'Do whatever!'

Út 12 června 2012

(I had this post in draft queue for a long time, but for a moment I couldn't get into one of my code.google.com projects which made me panick; it seems to be fixed now, but now when this panic made me to finish this post, I will publish it anyway.)

I know that I am probably too late to the party discovering that Google had thrown their original motto down the drain. However, I would still like to write down a couple of points on their way which were somehow missed by most of bloggers and journalists.

  1. First sign that something is wrong came very soon after Larry Page took over CEO position in Google (I don’t think there is a link, project had to be prepared long time before) was when Google released Offline Google Mail working only for their Chrome, although it should be possible to create virtually same application using platform-neutral standard HTML5 capabilities. Since then all talks about Open Web and platform independence died, Dart came (and so far fortunately doesn’t seem to make any waves), and almost everything created by Google is if not Chrome-only, then certainly Chrome-first-and-if-it-works-somewhere-else-good-but-we-don’t-care. Not mentioning that I am with Firefox nightly constantly bombarded with ads that I should upgrade to “modern browser”.
  2. Just months after Mr. Page took his throne, Google codesearch got killed (don’t be mistaken, what’s there now searches only through Android codebase now). I don’t think it cost Google much (after all, if I understand correctly, they still go through all those pages and index them), but it was clear signal, that Google fallen victim to Apple envy and they turned their back on developers and want to be mass-users company for those “normal” people.
  3. Of course, no whining against Google would be complete without mentioning of Google+. From start completely closed and although support for open API has been promised since start, it never materialized (and probably it is not on horizon). Just by its popularity among hackers it finally killed OStatus and status.net (noise of shatters banging in empty status.net accounts is really deafening). There seems to be still some life in Diaspora, but one wonders for how long now, when its users will never come (I am afraid). It isn't about privacy (that's relevant, but something else), but about trust. It seems to me that trust is getting to be really most important currency on the Internet for long-term growth and many (I should probably mention Facebook here, right?) don’t get it. I thought that Google did get it, but lately they seem to loosing tons of trust every action they make. And although trust could be supported by sharing and giving back, in the end deed shout louder than words.

Friends of the free software used to have a friend in Mountain View. I am afraid, that we have lost one friend, and although I believe in possibility of repentance even on the dead bad, I honestly not expect anything than final turning of Google into AOL. Good luck and hope we’ll meet again on the crooked paths of the computer development.

Category: computer Tagged: culture OwnCloud privacy google

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