Life after Google

There’s certainly lots of turmoil within Google right now, between the clever and non-evil people who made it successful, and the “Google Plus At Any Cost, we will own the world!” people; and there’s no telling how it’ll come out.

But at the moment the g+ fanatics seem to be winning. (Even this Official Google Announcement was apparently posted only on Google+, so I can’t give a real link to it; but hopefully the URL there will continue working and pointing to the right thing.)

Over the next week, we’ll be adding support for alternate names – be they nicknames, maiden names, or names in another script – alongside your common name.

If we flag the name you intend to use, you can provide us with information to help confirm your established identity. This might include:
- References to an established identity offline in print media, news articles, etc
- Scanned official documentation, such as a driver’s license
- Proof of an established identity online with a meaningful following

We’ll review the information and typically get back to you within a few days.

(Gotta love that “typically”.)

And for anyone that’s nervous about sending their driver’s license to strangers, we are assured on mashable that

Google will destroy all documentation you send them once the account verification process is complete.

Everyone who feels they need more quasi-governmental agencies in their lives, demanding proof of identity and scans of your driver’s license, and assuring you that their random employees can be trusted with your information, raise your hand…

Didn’t think so.

There are at the same time reports that in order to sign up for any Google service these days, you have to also sign up for Google+ (including, presumably, telling Google your real name, and being prepared to offer official documentation for any nicknames you might want to use); and Google’s search results are starting to return Google Plus pages even when they are by no measure the best hits, which is incredibly stupid and the techs are already telling us how to get around it.

So there are clearly two things going on:

  • The Google Plus people at Google either don’t understand Internet culture, or think that they can change it (with themselves as the central storehouse and universally trusted driving engine of that change), and
  • Someone with power at Google thinks that (unlike Wave and Buzz, which were allowed to die when it turned out no one really wanted to use them) Google Plus is so important that all of Google’s other services can be taxed to supported it, by forcing anyone wanting to sign up for those other services to also sign up for Google Plus (and, if they don’t want to sign up for Google Plus, to go off to Yahoo or someone instead), and even corrupting search, which is Google’s base offering and frankly the only thing (well, maybe webmail) that we really want from them.

Of course Google may still save itself from these people; it’s far too early to give up.

But what if they don’t? Where will our bellweathers go to escape the stupidity, leading most of us along with them? Facebook for social stuff presumably, because that’s where everyone is anyway. But who will we use for search, and for webmail? And whatever else Google does that I’ve forgotten to mention?

Maybe the best thing would be for us to fragment again, and have there be more than one Big Obvious Search Provider, and more than one Big Obvious Webmail Provider, and even more than one Big Obvious Facebook-thing, and so on. If nothing else, Google’s failure would be a lesson on the dangers of bigness and obviousness, and the arrogance that tends to come with that.

On the other hand, Google’s implosion would open a very big opportunity for someone else to come in and take its place, by doing the good stuff without the dumb mistakes. Not sure who that would be; opinions welcome. What’s Yahoo doing these days? I tend to think of them as an old company that fell into the “web portal” rathole and never really returned, but maybe there’s potential there.

I really ought to make some bold prediction here, so that if Google does implode and my prediction turns out to be right, I can prove how clever and prescient I am. :) But for the moment I will just cross my fingers and hope that someone smart and powerful over there decides that shilling Google Plus isn’t worth corrupting all of the company’s other offerings, and that Google goes back to being the good guys. ’cause I am always an optimist!

(I will get back to the Combat System Scripting eventually, I promise! Or at least I have a good-faith intention to. But you know… shiny things!)

About these ads

9 Responses

  1. [...] (Reprinted from the secret Second Life weblog) [...]

  2. eek! this stinks and i need to find an alternative to YouTube that i can host myself =(

    • Yah, YouTube’s definitely an interesting case! (Who could ever object to having their email and their movie-watching habits linked, eh? hahaha) Although if something new like YouTube did spring up and get popular in the wake of Google going entirely bonkers and everyone leaving, I’m sure it would take a surprisingly short time to repopulate it with new videos of cats and explosions. :)

  3. My impression of Google over the past year of is that it is ceasing to be a cutting edge business and now moves forward mostly on past momentum. It’s key employees are wandering off to new work simply because they are bored, it has closed down many of its experimental programs, it has had a series of failed market entry projects. One of the symptoms of their flagging business model has been its more aggressive approach to context sensitive advertising (sniffing content) and service bundling.

    It also faces stiff competition from new kids on the block in its core business which is web searching. For example

    http://blekko.com/
    which promises to weed out server farm web pages which drown out useful sites

    http://wiredoo.com
    which promises a key word sensitive semantic search

    http://www.wolframalpha.com/
    which searches data bases (including your own) and answers questions by performing numerical analysis, instead of merely looking for existing web pages that may have expressed an opinion

    As for the Google analytic department that provides web services, in my opinion, amazon is eating their lunch.
    http://aws.amazon.com/

    Desdemona

  4. As for the ‘real names, real people’ and then.. “oh yes, we will allow nicknames’. flip flops… Google is not the only one to frown on opaque pseudonyms these days.

    I imagine that the new transparency policy is not Google’s doing. It is more likely due to US Homeland Security leaning on everyone to make every single bit flip on the Internet a traceable act. For better or worse, the Chinese were the pioneers on this approach and we are only recently catching up.

    Desdemona

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 74 other followers

%d bloggers like this: