Google's power over the web today, already, is not healthy. There are a lot of people within Google who care deeply about the free and open web, and a lot of people who don't, or who define "free" or "open" in ways that involving trusting a for-profit corporation more than anybody wise ever should. Many people get upset when they see Google being attacked, because the part of Google they depend on is a part that really supports the free and open web, or because they themselves don't value the freeness and openness as much as they should.
Google delivers a lot of value right now, and without people pushing back, hard, that value will enable them to get away with anything.
Anybody who has been around long enough ought to understand that power you grant to someone you trust inevitably ends up in the hands of someone you don't. Political parties switch back and forth, CEOs and corporate priorities come and go. Sometimes it's best to accept an option that is second-best today in order to avoid giving too much power to the organization providing the first-best for them to misuse tomorrow.
More generally, Dave Winer seems to have an attitude of reflexively opposing everything that Google advocates, merely because it is Google that is advocating for it. It reminds me of the late 90's and early 2000's when open-source people talked about "M$" and reflexively opposed everything that Microsoft did merely because it was Microsoft that was doing it, leaving aside technical merits or other considerations.
Corporations are neither pure good, nor pure evil. They are collections of people with collective interests that they pursue. Sometimes, like in the case of HTTPS, or net neutrality, those interests align with our interests as developers and users. In those cases, we should ally ourselves with corporations and use their leverage to effect change more quickly. In other cases, such as with RSS, and vendor lock-in, our interests diverge and we should oppose them with all our might so that we don't lose the free and open Internet that we've become accustomed to.
In both cases, however, we should examine the issue on the merits of that issue, and neither support nor oppose merely because the "right" or "wrong" organization is pushing for it.
The problem is that Google controls the most popular interfaces to consuming HTTP and HTTPS, i.e. their Chrome browser and their search engine. And so Google is in a position where they control how these protocols are consumed, which is the crux of Dave's argument. Google is already discouraging the use of HTTP through warning messages in Chrome and by adjusting search rank algorithms for HTTP sites. Dave's concern is that Google will "turn off" HTTP access in the same way they did with RSS after capturing the market share for consuming RSS feeds and then shutting down Google Reader and removing discoverabilty of RSS feeds in Chrome.
Dave Winer has been around the Web for longer than most and you'd be foolish to write him off as a curmudgeon. Dave is to the open Web what RMS is to FOSS.
Now, Dave acknowledges this: "They tell us to worry about man-in-the-middle attacks that might modify content, but fail to mention that they can do it in the browser, even if you use a 'secure' protocol."
The rhetorical slip here is bad. "They" is me. I say you should worry about man-in-the-middle attacks. I can't "do it in the browser." He keeps doing this; he's acting like Google is the only entity that thinks the move is a good idea.
It also fails to acknowledge that partial solutions matter! What, I should give up on putting locks on my door just because the lock manufacturer can go right through them? Further, right now I have a choice of three plausible browsers, and I can switch between them freely. There's a significant difference between the danger of man-in-the-middle attacks and the danger of a browser level attack. (Both pretty low, to be fair, but still.)
And that's just the concern about attacks. Tracking is a whole additional issue that he doesn't acknowledge.
So, yeah, he makes some good points. But since he won't engage in discussion on the topic, they're not useful and they get drowned out by the noise.
This is a great analogy!
The open web is worth fighting for. And Google is moving into new territory now, by deciding to force sites to switch to HTTPS. Most of the arguments you hear are about new sites, but people are missing that the web has been used for 25 years as an archiving medium. If you want to save something so it's available for others (and yourself too) in the future, put it on the web. It's been incredibly stable platform, far more so than the ones run by the tech industry, and precisely because it isn't run by the tech industry.
That's about to change.
Read the original post. Today's post is just a continuation of that one.
And be a little more kind to Stallman. :-)
> Something bad could happen to my pages in transit from a server to the user's web browser.
If your argument is that there are lots of HTTP sites that are historically important and also that are unmaintained and that will never be upgraded, okay. That is a solvable technical problem .
If you want to know why you have to force people to do it, it is because security is a public health issue . It is the same reason you have to force people to get vaccinations.
I don't work for Google (in fact I work for a direct competitor), and I disagree with a lot of the things that they do or want to do (unsurprisingly). But having more security on the web is not one of them. We live in a very different world than we did 25-plus years ago.
 https://theintercept.com/2014/12/13/belgacom-hack-gchq-insid... (search for MUTANT BROTH)
We need maybe proxies as close to the origin servers as possible, to minimize the amount of traffic passing over insecure links. That seems like a political nightmare, but...
Of course, the whole point of this article is that centralisation of important resources is risky. Archive.org is an essential resource, and it's really far too important to be at the sole mercy of the of the Internet Archive organisation, well meaning and admirable in every way though they are.
>"In both cases, however, we should examine the issue on the merits of that issue, and neither support nor oppose merely because the "right" or "wrong" organization is pushing for it."
You're missing the point. In the article you're referring to Dave says "Google is a guest on the web, as we all are. Guests don't make the rules."
