If you run Firefox you get a stripped down version of Google Search also with no infinite scrolling for images and low resolution.
Use a user agent spoofer like this:
And it seems to work fine on Firefox.
I'm sure their official excuse is that they only support WebKit based browsers on mobile, like it's the new Internet Explorer with some modern day ActiveX
Remember when Microsoft did the stuff Google does now and the government actually cared enough to do something about it?
I'm not even kidding. Look it up for yourself. The Bush DOJ took down Enron even when it destroyed people's pensions. Meanwhile, Wall Street destroyed the country's economy requiring trillions of spending (read: debt) to "fix" and how many went to jail? Oh yeah... one--a scapegoat.
And the statistics don't lie. Prosecutions of white collar crimes have dropped from 17.6% in 1995-7 to 9.4% in 2010-12. Did everyone stop committing crimes? Did everyone say they're sorry? In 2015, prosecutions were at a "20 year low". 20 year low... during one of the largest economic collapses in US history, where there should be sky high rates.
Don't act like Microsoft, of all companies, is some poor victim. They compete their ass off, and sometimes they win, sometimes lose. They lost that time.
I also remember something about how Google demanded that Microsoft implement something that wasn't technically possible at the time in order to get the Youtube app to be fully compliant. I don't remember what that was exactly, but I think it had something to do with how they were rendering the videos.
I was a Windows Phone user at the time, and was very irritated about Google being petty and not working with Microsoft to get the app working with ads.
Competition is fair game.
- the existence of Bing
- Every version of IE and Windows starting from over a decade ago has made it more difficult to change the default search engine from Bing. Comically difficult, even
- Microsoft's creation/funding of entities like Fairsearch.org, whose primary reason for existence is to destroy Google
- Stealing Google's search results
- etc etc
Microsoft has tried to defeat Google from day one. Again, they competed and lost. If they had built up any good will maybe Google would have helped. But they didn't.
Microsoft got forcibly fucked by the US government for unfairly damaging their competition. Is that really the path that Google wants to follow?
However, I don't see Google being sued in the USA. Why? Because (per my other comment) prosecution of White Collar crimes dropped over 20% (a whopping amount) when Eric Holder came into power over the DOJ. 20% DROP DURING one of the largest recessions in USA history! Bush destroyed Enron and sent them to jail even though that would kill people's pensions. Meanwhile, Eric Holder brought about the Too Big To Fail era where the DOJ was outright AFRAID of prosecuting big companies.
We basically don't have a government now. We have corporations. And they don't have to wait to be voted in, and they don't have to leave after four years.
Look at how companies like Comcast (after the Telecommunications Act) can now own NBC, and NBC news. They can own the entire chain of wire, to media, to control of information itself. Is it any wonder why, when ~5 companies control 90% of all US media, that we never hear of "big bad evil corporations" anymore? In the 90's everyone was rushing to burn Wal-Marts to the ground for pushing out "the little guy". Now when Google does it, platform liberals and news pundits cry "Free market!". Are we supposed to believe that in ~25 years, the same corporations suddenly became ethical? Why is there never any serious talk of unions (a central tenant of the Democrat platform) anymore? Because they corporations (not Democrats) control the news now.
Google's comment was
>The mobile web version of Google Maps is optimized for WebKit browsers such as Chrome and Safari. However, since Internet Explorer is not a WebKit browser, Windows Phone devices are not able to access Google Maps for the mobile web.
The problem is, mobile IE uses the same rendering engine as desktop IE10, which works. Firefox works even though it's not Webkit. And if you visited maps.google.co.uk, everything worked perfectly. And it worked before Google blocked it. Between the time Google blocked WP8 from viewing Google Maps and the time they said "oh hey the browser works now", there were no updates to Windows Phone to change browser functionality.
In short, Google blocked their competitor from accessing their website, got called out, issued a complete lie of a statement, then rolled back the change. Yes, as a Windows Phone user at the time I was not amused, and that was when I stopped using Google services.
Windows mobile was a mess last I had to deal with it. As far as I recall, Windows Mobile uses IE11 within an app, or Edge from the browser. Both had either proprietary or buggy touch events. Supporting Windows phone was a nightmare for us (and as it turned out, a complete waste of time).
Not defending Google, just saying my facts are different from yours.
This just encourages folks on the receiving side to come up with situations for google to panic over then reap the predictable "lobbying".
Other companies across industries approach things differently- they get their targets hooked on a steady stream of "lobbying" and use the withdrawal of that as leverage.
Microsoft is actually quiet good at lobbying and has been successful on many fronts to keep their products and services the dominant solution for US government systems.
It has its own contracts and obligations with its creators and label companies. When Microsoft's officially branded agent-provocateur-ish version lets you download videos, YouTube can't really independently decide on how to respond.
The reason for the browser-sniffing in search is a combination of ease of testing + latency reduction. By supporting a known set of browsers, you can write a test plan for each and shard it out among contractors (or ideally, automate it with a Selenium config). Manual tests run on every release (2/week when I left, maybe more now), and automated tests run on every changelist (thousands/week), so you can see how adding additional browsers to the testing matrix can consume significant resources. Very often cutting-edge features will launch on Chrome only and then if users like them, they'll get ported over to all the other browsers. (Or, just as often, the project is canceled and the feature is unlaunched on Chrome a year later, which IMHO isn't a great habit on Google's part but it is what it is.)
If you're manually spoofing your user agent, then Google figures that you know what you're doing and it's "use at your own risk anyway", and that if you get a broken experience, your first thought will be to disable the user-agent spoofing.
Additionally, browser-sniffing lets you serve only the JS needed for that particular browser, and not all of the hacks/polyfills/bugfixes/workarounds needed for browsers that the user isn't using. This is probably less of an issue now that things are more standard, but when I started ('09), not needing to serve all of the IE6 workarounds when the user was on Chrome or Firefox saved a lot of latency for users that were on modern browsers.
