Sunday, April 05, 2009

Hating the player, and not grokking the game.

Henry Porter, a Limey columnist with that Moody Loner look that suggests he's only a pair of sunglasses and a hoodie away from typing manifestos in a tar paper shack, feels that the benevolent governments of the world should, while they're binding the mouths of the financial industry kine, look into regulating that soul-destroying internet thing too.

People's Enemy Number One in Porter's eyes is, ironically, the "Don't Be Evil" company itself, Google.

Now, personally, I'm no huge fan or detractor of the company, finding them no eviller or gooder than most other tech firms, but the thing that gave me the gasping giggles was his portrayal of Google as some eternal, thuggish, robber-baron monopoly that has taken over the internet, rather than simply the current top dog until someone comes along with a better mousetrap. I mean, wasn't it just a few years ago that sclerotic industry giant Microsoft owned the intertubes because they bundled Explorer with Windows? Now less than a third of VFTP readers browse this page with Microsoft's browser while over half use some version or another of Firefox. In an industry where empires rise and fall in less time than it takes to earn a Bachelor's in Computer Science, panicky cries of "Monopoly!" always strike me as a little, well, clueless.


staghounds said...

The world monopoly of Finance, Big Steel and the Big Three car makers, with their tech Familiar, IBM, will still rule the world in the 21st century.

Like the Cold War will still threaten us, unless we have a NUCLEAR FREEZE NOW!!!!

Oh, wait, I was channeling 1985...

How about that Patriot Act repeal! That's the cange we voted for!

Borepatch said...

Alas, cluelessness hasn't ever slowed the chattering class down. All articles ever produced by the MSM on the subject of gun control are offered as Exhibit A.

the pawnbroker said...

mr. porter...simply a cog in the O-rganization doing his bit to divert attention from the effort to complete the real monopoly...

as i said before, nationalization was and is the ultimate goal, and its the intertoobz turn for conversion. we just need a netczar to get the ball -or toob- rolling. algore...paging algore...

although judging from the recent gee!20 suckfest, nationalization may be an underestimate...the O-rganization for gl-O-balization?


Anonymous said...

Why do people use google? Because they want to. There are enough alternatives that it isn't like their tastefully restrained logo art is being shoved down our throats at gunpoint. (Unlike a certain stimulus package...)


Joanna said...

I use Google for a lot of things (online document storage, blogging, e-mail ... ), but like you said -- it's only until something better comes along. In the meantime, it's free, and there *are* alternatives.
People who think that's a monopoly probably have larger control issues that affect more than just their view of the Internet.

Aaron said...

Nail on the head and then some. When I started my CS degree everyone wanted a job at Microsoft. When I graduated they all wanted a job at a hot new startup. Now all the folks graduating from that program want a job at Google.

Tomorrow they'll all want a job at the Next Big Thing, whatever that is.

Jenny said...

I have to break with the consensus a little by saying Google has an uncomfortable amount of power for my tastes - especially with the ability to mark sites as unsafe, which can route traffic away from pretty much any site they choose. That said, as far as I can tell they've handled that power well, and we've seen only honest mistakes, not abuses.

But having grown up working on a much more "free range" web, putting up that kind of fencing makes me itchy.

Add to that the document hosting tied in with email and blogging Joana mentions. TANSTAAFL goes both ways there. All those servers don't run for free, even if we don't see the charge*.

So far they've handled their power well. Yes, it's always possible for a competitor to push them off the hill.

I'm still itchy over 'em.

As much as we've seen the effective nationalization of companies lately, the ability of a company to pretty much provide a made-to-order enemies list complete with documentation of everything you ever said in email or wrote in private documents is just a wee bit unsettling. All the more when browsers are getting written to restrict access to sites marked as dubious.

Again - not being misused now, far as I can tell. But given the potential should the Feds step in and say "it's an emergency, we need your cooperation" well... I just don't trust Google's definition of "evil" to mesh up perfect with mine.

That's not a "they're an evil (gasp) CORPORATION shut them down" panic, that's a "be smart about what you say even in email, and have lots of backup points of contact with multiple providers" concern.


* Hence I go with the "never put anything on a foreign server you're not willing to see datamined" regardless any privacy clause in the sign-up legal verbage.

mts1 said...

Now less than a third of VFTP readers browse this page with Microsoft's browser while over half use some version or another of Firefox.

Wow, what don't you know about your readership? How much CAN you see?

Something tells me I better wash this monitor screen and clean the paperwork pile off of the table behind me, before I start getting better housekeeping reminders. Okay, I'll quit slouching, too.

Anonymous said...

MTS1 - it is a feature sitemeter provides. I did a similar post here, it has a screencap. Sitemeter is free if you want to try it.


B Smith said...

Oh, I love that first paragraph. You have such a wonderful way with snark.

Keep up the fine work!

WV: cones. On their heads.

the pawnbroker said...

better mousetrap cometh...?


Mark said...

I made an international phone-call over the free Skype client on my iThingy a few minutes ago.

I hear AT&T are a bit pissed about it. *shrugs*

Old and slow gets to die. Young, energetic and mobile gets to thrive.

Gee, you'd think that maybe Darwin was onto something. Nah, the planet's only 6,000 years old, Bible said so....