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“Google: it is time to return to not being evil” (vivaldi.com)
739 points by walkingolof 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 237 comments



Google are really shitty with their web browser especially on mobile.

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: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/addon/chrome-ua-on-...

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


Let's not forget the time they refused to make a YouTube app for Windows Phone and when Microsoft made one, Google forced them to remove it. And then seemingly in retribution for making the app, Google blocked Windows Phone from being able to access Google Maps even though the browser was technically capable of using it. Google's reasoning was (similarly to another comment here) "it's too hard to check functionality in so many browsers" like they're not literally the most powerful Internet company in the world engaging in petty nonsense with a basically non-existing competitor.

Remember when Microsoft did the stuff Google does now and the government actually cared enough to do something about it?


Ah... the pre-Eric Holder Department of Justice.

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.

http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/crim/398/


Microsoft's YouTube app removed the ads. Violation of TOS. Pretty straightforward reason for wanting it removed.

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.


Don't forget that Microsoft publicly offered to work directly with Google to get the Youtube app working correctly according to what Google wanted, ads and all. The only reason it "stripped" ads originally was because Google didn't work with them to add them in the first place. Also keep in mind that there were, at the time, other Youtube apps that worked (to some extent) just fine, and Google didn't go after them.

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.


Ahh, the public offer to help. Great PR move that ignores all Microsoft's other actions against Google throughout time.

Competition is fair game. Consider:

- 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.


Consider:

Microsoft got forcibly fucked by the US government for unfairly damaging their competition. Is that really the path that Google wants to follow?


I wish they would. Does anyone think all the Microsoft engineers and managers started off wanting to be known as evil monsters and having to explain to their friends and families "I'm not evil!" every week? Google has become the next Microsoft.

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.


Yes, but then they asked Google to help them show the ads - ie give them an API key so they actually could, but Google refused.


They seriously did that as you said? What a bunch of self important twats.


https://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/01/05/calling-shenanigan...

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.


> The problem is, mobile IE uses the same rendering engine as desktop IE10, which works.

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.


Google has better lobbyists. Government legislation is mostly purchased and "negotiated", voting has very little to do with it.


That's actually not true... I ended up sitting next to a tech lobbyist on a 5 hour flight and we chatted about tech and politics for most of the flight. Google's lobbying strategy is to come in and dump a bunch of money to fix an immediate problem. They don't keep up the pressure - aka they aren't getting people use to the steady flow of "lobbying", it is all reactionary.

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.


Not that I'm saying either side has moral superiority but also to keep in mind is that YouTube isn't a monolithic entity.

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.


(I used to work on the webserver for Google Search. Left Google several years ago, have no more vested interest in them.)

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.


The real problem here is optics. There are certainly many valid technical and business reasons to target specific browsers - we've heard them all back in the day when "Best viewed in Internet Explorer" was a standard disclaimer on more than half of all websites out there. That arrangement did not work to the advantage of either the users or Google, though. So Google invested significant resources in web standards and alternative browsers, breaking the Microsoft monopoly. But now that Chrome is rapidly approaching the position that IE held, the users and the web developers are getting a feeling of deja vu, and Google's behavior - however motivated - plays right into that.


I interned at Google once. And the first thing they told us at the orientation is that they put the users first.

Is that a lie then? Because what you said seems to imply Google puts the convenience of the developers first.


Unfortunately, the part they didn't tell you was that you should put more users first before putting fewer users first. (This is what "impact" means on the job ladder.)

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.


The issue with this, that you have to focus on the largest group of users so you can "improve the lives of millions of people" is that it doesn't make sense: Google has hundreds of billions of dollars in cash they literally can't decide how to spend.

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.


In my opinion, the engineers that work on Chrome are the saddest about Alphabet products that are Chrome-only, because it makes it harder to cooperate with Firefox, Edge, and Safari engineers on open web standards.

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.


When I say profitable, I'm assuming someone factored in antitrust risk (an all-time low given our current policies here in the US, mind you), as well as the lost customer satisfaction, possibly revenue from users of those other browsers, etc. weighed across the cost of man-hours to support other browsers. Obviously, Google supports iOS quite well, because that platform brings with it a massive amount of users, and hence a massive amount of money.

