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Google - Don't Be Evil
December 28, 2010 4:14 PM   Subscribe

Google's sheer size and power is staggering - and of course a little disconcerting. But ultimately are they ensuring the internet remains open and user friendly? CBC Radio had a great piece on the Algorithm That Changed World on how Google has helped keep the internet useful and spammers at bay. As a user, I have not found any other search engine that come close in giving me useful results. Intelligent Life's take on Apple vs Google, shows how this open system vs closed system philosophical differences plays itself out with product strategy. Of course, Google's user-centric world can suck if you have ever written a book.
posted by helmutdog (106 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Intelligent Life's take on Apple vs Google, shows how this open system vs closed system philosophical differences plays itself out with product strategy.

Any article that quotes Scott Adams as an expert in anything other than producing a hack newspaper strip risks being identified as hackwork too.

A more astute take on Google vs. Apple, and the dubious "open" vs "closed" debate, may be found in CounterNotion's Unbearable Inevitability of Being Android, 1995. Executive summary: "As business models go, there are currently two dominant ones: either people like your product enough to purchase it or they don't care enough to buy it but will overlook its deficiencies if it's 'free' in exchange for their personal browsing and purchasing info sold to advertisers. The former model is Apple's, the latter is Google's."
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:36 PM on December 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Doktor Zed's latter business model is the one for most 'free' media ever since the early days of radio.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:39 PM on December 28, 2010


The Apple vs Google link goes to the second page. Here's the first page.
posted by nomadicink at 4:44 PM on December 28, 2010


That's Apple vs Google phones I think. Google's main business is ads, and that seems like a pretty closed system to me.
posted by carter at 4:55 PM on December 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


In a fair evaluation, the notion of "open" vs. "closed" is a bit more tilted to the "closed" side for both companies, probably. They are both obliged to enhance shareholder value by whatever legal means necessary, which requires secrecy from and control over customers (customers being both developers and users).

For example, it's worth noting that Google forcibly locks down parts of Android away from third-parties, which impacts their ability to control ad revenue, such as mapping. They also issue no control over vendors who lock down boot loaders on Android phones to prevent newer builds of Android being installed, as well as to prevent users from removing spamware/adware apps bundled with the devices.

Aside from protecting revenue streams, that's not looking at the other less-open, less savory aspects of Google culture that deal with leakers within the company, the backroom deals that helped guide FCC net neutrality policy, and Eric Schmidt's strange desire to control whatever his company would call "bad behavior" on the net.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:56 PM on December 28, 2010


Oh, and there's also Aaron Greenspan's "Why I Sued Google", otherwise described as "Google can terminate your account for any reason."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:58 PM on December 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


You're right, Blazecock; Apple is certainly far more easygoing with leakers. Snort.

I dunno if comparing these two companies with - still - pretty radically different revenue streams and structures is especially useful. I personally like google's approach to open source and many of their corporate citizenship initiatives - and I use their products far more than any of Apple's. But then again, I probably use toilet paper and my city's water supply more, too. Doesn't make the toilet paper manufacturer and inherently better company.
posted by smoke at 5:02 PM on December 28, 2010


You're right, Blazecock; Apple is certainly far more easygoing with leakers. Snort.

Nowhere in my two comments did I say this. So feel free to box with a strawman. But while Google is successful at marketing itself as an "open" company, upon investigation its actions as a company quickly put lie to this story.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:09 PM on December 28, 2010


Google appears to have streamlined their corporate profile by dropping the word "don't."
posted by localroger at 5:21 PM on December 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Apple's general evil-ness is made obvious by the fact the the iPhone is STILL exclusive to the Historically Evil AT&T (and everyone is so delighted that MAYBE they'll open it up to the slightly-less-evil Verizon).

But if you ever doubted that Google's "Don't Be Evil" slogan is basically meaningless, look at the "Dutch Sandwich" that helps them avoid BILLIONS in taxes.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:21 PM on December 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ahh yes, the concentrated evil that is legally avoiding taxes. How diabolical. The itemized deduction has, after all, been the weapon of choice for despots of all ages.
posted by Skorgu at 5:41 PM on December 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Anyone have a spare invite to the GoogleImplant beta program? I want my google full time, 24/7, no downtime evah.
posted by sammyo at 5:45 PM on December 28, 2010


You could always, I dunno, accept the fact that as much as you personally may love Big Company X, they assuredly would throw you to the wolves without a thought if it improved their bottom line.
posted by maxwelton at 5:49 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]




Didn't Google go back on their net neutrality promises with Verizon?
posted by archagon at 6:32 PM on December 28, 2010


But if you ever doubted that Google's "Don't Be Evil" slogan is basically meaningless, look at the "Dutch Sandwich" that helps them avoid BILLIONS in taxes.

Seems like at a reasonable price in mercenaries one could seize those tax havens.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:35 PM on December 28, 2010


Yes, Skorgu, multi-billion dollar corporations should all keep their tax rates down to 2.4%. Because everything the elected governments of the World do is far more evil than what Google does.

Oddly, Dilbert had a timely and perfectly appropriate contribution to the discussion today.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:35 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Both companies are public and will be glad to take your money. Their philosophical differences are mostly around profit models. Within 5 years something new will come along to upset the dinosaurs and we can have this argument again.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:48 PM on December 28, 2010


And Apple may be looking at anti-trust investigation for changes to the advertising terms in IOS. Not that that means anything in the long run either.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:55 PM on December 28, 2010


I missed the follow-up by Greenspan, entitled "Why Google Bothered to Appeal a $761 Small Claims Case (and Won)", in which he describes a pretty chilling court experience:
"Do you sell essays to college students?" [Google's] lawyer asked.

"What?" I asked him, confused.

"You sell pre-written essays for college students, right? Like term papers?"

"No!" I said, finally realizing where he was going. "I don't know where you would have even gotten that idea." Little did he know that he had hit a sore spot, since I had recently written a book about education at America's "top schools" and the many problems therein, cheating among them.

Though at that point I should have asked him how often he beat his wife, I was too shocked to think of it. Google has more access to information about people than virtually any company on the planet, yet despite its vast resources, it found it more prudent to fabricate disparaging innuendo about me before a judge. The sole purpose was to damage my credibility.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:11 PM on December 28, 2010




Aaaaand here's BP with the anti-Google trolling! Do you really find Greenspan's article convincing? Here's his best shot at defending himself:
With a brief glance, Google's exhibits made clear what I had wanted to know all along throughout the five months since my lawsuit had been filed: the specific reasons why my account was cancelled. One appeared to be that I had used the forbidden phrase "pick a link" on my web site. The other was that Google AdSense advertisements could not be placed on web pages lacking content.

