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Firefox Creator No Longer Trusts Google 528

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the watching-the-watchmen dept.
watashi writes "Blake Ross the man whose scratched itch became the Firefox browser explains on his blog why he has a problem with Google's policy of promoting their own products over competitors' in search results. His main gripe is that the tips (e.g. "Want to share pictures? Try Google Picasa") result in an inability for other products (perhaps even Parakey?) to compete for the top slot on Google."
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Firefox Creator No Longer Trusts Google

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  • by mr_zorg (259994) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @10:42PM (#17394632)
    Wah. Why shouldn't Google put their own products first? Name me one other company that wouldn't do the same thing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The problem is that Google has a monopoly on web search, and as such, they cannot simply do what other companies would do. As it is, Google is using its web search monopoly as leverage to promote its non-search products (Picasa, Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Talk, Gmail, Blogger, etc), to the disadvantage of others that produce better products in those areas.
      • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:14PM (#17394864)

        The problem is that Google has a monopoly on web search, and as such, they cannot simply do what other companies would do. As it is, Google is using its web search monopoly as leverage to promote its non-search products (Picasa, Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Talk, Gmail, Blogger, etc), to the disadvantage of others that produce better products in those areas.
        They do? What about http://www.altavista.com/ [altavista.com] http://www.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] and http://www.live.com/ [live.com] ? Do they not work? Are you confusing popularity with monopolies?

        Nobody is stopping you from using those other search engines.

    • by RobinH (124750) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:00PM (#17394770) Homepage
      Wah. Why shouldn't Google put their own products first? Name me one other company that wouldn't do the same thing.

      Any company would, and that's why we have anti-trust laws. If Google gets a defacto monopoly on searches (which it hasn't got yet), then manipulating the search results to promote it's own non-search related products would be a clear anti-trust violation. Plus, Google has told us their motto is "don't be evil", and manipulating search results is at the very least naughty.
      • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:09PM (#17394824) Journal
        I see no naughtyness. Search results are search results. Paid ads are paid ads. We can all tell the difference, and for those a little less intellectually endowed, Google has colored the ad bar and noted it "sponsored link(s)". An ad placed by google has opportunity cost associated with it.

        FWIW, a google for "Online Maps" brings up Mapquest in second place. You know who was in first? Multimap.com. Google maps hit the top of the blue bar; Mapquest was the top of the sidebar. Google maps, btw, wasn't in the first two pages of search results. (A Google search for "map" has maps.google.com first, mapquest second, with that order recreated in the blue bar)
        • by blakeross (611172) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:15PM (#17394874) Homepage

          > We can all tell the difference

          There is opinion and then there is fact [usatoday.com].

          > An ad placed by google has opportunity cost associated with it.

          A tip does not.

          • by ringm000 (878375) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:41PM (#17395036)
            >> We can all tell the difference

            > There is opinion and then there is fact.

            No one considers banning the lotteries yet. Isn't it fair for stupidity to be taxed?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Malfourmed (633699)

            An ad placed by google has opportunity cost associated with it.

            A tip does not.

            I disagree. The opportunity cost is the money google could have made by selling the tip to another provider. As you point out, tips have icons - and are also phrased in terms of advice by a trusted party rather than advertising - two attributes which no doubt would attract a price premium.

            While your argument is well thought out, I don't have a huge problem with google cross-marketing its products in this way, probably because (a)

      • by kenwd0elq (985465) <kenwd0elq@gmail.com> on Friday December 29, 2006 @01:54AM (#17395790)
        Google lost the right to use the "Don't be evil" motto when they teamed up with the Communist rulers of China to censor search results for Chinese subjects.
        • by DrEldarion (114072) on Friday December 29, 2006 @04:14AM (#17396372)
          So which is better, at least getting a foot in the door in China for the potential to even MAKE a fight at one point in time, or just leaving them to do their own thing which has just worked so wonderfully in the past? Would you rather have all the major search engines in China be controlled by the government and have no outside presence at all?

