Saturday, May 18, 2013

Scorched Earth - if Google can't own the web then it must destroy it.

Over the two years Google has knifed a number of open net protocols, including CalDAV, RSS, XMPP, Atom and CardDAV and they split Chrome from WebKit.  They effectively abandoned their wiki and web authoring platform. Most recently they killed Google Reader; the competition-crushing champion for standards-based change notification and information consumption. Feedburner is next, and Blogger will likely be subsumed into Google+ (and perhaps lose its RSS feeds).

It's almost as if Google wants to end the document-centric open web as we have known it.

But why would they do that? Doesn't Google make must of its money from searching that web?

Well, yes, they do. But, as many have noted, most recently Jason Smith, Google's search monopoly is shakier than it seems. Apple has been bowed by dual attacks from Google and Samsung, but they are likely to strike back over the next year -- probably allied with Microsoft and perhaps Yahoo (but not Amazon). Apple will use its massive cash reserves to survive dropping Samsung manufacturing, and Apple will switch its default search engine to Bing.

Google knows this. 

Thousands of years of human warfare told Google how to respond. If an army cannot hold rich agricultural ground, it must burn it. Let the enemy eat ashes.

The web is a forest, and Google is burning it.


Anonymous said...

Intriguing point of view, but "destroy" implies make search valueless. I'd assume that if the "scorched earth" approach is on the table for Google, it would be in undermining the tech other search engine's rely upon to provide relevant results.

Unknown said...

Hahaha , One company drops support for one protocol and few low-penetration projects and voila its destroying web.
As if the web actually runs on google *only* and people will no options if google was to go under.

Haplo said...

It's not because Googlr knifed them that they're off the web. I switched to Tiny Tiny RSS which is enough a replacement for Google Reader. XMPP/Jabber is still available to those who want to use it.
Functionality that Google offers is available through alternatives if you want to bother to set them up. Google combines its services in a convenient package, so does FB. But the web continues to function without these 2 major players too.

Haplo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gustavo Muslera said...

Even if the effect seem to be very similar, my interpretation is that what google is doing is convergence and integration of services.

Instead of having 50 overlapping services with a lot of common and a lot of different ways to do it, fragmenting what people do where, they are pushing most of them in the same direction, in the same platform. And that means in some cases putting a lot under the same umbrella (i.e. drive, or g+), and trimming what can't be pushed by its own nature into that road.

In the other way, trimming those rough borders could do more good to internet than bad. It leaves space for more players. The rss readers space exploded when they announced that were discontinuing Reader. Maybe the same will happen when they do the same with i.e. Blogger (it overlaps a lot with doing public comments in g+, at least). We need a full ecosystem, not one company doing it all, or worse, keeping most of it in a walled garden.

Jeremiah said...

"When he reached the New World, Cortes burned his ships. As a result, his men were highly motivated."

"Hunt for Red October"

Google cannot make money on Blogger. Was Reader generating retail-grade consumer data? (Hint: No.) So, if you want to go long form, you'll have to publish on a ebook platform (and charge, either as a fee to publish or read).

Most mobile devices are handsets - tablets are still a fraction. Nobody reads on a cell phone.

Will the New World be better? We'd best be motivated - the ships are burning.