An open letter to my longtime friend Google |

An open letter to my longtime friend Google

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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.


About the author

Ruth Suehle - Ruth Suehle is the community leadership manager for Red Hat's Open Source and Standards team. She's co-author of Raspberry Pi Hacks (O'Reilly, December 2013) and a senior editor at GeekMom, a site for those who find their joy in both geekery and...