Except when they could. This is what I tried to explain in my opening arguments. Despite Google's objections to what they perceived to be technical violations of their AdSense terms of service, they also had an entirely separate (but confusingly similar-sounding) program called AdSense for Domains, which handled the exact problem I was trying to solve--that of using advertising to profit from "parked," or unused, domain names, much like putting a billboard on a vacant lot. Though AdSense for Domains was closed to the public for years, Google did finally open it up December 11, 2008, just two days after my account was cancelled. Had it allowed my company to join in the first place, I would have had no reason to create my own billboard using "normal" AdSense since Google would have already taken care of it for me, and no violation would have occurred.
In other words, he violated the terms of service of one Google product but would not have violated them if he had been using a different Google product. Why the hell does that even matter? The guy set up a blank domain with ads on it. He wasn't part of the Adsense for Domains beta, so the existence of an Adsense for Domains beta is totally fucking irrelevant--and that's why he lost the case.
posted by nasreddin at 9:13 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can google the biggest shareholders of both Google and of Apple. You can't Apple or Microsoft that. Or anything.
Verbs beat nouns.
A fable: Like everyone before them, and indeed the ones they had beaten, Bill the gambler and Stevegali were squabbling over simple things. While they had enough resources to do anything they wanted they were too engaged in with each other. In their zeal to control the future Bill and Steve ignored the past.
Seeing he was about to be embarrassed Bill quit. Seeing the vagaries of fashion Steve moved to another department.
Larry and Sergy, who looked to the proven past won.
posted by vapidave at 9:23 PM on December 28, 2010


Do you really find Greenspan's article convincing?

I find the claim that Google is "good" to be problematic, at best.

Its business practices are typically amoral, and it occasionally oversteps established notions of fair dealing, delving into the sorts of exploitive, monopolistic stuff that got Microsoft in trouble in the 90s:

Google Settles Lawsuit With Search Marketers
Google has agreed to a settlement of up to $20 million in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of search marketers who alleged that the company served more ads than they had agreed to pay for.

The lawsuit stemmed from a dispute about the meaning of "daily budget" in Google's AdWords contract with search marketers. The advertisers, Minnesota printing company CLRB Hanson Industries and New Jersey resident Howard Stern (no relation to the radio personality), alleged that Google violated the AdWords agreement by charging marketers up to 120% of their maximum daily budget.
Competitor Sues Google Over Location Software for Smartphones
Skyhook’s interference suit against Google, filed in Massachusetts Superior Court in Suffolk County, accuses Google of intentionally disrupting Skyhook’s business relationships. It says Google has notified cellphone makers that they need to use Google’s location service as a condition of using Google’s Android smartphone operating system. [emph. added]

The complaint claims that Andy Rubin, Google’s vice president for engineering, gave Sanjay K. Jha, chief executive of Motorola’s mobile devices division, a “stop ship” order, preventing Motorola from shipping phones with the Android operating system using the Skyhook software, called XPS.

The complaint charges that the Skyhook software had already been tested by Motorola and had completed the Google approval process.

“It’s very hard to meet compliance when Google keeps moving the goal post,” said Ted Morgan, Skyhook’s chief executive, in a telephone interview Wednesday.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:28 PM on December 28, 2010


I don't understand why you always bring up stuff written by people who are directly interested in discrediting Google. I don't see why a guy like Greenspan (who tried to pull the same shit with Facebook) should be trusted any more than Eric Schmidt.

The "search marketers" thing is kind of a reach, as far as shady practices go. Google is no Microsoft because it overspends someone's budget. As for Skyhook, why the hell should I trust the word of a competitor? The article cites no third parties.
posted by nasreddin at 9:38 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The article cites no third parties.

Not for lack of trying:

"Google declined to comment. Motorola did not respond to requests for comment."

Like Motorola, it's hard to see why other Android resellers would dare admit the same, let alone deny — or even comment — for fear of losing their license.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:49 PM on December 28, 2010


The "search marketers" thing is kind of a reach, as far as shady practices go.

If your point is that Greenspan's experiences were unique, or somehow invalid, then a $20M class action suit won by plaintiffs and anti-competitive lawsuit from a vendor being blocked from distributing software on an "open" platform seem to suggest the opposite.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:53 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


If your point is that Greenspan's experiences were unique, or somehow invalid, then a $20M class action suit won by plaintiffs and anti-competitive lawsuit from a vendor being blocked from distributing software on an "open" platform seem to suggest the opposite.

I don't think so at all. The $20M suit had nothing to do with openness (and it wasn't even technically "won"--a settlement paid largely in AdWords credits is pretty meaningless, since it's not like they're a scarce resource for Google). As for Skyhook's lawsuit, well, every large company attracts people who want a piece of the pie. I'll wait for the decision before I decide that it makes Google the next Microsoft, since we have literally nothing to go on here besides the self-serving words of the company itself. (Refusal to respond to requests for comment doesn't mean much, it's pretty standard practice in most companies to keep mum on lawsuits in progress.)
posted by nasreddin at 10:36 PM on December 28, 2010


And yes, I'll admit it. I'm an unapologetic Google fanboy. The core difference between Google and Microsoft, as I see it, is this: Microsoft copied software that already existed and produced inferior alternatives that gained prominence only thanks to sleazy marketing. Say what you want about Google, but the company has used its market share and penetration in an overwhelmingly positive way. Google was a better search engine than any other; Google Maps was miles ahead of Mapquest; GMail was better than any other webmail provider when it came out, and in certain ways still is; Google Books is an absolutely astonishing innovation that could only happen because a large corporation decided to go ahead with the project (the nonprofit competitor HathiTrust is pretty useless in comparison). I'll grant that Buzz and Wave were pretty dismal failures, but Android and Chrome certainly are not.
posted by nasreddin at 10:45 PM on December 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


it wasn't even technically "won"

Semantics about the plaintiff's award are not interesting. The point stands that Google's restrictive and exploitative business practices are not consistent with how it (no matter how successfully) markets an image of transparency, freedom and upright morality.

Refusal to respond to requests for comment doesn't mean much, it's pretty standard practice in most companies to keep mum on lawsuits in progress.

Motorola does not appear to be a defendant.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:49 PM on December 28, 2010


According to this, Google claims Motorola dropped Skyhook because Skyhook "failed to perform." And it's interesting that the lawsuit came right after Apple had decided to drop Skyhook from its iPhones and iPads. Smells more like SCO v. Linux than Microsoft to me.
posted by nasreddin at 10:57 PM on December 28, 2010


Gee BP, I don't see why you constantly feel the need to bash Google all the time point out how normal Google is, when it's perfectly clear that everyone is only going to dismiss you, even while ignoring that they're holding their own noses.

