Weeks, no one has framed this issue or their concern "around privacy", although that could be added.
I'm certain it is easy for many to interpret or construe this as "marketing business as usual", i.e., the same game as always just a different format.
Google: "Hey, this behavior, of people influencing others, has been going on for years. Magazine advertisers have known this for generations. Google is just claiming to have invented an automated system to exploit the trust that people have formed with others, wherever Google can find trusted or authority relationships, and Google can find them better than anyone else . . and thereby profit."
Go ahead, Google, and patent the process. You think people aren't already cynical? Let's turn it up a notch. Borg everyone who has had an original or trusted thought or idea. Legitimize the whole damned manipulative process by getting the U.S. governments seal of intellectual property approval.
Dear Thought Leaders: Aren't you flattered that Google thinks so highly of you that they might target you?
Actually, it may not be that they think so highly of you but that they think so highly of the opportunity to exploit, for profit, the trust you have gained with others, and they think so highly of the profits they can make that they patented the whole damned seedy process.
Genius, Google, just genius.
[edited by: Webwork at 3:31 pm (utc) on July 7, 2008]