Is that a lie then? Because what you said seems to imply Google puts the convenience of the developers first.
Given two otherwise equal tasks, if one helps 60M users and another helps 12M users, you are usually expected to work on the one that helps more users. And if a product develops too many bugs of the latter type (affects too few users to ever be prioritized above other work), it will usually get shut down.
Fixing bugs for one or two or even a hundred users doesn't scale, and Google wants to scale so it can live up to its "potential to improve the lives of millions of people". (If you ever work at or start an early-stage start-up, you want to be the opposite of this because Google can't; see Paul Graham's "Do Things That Don't Scale" essay.)
If you come back (for another internship or full-time), the Intern Host, Product Manager, Director, and/or VP Engineering in your management chain can provide more context on how to apply "put the users first" in your specific context.
There are times where I was expected to put IE 9/Win XP above Firefox because that would help more users. And yes, that sucks, both for me, and for Firefox users.
Clearly, they have enough money to "improve the lives" of more people, so that answer doesn't satisfy. However, the idea that Google is first and foremost a business which makes money at any expense, and it isn't profitable to support a competitor's browser, does.
I disagree with the idea that it is unprofitable to not support competing browsers. Just look at United States v. Microsoft Corp.
But, as you say, Google is first and foremost a business. As a business, it has a process where, if you don't have impact, you get fired. There are lots of people who, if forced to choose between "deferring work on Firefox bugs" and "getting fired", would choose the former. I would rather that they didn't have to make that choice in the first place.
And FWIW, I recognize that the engineers are usually not the same as the businesspeople who make the business decisions. :)
Those billions of dollars don't code for themselves. You need to hire more folks (yes, overtime is a thing at Google), you need to direct them to do the right things (means: more hiring), and more infrastructure. Besides the cafeterias which boil down to "even more hiring" (and why not, we did that twice in our thought experiment already) those devs need office space (of some kind), equipment and server time for testing their thousands of additional commits every week. And more server time to cover the additional test cases (eg. for additional browsers), so this is super-linear.
Given infinite dollars (or any reasonable approximation of that), the problem really is how to spend them without ending up finishing nothing because you've just invested them in a giant gridlock situation.
If that dev time could be spent on other features that will be appreciated by more people, then that is a decision you can make while still adhering to the principle of "users-first".
And as always, resources dedicated to a project are finite. The “X billion dollar company can’t do trivial Y thing” isn’t as straightforward as it seems and the argument rarely holds up to scrutiny in my opinion.
We’re missing a ton of internal context here, and to have a real discussion we’d need that context. Otherwise there are tons of valid reasons why the opportunity cost calculation might not have worked out.
You are making exactly the same argument that Microsoft proponents were making when IE was bundled into Windows trying to push off other browsers. We don't have all the context, it must be too difficult to separate browser and OS code, etc
Considering the features work fine on FF, the actual costs for testing on FF should be minimal.
This is helpfully decimating the marketshare of anything that isn’t Chrome.
Even the VLC authors documented how Google tried paying them to ship Chrome as default with their installers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWx1P93nS0c&t=48s
Google even tried
It doesn't mention when though. If its around the time where MSIE was dominant, well, I (FWIW) got less of a problem with that. Because -even with its profiling- Google Chrome is objectively a far, far better browser than MSIE ever was. And the Google of 2005 or 2010 is a better Google than Microsoft was in 1998 or 2002. Check the Halloween documents on that one.
The issue I have with this is that too many are looking at percentage/share/ratio only. Yes, percentage matters. But absolute values matter just as much.
Or would you call a couple of million people "just a few"?
And nobody answer with "for Google, yes", that's completely besides the point.
Also I've heard that Google is not so good at hiring front end engineer, as they are less likely to have the "inverse a binary tree" background.
Half of Google products either don’t work at all, or far worse, on one of the largest browsers out there.
'Google's ostensible adword assistance team were no more than glorified inside sales and, over the protests of the rank and file, bamboozled management into throwing over a $1 million dollars of good money after bad which helped sink the company'
> And the first thing they told us at the orientation is that they put the users first.
This is the company line, but the truth is that Google no longer knows itself. The orientation was designed in an era where Google was growing rapidly. The fear was that the early company culture of mutual trust and so on was likely to be diluted by the influx of new hires, so let's administer a proactive cultural injection.
But the reality today (err, 2015) is that the Google culture is no longer monolithic. Even basic day-to-day processes are different between Chrome and Android and Google and X and probably other teams I wasn't exposed to. The orientation has now become counter-productive for a large subset of the engineers, because it sets expectations wrong.
Examples: "Every engineer has access to all the source code." Or "no company code may be stored locally on a laptop." Or "every change must be code reviewed." These were company policies that were routinely violated by individual teams, which I only learned after daring to ask "how the heck are you getting your JOB done?"
Does Google "put the users first?" Depends on the org. In my admittedly brief tenure there, the most important consideration was internal politics, followed by "partner" and "ecosystem" concerns. Users registered but only distantly, mainly because we didn't expect many of them.
I think Modern Google can be best summarized with a company-wide goal of "be the most." Google Search as the most-used search, Android as the most-used OS, Chrome as the most-used browser, etc. If your revenue is based on page-views, and page-views are based on click counts...
"Most" is different from "best."
Edit: I feel obligated to clarify how the "we didn't expect many users" comment meshed with the "be the most" principle. I was a software engineer in a hardware org (think Pixel). The point of high-end hardware like Pixel was not to dominate the market, but instead be a prestige product that moves expectations. By building a MBP-level laptop, Google could demonstrate that ChromeOS is not just for throwaway laptops, and thereby make ChromeOS viable on its partners high-end hardware. Being too successful was an anti-goal, because it risks scaring off Samsung and the like.
The hope was not to single-handedly dominate a la Apple, but rather to foster the "ecosystem." As to users, well...they'd be better served indirectly by a robust ecosystem. Or at least that was the hope.
