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Need love here

Posted by: Sigma - Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:37 am
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Need love here 
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Post Re: Need love here   Posted on: Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:45 pm
That is a bit naive. Google is a merchant of information. It is a corporation no more good or evil than any other. Anything else is just marketing. It only has interests and shareholder value and a lot of either, which gives it a lot of power. Which is dangerous.


Edited to not be so harsh. Yes I am a cynical "naysayer", but at times it is prudent to be so...


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Post Re: Need love here   Posted on: Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:59 pm
Well, we can observe a corporation's behaviour and decide whether we like it or not, and compare its behaviour with other corporations'. For example, we can observe that Apple locks owners of the smart phones and tablets it makes into a walled garden, and sells access to them to App developers. Google makes a free software operating system for smart phones and tablets that people can use as they see fit. (Unfortunately, carriers and handset makers then often lock things up again, but that's not Google's fault, and you can work around this and install CyanogenMod, which is made possible by the fact that Android is free software). Then, we can decide that we like Google's approach better.

Speaking of free software, Google uses free software extensively in its operations, and they contribute back, in the form of code, in pushing for open standards that can be freely implemented by free software, with their Summer of Code project, by providing free hosting, and so on. Apple based MacOS X on BSD and published some of the source as OpenDarwin, but messed up communication so badly that the open source developers quit. Facebook uses free software to the same extent that Google does, but contributes back much less, same thing for Amazon, and of course Microsoft tried to destroy free software back in the nineties, although they lost that battle and have been forced to become a bit milder in recent years as they've become less prominent.

Or we can look at the software patents issue that is currently threatening the IT industry. IBM has always had piles of patents, but has only used them defensively. Microsoft started getting sued for patent infringement left and right some years ago, decided they were behind the curve and defenceless, and started filing patents as fast as they could, again using them only defensively. Amazon famously patented one-click-shopping and sued Barnes&Noble over it; most observers opined that the patent should never have been granted in the first place as this is a business method, not a device, although it did partially hold up in court. Apple recently started a whole campaign of actively suing anyone and everyone using their design patents. Google so far has mostly defended itself using patents it has bought from others (IBM, Motorola) rather than filing a huge pile of patents itself, thus doing what it needs to survive without contributing to the problem.

Microsoft has a history of creating proprietary file standards and communication protocols, or worse, taking an existing open standard and extending it in incompatible ways, then using their OS monopoly to push the open standard out of the market (HTML, HTTP, Kerberos, Java, the list is endless). This breaks the free market because it keeps others from interoperating and competing with Microsoft products. Google's services communicate using open standard protocols (HTTP, HTML, IMAP just to name a few), and their own formats are publicly documented (SPDY, WebM) or have even been spun off into independent open standards (KML).

Oh, forgot to mention Cisco, who happily sold China all the hardware they wanted to implement their Great Internet Firewall that censors the web and chases down dissidents. Google left China completely over censorship issues.

So Google is awesome? Nah, they still (legally, and with help from my country) evade taxes like the rest of them, have a business model that depends on spying on what people do on the web, and then there was that curious incident with the collection of wifi data some time ago. But considering all the above, I wouldn't quite lump them in with the others in general.

PS: as for marketing, it's Facebook who hired a PR agency to make Google look bad, and it's Microsoft that lobbied regulators to investigate Google and that wrecked the Do Not Track-standard in an effort to make Google look bad. So far the only marketing I've seen Google do is big billboards on train stations promoting Chrome. Then again, I block their ads. :-)

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Post Re: Need love here   Posted on: Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:33 pm
There is no such thing as "free". The saying, which Google helped coin, that if you aren't paying for something, YOU are the thing being sold is true. Google does not give it's services and software away out of some sort of charity. It does so because it promotes user adoption and gains market share with which they can leverage for things like advertizing, selling usage data, etc. It's their business model, not any kind of altruism.


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Post Re: Need love here   Posted on: Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:12 pm
Absolutely. Google bought and then developed further and gave away for free Android because Apple's iDevices were threatening to come between Google and the eyeballs they're selling to the advertisers. So Google decided that there had to be an alternative to iOS and Apple, and Android is it. It's a strategic play to protect their interests. But they could have done that with a proprietary platform as well, yet chose to make it open.

Another interesting example is SPDY. Google wants to compete with desktop apps, because the more you do on-line on their systems, the more ads they can serve you and the better they can target them because they know more about you. They found out that the HTTP protocol was never designed for on-line applications, and its inefficiencies are holding back Google's applications. So Google created SPDY, a new protocol that is more suitable. They collaborate with others on this, and SPDY is now supported by Firefox and Opera as well and heading towards being an official IETF standard that everyone can benefit from. Contrast that with Microsoft, which a decade or so ago decided to load pages a bit faster by misimplementing the TCP protocol in an incompatible way. They didn't tell anyone, and it broke everybody else's web server software, but Internet Explorer was nice and fast if you were accessing a Microsoft IIS server. So in these cases, Google helps itself and everyone else while it's at it, while Microsoft helped itself to the detriment of everyone else.

How you do it matters as much as what you do. I'm not so hot on Google's bargain of paying for services with privacy, but an enormous amount of people have no problem with it, and I'm also not arrogant enough to think that I know that much better.

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Post Re: Need love here   Posted on: Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:01 pm
I am trying to change society by giving away tech I think could help drag us out of the stone age,

Open means "ANYONE" can build it,

this by default makes independent actors just as informed as corporations, states and governing bodies,

people will do what is proven to work, regardless of there current scheme, if a cheaper/better/faster alternative emerges,

I am the starving inventor....
I am the starving artist....

I am trying to also be a good father....
this is where all my conflicts arise...
people need to grow together, instead of fall apart...

If we can get to space for less then 10k and its easy lets do that?
screw what everyone else is thinking,

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Post Re: Need love here   Posted on: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:41 am
The problem is that we aren't there yet. We are half-way between the Industrial Age and... whatever you want to call an ideal, Star Trek-y future. Actually most of the world is still trying to leave their prehistoric baggage behind and evolve their cultures into something that can come to grips with being the supreme species on this planet. And it's that stress and the ugly realities of a flawed human world that is causing the economic and political disruptions that are going on today.

I agree with you both Sigma and Lourens that the ideal is something to strive in, I believe very strongly in the open collaborative approach. But I'm also pragmatic and am a student of human nature. Idealism often gets trampled by greed and those with the most resources in order to preserve the status quo.

Lourens wrote:
How you do it matters as much as what you do. I'm not so hot on Google's bargain of paying for services with privacy, but an enormous amount of people have no problem with it, and I'm also not arrogant enough to think that I know that much better.


An enormous amount of people aren't doing anything innovative or otherwise of interest to corporations except going about their little consuming lives (which is also a valuable commodity to them as well).

We are in the "innocence" phase of the electronic age where it's still possible to unplug (barely) and what you do and don't do on the Internet has little detriment to your real life, or that trading your privacy for free stuff seems like a bargain. One only has to look at places like China and Iran to see how things can be very different.


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