Google Spinning Up a Storm

What should you expect from a lawyer?

This morning I read a “cute” post from the Google Blog:
Yahoo! and the future of the Internet

Google’s Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, questions Microsofts’ integrity for making a bid for Yahoo!. Of all things, who the heck does he think he’s kidding?

Google has historically bought out dozens – if not hundreds – of companies, and they usually do it ‘cloak and dagger’ without revealing anything publicly, if they can. The SHORT LIST of companies and products Google has bought out includes:

  • Adscape
  • Applied Semantics
  • dMarc Broadcasting
  • Deja’s Usenet archive
  • Dodgeball
  • DoubleClick
  • Feedburner
  • GrandCentral
  • GreenBorder
  • Hello
  • ImageAmerica
  • Jaiku
  • JotSpot
  • Kalrix
  • Keyhole
  • Marratech
  • Measure Map
  • Neotonic
  • Orkut
  • Outride
  • Panoramio
  • PeakStream Technologies
  • Picasa
  • Postini
  • Pyra Labs/Blogger
  • SketchUp
  • Trendalyzer
  • Urchin
  • Where2
  • Writely
  • YouTube
  • Zenter
  • Zingku
  • Zipdash

And there are plenty more. Unfortunately, the list of Google Acquisitions can never be complete, because they do their best to prevent public disclosure of each transaction, at least until it’s a done deal.

What a load!

And while that really touches a nerve, what really gets me upset is the implications made by Mr. Drummond:

The openness of the Internet is what made Google — and Yahoo! — possible. A good idea that users find useful spreads quickly. Businesses can be created around the idea. Users benefit from constant innovation. It’s what makes the Internet such an exciting place.

So Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It’s about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.

So Microsoft is “bad” because they use closed source? I don’t recall Google giving source-level access to their major projects, either. Maybe I missed the memo, but when was Google giving away the source to AdWords, Google Search or direct data access to their extensive data stores? When did Google decide to open their algorithm and publish the specifics?

Oh that’s right. They didn’t.

The difference between a desktop operating system (Windows) or desktop application (Office), versus an internet service (Google Search, Google Apps) is significant. The users of Word and Excel, or any other desktop application – whether it’s open or closed source, can determine how the application functions and engineer their own imitation of it. Microsoft even spearheaded the .net language system which uses an easily reversible language construct – specifically for the purpose of interoperability and openness.

What has Google done lately? They’ve offered more and more means of accessing everyone elses information – often by buying out someone elses development projects, but have made no effort to publish their own source code.

If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black.

What really interests Google?

One of the most telling historical acts is Google purchasing a 5% stake in AOL! America Online! Apparently it’s okay for Google to invest in every media company (even those that are SO closed source they can’t even discern what the “real” internet is!), buy out the rest, and “spin tales” about their opposition. “Do no evil,” my @$%.