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Google strikes back

So, here it is, the long awaited “Google Browser” (called Google Chrome, but the site should go online only tomorrow) has been unveiled in an unconventional announcement in the guise of a comic book.

For the moment, I hold any new comment. I read my old post (from last August). Let’s see if this move will actually make the battleground more free ( by removing the artificial obstacles that an evolution of the Browser technology found because of the war between IE and Firefox) or it will simply be a vehicle by which Google will transform its “presents” (GMail, GCalendar, G<something else>…) into “de-facto” standards.

The initial announcements explicitly thanks what Firefox and Apple Safari did and, more important, commits Google to open-source the innovations that are certainly present in the new Browser.

I suggest people to start reading this post from John Paczkowski, especially what he says at the end:

with its view of the Web as a Web of applications and its multi-process/multi-application design, Chrome almost seems more an operating system than a browser, doesn’t it? Funny, isn’t it. Google’s long been rumored to have been developing a browser and an OS. Who would have known they’d be the same thing ?.

Without having seen and tried yet the Google Chrome browser, I tend to agree with John on the fact that Google is probably shooting towards something that is more an RIA platform than a simple browser.

I would only ask a question. Given the “open source” nature of Firefox, why Google deployed another open-source initiative instead of joining the forces around Firefox ?

Let see when we will better understand how Google Browser is done.

From Internet to Oligarchy

The recent announcement of Microsoft’s intention to buy Yahoo! is, in my opinion, marking the end of the short, initial period during which the Internet was populated by different subjects. During these initial 15 years, the proliferation of different subjects, all fighting against everybody else to gain market share, was allowing independent producers to break in and to find niches not yet occupied by the principal subjects (which were too much busy in fighting….).

The Yahoo! acquisition will, at the end, create a de-facto oligarchy. The two actors (Microsoft and Google) will split their dominance on the world of the Internet thus, de-facto, preventing independent forms of content production to flourish.

The fault of this lays, in my opinion, on the weakness with which the Business and Political worlds accepted the enormous power of Google.

  • It is very sad to see that, instead of facilitating more democracy and competition (and, thus innovation!) by forcing a split of Google or by empowering a non-profit organization for managing the “Internet Search” business, the lack of governance of this fundamental aspect of the modern world (the Internet) allowed the creation of this oligarchy.
  • It is sad to see that, from now on, opposing to Google would imply choosing Microsoft!
  • It will be interesting to understand which effects this new situation will have on IT departments and on the “providers of IT departments” (editors, consulting firms, outsourcing…)
    Will a more safe dominant position in the Internet area (with all the cash flow that could happen from that) change the way in which Microsoft will approach and will be approached by IT shops?

Googlenomiks (or Googlesaurus)

So, I had been late on commenting on other attempts of the big octopus, but I cannot refrain from commenting on this.

Google officially announced a Wikipedia killer: it is called KNOL. Under the seducing title of Encouraging people to contribute knowledge, Google is, actually, directly attacking Wikipedia.

I have never been a big fans of Wikipedia, also. 
I just think Wikipedia is useful and is something that is important in the panorama of the Web; but I still think that I prefer to know who is providing me the information. As I often say, I try to teach my children not to get the free press, because behind the fact that they do not spend money for getting it, some hidden messages can be delivered. And I am using this same argument in my posts against Googlesaurus…

Now, KNOL actually proposes something that I consider interesting and, in principle, more robust and accountable than Wikipedia:

The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors… We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content…

…We hope that knols will include the opinions and points of view of the authors who will put their reputation on the line. Anyone will be free to write. For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject. Competition of ideas is a good thing.

Knols will include strong community tools. People will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, and so on. Anyone will be able to rate a knol or write a review of it. Knols will also include references and links to additional information.

A way in which people will sign what they write; a system where there will be competing opinions. And where people can comment on something that has a signature. I like this!

But:

A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions. Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content…

…At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads. If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads…

…Once testing is completed, participation in knols will be completely open, and we cannot expect that all of them will be of high quality. Our job in Search Quality will be to rank the knols appropriately when they appear in Google search results. We are quite experienced with ranking web pages, and we feel confident that we will be up to the challenge.

Ok. Once again, behind the seducing sentences of “We are very excited by the potential to substantially increase the dissemination of knowledge” or “Google will not ask for any exclusivity on any of this content and will make that content available to any other search engine“, the Googlesaurus shows its aspect and its intention: Wikipedia is out of its control and is, potentially, an incredible source of revenue! It cannot be left there as it is, like an unexploited goldmine.

And, once again, a Big Brother (Google Search Quality) will rank for you what you better read as your primary source of information.

Sorry. The idea is good, but it will turn to be another arrow that will make Google more powerful and, all of us, less free.

I think that some parts of the Internet will need some control. Leaving control to Google is not good. Leaving control to other may not also.

Let’s say NO TO GOOGLE and to its enormous ego! Internet search is too important to be left in the hands of a private company.

