Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Questions about Google:

1. Is Google turning into what Microsoft was in the 1990’s—a giant technology corporation that provides unparalleled services? Well yes of course that’s true and the comparisons below show why. (Yes, I know they are opinions—no one said this was scholarly.) What do you think?

Google vs Bing=Google

So far no one has done a better job of internet search than Google.

Googledocs vs MS Suite=Googledocs

Reasons: price, ease of sharing, multiparty simultaneous editing, and platform independency beat MS's more full single user only features.

Buzz vs Facebook=Facebook

Facebook may have poorly executed chat, messaging, and video features, but Buzz has nothing--and WAVE? What was that? Google+ looks like it may be promising challenger though.

Gchat/Google Voice vs Skype=toss up

Both have features the other one doesn't. Google still has free calls to phones, free call forwarding, free texting to cell phones, and a free local telephone number. Skype has free multiparty audio conferences. If Google+ works out with multiparty video conferencing as advertised it may turn this into a clear Google victory in the end.

Gmail vs anything= Google

No comments necessary here.

Google Reader vs Stumbleupon= ?

This is a slight mismatch, but of the two personally I prefer Google Reader when it is hitting on all cylinders. When it works it works. With Reader, stuff shows up that I’m probably interested in. I don’t feel like I’m engaging in a time wasting crap shoot like I often did back in the days when I used to click the Stumble button.

Most of the time Google Reader suggests articles that I really like about science, economics, psychology (yes I know econ and psyc are sciences), politics (okay it’s a science too…jeesh), literature, clothes folding robots, and just plain weird stuff as evidenced in the link above to articles from Reader that I enjoy. But then occasionally there are the strange short periods when Reader decides I’m into women’s fashion, wedding planning, Glen Beck and/or legalizing marijuana for a few days---Where did THAT come from??

This leads to question #2: What is being done with all this data, power, and dominate market share? Is Google starting to use all this goodness for nefarious purposes the way Microsoft used its stranglehold on operating systems to crush WordPerfect and to attempt to destroy Netscape?

The FTC thinks so
. I haven’t seen evidence of Google using search placement and algorithms designed to kill competition and increase profits, but I haven’t been looking for it. What makes me wonder is the following:

Google Music Manager vs. Grooveshark=Grooveshark

Music Manager is Grooveshark minus content. Why would anyone switch to that? Oh, I know! Because just before launching Music Manager, Google disabled the ability to use Grooveshark on all Android mobile devices. What happened to 'Don't be evil.' ?

Of course net neutrality is NOT required by law for mobile networks, so it is legal and the FTC and FCC won’t look at this situation. It may be legal to dump Grooveshark from Android OS, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t evil. Read Grooveshark’s response here.

Question #3: Google vs. NASA and the Pentagon??? Is Google spacing out?

Okay seriously? Where are you going with this?

Let me 'splain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Buttercup... I mean JFK, set our sights on the moon in 1961 and the nation became enthralled. We replaced Gemini with Apollo, went to the moon and eventually started the Space Shuttle program. That brings us almost up to the present. In 2004 GW Bush said he wanted NASA to go back to the moon and then on to Mars. The nation promptly forgot about it. (Would that the rest of his tenure was so easy to forget.)

But NASA is still working on manned space flight. Now the pentagon is offering a $500,000 prize to whoever can come up with the best 100 year spaceship plan. In other words they want a plan that will allow multigenerational manned space flight! Additionally there is a recent proposal in the peer reviewed Journal of Cosmology outlining a reportedly viable plan for a manned mission to establish a permanent Mars human colony by 2030. Pete Worden of NASA says this kind of colonization is exactly where NASA and DOD are going with the 100 year starship program. Buzz Aldrich likes the idea and so does Larry Page (This is where Google comes in.). Worden explained a conversation he and Google founder Larry Page had about the starship program and Mars: “Larry Page asked me a couple weeks ago how much it would cost to send people one way to Mars and I told him $10 billion, and his response was, ‘Can you get it down to 1 or 2 billion?’ So now we’re starting to get a little argument over the price.” For more detail on the DOD and NASA Mars idea you could look at this story.

Okay, so now we have independent scientists, The Department of Defense, and NASA looking at a Mars Colonization mission with Google asking questions about finances. Google asking finance questions? Weird yes, but billionaires are allowed to be weird. I mean Google even bid Pi billion in a recent patent auction. This doesn’t mean they are going to try to take search engine dominance to Mars completely independent of government does it?

Okay. Maybe it does…

Explore the site and enjoy. Maybe apply for a job while you’re at it. *Extensive travel required.

P.S. Don’t forget to check the FAQ thoroughly before you’re through.