You'll notice that Google does not build low-end hardware, with the notable exception of Chromecast, which is another story.
Actually, some browsers, including Firefox Mobile, now spoof the user-agent by default on some sites, because of Google's broken systems.
This might lead to an even more interesting browser UA string in the future.
Like "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/60.0.3112.113 Safari/537.36 MOZILLA IS FUCKING WRITTEN AT THE BEGINNING ANYWAY POOR SUCKERS!"
10 years latter, Firefox will take over the world again (when people will have enough of calling Google evil all day without doing anything...), and that part will again be engraved as a useless appendix, with an additional From_Google_The_Previously_Too_Big_To_Care_Much_About_Big_Browsers_Company at the end if you use their browser of that day.
What is sad is corporation doing so much evil they do not even have the time to see the history repeating itself, and the absurdness of their seemingly reasoned development approach (they think...)
Nowadays, not only do a significant portion of the population not know or care what the difference is, they just use Chrome because "Google" and "the internet" are indistinguishable.
I hear the same is true about Facebook.
Yet both cannot be logically true, and Facebook doesn't make their own browser (though their app does use an embedded version of Chrome).
Imagine seeing "the internet" like a gigantic bubble bath. There's some very large bubbles, like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft till some extend. Many can overlap, touch each other. Some small ones get absorbed in larger ones. Some are more omnipresent than others. But right now, there's still other, smaller ones, and new internet-related startups exist every day (little bubbles). But not all of the small or medium bubbles become large ones.
See also https://webcompat.com/
We need to stop bending to any of these groups just because they're "the big guy". If the largest Web company is building "free" and "open" stuff in an anti-competitive manner, then make sure that's painfully obvious to the end-user, make it public (i.e. an NYT article's a nice start) and then file federal lawsuits, calling on users as witnesses. The people of America beat the Robber Barons before, I don't understand the reason why we are so unwilling to do so now that they've moved to the Web. Stop spoofing, stop capitulating, stop compromising, and start fighting back.
That's probably my biggest grief with many big companies today (and probably most big companies ever), the lack of respect and decency (in general). The few big tech companies I see that show a decent amount of respect (but still a long shot from perfect) are either run by Elon Musk or Apple, with Microsoft slowly but steadily digging themselves out of their rabbit hole.
Google has the resources to test all the browsers it wants to. Perhaps part of the reason that companies with their market power tend to act this way is that serving other browsers becomes a low priority, and why should we help the competition anyway?
And finally, why not load the necessary polyfills and fixes on demand? When the old/slow browsers need time to get ready, a few hundred milliseconds more or less don't matter.
I did try different user-agents using AgentX and with Edge UA they said the new look wouldn't work (or in effect something along those lines), so there is not much actual feature check going on. Only setting Chrome would give me all features.
Google is doing what Microsoft did 10 years ago - it didn't go so well for Microsoft when people eventually caught on.
What doesn't work at all is their Hangounts, because Google are doing something fishy with WebRTC there:
Hangouts video and voice calls don’t work in Firefox for now. Google is working to fix this as soon as possible. Until then, use a different supported browser.
Not to mention the complete mess they caused to XMPP federation by killing Google Talk.
With no announcement of any of this ahead of time.
Firefox supports ad-blockers, which would certainly bring them a significant share of the browser market if it was treated fairly. Or else, Chrome mobile would have allowed ad blockers a long time ago and we would have an healthy competition.
That doesn't really excuse Google's anticompetitive behavior, though.
Google Translate ("You are using an outdated browser, Upgrade now to the safer Chrome with integrated translation!" (on Firefox 57...)
Google Inbox (during the launch)
YouTube (the new redesign)
Allo (atm Chrome-Only)
However Chrome spoils the user experience by asking too many questions (log in? change language?). Not a good experience, I'll keep asking for the desktop site on those rare occasions.
I suspect "Vice President Penis Syndrome" is in effect here, where a new VP comes on board and feels the need to piss on a product to make his mark and/or show everybody he's more of a man than his predecessor.
In exchange for being reinstated in Google’s
ad network, their in-house specialists dictated
how we should arrange content on our own website
and how we should communicate information to our
It's not the requirements per se (though they are complete bullshit and their own Chrome does not in fact follow them), it's how they are "communicated" by the support. This certainly looks like a passive-aggressive way to drive people off AdWords.
Something is clearly out of whack in this market.
Me: that train has left the station. When you have monopoly power (70%-98% of market share) the governments should return Google and Whatever Corp to not being evil.
It seems a bit much that we ask for companies to constantly grow and simultaneously ensure they never pass 70% market share.
Not to mention that in this capitalist society, messaging services are incentivized to grow at all cost because user-base is the best fuel for monetization. Holding onto XMPP federation like Google did in XMPP's final years of relevancy would be suicide; you would be helping your competitors while gaining nothing.
To your point: if you're the CEO of a company, and the shareholders are pushing you to capture market share, you're quite inclined to do it. Especially since capturing market share makes it more likely your company will stay profitable or become profitable, even absent shareholder wishes. Which works until/unless you reach the point where you've gotten the combination of skill and luck and circumstance that means you end up with a monopoly market share, at which point "we" (where we == the non-shareholder general public) start posting about how your company has taken over the market and the government should declare you some combination of "common carrier" or "utility" or "out of business".
How can a new search engine - or email service, for that matter - compete with Google's servers? How can a new social network compete with Facebook having all your friends already on it? How can a new encyclopedia compete with Wikipedia's vast store of volunteer-checked knowledge? How can a new operating system compete with the fact that everyone already knows hw to use Windows?
It's not impossible, but an incremental improvement won't do it; you need to be massively better than the default to overcome the sheer advantage that comes from being the default.