It's about faith. People want to have faith, and place their faith in something. Google seems to be it. Hail Google!
posted by Goofyy at 11:00 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


[Apple and Google] are both obliged to enhance shareholder value by whatever legal means necessary.

Google shares held by investors have 1/10th the voting rights of Google shares held by insiders. The won't be any Save Disney shareholder fight at Google.

The situation at Apple is not quite so clear cut. But I suspect most shareholders will back down when Steve Jobs tells them "Fuck you! Do it my way, or do it without me."

Not to mention, shareholders don't pick fights with the highest performing companies on the market. Google and Apple investors are too busy counting their returns.
posted by ryanrs at 11:02 PM on December 28, 2010


As the guy who started the thread - what I found fascinating about all this recent press around Google, was how it highligted the difference in approaches between companies that seek to build on the openess of the internet and those that try to herd users into their controlled environments (facebook, itunes, etc...). While I hope their algorithm stops content farms like Demand Media or Yahoo's Associated Content from clogging up the internet, the fact that Google is no corporate angel should not be a surprise to anyone.

BTW - thanks for the heads up on duckduckgo, yoyo_nyc. Bing, yahoo, et al are otherwise atrocious.
posted by helmutdog at 11:05 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]



It's about faith. People want to have faith, and place their faith in something. Google seems to be it. Hail Google!


I'll put it this way. There is no other technology company that I can think of that has managed to do so much good with the power it has (even if it's not disinterested good), and I can't think of a technology company of comparable size that has done so little evil. If that's faith, then fine. But in that case faith in Apple is even more misplaced.
posted by nasreddin at 11:05 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Google claims Motorola dropped Skyhook because Skyhook "failed to perform."

Also from your link:

A similar situation played out with Company X, which had already begun shipping phones with the XPS technology, and had reported no issues with the devices, Skyhook lawyers said Wednesday in court.

If the technology does work, Google would appear to be trying to distract from discussions about whether Google's Rubin actively interfered with a competitor being able to compete. Guess we'll find out who is telling the truth, soon enough.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:08 PM on December 28, 2010


less savory aspects of Google culture that deal with leakers within the company

As a Google employee, my sense was that just about everyone was pleased that the leaker was caught and fired. A company-wide announcement was sent out when they caught him. Most people were like "ha ha, gotcha, fucker!"
posted by ryanrs at 11:19 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another great piece about Apple vs Google:

[Quote]:
As business models go, there are currently two dominant ones: either people like your product enough to purchase it or they don’t care enough to buy it but will overlook its deficiencies if it’s “free” in exchange for their personal browsing and purchasing info sold to advertisers. The former model is Apple’s, the latter is Google’s.

Apple sells emotional experiences. The price is what users pay to be delighted by Apple’s stream of innovations and to be free of the lowest common denominator burdens and the pervasive harvesting of their personal info.

Google sells eyeballs. To be more precise, the clickstream attached to those eyeballs. Thus scale, indeed dominance, is absolutely crucial to Google’s model.
posted by DreamerFi at 12:20 AM on December 29, 2010


There is no other technology company that I can think of that has managed to do so much good with the power it has (even if it's not disinterested good), and I can't think of a technology company of comparable size that has done so little evil.

In their respective times, AT&T (Bell Labs) and Sun have been just as cool and "don't be evil" as Google is. In other words, they did lots of really cool stuff and were excellent places to work at if you were a tech geek; they added to the general quality of life without -- by and large -- screwing society (unlike, say, Blackwater or Halliburton).

But they are all corporations, so of course they have that inherent evil. A friend of mine was a non-technical employee at Google and went through all kinds of shit, just like I'm sure the typists at Bell Labs did. I'm as big a fan as anyone of all things Google, but I keep in mind that the bottom line is all they care about -- all they can care about. It's just good business sense to treat non-expert labour as fungible: treat them like shit, it's free to replace them.
posted by phliar at 12:21 AM on December 29, 2010



In their respective times, AT&T (Bell Labs) and Sun have been just as cool and "don't be evil" as Google is. In other words, they did lots of really cool stuff and were excellent places to work at if you were a tech geek; they added to the general quality of life without -- by and large -- screwing society (unlike, say, Blackwater or Halliburton).

The difference between Bell Labs and Google is that Bell Labs was a very small part of an enormous and, yes, pretty evil company--AT&T was monopolistic to a far greater and eviler extent than Google. The difference between Sun and Google is that Sun produced, basically, only products that were useful to geeks and corporations. Sure, Java and Solaris servers helped build the Internet, but there were equally good platforms available from other companies. Google doesn't have any of those problems.

I'm aware that Google is a corporation, and I have no illusions about the moral compromises it has to make in order to exist. (Although I do think there is a great deal of genuine, deeply-felt technoutopianism among its founders and employees.) I just think there's a lot more good being done within this particular corporate framework than people tend to acknowledge--and, more importantly, in an online world dominated by tech corporations that are steadily getting more powerful, it's a model that we ought to support because no other alternative is viable. Obviously grassroots projects will always be around, but it would be delusional to deny that corporations will have the deciding vote in determining what the internet will look like in 2020 or 2050. I would much rather it be Google than Apple or Facebook.
posted by nasreddin at 12:38 AM on December 29, 2010


Of course, Google's user-centric world can suck if you have ever written a book.

I have published a novel. In the UK and in the US, under two different titles (publishers’ decision). This was over 30 years ago, so my agent has retired and his successor will never have heard of me, nor have a current address for me; it is therefore likely my work will be considered “orphaned”. I am not a member of any Writers’ Guild or similar organisation. I have also never heard of this plan before reading the article in the link. This leaves me wondering how to find out whether my novel has been scanned and, if so, to whom I should turn to discuss royalties and similar issues.
posted by aqsakal at 1:58 AM on December 29, 2010


Since MetaFilter is teeming with folks who consider corporations and normal business practices to be inherently evil, it will understandably be a tough crowd for Google's corporate motto.
posted by eugenen at 6:32 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, Skorgu, multi-billion dollar corporations should all keep their tax rates down to 2.4%. Because everything the elected governments of the World do is far more evil than what Google does.

I have no idea what this means. Google structures its subsidiaries in a given way to avoid paying taxes. This is legal and commonplace as your own article states quite plainly. This is like you adding up your deductions and deciding to file an itemized instead of standard deduction, you're making a choice in the rules according to what's most beneficial to you.
posted by Skorgu at 7:33 AM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apple sells emotional experiences. The price is what users pay to be delighted by Apple’s stream of innovations and to be free of the lowest common denominator burdens and the pervasive harvesting of their personal info.

