Thursday, May 24, 2007

7 signposts on the slippery path from Googlehood to Microsofthood

Let’s have a quick walk across the path where only giants roam, observing the tipping points related to Google’s increasingly Microsoft-like behavior in the month of May alone.

You will notice how similar Google is to old man Microsoft, thrusting its unprecedented monopoly upon web site owners and users alike, often choosing to act when it suits the company, and in the process loosing much of its freely earned Public Relations brownie points:

1. Google experimenting with Universal Search: what’s great about it? Altavista tried it in the 90s.
2. Google’s Hot Trends page: Of no use except to spammers.
3. Google deciding to ‘ban’ made for adsense publishers: what took them so long? What about those typo domain squatters?
4. The new Google toolbar on new Dell computers which users find extremely hard to turn off.

The next tipping points are from the Zdnet blog, which quotes Robert McLaws’s Microsoft Litmus test: "When looking at any new Google venture, swap out the word ‘Google” with ‘Microsoft’ and ask yourself if you’re still OK with what’s happening.”

5. Google invests $3.2 million in 23andMe, a startup founded by the wife of one of Google’s founders: it matches levels of nepotism rarely seen outside the great country of India.

6. Google bars other vendors from attending its customer seminars.

7. Google requests its employees refrain from wearing t-shirts from any of its competitors.

With Google, the Silicon Valley has come to believe it is indeed good, unlike the giant from Redmond.

Shiny, creative, bright and deluded people all - suffering from a severe case of California Gold Rushitis.

This is lot a like what the Guys in Hollywood think when they host a party for Obama, pronouncing their political affiliations from the Oscars or going along on U.N. sponsored free tours to Africa as Goodwill ambassadors when work is no more forthcoming.

Slowly, it is dawning upon many of us that Google is just another ruthless company competing in a ruthless winner-takes-all market, where ‘don’t be evil’ often means ‘don’t be stupid’.

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