Of course everyone (on HN) says "Oh, well not me." Everyone who complains about users think that everyone needs to be Richard Stallman and only connect with the internet by faxing HTTPS requests and then reading forum threads printed off of a dot-matrix printer.
In reality anyone who is using a smartphone or modern software is pushing AGFAM to be bigger and more consolidated and anyone who doesn't totally blow open one of those segments is a wannabe, trash or should just join one of those.
I mean Apple is the richest company in the world but they choose to compete in very niche markets, and hasn't actually completely dominated a market since the iPod even though they easily could with their massive stockpiles of money.
Instead of trying to bend the Internet to the point of breaking, Google could just... not do that. They could focus on putting the industry best ads in the industry best search results, running the largest video streaming service, sell a wildly successful mobile OS, and have the best online office suite without all of the other terrible things they do as a corporation.
They're already the best at basically everything, so they got bored and now need to burn their reputation like it's kindling. It's pointless.
Its often brought up, that corporations and the economy have to keep growing ... but is it really necessary? Why can't both achieve some steady state equilibrium within a system of finite resources?
Who does that? Why do you have to have 'too much market power' to succeed? If google was 1/10 its size, it'd still be successful.
If users voluntarily subject themselves to mistreating, then I don't see why governments should intervene.
Which is stupid because
1) the average user/consumer wallet is 3/10ths of nothing in terms of economic voting power.
2) the average user/consumer can only vote for stuff which exists, and google has done a great job of making sure that there are no competitive alternatives
In this case you're "paying" with your data, which has even less voting power because you can't even opt out of that payment just by not using their services. You'd pretty much have to stop using the internet entirely.
Unfortunately many people have bought the stupid 'regulation=bad 100% free market is best' rhetoric which is totally crap for everyone except the really big fish. There's just no incentive for big corporations to 'not be evil' without the artifical incetive of being regulated and punished for treating their users shittily.
Huh? You can use Firefox, Bing and another email provider.
In addition to replacing chrome, search, and gmail, drive, maps, calendar, youtube, allo, duo, keep, hangouts, etc, etc you must also:
- Never send/receive email to/from anyone else with a gmail address. You're still providing your data even if this one won't affect you directly.
- Block third-party tracking on websites and advertisements which are basically everywhere now, or somehow avoid the websites with tracking. That's assuming this is even possible, and remains possible. Yes there's uMatrix/uBlock et al, but there's also Admiral and Instart Logic et al, and no way to confirm that the measures you're taking are working.
- Settle for alternative services with different and/or inferior experiences. This is hard even if the alternatives are perfectly usable and of comparable quality. Google wins because it has stuff that is more convenient than the alternatives, and usually better quality.
- Don't use Android, the mobile OS with something like 80-90% market share which also happens to be the lowest cost option for a decent smartphone. Oh, you use a ROM without play services? Captive portal detection still contacts a google server to check for internet access and I don't know if there's other stuff like that baked in.
- Know enough to question your trust in google in the first place.
So through a buttload of effort and some domain specific knowledge you can exercise some percentage (probably less than 100%) of your wallet vote which was worth 3/10ths of nothing to begin with. You have to be a tech-savvy idealist to go through with it, and that demographic is never going to be big enough to force a massive corporation to self regulate against their own best interests.
Making sure a consumer's data reaches no part of a given company sounds highly impractical.
What you describe is an extremely broad scope of "opt-out". By your definition, you couldn't opt out of any company without very detailed knowledge of the company. For example, whenever you make a purchase, or just walk into a store, that data ends up in multiple parties' hands.
I doubt there is precedent for using antitrust law to allow consumers to make such refined choices. How useful would it be to silo the world in such a way?
We're not privy to the amount of data being collected within companies. Even if you break up one company that collects data, what's to stop 100 others from doing the same, particularly those in other countries?
We're talking past each other. Your "them" is Google. My "them" is every company, many of whom do not announce the extent of their data collection.
If breaking up Google means going after every company that collects too much data, then I suggest we first (a) take a look at how much data companies are collecting and then (b) consider where we draw the line. Doing (b) before (a) would be acting uninformed and rashly.
You don't seem to understand the definition of monopoly...
I'm sure Vivaldi has no intentions of becoming "evil" like Google, but because of its closed source nature it wouldn't be hard to slip a tracker or two in the browser and regular users would be none the wiser.
If you want a truly open source modern browser, the only options are chromium or firefox these days, AFAIK ? (If you know an alternative I'm interested !)
On Android I can recommend Lightning: https://github.com/anthonycr/Lightning-Browser
As for other modern open-source browsers, http://otter-browser.org/ is still in relatively early development AFAIK, but sort of like Vivaldi, it's trying to recreate Opera 12.
The latter, so-called copyleft-licenses, actively prevent someone from adding closed-source code to the open-source code-base or to relicense the entire code under a less strict license.
Vivaldi's license does not. They could start shipping non-readable code at any point.
I don't trust people who are more code-savvy than I am (that's most people) not to insert or exploit weaknesses in open-source software or other open code. With closed-source software, I know the origin point of the software I install, I know the names of the individuals or teams who developed it, and therefore I know who stands behind it, because their reputation is based on that released software working. If something goes wrong, I can take clear action because I know who is to blame, e.g. Vivaldi, Microsoft, etc. With open-source software, that liability for the software developer is thus offloaded to "the community", and users have no viable recourse - meaning that attacks on open-source software are a lot safer for the individual attacker.
I support 100% closed-source development and extended release schedules. Open source & rapid development / release scares the daylights out of me. Too many people can see it, too many people can make changes, and it's happening way too fast.
- Team behind it could add trackers, backdoors, etc that are difficult to detect.
- Attackers could find an exploit that will go unnoticed and unfixed for an indeterminable length of time. Or perhaps use the team's own aforementioned exploits/backdoors.
- Can't tell if their app is well-tested and well-written, which means it could be a buggy hot mess from the get-go. Which is the most common reason for hiding source from my anecdotal experience.