          If you actually stop and think for a second instead of making knee-jerk reactions, it's pretty cut-and-dry what the better choice is.
        • by Caspian (99221) on Friday December 29, 2006 @08:30AM (#17397204)
          "Google lost the right to use the "Don't be evil" motto when they teamed up with the Communist rulers of China to censor search results for Chinese subjects."

          It's 2006; the era of McCarthyism is dead. Is there really a reason why people still use the word "Communist" as a sort of bogeyman? China's leaders aren't evil because they're communists (and, by the way, they aren't); they're evil because they're evil.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ahodgson (74077)
            Is there really a reason why people still use the word "Communist" as a sort of bogeyman?

            Probably because all Communist regimes really were, and continue to be, pretty much pure evil.
        • by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Friday December 29, 2006 @09:56AM (#17397644) Homepage Journal
          I'd say Google has a pretty good argument that the Chinese people aren't losing anything by having Google censored, as if Google didn't do it China'd just block the entire country from going to Google.
      • by mstone (8523) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:04AM (#17396086)
        I think your reality check bounced..

        If Google had a de facto monopoly on search, it wouldn't mean squat. A company that wants to promote its photo app on Google isn't competing with Google in the search market. It's using Google as an advertising medium. The only way for antitrust law to come into play is if Google gets some kind of monopoly on 'advertising media', and there's no way that can possibly happen.

        Nothing Google does in its search results page prevents a company from running print ads in trade magazines or doing TV and radio spots. If you want to restrict the discussion to 'online advertising', nothing Google does on its search results page will prevent a company from hiring an actual marketing agent who's willing to do the legwork of finding the top 100 websites visited by the company's core audience and buying ad space there, or better still, working deals that will see the company's product discussed in the direct content of those sites (thus gaining the product a high page rank in Google's non-paid search results, and avoiding the "nobody actually talks about our product but we're going to buy our way onto the search page anyway" games entirely).

        This whole "Google won't let me buy the top slot, waah-waah-waah" bullshit is the sound made by people who are too cheap, stupid, or lazy to get out there and do some actual MARKETING. They want to click a "send me business" button and have the world beat a path to their door, largely based on the hard-earned-and-diligently-maintained reputation Google has won for providing relevant and trustworthy search results.

        People also have this strange notion that 'top slot' has some magical value that no other slot has. Seriously: I defy anyone to show me a meaningful financial breakdown of the difference in value between "number one slot on Google's paid search list" and "number two slot on Google's paid search list." If Google is 'harming' its competitors by keeping the #1 slot for itself, someone please define that 'harm' in actual shillings and pence. If you can't, there's no way you could establish standing to file a lawsuit, let alone claim any damages.

        Besides, Google putting its own products at the top of the paid links list is the very antithesis of anticompetitive behavior. When you see the link to Google's product, you also see links to other products that compete directly with Google's stuff. Please explain how we entered the Bizarro World where 'giving everyone the URLs to all your competitors' has come to be construed as 'anticompetitive behavior'. Christ on a pogo stick, people, show me three other companies that devote half as many resources to 'promoting competing products' as Google.

    • by tpv (155309) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:28PM (#17394954) Homepage
      Why shouldn't Google put their own products first?
      Because ultimately it may not be in their best interests.

      Google relies on trust. I enter my search criteria, and Google returns the "best" results it can find.
      If users start to think that Google is manipulating those results for their own gain, then they will stop trusting the results and start looking at other search engines.

      Is this "hints" section a sign that Google has crossed the line? Maybe - that's for each person to decide - but there is a line there, and Google needs to walk it very carefully if they want to maintain that trust relationship.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KillerCow (213458)

      Wah. Why shouldn't Google put their own products first? Name me one other company that wouldn't do the same thing.

