Google. You whisper the name if you're going to talk shit, like Google is the Big Bad Wolf or the Boogie Man. Wealth has been created and destroyed by changes in its search algorithms. Occupations have been saved with a simple search. Some companies are even built in the sole hope that they might be an acquisition target for Google.
What started out as tech's best chance turned into Big Brother's Big Helper. In the early 2000s, people wanted to invest in Google because it used technology to help the world. Now Google has spent so long convincing itself of its own magnanimity that its appearance has become more of a Vampire-Hitler, sucking the life force from companies, and shutting down those which it deems unclean, or incompatible with its vision.
Time and time again, this company has used its monopoly on search to propel products and projects Google and its partners build.
Most recently, Rap Genius was caught cheating “the system”. Fortunately for them, they are part of a pipeline that is partnered with Google. They were penalized for less than a week before their search result rankings were re-instated, putting them back up at the top of search results while countless companies without the same affiliation would have been murdered by the results.
The announcement that Google had acquired Nest got me thinking. Not so much about how Google will own all this data. That’s not so worrisome if it is put to good use. Instead, I could not stop thinking that I did not want to live in a world controlled by a company whose moral compass could be so corrupt.
Now with Google's integration of G+ and Gmail, we see favoritism again. The new integration is glorified spamming. The integration essentially allows people to spam those who don’t want to use Google+ but are too embedded in Gmail to move mail services. And, when Google announced that it would cache email images in their own servers, Google took away the ability for people running newsletter campaigns to detect accurately the open rates of their emails.
Google is effectively forcing the acceptance of these decisions by users rather than learning through organic growth. They are accountable to no one. Why should we believe the dream that a company would act in the best interest of its users when it has clearly not done so?
Google’s competitors have become lazy because it is difficult to compete with a Google when they control distribution. Distribution is the gateway to finding users and selling a product. When distribution is controlled through a single source that seems so bent to buy or kill competition, how could anyone expect to compete? Why bother? So we all accept.
I often wonder if there is any in-fighting at Google about the morality of evolving this way. I wonder if they know that trust has been eroded, users have grown dissatisfied and wary, engineers calloused or afraid.
I wonder if Google knows that there is a storm brewing and that the future isn't spelled out in red, green, blue and yellow. Some of us are here to save the dream of what tech innovation could be. Some of us want the power back in the hands of the people.
Where you left the bones of our competitors, or fattened up our friends to sloth, you will find a new breed growing in these extreme conditions -- they are the ones that will own the future -- and they are not for sale.