Let me be the one to say it. Google has jumped the shark. The sanctimonious champion of "Do No Evil" and "Open Always Prevails" has stepped in doo-doo again.
Whether guilty of the sin of surreptitiously tracking users, or the sin of circumventing Apple's privacy controls in Mobile Safari in order to target users, the reality is that what Google stands for is no longer clear.
In the big picture, Google's getting into hardware (to the detriment of the OEMs that bet on their software story), asserting patents (to the detriment of their own stated position on patents), weakening their privacy policies and using their platform to shove G+ down our throats.
Whatever Google was, I think that it's safe to say that Google 'blinked,' is not that anymore, and never will be again.
I am sure that on one side, they see Facebook using 'free' and 'social' to whither away Google's Search dominion; and then on the other, they see Amazon taking Android, forking it, and making it their own, further fragmenting Android.
And then, there's the Coup de grâce, Apple utterly dominating in mobile on all of the metrics that matter...by doing the opposite of Google. As of now, Apple will almost assuredly be the Gorilla for the next decade, and the best that Google can hope for is to be a really Big Vhimp.
At some point, platitudes and values notwithstanding, you get tired of fighting with one hand behind your back. At some point, you decide war is about winning, and stop worrying about the weapons of war.
Google has reached that point, and there are now enough of these 'how could they' stories, usually caveated with an apologetic 'isolated incident' or 'mistake' disclaimer, but all following a common theme that the ends justify the means. Remember the WiFi snooping scandal a few years back that seemed like such an outlier that it had to be a mistake. Who'd have thunk it was a harbinger of things to come?
Some, such as Google apologist John Battelle, try to muck this topic by suggesting that it's Apple that made Google do this by virtue of Apple's bad policies.
But you know what, this is so wrong. Google is the clear offender here, even if the topic of privacy, and what's kosher/not, is an unfinished debate.
Apple offers a curated platform. We know this, this is their primary strategy, and it's proven pretty effective for developers, customers and the company alike. They're not saints, but Apple is at least true to their mission.
More to the point, the company exercises pretty good technology judgment on when to curate and when to get out of the way. For all of the 'Apple is anti-Web' rhetoric, they STILL offer the best mobile web browser.
Plus, remember all of the vitriol about Flash, and how anti-competitive it was? Guess what: history has shown their call on Flash to be the right one.
Despite absence of Flash being a theoretical competitive vulnerability, there STILL is no non-Apple mobile device that offers top-flight Flash performance, and this is how many years after Adobe touted their mobile readiness? Six years, seven years?
Apologists aside, at some point, someone has to say that Google has officially "Jumped the Shark."
Let me be the one.
UPDATE: This is an excellent piece in Gizmodo delineating 'The Case Agaist Google.' Well worth a read.
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