      Microsoft. Microsoft would never leverage their leadership position in one market to capture new markets or lock out competitors. They would never bundle or cross-promote their products. They would never prevent their competitors from reaching their customers. They would never use their monopoly position to push into other spaces or prevent competition.

      Wait... they do do that. But... Slashd

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 28, 2006 @10:43PM (#17394634)
    My scratched itch became ringworm.

    I wish I had more ambition. And less fungus.
  • Parakey? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jbarr (2233) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @10:44PM (#17394640) Homepage
    This is the third reference I have seen to Parakey in the past two days, yet when you go to their sight, it's nothing more than a solicitation for an email address for a product announcement. Anyone care to explain what it is? (I know, I know, Google it, but then again, wouldn't that go against the intent of the article? ;-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shazow (263582)
      Wikipedia tends to be better for this type of thing. Here's an excerpt from Parakey @ Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

      Parakey is a Web-based computer user interface proposed by Firefox creator Blake Ross. Ross describes it as a "a Web operating system that can do everything an OS can do." [...]

      That explains the reference to Firefox and Blake Ross. I guess it is kind of on topic... in a strange sort of way.

      - shazow

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        so, what Blake is complaining about is that when comparing vaporware products to actual products that do what the user wants, google should ignore the actual product and promote the vaporware product nobody else has heard about, because He is the supposed author of said vaporware product.

        Got it.

        Somewhere deep inside, my view of Firefox just diminished.
    • by mr_zorg (259994)
      It is apparently going to be a "Web OS" by the guy who started Firefox. You can read an interview with him in the IEEE Spectrum [ieee.org] in which he talks a bit about it.
      • Re:Parakey? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by suv4x4 (956391) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:12PM (#17394848)
        From Wikipedia: Parakey is a Web-based computer user interface proposed by Firefox creator Blake Ross. Ross describes it as a "a Web operating system that can do everything an OS can do."

        Uhmm... everything? Like run device drivers and manage memory allocation and multitasking :P?

        Have people forgotten that an "OS" comprises more than a shiny GUI? Well let's see how his "OS" performs when it doesn't have a real "OS" to run on top of.

        Can't people call it the way it is: Web GUI, Web Desktop, Web Apps...

  • Business (Score:4, Insightful)

    by markalot (67322) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @10:44PM (#17394642)
    It's a business. Maybe he should run his own search engine, spend millions+ on hardware and then not profit from it.

    In other words, I don't have a problem with this in the least.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573)
      If *that* is what he's really concerned with as the #1 reason why he shouldn't "trust" them, then he's fucking retarded.

      Seriously, that's the least of the world's problems if Google decides to actually "do evil".
      • Re:Business (Score:5, Interesting)

        by metlin (258108) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:50PM (#17395100) Journal
        "Doing evil" as you put it isn't something that is going to magically happen one fine day.

        It is something that creeps up, a little at a time.

        Google had promised not to do evil, and it always starts small. Remember that there was a time when MS was the underdog. Google starts with corrupting ads and results now, and of course such things as revealing the search information of someone [boingboing.net]:

        Google has confirmed that it can provide search terms if given an Internet address or Web cookie, but has steadfastly refused to say how often such requests arrive. (Microsoft, on the other hand, told us that it has never received such queries for MSN Search, and AOL says it could not provide the information if asked.)

        Of course, I will not even mention what happened with Google China etc.

        The thing is, most people will not notice if Google was turning evil because it's not like one fine day they decide to do evil things. Remember that they are a publicly traded company, and sooner or later the desire for profit will win out over everything else.

        They have already decided not to provide search results in a nation where such things as massacres by the government occured, and they have provided data to government agencies and refused to disclose how often they do this.

        The thing about "evil" is not that it happens, it's that you would not know if it did. Who knows what else Google does with all that information?

        That is the scary part. /tinfoil hat

        Just my two cents and all that! :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aladrin (926209)
      I agree. And we've seen no proof that Google refuses to put others first. All we've seen is a TON of businesses unwilling to put that kind of cash into advertising on Google. If a business paid enough, I'm sure they could get first place, even over Google apps.

      Also, if you go on Google and search for 'maps'... I think there's a pretty darned good chance you are looking for 'Google Maps', and not someone else's. There's every reason to believe that Google's apps are #1 on their search engine because peo
      • Re:Business (Score:4, Informative)

        by blakeross (611172) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:19PM (#17394908) Homepage
        > I agree. And we've seen no proof that Google refuses to put others first.

        Actually, that's the crux of the post: by taking itself out of its ad network, Google has guaranteed its own ad positioning--three weeks after reassuring advertisers that it played by the same rules they do. Did you read the post?
  • Priorities (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mikerm19 (809641) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @10:46PM (#17394652) Journal
    I would rather them concentrate on fixing the memory leaks then who they should trust.
    • True. I don't mind the leak, but I do mind that I've had FF crash or stall out on occasion and this is with only two extensions running, Flashblock and Adblock. The Mac version can't show the contents of folders on bookmark toolbars when the program is on the secondary screen. If FF is on the secondary screen, the pull-down menu shows up on the primary screen.
  • by grolschie (610666) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @10:47PM (#17394658)
    Google's site, Google's rules. Don't like it? You have other choices. Unlike Microsoft products, it's not like many of us are locked into using Google. Just the way I see it.
  • Let's get real... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by creimer (824291) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @10:48PM (#17394672) Homepage
    It's no longer cool to be whining about Microsoft. That's why everyone is starting to whine about Google.
    • Everybody dumps on the top dog. Until he's no longer top dog, and the new top dog has to take the abuse. There's plenty of whining about Microsoft when it comes to other things, but Google is the perceived top dog when it comes to search. So that's where all the crap flows.

      I have a straightforward policy regarding trust: if it comes to my house in a TCP/IP packet I don't trust it. I may find it useful, but I don't trust it. So Google can do what they want, but if they become too untrustworthy (too "evil"
    • I've been a big Google fan for many years now since I started using them in 2000. I was the sort of idiot who got people to try them out in the early days and changed my clients' default search engines to them :) But now... man, the results they're dredging up in the last few weeks have been so atrocious I'm trying to jump ship to another search engine with a clean design and actually good results (still looking though.. Yahoo has nice results, but is surrounded by spam and distractions).

      I think people have
  • by blakeross (611172) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @10:52PM (#17394706) Homepage
    Some people seem to find it incomprehensible that a person might genuinely put others' interests above his own. This has nothing to do with Parakey, which won't even exist for some time. You would think this statement from the post would defuse conspiracy theorists: "I believe, for instance, that shipping Internet Explorer with Windows was a good move." Hmm, doesn't that hurt Firefox?

    I wrote about the issue because I believe it's important. You are, of course, welcome to disagree.
  • Uh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scapermoya (769847) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:02PM (#17394780) Homepage
    Google isn't some public service that needs to be "fair." If consumers start to feel like google's self-promotion degrades the quality of the (free, bear in mind) service they provide, then they will stop using it.

    People need to stop treating really good ideas like something that we have a right to have.
    • Re:Uh.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JFMulder (59706) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:29PM (#17394958)
      Great post. I was going to post something similar, but I'll add to it.

      It's like owning a hockey team. For many many years, the Molson beer company (a Canadian beer company which merged with the American beer company Coors a few years ago) was the majority (or complete?) owner of the Montreal Canadians. Because of this, the only beer you could buy at the forum was Molson beer. Even more, it was the only beer you could see advertised or sold during Montreal Canadian hockey games or Montreal Canadian related events. Molson had a monopoly over beer consuption during the hockey games. It truly was a monopoly since no other beer company could advertise there. Who in their right mind would allow advertising from a competitor in their own distribution or promotional channel?

      I see Google's situation the same. They own the space and the distribution channel. They have the right to advertise anything they want in there.