Yeah,
About that.

I don't have any great love for the Google, and until recently didn't have very strong opinions about Apple.

Google is a technology company. Apple sells music and office furniture. They are like the Sharper image with better marketing.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:22 AM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


As business models go, there are currently two dominant ones: either people like your product enough to purchase it or they don’t care enough to buy it but will overlook its deficiencies if it’s “free” in exchange for their personal browsing and purchasing info sold to advertisers. The former model is Apple’s, the latter is Google’s.

This is crap. First, Apple and Google don't actually share that many markets that it makes sense to make overall comparisons. Second, Apple sells two things: hardware and media. Third, people are buying Android phones in pretty big numbers - they're not being given away.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:40 AM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apple wants to sell you stuff. Google wants to sell you.
posted by nomadicink at 8:49 AM on December 29, 2010


As business models go, there are currently two dominant ones: either people like your product enough to purchase it or they don’t care enough to buy it but will overlook its deficiencies if it’s “free” in exchange for their personal browsing and purchasing info sold to advertisers. The former model is Apple’s, the latter is Google’s.

Google doesn't even do this, and in many (of course not all) cases, their product is the best product available. If I could buy any email account in the world, I'd buy a Gmail account. Claiming that they are "selling" your info to advertisers is false. They are selling advertisers the ability to put some text (or images, or video) about their product in front of you with a link. Pretty much exactly the same as television, magazine, and radio advertisers have done for a long, long time (but with better algorithms). I wish more companies made amazing products in order to advertise things to you. If television ad agencies made wonderful shows in order to try and sell me cars? That would be fantastic.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:25 AM on December 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Google is a technology company.

That's silly. Google is an ad company that sells people to ad clients, first and foremost. Their original "technology" is mostly a one-note trick (map-reduce) that has served them well for the last decade. Everything else Google does that is vaguely technical has either been a not-so-subtle copy or purchase of some other entity's hard work and innovation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:20 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, About that.

Is there anything really there though? Reading the articles, it's not really clear what's going on. It's obvious the unique ID of the phone is being sent, but the suite is also claiming name, age, location and even sexual orientation is being sent.

I'm not saying Apple is naturally innocent, but I'd like to see more info before the usual condemning. The bulk of the compliant about Apple seems to be that every iDevice has unique identifiers which allow them to be tracked. According to the Wall Street Journal link, Apple itself doesn't seem to be doing anything inherently evil, but rather App developers are figuring out ways around rules and getting other bits of information which could allow them figure out specific individuals. Hopefully Apple will adjust its rules and code.
posted by nomadicink at 10:22 AM on December 29, 2010


Google is an ad company that sells people to ad clients, first and foremost.

Just to make it clearer, Wall Street doesn't care about Android or Chrome when valuating GOOG. Wall Street cares about the revenue that ads bring in. Google's job is to sell ads on behalf of its shareholders.

Any technology Google buys or copies is beholden to that end, which is why Google didn't code Android and Chrome from scratch and sell them as products to end users, but instead based them almost entirely on Apple's existing iOS and WebKit, in order to gain quick control over web-based ad delivery and protect those ad revenues.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:33 AM on December 29, 2010


based them almost entirely on Apple's existing iOS

wat

Android OS: released in 2005
iOS: released in 2007

Clearly, since Google has mastered time travel (or at least purchased time travel technology from another vendor) and has not yet killed Hitler, Google is evil.

and WebKit

which is itself based on KHTML. Calling it "Apple's WebKit" is pretty disingenuous in the context of your statement. And presumably Apple wrote BSD and the Mach kernel, making OS X completely an original Apple work.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:44 AM on December 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Just to make it clearer, Wall Street doesn't care about Android or Chrome when valuating GOOG. Wall Street cares about the revenue that ads bring in.
posted by Blazecock Pileon


Anyone on Wall Street who does not care about those products is an idiot. Many people on Wall Street are smart enough to care about future earnings growth and potential for new revenue streams. Companies valuations are obviously not only based on their current revenue from their biggest product. Smart investors certainly care.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:51 AM on December 29, 2010


Android OS: released in 2005
iOS: released in 2007


That Wikipedia link gives a date of October 21st, 2008 as the initial Android OS release.
posted by nomadicink at 11:10 AM on December 29, 2010


Clearly, since Google has mastered time travel (or at least purchased time travel technology from another vendor) and has not yet killed Hitler, Google is evil.

I'm just addressing the "Google is a technology company" myth. They are an advertising company, selling you to ad buyers. Google rarely comes up with new stuff, as their technology focus has to necessarily follow what they really do for a living: ads.

And presumably Apple wrote BSD and the Mach kernel, making OS X completely an original Apple work.

NeXT was folded by its founder, Steve Jobs, into Apple. Developers at NeXT added a number of novel design components in their Mach kernel that set it apart from BSD — some of which, in turn, were adopted by FreeBSD. There are also a number of elements in OS X now which are wholly unique, particularly the rendering and interface components. Looking at the forest for the trees, it is actually probably fair to say that NeXT, Apple and Steve Jobs are all part and parcel of a larger front in original technology and in computer history. It would disingenuous to call the Mach kernel "office furniture", but I can see why some people need to do that.

I guess you have a point about KHTML. It's been a few years and I don't know enough about KHTML and WebKit to say how different the two forks are now. With the resources Apple has put into WebKit, it seems probable there are now numerous code- and usage-level differences that make a fairer case for calling it a more unique offering from KHTML. In Apple's defense, for all the grief they get for being a "closed" company, WebKit is about as "open" as it gets.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:14 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


That Wikipedia link gives a date of October 21st, 2008 as the initial Android OS release.

It was purchased in 2005. But, indeed, Android's first release followed iOS by roughly a year and a few months.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 AM on December 29, 2010


I'm just addressing the "Google is a technology company" myth. They are an advertising company, selling you to ad buyers. Google rarely comes up with new stuff, as their technology focus has to necessarily follow what they really do for a living: ads.
posted by Blazecock Pileon


It's stupid to call that a myth, as your only point is an attempt to belittle the company. Calling them an advertising company is completely reductive (and again an attempt to make them look bad). No other advertising company looks remotely like them, and their medium is technology, so calling them an advertising company is at useless. If they aren't a technology company (which I won't actually grant you) then they are something new, not "an advertising company." No one would take that seriously as a valid NPOV description of their company. Please don't pretend to act like you're educating us, when you really just want to get shots in at Google.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:59 AM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


They are an advertising company, selling you to ad buyers. Google rarely comes up with new stuff, as their technology focus has to necessarily follow what they really do for a living: ads.

