Note to reporters: Don’t f— with Google

Google might come off as nice and cuddly, but it can be pretty ruthless in managing the information that leaves the Googleplex. It already axed an employee who blogged about his work there, and now it seems to be going after media it feels have misbehaved. In a fluff story late last week based off Google’s cheery press release about looking for two new executive chefs, CNET revealed that Google has put it in a press penalty box until July 2006 and won’t talk to reporters from the widely-read tech publication. The crime? CNET ran a critical article about the amount of personal information available through Google, highlighting the fact with some choice tidbits about Google CEO Eric Schmidt, like his hobbies and political activities. (The article now includes a correction, which says the original story mischaracterized how Google’s desktop search works.) Google declined comment about this post. Google’s actions appear reminiscent of Altera, a Silicon Valley chip company, which decided to freeze out a Wells Fargo analyst in retaliation for his negative research reports. Altera ended up apologizing late last month for its heavy-handed tactics after Tad LaFountain, the frozen-out analyst, dropped coverage of the company and went public with Altera’s policy.

 —Posted by Brian Morrissey