- Much easier for anyone to find a bug, including attackers. You'd hope the maintainers/community will find the bug before them, or at least take less time to fix it than if it were closed-source.
- Attackers could add their own exploit that will go unnoticed or unfixed for an indeterminable length of time.
I think the conclusion to draw from is:
Closed Source = less likely for attackers to find bugs, but more likely for bugs to persist. Can only trust in the company's reputation for code quality.
Open Source = more likely for attackers to find bugs, but less likely for bugs to persist. Don't need to trust the company's reputation for code quality.
But you need to trust the entire community not to insert bugs/backdoors and/or weed out such code. Not to mention Open Source contributors arguably have a lesser incentive than closed-source development being done by a company.
Ofc the above argument assumes contributors are allowed to make changes to the codebase, instead of just reviewing the code
That's why not everyone has commit access* (for both open and closed source projects) and there's always* a code review performed by independent peers. This neither protects you from accidental security issues nor highly obfuscated malicious exploits (only sufficient skills of the reviewer does), but that holds true to both open and closed source projects. For the former, the "indeterminable length of time" until exploits are found may be much shorter than for closed source projects due to increased eyeballing for large projects.
* Let's ignore those who ignore common sense. If you care about the security of the software you use, you want the developer(s) to follow basic rules of software development.
And you can even verify that in open source projects without needing to know how to code. For closed source projects you can't, you can only trust the company to do so. How's that different to trusting the skills of the open source developers?
That applies to closed-source software as well. With (popular) open-source software, on the other hand, you can be confident that "people who are more code-savvy than you are" can examine the code for inserted weaknesses. Existing vulnerabilities can and with be exploited if there's an incentive to so so, regardless of whether or not the source is available.
> With closed-source software, I know the origin point of the software I install, I know the names of the individuals or teams who developed it
That seems like the exception, rather than the rule. Consider browsers, for example. I can see exactly which people have commit access on the open-source Firefox or Chromium projects. When it comes to a closed-source browser such as Microsoft Edge, on the other hand, I only know that "the Edge team" develops it. I have absolutely no idea who is currently on this team, or the quality of any individual member's work.
> and therefore I know who stands behind it, because their reputation is based on that released software working
This doesn't mean that closed-source software is intrinsically less vulnerable than open-source software. Microsoft's reputation may be based on Windows working, but that didn't stop WannaCry - nor will it stop future exploits.
> If something goes wrong, I can take clear action because I know who is to blame, e.g. Vivaldi, Microsoft, etc.
Realistically speaking, what action can you take, besides switching to other software?
> With open-source software, that liability for the software developer is thus offloaded to "the community"
You're conflating open-source software with software developed solely by the community. Many open-source projects, such as Chromium, Firefox, and Linux, do have specific organizations that are either involved or responsible for their development. Closed-source software only gives you an opaque team or organization to blame, while open-source software can give you a specific commit - diff, date, and author.
> Too many people can see it
Direct access to the code may make finding vulnerabilities easier, but as shown by the number of security vulnerabilities in well-known and well-funded closed-source projects (Windows, iOS, etc), it will not stop determined attackers from finding and exploiting them.
> too many people can make changes
How many is "too many"? If you're referring to the number of people with commit access, then you're almost never be able to know that number for closed-source software. If you're referring to the number of contributors, then it's not much different from trusting the core development team in the first place. Regardless of where the code originally comes from, you're trusting the maintainers to be able to recognize bad and/or vulnerable code, whether done accidentally or maliciously.
> and it's happening way too fast
Do you have a specific project or projects in mind here? This seems very similar to the issue of "too many people can make changes" - you can only make an informed guess, at best, as to the development rate of closed-source software. Unlike open-source software, you can never know exactly how many changes went into a particular release.
But to be honest, as soon as such company would go public, get major funding from one of the big companies, or get a new, famous CEO - run away.
Haha yeah, as opposed to close source, where no one spots it. Or if they do, you have no idea whether it ever gets fixed or not.
Not exactly a better alternative.
As most people, I cannot avoid using YouTube, but everytime I need background play of podcast-like content, I default to another activity (eg actual podcast app, an audiobook, whatever). Typical case is when you need to communicate at the same time, or do 'stuff' while listening. When you add it all up, that's hours everyday lost from me. And I'm just one user, iirc the majority of human beings don't live in the US...
It's frustrating that you can't even pay to resolve the issue, let alone knowing that they themselves placed a restriction (background play) that didn't exist in the first place. Reminds me of the worst from the likes of MS, Apple, Oracle, Verizon.
Hah. Even before I read any of this article, just reading the post title as submitted here made me think of something I ponder often:
The Microsoft antitrust regulations happened ultimately because Microsoft read the situation wrong and pushed too hard. It's sad to say that Google have studied what happened very, very well, and they've stepped carefully enough that, well, we now have Chromebooks - the exact direction Microsoft was heading in. And nobody's batting an eyelid.
Yes, Google needs to be reminded what its boundaries are.
I believe this can be done.
My guess is that Google have successfully ridden the general consensus of "it's open source, anyone can fork it" to get away with having Chrome be the world's dominant browser. But Chrome is not Chromium. Yeah, yeah, the binary differences are just a crash-reporter and autoupdater (mostly, IIRC), but still.
So the politicos need to be convinced that we've revisited the same situation. My suggestion is stifles laughter requiring that Chromebooks provide the option to install Firefox. :D
(OT trivia: Chromium's builtin spellchecker is fine with "politicos". That's hilarious. (I know it's on, it doesn't like "autoupdater".))
Google should take that upon themselves.
I was prepared to refute your suggestion until a quick Google search told me Chromebooks have 58% marketshare in K-12.
It's probably much lower across home devices and much lower still across the world, but popular enough that, like Android, it should allow installing competing browsers.
For an antitrust lawsuit to be successful, I imagine their marketshare would need to be much higher.
