After Eric Schmidt told us a little while ago, and I’ll quote as it’s a dozy, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place." He now thinks the young should be able to change their identity to hide the things they shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.
If you take an interest in web based goings on then you’ve probably been following the often heated debate over the question of Net Neutrality; if you haven’t then please take this as an opportunity to start. It turns out to be a more complex issue than you might imagine as those for and against don’t even seem, on occasion, to agree what they’re arguing about. Wikipedia makes a fair stab at it however.
At the centre of the argument is should Governments regulate and all that implies or should Corporates be able to freely do whatever they like and all that implies. In other words who controls your choice. What makes this even more interesting is that Google have waded into the debate and teamed up with Verizon to offer US legislators a few ideas, as you can imagine this has kicked off a fierce debate as to whether Google are in favour or not of net neutrality. They claim they are, others disagree. Although Google CEO Eric Schmidt doesn’t make it clearer after claiming in a press conference that Google and Verizon have been talking “for a long time about trying to get an agreement on what the definition of Net neutrality is. What we mean is that if you have one data type, like video, you don’t discriminate against one person’s video in favour of another. It’s ok to discriminate across different types…” Let me see if I can put the lid back on that can of worms…no sorry I can’t.
Maybe in these circumstances we should always ask, “What does Tim think?”
Twelve months on and Google has given Wave the chop. Whilst not the prettiest thing I’ve seen it was interesting idea as it tried to mash together a number of web based communication technologies but alas suffered from the usual Google problem. It was an engineering idea looking for a market. Now more often than not this is exactly the way new technology and ideas are born but 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway have a particular track record in trying to find an alternative revenue stream to search. Hard to believe people were selling Wave invites on eBay not so long ago.
Hat doff to Tara.
It was interesting to see a little while back John Naughton refer to 1984 and Brave New World in the context of Apple and the iPad. I even blogged about it and I’m now wondering if he’d read Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death first. I stumbled upon it as Ken Auletta refers to it in his book Googled in the context of their rather lax attitude to privacy and whether or not we are happy to trade away our data for a subsidised service.
Contrary to common belief even amongst the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesise the same thing. Orwell warns us we will overcome by an externally opposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no big brother is required to to deprive of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo the capacity to think…Orwell feared those who would deprive is of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much information we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.
Well are we happy for that to happen?
The battle for the hearts and minds continues as Google wants into the digital music arena, primarily to take a chunk out of iTunes dominance but also add a key component to their Android strategy and should it ever see the light of day the much vaunted Google Tablet. Two things spring to mind. How much work have Google had to do to bring the music publishing industry to the table? Historically Google and the traditional media publishers haven’t gotten on. And how much of this is just another way to collect even more data about your preferences, tastes and listening habits and create better targeted ads?
If anyone is listening a couple of things I’d like to see. A real alternative to iTunes as a platform for podcasts, if my experience is anything to go by over 90% of podcast downloads are from iTunes. No arbitrary limit on the number of machines authorised to download content. Apple. Why only five? OK I reset the counter every six months but why?
Or it could be like the two hundred odd other projects they’ve ‘launched’ only for it never to get out of beta and then quietly forgotten.
Cap doff to TechCrunch.
Google’s support has always be challenged by their aspirations to be more than just a search engine and as anyone who sells mobile devices will tell you when you bring a new product to market how you support your customers post sale will be severely tested. Just ask any mobile operator or Nokia or Apple or <fill in manufacturer of choice>. Google in this regard then has been found wanting.
To quote John McClane from Die Hard as he shouts to poor Sergeant Al Powell when his car his filled with bullets, ‘Welcome to the party, pal.’
Coming up with catchy product names is always tough especially when you’re guaranteed a ton of column inches. Looks like Google have upset the estate of Philip K Dick by using the name Nexus One which they feel is a bit too close to Nexus-6 for comfort. Nexus-6 if you remember is the name of replicants in both the movie Bladerunner and the novel it’s based on, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
Whether the claim that five is close enough for people to assume that somehow there is a connection between Dick’s seminal work and Google’s new Smartphone is something lawyers will undoubtedly argue over for sometime. But there is of course the Argentinean electro/industrial band Nexus-6 who I assume do want their fans to see the connection.
With Apple remaining typically tight lipped it hasn’t stopped t’internet getting into a frenzy of speculation and Chinese whispers over the iSlate/iTablet/iHalfwaybetweenaniPhoneandaMacbook. Cupertino course loves it but what ever the eventual product looks like it will either delight or disappoint depending on your view of Apple’s walled garden. That is of course if it exists at all. Richi Jennings does a great round up of current comment and speculation.
Google too are believed are getting in on the ‘tablet’ act using an HTC device unsurprisingly running Google’s upcoming Chrome OS as they too attempt to create a walled garden. The Google approach is an interesting one as it appears benign to the open source crowd but will operate a Google ‘approved’ approach like Apple. At least I suppose Apple are up front about it what is and isn’t verboten…well sort of. Throw in the wonderfully named Nexus One Smartphone from Google, again using on an HTC device, to try and knock some of the shine off iPhone and we have a year which promises much in Walled Garden Wars or WGW as I think I’m going to call it.
Which side of the fence you sit on, if sit on the fence you do in this instance, is I imagine down to which approach you prefer. Apple of course will control the value chain from end to end and charge a premium, Google has to partner with HTC in this case and use both devices to push ads.
Happy New Year!
Found an interesting piece one of the Fortune blogs about eBay and Google. EBay recently stopped, as a test, keyword advertising on Google and found:
“It actually had no impact on the financials of the quarter, and we learned a lot about where we want to spend money and where we think we can save money on Internet marketing.”
The key point as Adam Lashinsky mentions is not that someone reckons that Google ads aren’t as wonderful as the hyperbole would let you believe, but that it’s eBay saying it. Think about that.