And FWIW, I recognize that the engineers are usually not the same as the businesspeople who make the business decisions. :)


> Google has hundreds of billions of dollars in cash they literally can't decide how to spend.

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.


You have to look at opportunity cost. There is significant dev time that is spent supporting those configuration mixes that relatively few people will use.

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".


So a multihundred billion dollar web company doesn't have the dev resources to support Firefox? Even though it already works when you spoof the agent string?


Even with all the resources in the world, opportunity cost plays into every decision. To remove that context would be missing my point.

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.


At some point you have to stop giving the benefit of the doubt. I draw the line where Google is unable to make a search page (that is making them the "x billion dollar" company in the first place) work with Firefox due to "lack of dev resources". Even though the only thing stopping the page from working in FF is a user agent check.

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


I agree. At some point they should stop considering FF users as "well they aren't OUR users" in the cost benefit equation. They have to acknowledge that FF has a big chunk of the market and it should be part of the "Browsers we test on" list.

Considering the features work fine on FF, the actual costs for testing on FF should be minimal.


Well, they’re busy solving that with alternative solutions, by paying devs to secretly install Chrome with their software, and set it as default, and similar shady deals.

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


> Even the VLC authors documented how Google tried paying them to ship Chrome as default with their installers:

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.


It's still just a team of 5-50 human people working on each team, and they can only to do what they can do.


The only real cost here is processor cycles for increased number of automated tests. You don't even need a part time job to maintain the extra tests (otherwise you'd do something wrong).


If the company were worth a lot less it would be EASIER to support a different browser that already works.


They are a multihundred billion dollar web company because they carefully manage their resources.


Dozens of product duds speak a different language.


You mean discontinued duds? That reinforces my point rather than negates it.


> There is significant dev time that is spent supporting those configuration mixes that relatively few people will use.

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.


I'm a Firefox user working at Google. A lot of internal tools are Chrome only and when they get released to public they have a lot of technical debt to make it compatible with FF. The thing is engineer seems to always go for the latest internal library like Polymer which are only supported by Chrome. FF is working on supporting it which would probably improve the situation for a lot of Google product but it's taking time.

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.


Depends how you look at it. Dev time is a finite resource, and spending it on supporting a weird combo of user agent and browser seems likely to lead to less user utility.


Weird combo being Firefox with its default user agent..


Well, mobile Firefox which is much less common.


Or Desktop Firefox (~43% of German desktop market) in Google Inbox (during the launch), the new YouTube redesign, Hangouts, Allo, Earth...

Half of Google products either don’t work at all, or far worse, on one of the largest browsers out there.


Adword/Doubleclick clients are their users, not you and me.


Ive been on both sides and used most google ad products. For a solid 1.5 years we had to use Opera to function in DBM due to Angular memory leaks. I live in DFP now and have to reboot my machine after 3-4 hours in their interface using Chrome and Safari. Maybe they are just a really, really unfathomably big company that always see as users do across every team.


I'm not so sure. I've witnessed their adwords team plunder a startup marketing team's budget with false promises and bad advice.


Some extra detail (what's easy to share) could be very interesting.


Sorry, I've really tried to come up with anything it seems reasonable to share more than:

'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'


Xoogler here, worked there for 18 months circa 2015.

> 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.


> 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.

Actually, some browsers, including Firefox Mobile, now spoof the user-agent by default on some sites, because of Google's broken systems.


Web history repeats over and over.

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...)


Unfortunately, I find this unlikely for one simple reason. Back when Firefox first took over during the worst days of Microsoft's complacency/fuckery with Internet Explorer, a significant proportion of web users were techies, or people who were in close proximity to techies. A browser like Firefox could win based on technical merits and word of mouth.

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.


> 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.


It's worth noting that the Mozilla at the beginning doesn't really mean anything anymore. It came around when Netscape was released, IE then spoofed it to get around forced redirects (according to MS), and that was that. Now every browser says it.


This strikes me as both a bad sign about Google's direction and Mozilla's willingness to accept that without publicly calling them out as Vivaldi just did.


Mozilla did multiple times and is doing it, sometimes even doing the work that Google is supposed to do (see e.g. the Webcompat project [1]). The point is, this problem is basically unsolvable without having the reach of Google and thus everone (incl. Microsoft!) is forced to spoof the UA.