I mean I have a Chromebook and I can install crouton and run Firefox.
Or would Google have to provide a "supported" way to install other browsers?
I don't have one. If it's sufficiently harder, like it was in the Microsoft IE antitrust case, there may be an argument there. IANAL but I think an antitrust lawsuit would have to show they have majority marketshare too.
> Or would Google have to provide a "supported" way to install other browsers?
I don't how ChromeOS works. Is Chrome the OS? If so they might have more of an argument than, say, Microsoft, since Windows existed before IE and it was clear IE was not integral to the base system.
Still, now we have pretty easy to install flavors of Linux, which is another difference between now and 2001 when Microsoft settled their case.
It is essentially a really light Linux Distribution with Chrome running on top of it. But I have no clue, how hard or easy it would be for Google to allow a package manager or something to work.
As I said, they do not actively block you from installing crouton, which allows you to use any browser, but I don't know, if that would help with an antitrust lawsuit.
I was sincerely hoping that we would get to see a modern equivalent to Presto in Vivaldi when I first heard about the browser and who was backing it. I think this would be a great time to begin serious work on that project, a new and proprietary web engine that's not beholden to Apple, Google, Mozilla, or any of the major firms.
I wouldn't necessarily go as far as proprietary, but I agree everywhere else. Now that we essentially have a bunch of Chrome flavors, I'm finding myself missing the browser wars of the mid 2000s. Real competition producing real results.
I don't know why parent put Mozilla into the same bucket as Apple and Google, they are not comparable in any conceivable way.
Huh? How's Google able to demand anything from Mozilla? If you'd refer to the Search deal, that has long changed. The only way Google can "demand" things from Mozilla is by the force of the market. That's what happened in many regards, i.e. users expect certain things from the browser and Google managed to set the expectations.
> Australis UI ("Looks like Chrome")
Oh come on. This again. And it's been discussed again and again (and, by the way, clearly visible) that the Australis UI is as similar to Chrome as any other tabbed browser out there.
> WebExtensions ("Works like Chrome")
I agree that it's sad to see the maximum extensibility go. But it proofed to be the source of many issues (mostly browser stability and speed as well as complexitiy, speed, and flexibility of development) for the browser developers. But also for extension developers since the API was not stable. The Web Extensions API is far, far better in these regards. Starting from a tried and tested base instead of rolling your own API was a good decision, especially considering that MS was also in the same boat.
Keep in mind that the Web Extensions API in Firefox is already much more capable than what you can find in Chrome. So it's still "Works much better than Chrome".
> They are no different from Opera who capitulated completely
Uhm, Fx still has their own browser with their own engine which they are putting an enormous effort into, especially in recent months and to a great part enabled by the painful decisions they made, e.g. removing support for the legacy extension system. That's far from "capitulating". Quite the opposite, they're doubling down on their engine (paradoxically by developing yet another engine and programming language, but it turns out they were right!).
Too late, it already happened, and had nothing to do with data collection. When television was invented, people had much the same visions of utopia: it'll be used to educate people. The internet is now flooded with propaganda from think tanks banked by billionaire wingnuts to the Putin Troll Army.
The kinds of think tanks I'm talking about are things like the Scaife's funding of the Project for A New American Century, you know, the guys who masterminded the Iraq war? Or how about the Koch brothers funding of climate denial? You know, things which actually are fucking up our world and getting people killed.
I would imagine the kinds of propaganda the Vivaldi CEO is worrying about is the kinds that get hate groups out in the streets with Nazi signs, not the kinds that try to lobby the government to protect net neutrality.
It's also worth noting that there are a significant number of examples where your employer has invested specifically in people writing about antitrust law, and specifically, claiming that Google doesn't violate it (see Joshua Wright, etc.). Suggesting their financial investment is limited to net neutrality discussions is... pretty misleading.
Can anyone point me to links confirming his two claims: that Google services were maliciously blocking Opera for reasons other than compatibility and efficiency for a low-market-share browser, and that Google blocked his ads for spurious reasons. He doesn't really provide details on what rules he was violating, but judging from the fact that the ads were reinstated the moment he was in compliance with them, it sounds like a trumped up charge.
I agree skepticism is warranted.
This is one side of the story. Even if you have it out for Google, you should want more details before grabbing your pitchfork. Mistakenly criticizing someone only empowers them.
But, today even Microsoft has enough sense to not be Microsoft.
I install and maintain their products for a living. I have horror stories upon horror stories representing weeks (if not months) of dev time to work around--including writing a custom plugin with an SDK just to fix a bug in the data import wizard in CRM.
It explicitly states that it got worse when they introduced their own browser, which implies it pre-dates their own browser.
Schmidt has been wading neck-deep in pulling political strings for years now... Google is evil, evil, evil.
well, at least they don't have anyone's personal info
Please don't post personal swipes. Your comment would be much stronger without that bit.
What were the content changes that Google forced them to make? I'd like to know so that I can evaluate how reasonable that request is from my own perspective.
Why can't google support all modern browsers for their products? I work as a web dev and have done so for all of my work.
Imagine that Disney used the motto: "We won't kill your children". Would you still send your kids to their theme park?
> “Don’t be evil.” Googlers generally apply those words to how we serve our users. But “Don’t be evil” is much more than that. Yes, it’s about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can. But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally – following the law, acting honorably, and treating co-workers with courtesy and respect.
> The Google Code of Conduct is one of the ways we put “Don’t be evil” into practice.
Inbox also was a the first web property to adopt a form of Material Design, and had hard design requirements for 60fps on the Web Animation. Unfortunately, due to the way browsers upload GPU textures when doing compositing, animation timing was broke. (Do they count time spent uploading in the interpolation?) My coworkers spent a huge amount of time fixing it, and then finally making Edge work. There was no ill will or evil plan, just finite engineering resources.