      (On an unrelated note, now that Molson sold the hockey team to George Gillet, an american interrest, they are still the only beer company associated with the team. Why? They offered the best advertising dollars to the team and became one of the biggest sponsor)
  • by Astarica (986098) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:06PM (#17394806)
    Didn't Google object having Microsoft put their own site as default search engine of IE7?

    Of course, Google lost that one too, though in this case, as I understand it, there is no way to ever get the top spot from the ones Google wants their stuff at the top, whereas you could configure IE7 to use another search engine.
  • by briancnorton (586947) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:23PM (#17394926) Homepage
    Can you believe an ad-supported free service would be SO BOLD as to put THEIR OWN ADS into the results? What a bunch of Nazis, I bet they vote republican and sacrifice fuzzy animals to lord satan. That's just criminal, like an organization putting their own preferred [google.com] home page on a new browser installation.
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:26PM (#17394942) Homepage
    > Google can make a Picasa ad say "Easier to use than Kodak," but Kodak cannot
    > create an ad that reads "Easier to use than Picasa."

    Where is the support for this claim? Neither would be trademark infringement.
  • by SocialWorm (316263) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:32PM (#17394976) Homepage
    One thing that I haven't seen anyone else mention yet is, regardless of if Google dominates search and search advertisement or not, they have an opportunity cost in that they could be advertising something for someone else in the space they take for themselves. This is true even if it's in a space of the page that isn't used for AdWords (Seriously, what would YOU pay to place a link to your site on Google's front page? What do you think Amazon, Netflix, or WalMart would pay, given the chance?). If Google gives up a click that they would get money for in order to promote something of their own, so be it. They are, after all, paying for it!
  • by moochfish (822730) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:35PM (#17394992)
    Last time I checked, Mozilla owed a huge debt of gratitude to Google. Wasn't it Google that helped them get off the ground by making browser development a financially viable business model, and even helped distribute the browser with the Google Pack? In fact, they even describe Firefox as helping you "browse the web quickly and securely [google.com]." I didn't see Yahoo, MSN, or Ask pushing Firefox the way Google did. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

    Yeah, some stuff google does might justify a feeling of distrust. But ad placement for their in-house products? Not having ads for Outlook on Mozilla's homepage doesn't make Mozilla less trustworthy.
    • by blakeross (611172) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:43PM (#17395048) Homepage
      > I didn't see Yahoo, MSN, or Ask pushing Firefox the way Google did.

      And you believe those engines (with the exception of MSN, perhaps :) wouldn't similarly support Firefox if *they* were the default? We made Google the default in Firefox long before Firefox was popular because we believed Google provided the best service to our users. Perhaps that's why I'm upset with the company now. It was only once Firefox started getting big and driving significant traffic to Google that a deal was cut.

      > Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

      I criticize Google because I want to see them improve.
  • by davmoo (63521) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:42PM (#17395044)
    Okay, so Google pushes their own products ahead of everyone else's. Would someone please name me a company that produces a product but pushes someone else's product ahead of their own? I guess you expect Ford to start selling Chryslers, eh? I bet you think Apple will start positively advertising the availability of Windows Vista, too.

    Grow up. Google is a company. It can preach all the "do no evil" it wants to. But ultimately it will behave like a corporation. And putting your own product first is not "evil".
  • by dreemernj (859414) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:46PM (#17395078) Homepage Journal
    It's understandable. Firefox was a rallying cry against Microsoft, the monopoly, the company that only cared about making money, not following standards and playing friendly. But now Firefox is controlled by a for-profit company (the Mozilla Corporation), it is heavily backed by Google, a ginormous for-profit company, and he is starting to get nervous that Firefox is becoming the very thing that people were fighting against when they so openly accepted it.

    So, he is going to be extra vocal about not playing fair.
  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Friday December 29, 2006 @12:24AM (#17395290)
    I guess he finally realized how the capitalist system works.
  • Vertical Monopoly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 29, 2006 @01:42AM (#17395716)
    I think what Blake is trying to say, is that Google has created a modern day internet-ified "vertical monopoly" over certain kinds of software.

