much deeper still.

While working at Yahoo! we had no end of trouble with localising web pages using some internally-developed form-based admin tools. All the time, you'd go to edit the Australian English version of, say, the Terms of Service page, and then find you'd also added the same changes to all the other international English versions of Yahoo!. Or for no apparent reason, suddenly our Australian users were being shown a Privacy page that referred to Yahoo! UK & Ireland, or Canada.

The same freaky sh*t happens at Google too, so often that even though I'm not a frequent Google customer, I still see it happen about once every six months. Checking my Google AdWords program Terms and Conditions page today, I see all these references to Google Ireland mixed in, even though I'm a Google Australia customer:

Google Ireland Limited AdWords Program Terms

These Google Ireland Limited AdWords Program Terms ("Terms") are entered into by you and Google Ireland Limited ("Google") regarding the Google AdWords Program ("Program") as further described in the Program's frequently asked questions at (the "FAQs") (collectively, the "Agreement"). "You" or "you" means the party listed on the account you create and you represent you have the authority to agree to this Agreement for that party. You represent and warrant that you are authorized to act on behalf of, and bind to this Agreement, any third party for which you generate ads. You hereby agree and acknowledge:

1 Policies. Program use is subject to all applicable Google and Partner policies, including without limitation the Editorial Guidelines (, Google Privacy Policy ( and Trademark Guidelines ( Policies may be modified any time. You shall direct only to Google communications regarding your ads on Partner Properties. Some Program features are identified as "Beta," "Ad Experiment," or otherwise unsupported ("Beta Features"). To the full extent permitted by law, Beta Features are provided "as is" and at your option and risk. You shall not disclose to any third party any information from, existence of or access to Beta Features. Google may modify ads to comply with any Google Property or Partner Property policies.

I don't know if these very similar problems mean that Google hired someone who developed the internationalisation tools at Yahoo!, or whether there was some open-source code-sharing going on, but I can rest easy in the knowledge that if Google ever wanted to enforce these terms on me, I could show that they were invalid.

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