See also https://webcompat.com/


No company is "supposed" to do anything in my eyes; and I'd rather if they all did a lot less that wasn't defined as "produce this one very specific product that does one thing well". If anything, the agencies that are supposed to do anything for the infrastructure of the Internet are the various governments and the UN, to support an open Web. The problem is that at present the US, UK, Russia, China, North Korea, and several other key nations are trying to destroy the open Web, so it falls to companies, who are better off setting up their own walled gardens and forcing every user into the digital equivalent of the old mining company towns.

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.


So you're saying Google and the likes should ignore the very principles of the web that made them successful and even possible unless they're sued or regulated? That they can do whatever the freak they want without respect towards the environment (meaning both the web and economical/legal/political environment) they operate in? That's how you destroy ecosystems, economies, even political unions.

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.


I genuinely believe that the government should have long since stepped in and closed them for anti-competitive behavior, back when this all started. The way things are currently though, there's no onus on the company to be a good actor, when bad acting gets them higher market share and thus higher revenue. Hence, they're not "supposed" to do anything. But I also believe that Google, as a company, should be allowed to develop a search engine, and that's it, everything, end of story, finito, no additions substitutions or refunds. That search engine might be a damn good search engine and have an absolutely mind-boggling database, but that's all. Maybe also the focused searches like Images, Shopping, and Video. When you get to Maps, Mail, and Voice, those should be separate entities owned by people not involved in Google, not invested in Google, and who do not have a managing stake in Google whatsoever.


The problem with filing lawsuits is that "anti-competitive behavior" is typically not treated as illegal by recent US courts unless there's demonstrable consumer harm in the form of higher prices. Which there is not with products that are distributed for free...


> you can see how adding additional browsers to the testing matrix can consume significant resources

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?


I was just going to ask why search should be browser-specific, until I read your last paragraph.


Try progressive enhancement, or at least graceful degradation. Displaying a freakin' search field shouldn't be that hard.

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 discovered this as well. Not only, they're faking it with the new YouTube design as well. I had to set my user agent to Chrome to get the new dark theme (it may have changed later).

I did try different user-agents using AgentX[1] 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.

1: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/agentx/


I'm using Youtube dark theme with Firefox just fine. But I had to jump through some hoops in their site settings, though without spoofing the user agent.

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.


Leaving aside XMPP federation (though that is a good point), killing Google Talk itself was a bad idea. It was very good and useful, both the text chat and the voice calls feature, and Hangouts, its replacement, sucks heavily.


I'm using neither, but for me the worst thing were cut off XMPP contacts who were on Google Talk (and later Hangouts). I was reaching them through XMPP federation, and Google really messed things up.


Yeah, it was pretty bad - contacts who were "upgraded" to Hangouts just had me disappear from their contact lists, and on my end it looked like they were constantly in "away" status but they never got my messages.

With no announcement of any of this ahead of time.

Complete mess.


These things have led me back to try Firefox again for the first time in years and nightly (57) is extremely snappy, even compared to chrome. I'm very very pleased.


Regarding the dark theme, could that be down to the version of FF? I'm running 55.0.2, and didn't have to do anything except toggle a switch in the settings to get it.


Do you have a user-agent addon that works on mobile?


I've complained directly to Google dozens of times about this, and emailed many bloggers to talk about such a treatment. I usually heard back "but Firefox has no market share in mobile browser today". Obviously, who would use Firefox when it renders such a simple webpage so badly!

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.


As a Firefox mobile user, I actually appreciate the stripped down Google. It loads a lot faster than the bloated regular search page on slow connections, and infinite scrolling is irritating anyways.

That doesn't really excuse Google's anticompetitive behavior, though.


Sounds like the return of 90s "best viewed with IE" but for Chrome...


A list of sites affected by this:

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)

Hangouts (Chrome-Only)

Earth (Chrome-Only)


And Google.com has for years shown a pop-up to switch to Chrome


Google Docs. Text selection, for one thing, is off on Safari


Just noticed that if you're using Safari the message is different, more subtle


Not just that, but major functionality is missing. You can't restrict search just to your native language, or to all languages. You can't set a time frame.


I didn't know that chrome could get that. I thought that the mobile site had limited functionality and requested the desktop site when I needed to set a time range. I checked it with Chrome and it works. Very unfair.

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 abandoned chrome two years ago, I had no idea it had gotten that mad. It's worse than the IE6 days, my god.


