The Higgs mechanism is often explained (both here at PF and in many physics sites including wikipedia) as an example of spontaneous symmetry breaking, but the Nobel winner physicist 't Hooft says in his "for laymen" book about particle physics, "In search of the ultimate building blocks", that the Higgs mechanism is not really an spontaneous symmetry breaking kind of mechanism, and that if it was, the weak interaction bosons would be Goldstone bosons and therefore couldn't be massive as they are, so it wouldn't explain the very thing the Higgs mechanism is there to solve, namely the masses of the particles. Could somebody explain if this is so and what is the subtle difference between the true spontaneous symmetry breaking and the Higgs mechanism? I guess this is related to this words form wikipedia to explain how the gauge boson acquire mass: "In theories with gauge symmetry, the Goldstone bosons are "eaten" by the gauge bosons." I understand this "eating" refers to the existence of the Higgs field with a >0 VEV, but why photons remain massless then? Also at high energies all particles are supposed to be massless, why the Higgs field doesn't interact to give particles mass at those enrgies, is it because its VEV is zero there?