Media Musings & Meditations

Observations and discussion about technology, culture and spirituality. As new technology developments and trends envelope the Internet and our "wired" culture we all need time to reflect and process the implications on our society, our relationships and our spiritual practices.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Google the New Evil Empire?

I'm sorry to say it's my second posting and already I am ranting. I am excited to have joined the Blog world but I have had a potential epiphany. Google could become the new Evil Empire. Let me explain.

As a professor, I work in a department that is dominated by Mac computers. I also teach many students who are Mac zealots and who have sworn allegiance to open source software as the last hope against the Darth Vader (aka Bill Gates) and the Evil Monopoly Empire affectionately known as "Microsoft." I confess that I have worked in harmony with Microsoft products over the years and don't have the same fanaticism as many of my colleagues and students. On the other hand, I also like open source software and I look forward to healthy competition that can humble giants like Microsoft (and bring down prices ;) ). My complaint against Microsoft is more that it is so proprietary, not willing to play well with other programs and platforms.

I thought this Internet age was all about "Interoperability" -- that we could get all computers to communicate using the universal language of hypertext & browser (like the music note scene out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind). And it seemed Microsoft was the only one who didn't get it. So I watched as Internet companies like Google began to emerge from the protoplasmic mire we call the WWW and assert itself as a new web-facing company. As Google grew and fed upon smaller companies (like Blogger, incidentally), I had no concerns. After all, this is a new and smarter "web" company; they know about interoperability. Perhaps, some like me thought that companies like Google might sufficiently penetrate the web and the computer industry enough to give Microsoft some real competition -- at least in some aspects of the empire.

But I began to see marks of the dark side in Google. My unassuming Search friend began to make some very big "corporate-type" moves. While cool features such as Gmail and Google Map came to the scene, there was also the indication that Luke (aka Google) might be tipping to the "less-light side." For example, Google Map does not work on Macs. I asked some company reps at a convention when the Mac version was coming out. "It's not." They said with all the dark apathy of Count Dooku. "Oh, ok." I said, "Well, how about the future, do they have any long-term projections when it will come out? " "No, there are no plans for a Mac version at this time."

Now, even as I work to create this Blog, I learn that the photo features embedded in the program are "Windows only" 3rd party vendors. Nooooooo! So despite the fact that I can add my paltry rant from a Mac I am denied full-citizenship in the Google Empire.

BTW- My connection to Blogger suddenly became disconnected during the writing of this posting… coincidence?

Stay tuned for the next Rebel alliance meeting! :).


Anonymous J. said...

Your blog is truly beautiful. I am a bit jealous! I liked your musings. I'll be curious to see what others think.

11:53 AM  
Blogger y said...

I for one welcome our new search engine overlords!
Actually, I agree with you. One day I'm going to buy hosting and move all my personal data (blog, e-mail, etc) there. And I'm going to go ahead and start encrypting my e-mail when possible.
Oh, and anyone who knows anything knows that the empire is actually the good guy.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Alison said...

Cool! Another blogger for me to stalk!
Jeff's mom

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous alison said...

I was a lot more active when I first got started. It filled this aching void near my heart where my children USED to be before they got lives of their own. Now there's just an aching void near my heart because they don't post often enough to inform me of their every move and I have no life of my own...
This is the saga of the blogger stalker known only to her children and their unsuspecting commenters as "Yo mama" or "So-and-so's mom!"
(I'm pretty sure Dustin's afraid of me.)

1:49 PM  
Blogger Prof Kelly said...

Jeff, that is an amazing article on the politics of Star Wars. It should be required reading in some of our PoliSci courses.

BTW - Let me know when you start selling space in your empire.

1:58 PM  
Blogger purecanucks said...

I agree with you and Jeff. I'm waiting for Google's Search Your Mind brain chip.


2:00 PM  
Anonymous zaphar said...

There isn't a Mac Version coming because it's a web app. Web apps aren't supposed to have "platform specific" versions. Perhaps the better question to ask is why doesn't my Mac support the standards that google is using to build their app?

1:56 PM  

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