Your definition of "new stuff" is so narrow to be useless, though. Google does come up with new stuff all the time, and as you mentioned they purchase other companies with new stuff all the time. I agree that nearly all of this is in service of ads - but Google sees any opportunity where people are in front of a screen as something that might allow them to show more ads. They don't really have a technology focus beyond that very simple mandate: get people in front of screens. They have wide latitude on how they can interpret that, which is why there are Google developers building new programming languages, desktop and mobile applications, natural language processing, etc, etc, etc; which is why Google is interested in community wireless solutions, etc, etc, etc.

Google has come up with all sorts of functionality specific to high scalability web applications, well beyond the "one-trick pony" of mapreduce. They have a fairly neat and useful deployment platform that you can use to deploy your own web apps. They fund a lot of open-source development. They provide enterprise solutions for internal search and collaboration (this is my own personal connection with Google).

You could take the same reductive approach you've applied to Google, and apply it to Apple. Their innovation isn't really in new things: I've had smartphones, MP3 players, tablets long before Apple released their products. They are very good at refining things, though, which is why I'm typing this on my MBA while listening to my iPod. But "better" != "new".

Developers at NeXT added a number of novel design components in their Mach kernel that set it apart from BSD ...

Sure they did. And they did a wonderful job. But fundamentally, what they did isn't any different from Google adding a new JS interpreter to WebKit: they took an existing work and improved it. And that's really what most technology companies do. There's very little wholly original work done.

In Apple's defense, for all the grief they get for being a "closed" company, WebKit is about as "open" as it gets.

Yes, it is, and I don't think Apple really needs defending. They have a business model which is fairly closed, and it works very well for them. There's nothing inherently wrong with that model, although there are lots of things that I don't personally like about it. But for you to make the statement that Google is no more open than Apple is absurd on its face. Google does a lot more with the open-source community than Apple. It doesn't matter why they do this - presumably, it's because they see it as being in their best interest and benefit to the bottom line - but the fact itself remains. Google also gives away a lot more than Apple: there are plenty of schools and nonprofits getting Apps for Education and Apps for Nonprofits for free. Of course, again, this isn't because Eric Schmidt shits rainbows, it's because Google sees this as being in their best interest. Software companies have a bit more flexibility to do this sort of thing than hardware companies.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:24 PM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


It would disingenuous to call the Mach kernel "office furniture", but I can see why some people need to do that.

You're conflating a couple of different comments with a couple of different points, here.

Google invents technology for use in novel and interesting ways. Apple repurposes existing technologies. You said so yourself - the mach kernel is interesting, but just an adaptation of an existing technology. (and whither ZFS? HFS is 10-15 years old, and sucks compares to modern filesystems : repair file permissions ? really ?)

More importantly, Google is perfectly happy to sell to business and enterprise clients solutions that make that sort of work easier. Apple has expressed at best disinterest and at worst active antagonism towards that market.

Apple Computers is no more, and they are now a lifestyle company - like Kenmore, or Buick
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:25 PM on December 29, 2010


Google invents technology for use in novel and interesting ways. Apple repurposes existing technologies.

Could you expound on this a bit more? I'm curious what you mean and would love to hear more details.
posted by nomadicink at 12:46 PM on December 29, 2010


Google invents technology for use in novel and interesting ways. Apple repurposes existing technologies.

Lately, I think it's mostly the other way around. Apple invented an entirely new operating system and new hardware devices that made touchscreen interfaces usable by the general public. Google bought Android and didn't release until they had time to copy important parts of the iOS interface. They didn't even come up with new hardware; they went to HTC for it.

Except for the name, one new and interesting thing to come from Google in the last few years is probably the Go programming language. When they started, their search and distributed computing algorithms were novel, and Gmail was good enough to knock Hotmail around, but that's been the basis of their ad delivery system for years, and other than Go, what is actually really, truly new in the last few years? The rest is mostly stuff they have bought, borrowed or copied to keep their ads in front of people's eyeballs.

they are now a lifestyle company - like Kenmore, or Buick

That's a bit reductive and ignores much of what Apple has done to expand access to and improve the state of the art of computing for the general public. Further, a lot of Apple's technology gets used in academic, scientific and creative settings.

To say Apple sells "office furniture" is pretty much dismissive of not only everyone who makes a living using Apple gear to get their work done, but denigrates the nature and the quality of their work.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:49 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Except for the name, one new and interesting thing to come from Google in the last few years is probably the Go programming language. When they started, their search and distributed computing algorithms were novel, and Gmail was good enough to knock Hotmail around, but that's been the basis of their ad delivery system for years, and other than Go, what is actually really, truly new in the last few years? The rest is mostly stuff they have bought, borrowed or copied to keep their ads in front of people's eyeballs.

Uh, Google Voice? Google Goggles? Google Street View? Chrome's Javascript engine and per-tab processes? Considering the pace and scale of these things, they're pretty substantial innovations.

That's a bit reductive and ignores much of what Apple has done to expand access to and improve the state of the art of computing for the general public.

...What the hell does that even mean?
posted by nasreddin at 1:06 PM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


A more astute take on Google vs. Apple, and the dubious "open" vs "closed" debate, may be found in CounterNotion's Unbearable Inevitability of Being Android, 1995. Executive summary: "As business models go, there are currently two dominant ones: either people like your product enough to purchase it or they don't care enough to buy it but will overlook its deficiencies if it's 'free' in exchange for their personal browsing and purchasing info sold to advertisers. The former model is Apple's, the latter is Google's."

Peculiar. A lot of my clients happily pay Google for Apps services as well as AdWords and Android phones and fees to run those phones. I could have sworn Safari and Chrome are free to use though thankfully Google doesn't dick around and claim you need Safari to see some select HTML 5 demos. I could have sworn Apple was in the advert business as well.

As for Google not being a technology company. Holy fuck. Hilarious. Massive technology company, like many others, such as Microsoft, Apple, Toyota, and 1000s others.
posted by juiceCake at 1:09 PM on December 29, 2010


Everything else Google does that is vaguely technical has either been a not-so-subtle copy or purchase of some other entity's hard work and innovation.

Google Maps.

Remember how crappy online maps used to be before then?

Yeah.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:14 PM on December 29, 2010


thankfully Google doesn't dick around and claim you need Safari to see some select HTML 5 demos

Except for those Google Chrome-only WebGL-based HTML 5 demos, sure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:25 PM on December 29, 2010


Apple invented an entirely new operating system and new hardware devices that made touchscreen interfaces usable by the general public.

"The kernel in iOS is based on a variant of the same basic Mach kernel that is found in Mac OS X."

They repurposed (successfully, sure) an existing technology. They didn't "invent" it - it existed already.