All one has to do is look at the abomination that Google turned Images Search into. Or the Print dialog in Chrome. or...


...Maps, which used to not suck.

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.


I like that term. I've always felt some new PM was coming in and changing things just to make it look like they were Doing Important Things.


Is web browser support even relevant on android when there is a google search app?


Thanks a lot for the add-on.


A lot of words, but it seems to boil down to:

    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.
It's impossible to evaluate this without more details. If their web site actually broke reasonable elements of Google's terms and conditions then it sounds like this is completely expected. The lack of any further detail to the allegations makes me strongly suspect that there's another side to this story. It may still not add up in Google's favour, but without something else I'm left feeling sceptical about this.


Most likely a variation of their favourite "must provide Terms & Conditions and Uninstallation instructions immediately next the Download button" b/s. There are a lot of stories going around about this being used to drag undesirable AdWords customers through the pleasure halls of Indian-accented Google support hell.

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.


That is a valid point, but the question remains: How come that one ad network is powerful enough to make a customer beg for three months to be reinstated instead of simply choosing a competitor?

Something is clearly out of whack in this market.


Because that ad market is coupled to the largest search engine.


Vivaldi CEO – “Google: it is time to return to not being evil”

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 like companies are stuck in a losing game. We constantly push small companies to capture more market share. Any companies that fold during that effort, we bring out the pitchforks because the services they ran get shut off. Any companies that succeed, we bring out the pitchforks because they own too much market power.

It seems a bit much that we ask for companies to constantly grow and simultaneously ensure they never pass 70% market share.


Do "we" really push companies to capture market share? I mean sure, stockholders do, but "we" as the general public don't really care about a companies size until they become too big.


I respectfully disagree that "we the general public" don't really care about a company's size. I know a lot of people who will not adopt an app or product until the company has proven and/or established itself in the market. I think this describes a lot of Apple users who won't adopt new products until Apple gets in the game (the Apple watch being a recent example). A lot of people want a seamless and connected experience, and you have to be a massive player in order to provide that in a lot of cases.


And the XMPP Federation couldn't provide that ideal?


Of course it couldn't. Messaging was moving very rapidly with new features like stickers, reactions, expiring messages, phone number IDs, SMS fallback, stories, bots...and all of this had to be presented a very integrated and user-friendly package. You simply can't move that fast (or move much at all) with a huge standard like XMPP with 20 different clients that barely change.

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.


But by that same token, could it be possible for a new standard which incorporates all those features to become viable when the messaging space has stabalised?


I'd say there's a portion of non-shareholders who believe companies they like should be fighting to maximize market share, but I agree with you in-so-far as I think we can ignore that group for purposes of this discussion.

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".


It would be more accurate to say the laws of physics push certain services to capture enormous market share.

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.


Yes "we" do, because "we" use the services and abandon smaller less integrated self service software.

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.


It's completely possible for someone to have immense market power and not use it for evil.

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.


There are posts on this site at least once a week about something Apple is doing that folks feel to be "evil", just like Google.


I don't think that removing the headphone jack from a phone is really "evil", no matter how you feel about headphone jacks.


It seems weird to pick an example I didn't give, and then refute that example, with the implication that you've offered evidence against my claim.


Well considering you didn't give an example...


Apple is in a niche market? You mean Starbucks clients?


Compare the install base of iPhones to Android worldwide. Compare the install base of Macs to PCs worldwide. They could make a $200 computer like almost every other laptop manufacturer, but they choose not to. They could make a $200 smartphone like many other manufacturers, but they choose not to.


> It seems a bit much that we ask for companies to constantly grow

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?


Short of equilibrium by government/societal-mandate, being a business and ending up in market equilibrium is really quite difficult/dangerous. You have to be in equilibrium with at least one but far more likely multiple other entities, you can't collude with them because that would itself be anti-competitive towards new entries into the market, and so you need to make new advances / optimizations at the same rate as your competition, or else one of you is going to destabilize the equilibrium.


It's usually not the market share itself that is the problem; it is when the company uses that market share to take anticompetitive actions in other markets that we have a problem.


It's certainly true that companies seem to get corrupted as they get larger, but does it HAVE to be that way? Many of us are totally cool with very large companies so long as we believe them to be led by people of good character. My hypotheses is that growing companies are magnets to people of low character and if you don’t have a strategy for dealing with that, they will infiltrate and destroy the company.


