Gizmodo’s take on Google – serious stuff, food for thought and debate

Some very powerful comments on where Google is headed, below. I'm pretty sure I don't agree with quite a few points made in this piece but it's certainly some very good food for thought so … Take a look!

The Case Against Google (via Gizmodo)

Some of the best snippets (and my comments in brackets and italic)

"It's not surprising that the tracking debate had people up in arms. A Pew Internet study, conducted just before Google combined its privacy policies (and after it rolled out personalized search results in Search Plus Your World) found that three quarters of people don't want their search results tracked, and two thirds don't even want them personalized based on prior history. The bottom line: People don't trust Google with their data. And that's new.  (my comment: I think it is new that we don't trust ANYONE with our data – Google is just the main agent of 'big data')

Google is a fundamentally different company than it has been in the past. Its culture and direction have changed radically in the past 18 months. It is trying to maneuver into position to operate in a post-pc, post-Web world, reacting to what it perceives as threats, and moving to where it thinks the puck will be. At some point in the recent past, the Mountain View brass realized that owning the Web is not enough to survive. It makes sense—people are increasingly using non Web-based avenues to access the Internet, and Google would be remiss to not make a play for that business. The problem is that in branching out, Google has also abandoned its core principles and values.  (my comment: I really don't think that's true; but it may certainly have that flavor because, again, Google may have become too successful and too big for their own good as far as the objective of 'doing good' is concerned – that is a tough mission for ANY company).

Many of us have entered into a contract with the ur search company because its claims to be a good actor inspired our trust. Google has always claimed to put the interests of the user first. It's worth questioning whether or not that's still the case. Has Google reached a point where it must be evil?  (my comment: now this is a serious question!  But if that's the case than we would certainly have to conclude that capitalism itself has reached a point where it MUST be evil to continue – see the sustainable capitalism and #egotoeco debate)

Ultimately, it’s not about Gmail or Search or Android or Chrome or Maps or Plus. All of those are in service to one great master; pieces of the larger Google. He said that if I paid attention to what Larry Page has been saying recently, this would be apparent. And yup, PandoDaily recently quoted Page saying, “This is the path we’re headed down – a single unified, ‘beautiful’ product across everything. If you don’t get that, then you should probably work somewhere else. One Googler authorized to speak for the company on background (meaning I could use the information he gave me, but not directly quote or attribute it) told me something that I found shocking. Google isn't primarily about search anymore. Sure, search is still a core product, but it's no longer the core product. The core product, he said, is simply Google.  As Chris Anderson argued in WIRED:

Over the past few years, one of the most important shifts in the digital world has been the move from the wide-open Web to semiclosed platforms that use the Internet for transport but not the browser for display. It's driven primarily by the rise of the iPhone model of mobile computing, and it's a world Google can't crawl, one where HTML doesn't rule.


PS: In the interest of full disclosure: Google frequently hires me for various speaking engagements 

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