    Traditionally, vertical monopolies simply came about when companies purchased every level of manufacturing from resource acquisition to brick and mortar product retailers. Nowadays, especially in the burgeoning industry of internet-based software solutions, there is no 'resource acquisition' or 'brick and mortar product retailers.' Instead there is 'source code' and 'web advertising.'

    With Picasa/Google Calendar/Google Maps, Google has absolute control and ownership over every stage of development from 'source code' to 'web advertising.'

    Now the typical argument is "so what? isn't that what companies are supposed to do?" and that argument is absolutely right. Companies truly do aim for complete monopolization of an industry, either vertically or horizontally. This allows them to minimize costs, and ultimately deliver a better product to consumers.

    In an idealistic world there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. If Linux was the only operating system in the world, there would be no "compatibility problems" (see Apple Computer, for an example of just such a OS->Hardware vertical monopoly). Problematically, Google is not Apple. Apple is 15% of the market. Google is nearly 80% (in its respective field).

    If Google is allowed to continue it's course of action, it will be as if Microsoft decided to start selling computer hardware (like Apple). This can be very bad for consumers. Say Microsoft wants to "buy marketshare" and gives away free laptops that are fast, problem free, and run windows (yeah, yeah, yeah, oxymoron, don't belong in the same sentence, your jokes aren't that clever so suspend your disbelief for the sake of argument).

    That's great... people start making accessories that only work with Microsoft laptops because they have 90% marketshare (see iPod). Soon all the other laptop companies go out of business because who can compete with a free laptop that's faster and better than yours? Now Microsoft laptops determine what new features are allowed (if iPod says no wireless connectivity, consumers don't get wireless connectivity. Thank God for big companies like Microsoft willing to step up to the plate... too bad Apple's marketing has made the iPod 'too cool' for the Zune, so consumers will have to wait for Steve Jobs to decide we're ready for wi-fi mp3 players before we can trade songs with each other on the go. Normally in a non-monopolized industry, one company would introduce wireless connectivity, and everybody else would follow to "keep up" but with iPods dominating the marketplace, smaller companies can all add wireless connectivity and Apple can simply "not care.")

    1 year later, Microsoft decides to jack up the price of the laptops to $2000. No other companies exist, and consumers must deal with it because all other choices are gone.

    So that's why monopolies are bad... I thought you all knew that, but from the comments I've seen so far it seems like that's not the case. Just because it's in the best interest for the company, doesn't mean it isn't ultimately bad for consumers.

    If Google (with an immense market share of web advertising/search advertising) kicks out competitors in picture management software by giving away Picasa and minimizing advertising exposure of other companies, the other companies will go out of business and we will view/organize our pictures at the whim of Google.

    If Google truly "does no evil" and never ever screws us over in the future, that's fine. But someday, the current CEO's/board of directors will move on, and somebody a little more greedy may take their place.

    It's best not to let any company achieve that much power over any area of industry.
  • So, what about... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr. Picklesworth (931427) on Friday December 29, 2006 @01:43AM (#17395722) Homepage
    So what about when I search Google and it tells me that there are image results which I can see if I use Google Image Search. Or what about when I get an email with a date in it, so GMail offers to add an entry in my calendar? Or if Google Maps makes itself known when I am dealing with locations?

    Do you consider that such a thing is a problem, and that the search engine should instead not show me sample thumbnails from the image search but rather leave me to figure out its existence?
    This also happens with Yahoo, by the way.

    How is this different from telling me that I can use Picasa as a photo organizer when I search for a photo organizer? After all, they are both services hosted by Google.

    This is all something called integration, which is a wonderful thing that lots of software developers strive to achieve. For example, the various programs in a good Linux distro all know how to talk to each-other and all share the same GUI library. An office suite like Microsoft Office 2007 has each program able to host content created by another program. In OpenOffice I know that I can add an equation via Writer by going to Insert->Object->Formula or I can run OpenOffice Math to create one separately.