He's not advocating against HTTPS. He's advocating against Google pushing it down everyone's throat as the proprietor of the internet. And he's right in that if we allow Google to declare themselves the harbinger of digital trends then we're authorizing them to take it another step further. We're essentially endorsing the next stage, which would be to simply block http from Chrome or Android or whatever they feel like.
He goes on to state "If HTTPS is such a great idea...
Why force people to do it? This suggests that the main benefit is for Google, not for people who own the content. If it were such a pressing problem we'd do it because we want to, not because we're being forced to."
He's right again. He isn't saying HTTPS is bad for the internet. He's saying letting Google decide in a vacuum that HTTPS should be the only way to internet is bad.
The alternatives exist and I recommend using them. This is coming to you via Chrome and Android, but elsewhere I rely on Linux ans MacOS, as well as Firefox and increasingly text-based browsers. (I'm special, I know.)
Protonmail and DuckDuckGo are each quite good. I am divesting mysself of other digital services generally.
As for networks, technology, monopoly, and power, I'm seeing them as increasingly tightly interrelated. Look up Jules Dupuit and his work on rail fares (and classes) and bridge tolls, among others.
Why? Aren't Firefox and DuckDuckGo two straightforward alternatives you could use right now? Switching to both of those would reduce your dependency on Google and be relatively pain free transitions.
In theory but not practice, let’s not be naive. Corporations end up serving the purpose of their owners (shareholders) which is to generate maximum profit. That objective causes the corporation to commonly behave much closer to pure evil on your scale (to generate the profit).
Which are (gasp) still collections of people! What's naive is treating a corporation like a single individual with a single identify and set of known traits. That's just plain silly.
I'd suggest that Google has done more for the Web than any other organization in the 21st century: Google, Gmail, Chrome, Docs.
Nearly single-handedly, Google made the web useful to more than hobbiests and for more than single about me pages.
which criticizes Google's support for replacing HTTP with HTTPS. (As someone working on this issue from the opposite side from Dave Winer, I can confirm that Google's support has been incredibly consequential at every moment and at every level in HTTPS adoption.)
Yes. See the section titled 'Arguments against securing the web'.
The points that Winer has made are more subtle than this. Any convincing rebuttal would be more subtle. That title is if anything less subtle. If there were a point at that link that was actually responsive to Winer, I presume you would have quoted it.
If you scroll down the article by Scott Helme, you can see that he does respond to Winer specifically. Here is the link with a fragment that goes to that section of the article:
Since you asked for a quote, here it is:
> It's pretty easy to see that Dave's problem really is with Google here and I disagree with this on many fronts. First, ...
(Read the article to see the rest to avoid copying the whole thing.)
Since you insisted, I clicked through, and read until I got to this gem:
Google has never said they're going to deprecate HTTP, the only things that have been said are around changing visual indicators for HTTP and HTTPS in the browser...
Perhaps the word "deprecate" has some idiosyncratic personal meaning for this yokel. I've seen the over-the-top warnings Google came up with for valid self-signed certificates, and their warnings for no certificate at all won't be much relaxed in comparison. The most popular browser loudly insisting that users never go to non-TLS sites would certainly be a deprecation.
Kudos for keeping the thread alive, though...
Maybe he shouldn't have launched an incomprehensible crusade against widespread SSL deployment in a post-Snowden world?
I'd describe Dave Winer as more of an iconoclast than a crank, from what I've seen. But his point is that an awful lot of the Web As It Exists is unsecured, particularly the older personal pages and sites that are still hanging on, and that if Google decides that Chrome will simply no longer browse to unsecured web sites -- or worse, that their search engine won't just deprioritize but will delist unsecured sites -- a lot of the web will be effectively lost.
I agree that from your perspective, you might see no benefit, but the HTTPS push is primarily for the users (and as a result, the web at large).
So the more Google does for the web the more dangerous they become. Should Google then start fighting the open web? Would that make the web... better?
OMG this is so true in our experience. Google doesn't quite lie, but they come very close. They are always changing people and policies, always in a downward direction. Makes me think they won't be around for much longer. They're just maximizing a monopoly, and everything they do reinforces that view.
The telltale sign for this is a lack of true commitment in their statements. It only counts when they draw a line in the sand.
Google is very healthy among many axes. Sadly, I don't think truth or honesty are as potent motivators as ubiquity and convenience. This all to say, Google will be around for a long while.
What does "turn off" even mean? Following the links, it looks like the author is opposed specifically to Chrome pushing sites to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS, mainly because he claims "the web is a social agreement not to break things" and "we will lose a lot of sites that were quickly posted on a whim, over the 25 years the web has existed."
This is hard for me to get on board with. Standards evolve and improve because major players push them. We don't use floppy disks anymore either. HTTPS provides desperately needed privacy and integrity guarantees. And archive.org continues to make historical sites available -- over HTTPS even if the original wasn't.
Google is dominant in search engine (Google Search), advertising (via profiling and Doubleclick etc), e-mail (Gmail), mobile (Android), and in browser (Chrome).