They didn't develop the touchscreen, the processor, the ram, or even the transmitter. The only thing that apple does is take commodity hardware and put their OS on it. And OS, that as you have pointed out, existed already and was in widespread use.

To say Apple sells "office furniture" is pretty much dismissive of not only everyone who makes a living using Apple gear to get their work done, but denigrates the nature and the quality of their work.

I use Apple products every day - I have an Xserve in the rack and another on the way. They'll sit above the two IBM linux boxes, a Dell windows server, and a shit-ton of HP storage. A bunch of Apple workstatons (and Dell boxes with windows and Linux) - and I'm typing this out on a 17" MBP. I've been doing IT stuff for 16 years from small business consulting all the way to GE and International Paper. I've been supporting Apple networks for ~6 years now.

We're moving away from Apple stuff in our lab - the hardware is nice, and the software is OK - but mostly, it's that dealing with Apple is hard. And it's hard because Apple doesn't care about this market segment. I have other vendors that do care - HP, IBM, etc. And Google, as well (although I don't work with them so much in my new position). HP will send me demo units. IBM will tell me what machines and features will be available in 6-9-12 months. Apple.... They aren't quite so helpful and have only gotten less so.

Apple is repositioning itself as an appliance maker. Sony, Panasonic, Kenmore - that sort of thing. That's nice and all, and I'm sure they'll do well. I have work that needs to be done, however, and they want to sell toys.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:27 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have work that needs to be done, however, and they want to sell toys.

Yes, because work never gets done on Apple devices, of course.
posted by nomadicink at 1:34 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


They didn't "invent" it - it existed already.

There's more to an operating system than a kernel, and you know this. Or you should, if you really use as many different platforms as you claim.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:39 PM on December 29, 2010


People's passionate defense of giant corporations is fucking embarrassing.
posted by maxwelton at 1:42 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]



Yes, because work never gets done on Apple devices, of course.

WWDC the past two years has had as its focus the iPhone and iPad. They've eliminated the Xraid, and now the Xserve. Apple has been steadily shifting the focus from workstations and "serious" computing to light use devices.

An example - you ever back up a big windows server ? Grab a volume shadow copy and write it out. Linux ? Grab a snapshot from the volume manager and write it out. OSX ? Quiesce all your databases, and walk through the file system for a couple of hours. HFS+ is adequate, if archaic, for light use workstations and woefully underpowered and featureless in any real computing environment.

iSCSI ? Nope. 8gig FC ? nope. 10 gig copper ? Nope. *

Simply - if Apple were interested in doing this stuff, they would. But they aren't. It's all iDevices. Which is cool, but very few people do real work on them - and they certainly aren't running FSL against 750Gigs of brain data.

*(yeah, third party solutions exist, but my point still stands that Apple isn't doing it)
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:59 PM on December 29, 2010


That's a bit reductive ...

pot, kettle, etc.

... and ignores much of what Apple has done to expand access to and improve the state of the art of computing for the general public.

To the extent that you define "the art of computing" as "being able to run apps on a closed device", then yes, I guess so. But that's a weak definition of computing, and this is why people call Apple "closed."

There's more to an operating system than a kernel, and you know this.

Building a new operating system from an existing kernel (and much more than the kernel) is an impressive thing. But it's not invention. And you know this.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:04 PM on December 29, 2010


*(yeah, third party solutions exist, but my point still stands that Apple isn't doing it)

There you go again, being dismissive.

Neither Microsoft nor Linux put FC cards in their hardware. Because they don't sell hardware, of course. But Apple used to sell an Fibre Channel card option for their Xserve.

Sure it was only 4 Gb, but that was back when 4 Gb was standard for Fibre Channel, back when people still managed to do "real work" with 4 Gb FC.

So the notion that people don't do "real work" on Apple computers is just ridiculous nonsense — and that you have to resort to such silly games just reinforces that fact.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:06 PM on December 29, 2010


Building a new operating system from an existing kernel (and much more than the kernel) is an impressive thing. But it's not invention.

Microsoft, Sun, Google, Nokia, RIM, Apple and many other companies all have patents that would say otherwise.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:12 PM on December 29, 2010


People's passionate defense of giant corporations is fucking embarrassing.

Yeah, you know what, you can rep the Junior Black Panther Brigade all you want, but I'll bet you anything you're sitting on a computer made by a corporation, running an OS made by a corporation, using websites and services made by corporations over Internet links built by corporations. Since the People's Internet Backbone Liberation Front hasn't won yet, we're gonna be stuck with corporations for the foreseeable future. In that context empty anti-corporate posturing is not only useless but actually counterproductive, whether or not corporations as such are evil.
posted by nasreddin at 2:23 PM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's more to an operating system than a kernel, and you know this. Or you should, if you really use as many different platforms as you claim.

You said : "Apple invented an entirely new operating system..." Of which the kernel is most of, if not the entirety of, especially on embedded devices where there is close integration of hardware and software.

Even at that, iOS runs cocoa (streamlined and with a touch API added), and core services (streamlined for the device) - both of which predate the devices and draw extensively on existing code.

iOS was a modification of an existing OS, not a whole cloth invention - no matter how you define "OS".

But Apple used to sell an Fibre Channel card option for their Xserve

Back when they used to sell an Xserve....

Which they don't do any more...

Because they don't want to sell servers...

Because they want to sell iDevices - toys, in comparison, to be sure - and Media...

Which is what they are doing instead of selling servers.



This sort of dissembling semantic bullshit is the worst part about trying to discuss technology.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:24 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Microsoft, Sun, Google, Nokia, RIM, Apple and many other companies all have patents that would say otherwise.

But, but, but ... you're the same Blazecock Pileon that wrote that Google doesn't actually invent anything, right? So it's invention when Apple does it, but not when everyone else does it?

Neither Microsoft nor Linux put FC cards in their hardware. Because they don't sell hardware, of course.

Apple, on the other hand, is in fact a hardware company, so I'm not sure why that's a relevant point for you to make. Now, I'm perfectly OK with Apple not selling to the enterprise; they're just not interested in it. That's fine. Their focus on consumer devices is working out pretty well for them. But for those sad folks who actually bought into Apple for the enterprise, too bad for them.

People's passionate defense of giant corporations is fucking embarrassing.

Why, exactly? People are passionate about all kinds of things. Why should this be any different? Are giant corporations bad per se? Would a world without Google (or Apple) be better?
posted by me & my monkey at 2:42 PM on December 29, 2010


Back when they used to sell an Xserve....

I'm just pointing out your "OMG people don't do real work on Applez" story is complete nonsense. People were doing "real work" on Macs yesterday, and they'll keep doing "real work" on Macs today and tomorrow.