I don't know the details around Google Docs, but my guess (speculation) would be it probably had to do with Content-Editable. Docs was a Google acquisition of Writely. Back in those days, many online editing apps on the bleeding edge (ab)used Content Editable. Those of you who are Web developers know that Content Editable varies wildly across platform, has no real spec stating a deterministic expectation of what it should do. If the original Writely was based on this, they probably didn't want to fix it, instead Writely was rewritten and the new Google Docs basically avoids Content-Editable and implemented their own complete layout/editing engine in JS. Getting that to work correctly across many fonts, languages, BiDi support, etc was probably a hellish amount of work, but the end result was probably to make it more resilient against across browser issues.
We've now reached a stage where every time something breaks or someone gets deranked, they immediately start jumping to conspiracy theories about how they were specified targeted for nefarious reasons, no one seems to understand Hanlon's Razor.
Google only recently retired IE8 support. I wanted it dead for a long time. Am I evil? Our code base is littered with horrific code smell in our JS due to Microsoft's bad garbage collection implementation in prior browsers. In order to reduce memory leaks in our Closure Library code base, it's full of C++-like destructors/retain-release like constructs, which increases codesize, decreases performance. Google Web Toolkit's whole widget system was constructed around the needs of IE6/8, which ultimately bloated and doomed its UI system from adapting to the modern web.
Web programming is still fraught with issues, issues you don't encounter on iOS, and to a lesser extent, Android, because of a single implementation. The combinatorial explosion of browsers, browser versions, form factors, means testing on everything and everywhere, and even with the resources of Google this creates significant impacts on productivity and maintenance. That means you can't expect a modern, bleeding edge web app, to come out of the gate working perfectly everywhere, especially if it is adopting only recently shipped APIs as a core requirement.
So you have only a few choices: hold up your release until everyone catches up, ship everyone the same lowest common denominator triaging out the advanced stuff, shipping an app with all kinds of workarounds and fallbacks, or shipping a native mobile one instead.
It's the threat of the latter which is the real problem these days, because with mobile first, engineering wise, it looks cheaper and more predictable with better user experience.
One launch that was Chrome only would look kinda shitty, several dozen just looks like malice: the probability of such consistent behaviour is incredibly small (if we say the probability of cross-browser support is 0.99, given most sites on the web are, then the probability of a dozen sites all being cross-browser is 0.89, and the probability of none of them is 1×10^-24). It's incredibly unlikely that multiple unrelated web development teams would all decide to go for Chrome-only, and that's reflected by how few non-Google sites are Chrome-only (i.e., the optics would be very different if there were large number of major web launches that were Chrome-only from companies that aren't Google).
As such, if Google did actually care about the web and interoperability (given the Chrome team spend a lot of time talking about and working on it!), one would reasonably expect Google engineers would spend more time trying to report bugs in other browsers (because plenty of them aren't that hard to track down) rather than other browser vendors spending a few days fixing all the bugs after launch and then often spending several months trying to get it officially supported (and often being told "it still fails tests" with no further information (see previous point about caring about interop) while nobody else can find anything broken).
In reality knowing many people at Google, yes, I think I can say it's Google having no cohesive whole and acting like a million discrete teams with no over-arching goals, each wanting to launch their MVP ASAP by caring about a single platform, but it sure as hell doesn't look good.
For many years Firefox was the largest browser that wasn't IE, yet no such launch happened.
Even when Chrome's marketshare was below 5%, Google always launched Chrome-only.
Your argument is nice, but ultimately invalid: Google never cared about providing to the most users first, but only about giving an advantage to their own spyware browser.
I know it doesn't fit your narrative, but we don't launch broken stuff to screw over other browsers on purpose, period. The number one reason I've seen for non-working browsers is reliance on some non-standard browser feature/bleeding edge feature which isn't implemented fully or spec'ed correctly and doesn't have a good polyfill.
And because of the these claims of nefarious intent, I decided to go back and look up Writely (Google Docs) and see what it's compatibility looked like.
Here's a description of how it was based on Content-Editable https://www.theverge.com/2013/7/3/4484000/sam-schillace-inte...
And here's a comment I found claiming it didn't work on Safari nor Opera. https://www.extremetech.com/computing/50680-writely-googles-...
So it seems Google bought Writely, which already did not support Safari or Opera, rebranded it as Docs, and pending a rewrite of the editing/layout engine from the ground up, didn't work with Safari and Opera, most likely due to Content-Editable problems.
Sure, you never did something that would improve your browser share and then claim in the media that it was for "technical reasons". You also never intentionally made usability on other browsers worse, and then threw dozens of popups and messages into users faces about how they should "upgrade to chrome".
Oh, wait, regulators actually fined you for that.
It doesn’t matter if the browser support is just a coincidence, or actually malicious, the end result is the same, and shouldn’t happen.
And as I already pointed out, the Vivaldi CEO claims were based on software which Google didn't even write. Google Docs (Writely) was an acquisition of a service with existing customers and it did not work on Safari or Opera before Google bought them.
Google would have faced a choice after acquisition: continue running a service for existing users that doesn't work on Opera, or, shut it down immediately for a year or more until a rewrite was completed
And launch on all browsers.
Of course, Google has been attacked for buying startups and shutting down their products as well, so damned if you do and damned if you don't.
It seems like the article is complaining more about suspension of its adwords campaign than Chromium. Do you have any insight to that?
First of all, you have to make a warning pretty ridiculously blatant before people actually will even read it. Most people skip right past red and yellow boxes, and nobody ignores browser support warnings better than IE users.
Secondly, then once users decide to ignore anyways, they clog up your support. At Google scale, that is probably a serious monetary difference. For most companies, it's just frustrating to the support staff and a general waste of limited time. Even if your warnings work, some users don't know enough and assume that the default web browser can't be wrong. You may even find someone who swears up and down they use Chrome (or perhaps just 'Google,') but actually they're on Edge, maybe even by accident.
