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September 09, 2008

Googasm: IT pundits don't know shit

The Register UK | Chrome-fed Googasm bares tech pundit futility | It's a f***ing web browser
Fail and You Last week, Google released a web browser called Chrome, and the online tech media had a powerful Googasm. We were long overdue for another climax like this, having been lightly stimulated with half-baked Google web products in the four years since GMail was released. Every time the media fires off its gravy so violently, it highlights how little some of the supposed "experts" actually know about computers. Case in point: People saying that Google Chrome is an operating system designed to compete head-to-head with Microsoft Windows.... When journalists jump on a story like this, they will publish just about anything, no matter how poorly thought out. Let's take, for example, Henry Blodget of Silicon Alley Insider. He says:
[Google is] building the equivalent to Windows in the cloud-computing world.
Too bad the SEC can't ban this guy from the tech industry for life. People are calling Chrome a cloud operating system because it is a "platform for running web apps". It renders HTML and interprets Javascript, you know, like every fucking browser made since 1995. It's also got Google Gears built in. Great. I'll alert Tim Berners-Lee. This bullshit is a common theme when talking about Chrome. Those who realize that Chrome is not a full fledged operating system but still want to get in on the page-view party are calling Chrome the cloud operating system. Get it, because it's like clouds. All nature and shit. Don't you want to read that story?

Google: How to succeed at failure

cnew.com | Google: Profiting from failure
Indeed, it wasn't Carr's comparison of why Google is much like Microsoft (Google controls the online economy, while Microsoft controls the desktop economy) that I found most interesting, but rather his explanation of why Google can fail so routinely in its product launches...and have that failure feed into its top-line revenue:
Because the marginal cost of producing and distributing a new copy of a purely digital product is close to zero, Google not only has the desire to give away informational products; it has the economic leeway to actually do it. Those two facts -- the vast breadth of Google's complements, and the company's ability to push the price of those complements toward zero -- are what really set the company apart from other firms. Google faces far less risk in product development than the usual business does. It routinely introduces half-finished products and services as online "betas" because it knows that, even if the offerings fail to win a big share of the market, they will still tend to produce attractive returns by generating advertising revenue and producing valuable data on customer behavior. For most companies, a failed launch of a new product is very costly. For Google, in general, it's not. Failure is cheap.
Shrewd on Google's part, and insightful on Carr's for figuring it out. It's also cause for concern for those of us in businesses that have far less wiggle room for failure.

September 03, 2008

Take a close look at Chrome's terms of service

Chrome is the new web browser from Google. It's supposed to be lightning fast, but from their TOS is this bit of weirdness:

11. Content license from you

11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

The folks at Tap the Hive say this:

In other words, by posting anything (via Chrome) to your blog(s), any forum, video site, myspace, itunes, or any other site that might happen to be supporting you, Google can use your work without paying you a dime. They can go and edit it all they want. Even further, you're claiming that you have the power to grant these rights. So no one who works for Conde Nast (Wired, Arstechnica), TechCrunch, Gawker, any of the other big web publishers, or a university where the employee is performing research can agree to the Chrome ToS because they most likely don't have the right to give a license to the intellectual property (IP) they produce.

Most likely your employee or student agreement requires that your employer/university exclusively owns all IP that you make during your time there. Many employment contracts require that the employee signs away exclusive rights to all IP they create during work hours and anything created off hours related to their employer's business. Students get their credit because the university typically gets copyrights to any writings and exclusive patent rights to any research and inventions. This means that many content creators (news writers, song writers, artists, copy editors, musicians, students) cannot legally agree to these ToS because they'd be in breach of their employment/student contracts.

*Via the twitterfeed of Savage Jeff Lester*