Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 13th Jan 2012 22:45 UTC, submitted by bowkota
Google It really hasn't been Google's week. First the entire internet exploded because of some uninteresting nonsense regarding social networking (really internet?), but today something happened that's actually a bad thing and worth talking about: in Kenya, Google has been caught accessing the databases of a competing business, and offering Google's own product to the people in the database. Google has already apologised, and is currently investigating the matter.
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RE[4]: monopoly abuse
by Tony Swash on Sat 14th Jan 2012 19:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: monopoly abuse"
Tony Swash
Member since:

"If you really believe in an open web then Google is not a route to it.

So you're saying that in order to have an open web, we need have to user data locked up in silos. In other words, your Google anti-fanboyism is so single-minded that you blindly assume "it must be good if it's bad for Google."

What I am interested in is what is the core dynamic of the different tech giants and what this means for the broader tech scene. Because Google gives so much stuff, often very nice stuff, away for free and talks about being 'open' a lot, it's easy to not see what Google really does as a business and therefore what drives it and what one can expect from it.

As I said Google collects user data to sell advertising. That's it, that's it's sole business. That's the sole way that Google makes money. Everything it does is about ensuring it can collect the maximum user data and sell the most advertising. Google is a rambling entity and so it does many different things simultaneously sometimes very efficiently sometimes less so but everything it does is done to ensure that all user data of everyone on the web is accessible by Google.

This means that Google sees any areas of the internet that are closed to itself as being a threat, they need to be pried open or routed around (usually by just launching a free version and thus destroying the revenue stream of the closed area). Those closed areas are only closed to Google, they are not closed to users who might find them very useful or attractive (for example Facebook).

Sometimes this means Google champions open standards sometimes this means Google champions the rights of carriers and supports moves to end net neutrality. Google does not have a set of principals, merely a core business dynamic that produces a core corporate culture. If it's closed to Google then make it open up.

This may or may not alarm or concern one. It depends on what one thinks is important. It does mean though that if a new area of internet activity and of innovation develops which generates user data then it will automatically attract Google's attention. If the user data from the new activity is open for collection by Google and if it does not offer an alternative non-Google source of advertising then it may not move against that new area of activity. If it is closed to Google then it will almost certainly move against the new activity. I think that that probably militates against innovation in the long run.

I for one find Google's drive to be the universal intermediary on the internet a bit disturbing, I would prefer there to be many intermediaries none of them overwhelming dominate or powerful. Other people may think that getting lots of free stuff is so cool it doesn't matter.

The main thing though is to not pretend that Google is anything other than what it is. The world's largest advertising company.

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