A lot of web best-practices are focused on developers and not end users. Sometimes they're at odds with each-other. For example, the large portion of users on IE are a bigger concern than the almost unobservably small portion on browsers that would work but get UA blocked. For a web browser nowadays, as Microsoft has learned, it's better to pretend to be Webkit than to try to convince people to implement 'proper' checking for features.
I feel better about my internet usage, and I've been having a much better experience.
Obligatory "username checks out"
And its not just monopoly over advertising. Lately they are in business of censoring political 'wrongthink' on one hand and prioritizing the management & friends political views in mainstream search.
I don't think Google will change anything on its own though and its sad to see a neutral company of engeeners turn into power hungry megacorp.
By the way, I used to be exclusive on Opera many years ago and I loved how well it worked and how fast it ran, until Chrome came out.
I wouldn't say Vivaldi is good and Google is evil. I think they differ only on the degree of evilness.
The ONLY thing that makes Google close to a monopoly is government power - hear me out:
Google has patented all of their search algorithms. This is akin to patenting all of the O(nlog) sorting algorithms. Competitors are left with using Bubble Sort.
The simple solution is to invalidate some of these patents. Then the "monopoly" problem will fix itself.
Maybe it's time for a new search engine? (Or a new video sharing site, or a new email service, or a new online ad delivery system, or a new news aggregator, or a new cell phone operating system vendor, or a new Internet business model that isn't dependent on advertising revenue...)
Google started at a time when most people didn't think we need a new search engine, and it seems to have worked well for them. Maybe it's that time again. I'm not sure when exactly the PageRank patent expires (people seem to be saying 2017 or 2018), but it will be soon and that should open up some interesting possibilities.
You could use it right now. In fact, many do.
Google doesn't sue companies for using PageRank or much of their published research. Much more interesting things have come out since then like BigTable (led to Hadoop + NoSQL databases) and Word2Vec (better semantic analysis + search). These are in use all over industry.
ITT people who don't understand the contributions Google has made.
If you're wondering why there aren't competitors, you're not looking far enough. Baidu competes with Google in China.
I realize Google has created more than PageRank, but PageRank is pretty fundamental technology. If you can't use it for legal reasons, that's a big impediment. I don't know how Bing gets around it.
I've never tried using Baidu, but if my main concern is that I don't want a search engine censoring the Internet, then using Baidu is at least as problematic as using Google.
Google's long term strategy is to not do this. So for this to happen they'd have to end up with a CEO who wants to make a huge pivot.
> I realize Google has created more than PageRank, but PageRank is pretty fundamental technology. If you can't use it for legal reasons, that's a big impediment. I don't know how Bing gets around it.
Maybe because it's not fundamental at all. It's hardly used anymore. Many search engines are built without PageRank. You could build one. I suggest reading about PageRank before claiming it is fundamental to search.
> I've never tried using Baidu, but if my main concern is that I don't want a search engine censoring the Internet, then using Baidu is at least as problematic as using Google.
Then use duck duck go.
Duck duck go isn't an independent search engine, it's a layer on top of Bing. That solves the privacy issue, but not the censorship issue, if you're worried about Microsoft censoring content. (At least we have two major search engines and not one.)
If you're worried that Bing is also censorship, then use Yahoo, or Baidu. They all order results slightly differently. You could argue each censorship til the cows come home. I don't see the point. You could say I'm censoring you right now by not telling you everything I know.
Is there something specific you feel all the search engines are censoring? Or you just suspect they are?
I fully support pretty much everything he says in the article, but can't help but roll my eyes at the headline. I can't see it helping with anyone who isn't already on board with the message.
I think monopolies cause real societal harm, and that large corporations should be held very strongly to the rules by regulators but I still find it hard to use the term "evil" in relation to something that could well just be corporate bureaucracy gone wrong.
As much as I appreciate the good work that Google has done, this is absolutely anti-competitive and deserves to be punished. I really hope Google turns good again, because otherwise they're really no better than Microsoft in their worst years.
The specific part you would charge Google under would be "It shall be unlawful for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt."
Specifically, collection of unlawful debt.
As noted by the Vivaldi man:
"We made effort to understand their explanations and to work with them on their various unreasonable demands (some of which they don’t follow themselves, by the way). After almost three months of back-and-forth, the suspension to our account has been lifted, but only when we bent to their requirements."
If any of those requirements involved a monetary payment, you can very-well guarantee Google violated RICO. It was literal extortion.
A RICO trial was one of my most fun days in court as a juror. Armenian Power Gang.
I am sick to death of people complaining about Google, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. doing Bad Things™, after handing the keys to the city to them, often in the hopes of getting rich in the process.
"Oh no! Apple dropped our iOS app from the store!" Well, who could've predicted that building software for a proprietary stack and walled garden would end badly?
"Google de-ranked us mysteriously!" If your business model depends on search engine rankings for success, you have a _major_ business risk there as there's realistically only one search engine in the world these days.
"LinkedIn spammed my contacts!" Then disable your LinkedIn profile.
Bad actors - like Google has become - only succeed because we as geeks use their services. The problem is one of our making, and we could fix it overnight if we chose to. But convenience eats all worldviews I guess.
KHTML -> Webkit -> Blink
\_ Safari \_ Chromium
|_ Epiphany |_ Opera 15+
> When we reached out to Google to resolve the issue, we got a clarification masqueraded in the form of vague terms and conditions, some of which, they admitted themselves, were not a “hard” requirement. In exchange for being reinstated in Google’s ad network, their in-house specialists dictated how we should arrange content on our own website and how we should communicate information to our users.
> We made effort to understand their explanations and to work with them on their various unreasonable demands (some of which they don’t follow themselves, by the way). After almost three months of back-and-forth, the suspension to our account has been lifted, but only when we bent to their requirements.
This is one side of the story. Without seeing the correspondence it's hard to decide who's being evil.