    Nobody complains about those features, so why is it a problem that Google does it?

    ...Or is there a double-standard here? Is Google only allowed to tell you about their services when you aren't explicitly asking for services which they offer?

  • No need to worry... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bnf (16861) on Friday December 29, 2006 @05:06AM (#17396556) Homepage
    pop will eat itself

    (forgive me, but let me go on a rant...)

    which is to say that the common fancy becomes so common that it's commonality becomes a point of contention and leads to the fancy's demise. We're just about there with the ubiquity of google now just like we've been there before with IBM and at&t and ford and pan am.... this is the cyclic nature of (near)natural monopolies. Their success is their importance is their weight which means every step they take is heavy and is heard. Of course they can't be trusted; their success means that they've become "the man". It's easy to look sceptically upon them. How dare they self-agrandize. How dare they try to shape the world into their vision. Aren't they being irresponsible in propogating that vision?

    It's very easy to be egalitarian in the face of such things. Big bad google is the new big bad wolf... They don't care about me, they only care about their stock price, which is all their stock holders (read: owners, read: larry and sergey) care about.

    (The egalitarian view is always in conflict with the view of any particular hive, otherwise you're just kissing up to the masses and appear wishy washy)

    From the google IPO filing:
    Kumbaya: "We aspire to make Google an institution that makes the world a better place. And now, we are in the process of establishing the Google Foundation. We intend to contribute significant resources to the foundation, including employee time and approximately 1 percent of Google's equity and profits in some form."

    in present time that rings: "we have a foundation for good to offset our foundation of commerce. Hopefully it will mitigate the evil enough for your tastes"...

    but now we're at the "what have you done for me lately" phase with the over arching question of "prove to me it's not just the money". They have a particular PR battle on their hands since they are so much better off with us on their side. I mean, what if we all of the sudden realized that other search products were at least as good?

    but they're not. Right? The other tools aren't as familiar or as elegant or as relevant. So at the end of the day this argument is moot. You can grumble as you use google or you can nod, but nine time out of ten the big G is still your dog when it comes to playing fetch with the net.
    • by blakeross (611172) on Friday December 29, 2006 @05:14AM (#17396596) Homepage
      Right? The other tools aren't as familiar or as elegant or as relevant. So at the end of the day this argument is moot.

      I think you raise a very good point, but I don't think the argument is moot. Using a service and trusting a service are very different. When I trust a service, a competitor has to be significantly better to get me. When I'm neutral, the competitor has to be a little better. When I distrust a service, the competitor only has to be equal. Brand loyalty is important.

  • Language (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MidnightBrewer (97195) on Friday December 29, 2006 @08:47AM (#17397260)
    I find it more more annoying that Google insists that localized versions of Firefox automatically default to that locale's official language, and won't let you change this default no matter what. I live in Japan, and yes, I speak and read Japanese, but I'd prefer my searches not be limited by language. I have to click "search the entire web" every single time, which means searching twice. No other search engine has this built-in limitation.

    Ironically, Yahoo! is the search engine of choice in Japan, and doesn't discriminate against language. Also, their results are often better than Google's.
  • Really? No Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luscious868 (679143) on Friday December 29, 2006 @09:43AM (#17397518)
    Newsflash people: Google is a company that is in the game to make money. "Do No Evil" .. what a joke. Google is going to do what's in it's own best interest. All smart companies do. So enough of this outrage. Some of you people act like little kids who've just found out there's no Santa Clause. Google screwing someone or some thing to make money? No shit. Deal with it. This crap from Google will continue so stop worshiping them like they are the second coming of Jesus Christ. They are not. If screwing someone will result in making some money they will opt to do it. It's just a matter of degree. It's time to recognize that and deal with it.

If a thing's worth having, it's worth cheating for. -- W.C. Fields

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