The market is only efficient when it's competitive. It is necessary to break up monopolies in order to maintain that competitiveness.


> Any companies that succeed, we bring out the pitchforks because they own too much market power.

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.


Companies make sense for competitive markets. They're a poor model for winner-takes-all natural monopolies, which is why we prefer nationalisation for e.g. public utilities. A lot of the internet behaves that way too, as we're slowly realising.


Well when you combine all views on anything and try to abide by everyone's demands, the end result is immediate end of all motion. There is a divided view on everything.


That all seems orthogonal to the topic of ethics of companies.


Me: When a company treats its users badly, users can stop using Google and Whatever Corp treats them badly.

If users voluntarily subject themselves to mistreating, then I don't see why governments should intervene.


This is just the stupid 'vote with your wallet' argument again.

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.


> 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.

Huh? You can use Firefox, Bing and another email provider.


Okay, so you want to opt out of all google services and data harvesting.

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.


> 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?


You're missing the point. And saying what exactly? That we should just roll over and let them do whatever they want because empowering the user is hard?


> we should just roll over and let them do whatever they want because empowering the user is hard?

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.


There is some truth. A cigarette company would definitely agree.


The government intervenes when a company gets so powerful that consumers don't have the ability to choose anymore, or are at risk of not being able to choose anymore.


Google has >70% market share of ads? In which universe?

You don't seem to understand the definition of monopoly...


I wish I could use Vivaldi, it seems like a nice browser for power users. Unfortunately it's closed source (besides the Webkit parts). Considering how much sensitive information goes through a browser nowadays, I would never consider something closed source.

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.


I don't know what browser you're using, but assuming chrome : it's not open source either. Chromium is open source, but Google Chrome is proprietary, much in the same way vivaldi is.

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 !)


I don't think it's fair to assume that someone who is calling for a browser to be open sourced is using Chrome rather than Chromium.


On Linux there are quite a few other options e.g. Eolie. https://github.com/gnumdk/eolie

On Android I can recommend Lightning: https://github.com/anthonycr/Lightning-Browser


Why assume Chrome? Most likely he uses Firefox.


And Chromium as an open-source project is known to contain trackers. Well, known by some people at least. Here's a fork trying to fix that: https://github.com/Eloston/ungoogled-chromium

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.


Konqueror is still around (it's where the chrome rendering engine originally came from), and IMO still the best.


Vivaldi is readable source, though, as the non-chromium parts are made with HTML and JS that are not obfuscated AFAIK. So it's the same trust factor as open source, albeit with probably somewhat less people looking at the source (plenty do tinker with the code, though, to modify their browser).


It's mostly the same trust factor as Chromium or in general Apache-, MIT- and similarly licensed open-source software has. It is not the same trust factor as Firefox or in general GPL-, MPL- and similarly licensed open-source software has.

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.


Unlike you, it's the open-source parts of Vivaldi I'm most afraid of. I trust them to support their users and I believe they desire to have users who trust & respect them.

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.


Both open-source and closed-source have their problems.

Closed Source:

- 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.

Open Source:

- 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.


> 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


> - Attackers could add their own exploit that will go unnoticed or unfixed for an indeterminable length of time.

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?


> 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

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.


Closed source sometimes is better than an open source. With open source code, certain agencies can find exploits and use them to track every move you make, months and years before anyone spotted it. With closed source, you have more chance, at least if you believe in humans, that you will stay anonymous.

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.


> Closed source sometimes is better than an open source. With open source code, certain agencies can find exploits and use them to track every move you make, months and years before anyone spotted it

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.


What about Brave?


YouTube website does everything to be unusable on the iPad. They don't use the default player. They won't save your settings if you use Safari. They do not allow full screen video. Even when you request the desktop site, they resist to load the video properly in first few trials. They are being as annoying as they can!


That's because they want you using their app, which they have more control over and where they can disable features like background playback and Picture in Picture which they can then charge you for.


On a side related note, YouTube Red still isn't available worldwide, so most people outside the US don't even have the option to pay for background/PiP. It's a subpar user experience by design and Google apparently doesn't care at all (it's been years now). Also, still no speed control on the mobile YouTube app. All of this being true even on Android O.

