Why Google gets so much credit

Why does Google get so much credit in the technology industry? Why, despite the company’s many obvious failings, do many geeks and enthusiasts still hold a somewhat positive view on the all-knowing technology giant? A specific talk at Google I/O this week provides the answer.

Can you imagine going to WWDC, and sit down at a presentation about how to jailbreak the iPad to install all sorts of cool extensions on it, or even install Android on it? Can you imagine going to a Microsoft conference to learn how to hack the Surface RT and install KDE’s Plasma on it?

Google Glass is one of the most prestigious and ambitious projects Google has ever undertaken. It’s a completely and utterly new class of device, with no existing market or even a known desire among consumers to buy one. It’s a big risk, and if it falls flat on its face, it’ll haunt Google for years to come. This has to be at least somewhat of a success.

So, you’d expect Google to hold its cards close to its chest, that it would hide the inner workings of the software and the hardware to make sure people don’t poke around to much and that competitors don’t get to copy their technology. Yet – they’ve been doing the exact opposite at Google I/O. At Google’s conference, an entire talk was dedicated to hacking Google Glass; how to gain root access and install Ubuntu on the device.

This means that just as Nexus devices, Google is making it easy to hack Glass, posting the necessary information and code to do so online. This way, it ensures that Glass, like Nexus devices, will become a favourite among hackers and developers alike. Glass will be picked up by researchers who will use it to push boundaries – beyond even what Google itself could have imagined.

Say about Google what you want – and there’s surely a lot of stuff to say – but it’s this hacker-friendly attitude that earns this company its credits.

66 Comments

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