Friday, December 22, 2006

Is Google a teeny bit evil?

My rhetorical question for the day: Can you be just a little bit evil?

From Loek Bakker‘s weblog: IT stereotypes will nog get e-wasted

Another news item this week: Google has given up on the SOAP search API, and instead is offering an AJAX counterpart. Some people claimed victory for REST over SOAP (or didn't they ;-). I know Stefan did not...), but the reality is that Google has only dropped the SOAP interface so they could stick with their core business model: selling advertisements. With the SOAP API, people could by-pass the advertisments which account for 99% of Google's revenue, however with the AJAX interface, the Google ads come with the search results. I guess that's what people mean when they refer to "push services". Google has taken away this very useful free service, and instead have given the developer community a vehicle for Google's own cash cow. But, they still remain cool according to the mob.

A small thing perhaps, but a reminder that making money is why businesses exist. Which is why the Google Books project is such a dangerous proposition. The universities that are climbing into bed with Google are making a bad mistake. We should not be ceding control of the collective works of mankind to a single entity, evil or otherwise. Can we please get behind the Open Content Alliance.

Washington Post: Google Book-Scanning Efforts Spark Debate.

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