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.


And the video will stop playing if you switch to another tab.


> It is also fair to say that Google is now in a position where regulation is needed. I sincerely hope that they’ll get back to the straight and narrow.

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".))


> My suggestion is stifles laughter requiring that Chromebooks provide the option to install Firefox. :D

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.


Do Chromebooks actively block you from installing another browser?

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?


> Do Chromebooks actively block you from installing another browser?

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.


> 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.

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.


Well, if I were the team at Vivaldi, I would be using as little of Google's tech until THEY bend. After all, Opera 15+ and Vivaldi now both use Google's web engine. That feels like a major mistake to me, because it constantly tells Google, "regardless of what we say, we need you and we'll give in to your demands". Attacking Google just turns into biting the hand that feeds when you rely on them not only for revenue, but even for the core technologies which you need to exist. Instead of relying on Google for email and online office function, two options come to mind - either develop your own (time-consuming and extremely technically challenging) or support Zoho. For search, there's privacy-friendly DuckDuckGo & StartPage, or Exalead if you're worried about index size.

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.


> 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.


Have a look at what Mozilla is doing with Gecko (Project Quantum) and Servo. Even Microsoft is moving in a much better direction with Edge in the recent years, doing a lot of work and opening up parts of the engine.

I don't know why parent put Mozilla into the same bucket as Apple and Google, they are not comparable in any conceivable way.


Because I don't trust Mozilla to put the user first and not give in to Google's demands anymore. Between the Australis UI ("Looks like Chrome") and now WebExtensions ("Works like Chrome"), the fiercely independent and unique Firefox (and by extension all of Mozilla) from days/years past is forever gone. Losing Thunderbird & SeaMonkey as fully developed projects was really the first warning of many; but many people were willing to let it go. I don't trust any of their new projects to actually remain stable and different from Google's desires, and really I don't have any reason to believe that they give a tinker's damn about their long-time users or their original ideals when they split from Netscape. They are no different from Opera who capitulated completely (and we see that Vivaldi, while calling them out, isn't announcing that they're creating their own engine, or switching to raw KHTML), and I'm just waiting until the day I have to start laughing because Mozilla announces that, in order to develop for the mobile space of Android & iOS, they're switching the desktop browser from Gecko to WebKit/Blink. Because I'm sure, given the track they're on, that day will come. I can no longer summon the appropriate dread. I can only laugh.


> Because I don't trust Mozilla to […] not give in to Google's demands anymore.

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!).


>The idea of the Internet turning into a battlefield of propaganda is very far away from the ideal.

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.


And think tanks banked by Google, who will pressure them to fire people if they say the wrong thing.


Nice try, but no one's complaining about the Web being flooded with propaganda from Open Markets, nor can really call Eric Schmidt saying he is displeased as "pressure", then every time Steve Jobs threw a fit about a less than 100% positive iPhone review, we'd have to be talking about Apple's control of the media, the blacklisting of reporters, and the withholding of "access".

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.


Are you really suggesting that Eric Schmidt personally calling their CEO and expressing his "displeasure" isn't pressure? I suppose when a mob boss says it'd be "unfortunate if something happened to someone", you'd characterize that as just an expression of a personal view, too. Perhaps someone "sleeping with the fishes" really is just a leisurely dip in the Chicago river.

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.


I'm a bit skeptical of the claims he's making in his article, since he has obvious incentives as the founder of a browser company competing with Google. Judging from the amazing features listed on the webpage (bar charts of my history, wow, do not need that at all), I'm guessing his product sense might have some something to do with his companies not working out, not bigger competitors that are out to get him.

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.


> 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.


"Don't be Evil" was just code for "Don't be Microsoft."

But, today even Microsoft has enough sense to not be Microsoft.


Microsoft is too busy being a dumpster fire to be evil.

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.


Summary: Google suspends AdWords campaigns of Vivaldi Browser after Vivaldi CEO wrote an anti-Google article


That is not a summary. The article opens with Google faking breaking compatibility with Opera in order to push their own browser. Why fake? Because the services worked perfectly when faking the user agent...


> The article opens with Google faking breaking compatibility with Opera in order to push their own browser.

It explicitly states that it got worse when they introduced their own browser, which implies it pre-dates their own browser.