P.S.See the Read/WriteWeb article for more information

The Ministry of Truth

Thanks to TonyBlog, and his article How difficult is to be the fastest growing internet company in the world, I discovered a long but very interesting video on Google’s dominance.
I share the video here also for the ones who want to see it from here.

I was hit by several things:

  1. the “Ministry of Truth” thing that happens at the end of the video
  2. the reference to the media monopoly situation that is happening in some parts of Europe (Italy, for instance) and that is scaring lot of people
  3. the fact that the VPs that are interviewed do not show concern about the power they have in their hands.
    They consider that power just from a technology point of view and they came out with statements that look like the following ones (I do not quote exact words…)

    • if we were able to do what we did, everybody can do also.
    • Why would we do something evil?
    • the possibility of beinbg evil is inside every job…

No, I think that we need to come to some action before it is too late. Internet Search is too important to be left in the hands of a private monopoly: Internet Search should be property of no one. The temptation would be too big.

Unavoidability….

Thanks to an IBM internal comment, I discovered the Did you know 2.0 video referenced by Luis in his Reminder of How Much Things Are Changing post.

I have one reaction: frightening. I am scared! I mean, of course the flow of things cannot be reversed, the earth spins from West to East regardless of my opinion (or of the collective opinion thereof…). But there is a difference between acknowledging that something is happening and not doing anything to oppose, right?
I mean, not everything that happens is “a good thing”, in my opinion. We have the right, as human beings, to oppose to things that may not go in the direction we like.

I list here few things I definitely do not like:

  • B.G. : Before Google ????
    Could not believe it!!! There was an era before Google and an era after….
    It is not that I could not believe it. This is a fact. No one can contradict this evidence. But, once spelled in that way, I think it also becomes relevant the question: “if Internet search is SO important and pervasive, could we really afford to leave it in the hands of a single private monopoly?”.
  • Today’s learners will have 10-14 jobs by the age of 38.
    I am not the person who was born in IBM; I just joined 5 years ago (yeah, I am in one of the other statistics) and have been with other 3 companies before in 25 years of work.
    But 10-14 jobs by the age of 38 means that people may change jobs as frequently as each year or 18 months. Is this what companies expect in terms of loyalty from employees? Isn’t it true that people start being really productive once they know the context and the culture of the company they work for? Does this mean we will all have “contractor jobs“, jobs based on a single task to be executed?
  • Half of what a student in a 4-years course studies will be outdated starting when starting his 3rd year.
    Ehi. Culture is not only technology that gets outdated as new inventions happen.
    I think that children and adolescents have the right to study things that will not be directly part of their CV. It is the only moment in life in which they can learn things “just for thesake of learning”, “just to shape their minds and their hearts”, “just to discover what the history has sedimented in thousands of years”.
    We will always have the time to play with the last innovation… but we will not have so much time to read Shakespeare, to learn how to love poetry, to understand how humankind got here where we are.
    Sedimentation of understanding is an important principle that we need to keep in mind. Reading, remembering… and understanding (in order to have culture permeating our lives) are still different processes in our brain, I think (at least they are in mine).
  • Young people Urgently need new skills to succeed in the global economy“.
    Learning new skills is something that has been true always, I guess. The evolution of mankind just did not start yesterday…
    The accent here, though, is on the urgency. Like “we urgently need to eat”…. Urgently!
    Urgently….
    I commented on the pace of this urgency a couple of days ago…
    And the other accent is on the “global economy”. As a big a Godzilla from which we have to defend ourselves… Or as the climate changes that will subvert the needs pyramid and change the way in which we face day-to-day life.
    Looks really like a science-fiction movie, where it seems we are starting to fear about what we are producing but we are already unable to control it.

I cannot consider that all this is unavoidable. I cannot think that we do not have a mean to adapt the pace to our biological rhythm, to the way in which our minds have been shaped and our heart loves.

Internet Search should be property of no one

For the people that start fearing about Google, I suggest reading the following article: Google goes click.
Among the others, I liked this quote:

Further proof, if any were needed, that Google
isn’t a technology company that makes money from ads, it’s an
advertising company that uses technology to lure eyeballs

I start to believe that Internet Search is too delicate a feature, is so important that it cannot be left in the hands of a monopoly.
Internet Search should be property of no one or real competition and alternatives should be promoted.

Internet and freedom… and Google?

Just happened to read this little report on Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt: Google CEO: Internet’s role in freedom still expanding
I just wanted to read as I was immediately surprised by the fact that Google has something to say in that domain. My curiosity did not come without an answer 😉 .
It was interesting reading the following:

Some governments will struggle with how much free expression is too much, he said. Even in Western democracies, such as France and Germany, posting information about the Nazi Party is prohibited, Schmidt said, and other governments will struggle with what expression to allow.

Hey! It is not the first time that I see comparing apples and oranges, but I do not think that it is fair to compare revisioninsm with what happens somewhere else with the support of Google !

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