Let the arguments below begin!


  1. I hope you know the whole Virgle thing is a joke... and Google can invest in what it wants to, and if people don't like not having Grooveshark on their android they won't get an android.

  2. yeah the virgle was a joke. its dads version of a rick-roll :D

  3. Did you notice the P.S... Check the FAQ? (particularly the last part of the FAQ) Dry humor isn't always a hit I suppose. Starting with from the paragraph starting with Okay, I begin tying together facts--to point to a patently wrong conclusion with a hint to check the FAQ so anyone taken in doesn't stay taken in--a gotcha.

  4. Re: Google owning andriod and being able to do what they want with it. I think the situation is more nuanced than that.

    First, many people have already bought androids. They own them. Before updates they could use Grooveshark. If compatibility is removed, Google has taken value from something the customer already owns without their permission. This is no longer Google's property. While TOS agreements may allow Google to do this, it still is a monopolistic thing to do.

    Second: Google propounds a culture of openness. They have been a loud voice for net neutrality, open source programing, and allowing anyone's programing to run on other people's platforms. Squeezing out competition in this manner has in the past been held up in Google publicity as something Google would not do because of it's Don't be evil rule.

    Android was touted as the open source, public, non commercial OS in counterpoint to iphone OSes. However now that google has it's own OS and has a service that is clearly being beat by a competitor on a google OS, it appears to be reversing course.

    I'm not trashing Google. By in large I really like it. What they are doing with Grooveshark is legal. It is also a bit paradoxical and hypocritical considering the image the company wants to show to the world. Legal doesn't mean right, and I see private ownership as only a small portion of the issue.

  5. I agree with the points you've made about the Grooveshark app situation. It does seem a little contradictory, even hypocritical, for Google to remove grooveshark compatibility from androids. I have one question. Do you think that Google actually has worries about groovesharks' legitimacy? I know that Google has been trying pretty hard to cut deals with major record labels, and they're already being looked at by the FTC. Given Google's incredible success and current dominance of all things search-related and a huge chunk of everything else, they seem to have developed almost an eccentric-crazy-rich-uncle personality. They can do silly things like bid Pi billion and still be taken seriously, because they can bid a freaking BILLION PI. It strikes me as out of character for them to muscle down on a competitor's app. Much more Microsoft's mentality than Google's, in my mind. And although smartphone use is pretty important, most of the big trends I've seen start on computers and translate into mobiles. Working against grooveshark on android alone would strike me as trying to stemming the flood with your hands.

    But, I could see it happening if:
    Google REALLY wants their music manager to overtake grooveshark. (And smartphones are the main music player nowadays.)

    Would Google do it just due to worries about copyright legality etc? Big corporations can do a lot of muscling, but are also vulnerable to monopoly allegations, which can seriously cramp their style, market as well as change long-term policy, in addition to just being really messy.

    Haven't been able to look very far into the issue.

    But Mars would be awesome! I took the Virgle survey and it told I'm prime colonist material. It'd be cool to study founder effects in space colonies. Though, realistically, a one way Mars trip seems more feasible than a returning manned mission. Keeping them alive after landing would be tricky though,.

  6. I think there's one thing we are overlooking here: net neutrality has been thrown out the window for mobile devices, which really makes it much more cut-throat. And with the way apple has been rising in that market, I think it makes sense for google to become more competitive(besides, anyone who still wants to use grooveshark will just jailbreak their android).

    Does it seem out of character with google policies in the past? Yes, it certainly does. In the past, google would have just gone: "Hey, that's a cool idea. Let's hire those guys." But it was going to happen eventually. They're not going to stay a benevolent monopoly forever. And I'm betting they lose the 'benevolent' part in an attempt to keep the 'monopoly.'

  7. To be fair the RIAA did request that Grooveshark be removed--but then the RIAA requests that a lot of completely legal things be blocked including the Amazon music storage program and Google's own Music Manager.

    Also the point that net neutrality is out the window for mobile is valid. Why is it so, because for once Google sided with the adversaries of neutrality on this issue. Google cut a deal with mobile providers to lobby with them against net neutrality for mobile. With all the money on one side it's no surprise which side the regulations eventually favored.

    No, I don't know that Google isn't booting Grooveshark for something legit. If they are though it would be nice (and beneficial for Google too) if they would spell out exactly how Grooveshark violates their policies.

    All in all it really isn't an earth shattering issue. Just a question. I agree that people can always jailbreak (it is legal but kills your warranty) and that it Google has been a wonderful 'rich uncle' but sooner or later it won't be a benevolent monopoly. Because they have power, eventually someone who wants more power will be in charge.