I think he means that first Google was cozy with Mozilla, and then later introduced Chrome. Opera the browser predates Google the company.


Applause for Vivaldi for the backbone to say something openly.



Assuming you've seen this too: https://qz.com/823922/eric-schmidt-played-a-crucial-role-in-...

Schmidt has been wading neck-deep in pulling political strings for years now... Google is evil, evil, evil.


> Google is evil, evil, evil

well, at least they don't have anyone's personal info


It's the endgame. There's less and less breathable room between the biggest players. That oversized market share turns into profits which turn into power: political and psychological. Most people won't have heard of these incidents. Of those, most won't even remember them next week. Soon, those who would dissent will pick their livelihood over speaking up for their principles. And I can't blame them.


[flagged]


> So you'll believe any story that critiques Google now?

Please don't post personal swipes. Your comment would be much stronger without that bit.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Setting aside everything else; other comments are doing an OK job discussing those topics...

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.


Google has become a really crappy company in my eyes. I run Vivaldi nowadays as my main browser since it is great but it feels like a new UI on Chrome.

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.


"You Either Die A Hero, Or You Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become The Villain" - Harvey Dent


Never trust a company that has the word "evil" in its company motto, even if used in the negative sense.

Imagine that Disney used the motto: "We won't kill your children". Would you still send your kids to their theme park?


Google doesnt use the word "evil" in any of their mottos or official copy.


> Google Code of Conduct

> Preface

> “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.

[0]: https://abc.xyz/investor/other/google-code-of-conduct.html


"Seems to work" is not the same thing as "Working As Intended". I work on Gmail/Inbox (previously GWT). When we released Inbox, it started out as Chrome only, people discovered they could get it to load and seemingly work on Firefox by spoofing, but the reality was, it was still broken, and would eventually consume all memory, because Inbox relies on sparse Javascript array behavior for protobufs, and something like a[300000000]=1, for(x in a)/Object.keys(a) would cause the JS engine to allocate a giant array.

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.


I think it's clear that each individual team makes what is a rational decision for their product; the problem is that when Google are also a browser vendor (and it's almost always only Google's browser that the initial launch supports) then it's very easy to walk away from this viewing Google as malicious.

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.


If the Google teams are just focusing on what would get the largest marketshare, then why did we never see Firefox-only launches of Google products?

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.


You answered your own question. IE having the largest market share in those days. "Google always launched Chrome-only" -- another unsubstantiated claim. When Chrome was 5%, all their launches were always Chrome only?

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.


> I know it doesn't fit your narrative, but we don't launch broken stuff to screw over other browsers on purpose, period

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.


Google fines for advertising Upgrade To Chrome? Citation needed. The EU fine recently was for Shopping, not advertising Chrome downloads.

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.


> 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 seems like the article is complaining more about suspension of its adwords campaign than Chromium. Do you have any insight to that?


No, but I imagine that Google's systems are highly automated with lots of false positives. You see this on YouTube channel flagging and demonetization too.


Blocking a specific browser is always wrong. Warn if you have to, but let the user use their own browser.


That might make sense for some cases, but honest to God, it's usually not worth it.

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.


Google hasn't been my default search engine for 6+ months. In fact the only Google things I use frequently are Android and Chromium (through Opera).

I feel better about my internet usage, and I've been having a much better experience.

Obligatory "username checks out"


What search engine have you been using? I've tried others but none seem to come even close, unfortunately.


Also switched to DuckDuckGo about a month ago, because Google was ignoring words in my enquiries to show me what the AI hallucinated I might want to see. Works much better than it used to. It does have some AI hallucinations, but not nearly as many.


DuckDuckGo works well. Even has those info tiles that google has when you search a store etc.


Yeah I've been using DuckDuckGo exclusively.


Finally someone other than random bloggers dared saying it clear.

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.


As much as I'd like to agree with the statement, I can't say the same about Vivaldi/Opera because they have left a bad taste in my mouth when they sued their former employee who went to work later for Mozilla for $3.4M (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5629255). That lawsuit was dropped later, but as a dev, I wouldn't feel comfortable working for a company that could sue me later in life.

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.


> A monopoly both in search and advertising, Google, unfortunately, shows that they are not able to resist the misuse of power.

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.


It would be great if Google changes their policies and acts responsibly from here on out, but whether they do or not, I think we would all be better off in the long run if there were more competing services.

