The last week of news surrounding Google doesn't paint a picture of a lovey-dovey company that just wants to help you search. The backdrop for all of the news is the emergence of "cloud platforms" upon which developers can build. It used to be that developers would write for Windows or Linux: Now they're writing applications to run in the cloud of their choice (Google, Bungee Labs, Salesforce, or open-source Coghead)
The problem with this approach, as Tim O'Reilly points out with reference to Google, is it paves the way to lock-in that the "offline" world could only dream of inflicting:
I've been warning for some time that the first phase of Web 2.0 is the acquisition of critical mass via network effects, but that once companies achieve that critical mass, they will be tempted to consolidate their position, leading ultimately to a replay of the personal computer industry's sad decline from an open, energetic marketplace to a controlled economy.
Enter Google's soft disavowal of its "Don't do evil" motto. As Techcrunch suggests, Google likely doesn't like being held to this (somewhat subjective) standard anymore, now that not doing evil becomes ever more difficult at its size and scale.
So what is Google to do? How can Google preserve the impressive heft of its momentum without strangling its potential supporters?… Read more