And you can, if you want, buy third-party iSCSI and FC adapters that work fine in existing or new Power Macs or existing Xserves.

So you can still do "real work", even if that means you can't buy a new Xserve to do it on, and have to buy a Power Mac instead.

People were racking Power Macs to make computational clusters for a while before the Xserve was even released. So the notion that the lack of an Xserve suddenly means that Apple now only sells toys is dismissive nonsense. It's a falsehood. Quit with this bullshit.

This sort of dissembling semantic bullshit is the worst part about trying to discuss technology

I absolutely agree. I hate seeing it in your comments, since you seem to know enough to know better.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:59 PM on December 29, 2010


s/Power Mac/Mac Pro/
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:00 PM on December 29, 2010


So you can still do "real work", even if that means you can't buy a new Xserve to do it on, and have to buy a Power Mac instead.

Sure, you can. How well do those Power Macs fit in standard corporate 19" racks?

Would it be so damn hard to just acknowledge the basic point that Apple's not interested in targeting the enterprise? That's all Pogo_Fuzzybutt is saying, and it's obvious on its face. Yes, yes, individuals can do "real work" on Macs. But in your haste to grab that one tossed-off comment, you're ignoring every substantive point he made. Here's someone who'd like to buy more Apple products for the enterprise, and they're just not interested in selling.

The comparison made earlier of Apple to Sony is really spot-on, I think - they both make very nice hardware, and target the high-end consumer market for the most part. And now, of course, they're both media companies as well.

I absolutely agree. I hate seeing it in your comments

Aren't you a bit old to be paraphrasing "I know you are, but what am I?"
posted by me & my monkey at 3:16 PM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have published a novel. In the UK and in the US, under two different titles (publishers’ decision). This was over 30 years ago, so my agent has retired and his successor will never have heard of me, nor have a current address for me; it is therefore likely my work will be considered “orphaned”. I am not a member of any Writers’ Guild or similar organisation. I have also never heard of this plan before reading the article in the link. This leaves me wondering how to find out whether my novel has been scanned and, if so, to whom I should turn to discuss royalties and similar issues.
posted by aqsakal at 3:58 AM on December 29



aqsakal, Authors Guild v. Google was a class action thing which you had to opt-out of, so since you've only just heard of this you evidently didn't opt out; you'll be covered by it if it ever gets resolved. The U.S. Department of Justice was unhappy about the settlement, since it is so broad-reaching and would, if I recall their turn of phrase correctly, usurp the legislative role.

You probably want to start by visiting the Google Book Settlement website. It's large and a bit confusing, and doesn't appear to be being actively maintained (it still says "fairness hearing is now scheduled for February 18, 2010" which is obviously past - as far as I know, the hearing occurred but the judge hasn't issued a ruling yet). But it's where they keep the claim form. You can go ahead and fill it out (as far as I know there was no cut-off date for that) but nothing will happen until the judge issues his ruling.

I was one of the authors whose work they infringed (they mistakenly believe my book to still be in print, though), so I understand your concern.

More discussion here and on the SFWA website here.
posted by joannemerriam at 3:21 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Guys, guys, guys... Don't you know that "Real Work" is just a narrow subset of computer use as defined by that Cheetos-encrosted ground sloth holed up in the server room? SHEESH.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:26 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


(encrusted)
posted by entropicamericana at 3:28 PM on December 29, 2010


Are you guys just dense or what? It's obvious that what Pogo_Fuzzybutt is talking about is "real work" in the sense of enterprise server computing. The fact that Apple products are theoretically usable for that purpose is totally irrelevant to the fact that the company is no longer interested in pursuing this market.
posted by nasreddin at 3:32 PM on December 29, 2010


Pogo_Fuzzybutt's implication is, of course, that anything other than enterprise server computing is not "real work."
posted by entropicamericana at 3:47 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll take that as a yes.
posted by nasreddin at 3:52 PM on December 29, 2010


Pogo_Fuzzybutt's implication is, of course, that anything other than enterprise server computing is not "real work."

You don't need to rely on an implication. He stated very clearly what he meant. You might want to reread his comment in full. Or you can just make with the snark I guess.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:55 PM on December 29, 2010


Which one, the one where he says Apple manufactures office furniture, the one where he says they manufacture toys, or the one where calls them a lifestyle company?
posted by entropicamericana at 3:57 PM on December 29, 2010


They don't manufacture toys? What exactly is the utility of an MP3 player? Who requires an iPod Touch? I have all these things, and guess what: they're toys!

They're not a lifestyle company? I think Steve Jobs would disagree with that. Any company "selling an experience" is a lifestyle company. And they do sell a good experience. But the fact is, they don't target the enterprise, they don't target businesses, and for every Mac used in a business, there are bunches of PCs. And most of the people doing work on a computer, are doing it on a PC.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:21 PM on December 29, 2010



Which one, the one where he says Apple manufactures office furniture, the one where he says they manufacture toys, or the one where calls them a lifestyle company?

It wasn't an implication. I said it directly.

You can get away with using Apple stuff, if you want, maybe, if your needs aren't too exotic. It will probably work out OK until Apple decides to sell LED mockingbirds or electronic Pez dispensers instead of whatever it was you were buying from them. They have demonstrated time and again over the past three years that their main market is consumers, and they want to sell them toys and light computer lifestyle devices.

To be clear, it is not a bad decision for Apple. In fact, they seem to be doing quite well for themselves.

Still, if you have greater computing needs than an slightly above average workstation that can pressed into service as a SOHO server, Apple Computers can't help you. They don't exist anymore.

and it's a shame, I remember my Apple ][ fondly.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:44 PM on December 29, 2010


aqsakal, Authors Guild v. Google was a class action thing...

Many thanks for helpful info, joannemerriam. I'll follow up your links.
posted by aqsakal at 12:32 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Except for those Google Chrome-only WebGL-based HTML 5 demos, sure.

And since you so kindly didn't provide a link I will say that I can visit http://www.chromeexperiments.com/ just fine in browsers other than Chrome and I'm not fed bullshit about how I have to download Chrome to view the site, ala Apple's infamous Safari demos site http://developer.apple.com/safaridemos/gallery.php. Tells me I need Safari, hilariously on an OS it's not available for, Linux.

But thankfully we can backdoor into the same demo on Chrome or Firefox without the lie here: http://www.apple.com/html5/showcase/gallery/

Cocks.