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.


> 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.


Patents are a pretty big threat to have hanging over your company -- Google might not sue other companies for using it now, but they could in the future. At least, until the patent expires.

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 might not sue other companies for using it now, but they could in the future. At least, until the patent expires

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.


Do you have an example of a non-pagerank based page ranking algorithm that I should look at?

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.)


I suggest reading about search engine technology as a field of study. That would give an overview of the various approaches and their strengths.

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?


Google main focus is AI. To build the future AI (of singularity), google wants to have a full picture of the entire life of as many people as possible. The focus of google is the user, but not for its good, but to replace him by posthumans.


I've long maintained that the greatest benefit that Google gets from the slogan "Don't be evil" is how ridiculous it makes their critics sound when they bring it up.

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.


Besides Google being shitty here, the only thing that strikes me in this article is this irony: According to the article, Jon von Tetzchner is giving talks and raising concerns on "data gathering and ad targeting practices" from Google, but in turn, wants to use the same to advertise his product? Doesn't it show at least some level of hypocrisy? It's almost like "I don't like that Google tracks its users, so I made this shiny new browser, but I'll use Google's tracking services to advertise it nevertheless".


I guess this was the reason why Opera was the first browser to support native user agent spoofing? It was a great feature in the days of websites being developed for specific browsers. If that's still going on, that would be really sad and unprofessional.

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.


Question for the HN crowd: is there a single-use browser for desktop like firefox focus? I really love it on iOS, but they don't seem to make it for Mac. Any suggestions?


You can configure Firefox to always open in Private Browsing mode. Look for "Always use private browsing mode" in Firefox's Privacy & Security settings.

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/settings-privacy-browsi...


"Don't Be Evil" stopped working for Google the day of their IPO. You become evil when your masters (Wall Street) punish you for not being evil.


I tend to focus on individual problems, the recent think tank debacle or the ad bubble being examples.


Internet: it is time to return to not being Google.


Really sounds like some sort of RICO or extortion charge should be filed against Google, assuming this is all 100% factual.


it is probably not RICO https://www.popehat.com/2016/06/14/lawsplainer-its-not-rico-... (a bit salty on the language)


I've actually got a little experience with this particular subject.

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.


Sorry for going to a further tangent but... I'm definitely not a lawyer, but do I get a little frustrated at its overuse in pop culture too. Of course, most people don't think of "conspiracy to commit" as a crime, so they immediately jump to "is it RICO?" and say yes.


That’s probably why they have the government on their payroll.



Seems you are getting similar treatment as I did in the past for posting relevant XKCDs. I'm guessing it's because you aren't adding much value to the conversation, but could be some folks hate XKCD too I guess.


XKCD is a high iq version of a reaction gif.


I agree completely now that you say that.


Not a downvoter, but it doesn't quite work. Google isn't against open-source. It's somewhat related, but not exactly.


I didn't see that XKCD is being specifically about open source. That said, the one I posted a few months ago was spot on and yet it was downvoted to death within a few hours, so I don't think it really matters how perfect the fitting is.


Too late to edit, so to clarify: yes, posting an XKCD like that is dismissive. And for good reason.

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.

http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/2011-03-19


Once a pickle, never a cucumber.


Isn't vivaldi just another branded chromium? Seems a bit disingenuine for them to be complaining about the company that built their product.


When the hand that feeds you starts jamming food down your windpipe, it's time to bite.


Isn't Chromium just a repackaging of KHTML from the KDE project?


    KHTML -> Webkit -> Blink
             \_ Safari   \_ Chromium
              |_ Epiphany  |_ Opera 15+
                           |_ Vivaldi


Is it really? The last time I played with that it was almost unusable. (must've been more than a decade ago).


WebKit was originall a fork of KHTML. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebKit#Origins


Yes, and if Google was bad-mouthing KDE then we should call them out for it. What was your point?


My point is Vivaldi using Chrome is irrelevant in this discussion. Writing Chrome doesn't give Google a free pass on antitrust and intimidation issues.


I wonder what the correspondence between Vivaldi and Google looked like. Specifically, regarding this section:

> 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.


Google is not evil. They provide fantastic services and value and have made the world a much better place. Mistakes will be made and they will correct them.


Hi Larry.




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