An open letter to my longtime friend Google

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(12 votes)

Dear Google,

We've been together a long time. Had a lot of good times together. There are so many things about you I love. Gmail, great idea. Docs, very useful for sharing. I call GOOG-411 all the time. Heck, I even tried out Knol. (That was just me, wasn't it?) But I'm starting to think you might be losing sight of your best feature--that whole "don't be evil" thing.

And since we've had so many good memories together, I feel like we should talk about what's happening to the place we met. I've seen you hanging out with a new friend, talking about what's going to happen to our place. But I'm afraid you've been led astray.

You keep talking about turning this great place into an "open Internet." But it already is an open Internet. One that really must stay that way. Net neutrality isn't important because I don't want to pay extra for Hulu, premium cable channel style. (Which I don't.) No--it's important because openness of the Internet is absolutely, fundamentally critical to the future of collaborative innovation. And I don't mean this "public Internet" you keep mentioning. I mean just plain Internet. It's all public. Open to all of our friends--even the ones we don't really like.

And I know you know about this open innovation idea. Remember summer camp? I think it's even why you went to the beach last year. (I'm sorry nobody else showed up.) But maybe visions of Androids with dollar signs in their eyes have clouded your memories.

Google, do you remember that time, late one night, we searched together for Amazing Fantasy 15? Do you remember what it said? "With great power, there must also come--great responsibility!"

Like Spider-Man, there aren't many with the same kind of power you have. Don't go all Venom on me, OK?

One of your many loyal, openness-loving users

PS--I still love you, and I hope we can stay together. But you're making it a little harder for me to see our long-term future.

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Doepre's picture

Don't be evil went away many many many years ago, if it was ever more than propaganda. Too
Any examples to list.....China anyone?

Good that people are staring lose th blind spot between what they want to believe an what is real. Apparently still hard to let go though, as shown by this article.

suehle's picture
Open Source Sensei

No argument. It is hard to let go. The numbers of people who rely on a variety of Google services is hardly trivial. And in some cases, the alternatives are significantly less appealing. That would actually make a really great post for someone to write--a complete list of the Google products and services and better alternatives, much like existing lists of proprietary software and open alternatives.

I also agree that "don't be evil" has been eroding for quite some time. But it's nice to not always be 100% cynical. And I don't think it was always simply propaganda. But greed is a mighty force.

Doepre's picture

Yeah good points, but really Google has been dodgy for almost a decade. I liked them in like 1999 but the writing has been on the wall for a very long time.

I don't think the opposite of cynicism has to be gullibility ;-)

Colonel Panik's picture

Ruth Suehle, Great, really great!

Maybe we can have a class action suit for breach of promise?

We are all saddened by Oracle's very anti-OpenSource move
against Google. Are we surprised? Not even a little.
Oracle has always been the big evil in OpenSource. Let us
all hope that the two giants destroy each other and some new
and better entity will come along to save the world.

Where is Google's headquarters? Washington, DC?

Gary Scarborough's picture

I am a bit surprised to see such a response against Google in this matter. In the course of a week, Oracle has closed down OpenSolaris and gone to war with Google over Android. I think the whole Java thing has less to do with FOSS and more to do with money. I think Oracle wants to get paid for every Android device. Frankly I am not sure how I feel about this. On one side, Sun never really open sourced J2ME from what I understand. But on the other, is it really a stretch to go from OpenJDK to what Google has?

Google on the other hand has done a lot for open source. And lets remember that there are two sides to every story. Google has barely had time to get its lawyers wound up and people are already chastising Google for being evil. Remains to be seen what the actual truth of the matter is. If this just ends in some licensing agreement, all the hype this week will have been pointless.

melanie's picture
Open Source Evangelist

I don't think the original article is chastising Google for the lawsuit with Oracle. I believe she is referencing their proposed net neutrality rules, released jointly with Verizon, in which they exempt mobile wireless networks from the rules. The proposal says, "In recognition of the still-nascent nature of the wireless broadband marketplace, under this proposal we would not now apply most of the wireline principles to wireless, except for the transparency requirement."

bkearney's picture

I hear the issues, and I for one do not want to have to pay for "buy ups" such as email. I would assume that walled gardens such as this will fail anyways (see classmates or aol mail). However, why is there no ferver over edge Content Deliver Networks. With third parties such as this, companies with money are getting a superior service that companies who can not afford to pay for the improved hosting. Is the issue in this case "who pays"? I get the feeling that if the company pays, it is ok. But, if the consumer pays.. then it is a net neutrality issue. Am I missing something?

StephanT's picture

When two fight the third wins!
Guess who's the third.

Java was created ti kill the third. It didn't work this way, rather we got .net to play with. As it wasn't enough Google is pushing now Dalvik which is another artificial creation...

Have pity of programmers....