If Google is doing the same thing then same response. Link please and thank you my gracious friend?
posted by juiceCake at 5:02 AM on December 30, 2010


It's entirely obvious that work in the Enterprise has recently been severely crippled by the surprise axing of Xserve and has always been somewhat crippled in terms of workflow and planning for typical Enterprise situations in regard to Apple. They went into it half assed and exited it without class. This is their prerogative. They are great in other ways, but not in Enterprise. We went with Linux for our Enterprise needs thankfully, though there was a push for Apple and of all things, FileMaker Pro over MySQL.

As for real work. That term is so loaded. I've seen over and over that "real work" can't be done on those silly netbooks or on Linux (both statements are laughable). I guess we have to keep in mind that the term is subjective. If someone can't do 3D Modeling on a netbook they may be useless for "real work" when in fact it's useless for a specific task that it's absurd to expect from such hardware. If you can't run Photoshop on Linux, Linux doesn't support "real work." What about a fuckload of server applications and therefore work?

Having that in mind is fine, but anyone using the term should keep in mind that other types of work exist that others do with the devices that aren't suited for their work. I constantly here how it's not possible to do "real work" on Windows for or Linux or Netbooks or Macs. Nonsense. In this case, Enterprise work suffers due to what Apple prioritizes just as many desktop applications suffer due to the focus of Linux (if it an be said to have a focus).
posted by juiceCake at 5:11 AM on December 30, 2010


[Comment removed. Cut it out.]
posted by cortex at 9:29 AM on December 30, 2010


I'm not fed bullshit about how I have to download Chrome to view the site

You're wrong. Google's recent Body Browser is a good example: a WebGL demo which not only didn't work with Safari — a WebGL-capable browser — but did browser sniffing to push you to download a beta version of Chrome.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:30 PM on December 30, 2010


You're wrong.

Thanks for providing an example. Do you have a link or is a WebGL demo not available on the web? As I said, if I could be shown example I'd say the same thing about Google, of course. They're cocks too. Browser sniffing is high cockery.

I admit though I used Google technology to search for this link: http://www.chromeexperiments.com/webgl

Is this it? It doesn't sniff Firefox. So a link would be wonderful.

How was I able to find it with technology developed by a company that is not a technology company?
posted by juiceCake at 2:38 PM on December 30, 2010


Thanks for providing an example.

You're welcome.

Do you have a link or is a WebGL demo not available on the web?

Really? You can't search on the phrase "Google Body Browser"?

Seriously?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:11 PM on December 30, 2010


I dunno, I just looked at the Body Browser using Firefox and it didn't have any problems or push me to download anything.
posted by nasreddin at 10:25 PM on December 30, 2010


And then I tried it with K-Meleon and it told me:

"Welcome to Google Body. You need a Web browser that supports WebGL.
Try: Google Chrome Beta | Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta | WebKit nightly | Other "

So you're objecting to the fact that Chrome is one of four options in that list? It does not seem like you are arguing in good faith.
posted by nasreddin at 10:27 PM on December 30, 2010


When the Body Browser was first posted, Google required a beta version of Google Chrome. No other WebGL browsers were listed. Take it up with Google.

It does not seem like you are arguing in good faith.

This accusation comes from a self-admitted Google fanboy who called me a troll from the outset for not buying the Google hype.

You shouldn't be accusing anyone of bad faith. I'm tired of your abusive comments and would be happy to discuss them in Metatalk, frankly.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:51 PM on December 30, 2010


And yet Apple's site is still requiring me to download Safari, while Google no longer does--and Body Browser has been around for only two weeks. Keep throwin' those hammers at those telescreens, man.
posted by nasreddin at 11:00 PM on December 30, 2010


What Apple does is not particularly relevant to the question of what Google does. You wanted an example and you were given one. But you're good at moving those goal posts, that's for sure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:40 PM on December 30, 2010


You might want to keep better track of who you were arguing with.
posted by nasreddin at 12:30 AM on December 31, 2010


If you're going to join in a pile-on, you might want take some responsibility for your comments.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:41 AM on December 31, 2010


This line of argument began when juiceCake said "I could have sworn Safari and Chrome are free to use though thankfully Google doesn't dick around and claim you need Safari to see some select HTML 5 demos. I could have sworn Apple was in the advert business as well." Then you said Google's HTML5 demos are Chrome-only. When we demonstrated that they weren't Chrome-only, and that the Apple ones are still Safari-only, meaning that juiceCake's claim was entirely correct, you objected that "What Apple does is not particularly relevant to the question of what Google does." Given that this particular HTML5 discussion started out as a comparison between Google and Apple, this is incorrect.

Anyway, since you clearly still aren't willing to argue in good faith, I'm bowing out. See ya.
posted by nasreddin at 12:48 AM on December 31, 2010


When I stuck to discussing Google, you accused me of being a troll. If you have something to say in good faith, I'll listen. But if you're going to wave Apple around like a magic wand, I just don't have anything more to say to you. Good luck.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:52 AM on December 31, 2010


When the Body Browser was first posted, Google required a beta version of Google Chrome. No other WebGL browsers were listed. Take it up with Google.

What's to take up, exactly? They don't do that now. So the possibilities are:

1) they didn't do it then, and you're misremembering,
2) they didn't do it then, and you're misrepresenting,
3) they did do it then, but corrected their own behavior.

None of those choices really make Google look bad.

Also, as a point of interest to me, it appears they're not doing browser sniffing at all, but rather functionality sniffing. If you go there with the latest Firefox 4 beta, with WebGL functionality not universally enabled, you get the same thing that nasreddin saw with K-Meleon. I don't see anything wrong with that.

What Apple does is not particularly relevant to the question of what Google does.

... unless you're comparing the two companies, which is THE TOPIC OF THIS THREAD.

When I stuck to discussing Google, you accused me of being a troll.

You are definitely not a troll. You're a true believer.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:03 AM on December 31, 2010


Really? You can't search on the phrase "Google Body Browser"?

Seriously?


Yes I can. I just wanted verification. I did in fact use Google technology (even though they are not apparently a tech company) to look sniffing infractions up and was presented with a few examples that no longer seemed to hold true. I apologize for being so crass and stupid. I believe it's just a difference in etiquette my graceful friend. When discussing web sites in threads I like to include links when I can, it's the basic principle behind H in HTML (Hypertext). I apologize for my etiquette clash and have come to learn that it's far better in dialogue with persons such as yourself, to not be at helpful and provide a link or reference or source when in a discussion of what I thought was apparently good faith but clearly, I am, once again, in error.

Net etiquette in terms of use and development is of interest to me, as is accuracy. My interests blinded me to the ignorance and apparently baffling request.

If I could, I would remove the links to Apple's browser sniffing and non-browser sniffing sites I made in my earlier post and have people look it up for themselves. Clearly the better option.

Happy New Year! Peace and good fortune.
posted by juiceCake at 3:25 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


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