There are alternatives, but they are dominant. Though perhaps Android is the worst example due to iOS there's basically two choices you got: apple juice or robot oil.
The fear is that Google -consciously or not- abuses its position to leverage another, under the guise of "doing good". They did embrace & extend with Google Reader (which is, by its very definition, proprietary software). They may do something similar with e.g. AMP or HTTP(s). If it isn't already happening. Heck, Android is more and more restrictive with each release.
Typically Google justifies these decisions to kill portions of the web with "security" and/or "user experience", and it's easy to use both of those reasons to justify disabling HTTP forever. You can remove the 'secure' indicator!
Replace guns with ________ and repeat.
Yes, Google could do all sorts of stupid things. But if they do, wouldn't that be the fastest way for their dominance to erode? The fact that they're a profit-driven corporation, combined with the fact that censorship tends to piss off and drive away customers, doesn't really let me imagine any realistic scenario here.
Which one would you like?
> That people are still angry over this shows how out of touch many developers are with the real world / average consumers.
I'd rather see it as a lesson on how long developers remember if they feel betrayed by a company. Google Reader + Google Plus real name policy + its integration into Youtube was like a perfect storm to undermine Google's popularity, and then came Snowden. But it began with Google Reader, and I think that is why people remember.
PS: Given who the author is I think no one can fault him to give in his reasoning much importance to RSS.
Myself, I used google reader. But only for RSS. So I just moved to a different reader and I've been fine ever since.
It was a free product. It came with no guarantee. Just because you liked it doesn't mean you were entitled to it, and it doesn't mean Google did anything wrong by shuttering it.
If you are still using RSS, you need to get with the program. RSS aggregators are out of style for a reason...
Don't rely on cloud-hosted closed-source software to be available forever.
"Only for RSS" is the technologist's blind spot - the _experience_ of RSS is what Dave is talking about. What was "the blogosphere". That's been completely co-opted by huge corporate platforms.
Let me clarify. I moved to a different reader so that I could continue to have the experience of RSS. To this day, I continue to have the experience of RSS. It hasn't become unavailable. RSS just became less popular, and Google Reader shutting down was a recognition of this.
By the time Google Reader was shut down (2013), Twitter and Facebook were real and strong social networks. There were also plenty of other readers. With this in mind, what do you think the non-technologist sees as the great loss of Google Reader being shut down? Bearing in mind that the experience of "the blogosphere" was already shrinking, not caused by Google Reader shutting down, and that the experience of RSS continues to be available? Can you help me understand?
ISTR other features, too.
Whether or not there are alternatives is kind of irrelevant -- not all alternatives are built equally, not all are cross-compatible for some functionality, migrating out of a product is not always simple, nor is migrating into a product.
Google burns good-will with every product they off; the numerous iterations of chat application is a perfect and current example of this, as I don't doubt that there's probably already a new Google chat product in the works in some department that will be pushed out to Android shortly.
There were also a large number of other RSS web readers; some web based, some app based, some desktop based. The claim the lack of interest in RSS today is due to Google Reader's withdrawl just isn't backed up by the facts. In fact, I think the cause and the effect are mixed up here. I'm pretty sure that if RSS had managed to achieve mass market appeal, Google Reader would have very likely stuck around.
How many of the "large following" of Google Reader were paying customers? As far as I can tell, the answer is basically zero.
And that's the problem: Google has no idea how valuable its various apps and services are to their actual users, because the actual users are not the ones paying for them.
Everything is rolling update, regardless of how it affects your workflow or organization
Regardless of whether you use it or not, changes happen (addition/removal)
Google is incredibly frustrating to do business with as a paying customer, much less as a non-paying customer. However, their influence over the web at the moment is too strong. Gmail and spam filters are a perfect example; saying you can just host your own mail server is ignorant, willfully or otherwise, and your only safe bets are Google or Microsoft. There are workarounds, sure, but that assumes such workarounds will continue to work.
Google is a very capricious company to deal with as a customer, paying or otherwise. It's not about valuing apps, it's that Google has for some time maintained an attitude of "we're google, where else are you gonna go?", and the problem is that there is some truth to this. That's what the article is complaining about, that's what I'm complaining about. Market forces really don't enter into it at Google's size and scope. Others are just as guilty (Amazon, Microsoft), but right now we're talking about Google.
Agreed, and that just makes the problem even worse: Google isn't even getting important information on the value of its apps and services from users that are paying them, let alone from users that aren't.
> Market forces really don't enter into it at Google's size and scope.
I don't think this is true. Google is responding to market forces, just in the wrong market. Instead of responding to market forces from their users (even including paying users, as you say), it is responding to market forces from advertisers. Google simply does not appear to see their business model as providing apps and services to people; that's just a side effect. They appear to see their business model as harvesting revenue from ads. And that business model is a really sucky one for all of us in the long term.
I really beg to differ about that.
RSS wasn't even the point. RSS as a standard is still in use. It's just that we've come to a point where it's a battle of platforms, and platforms mean money. Do you use Facebook, or Twitter, or IG, or Snapchat? I'd still like a unified experience, but none of those companies want to be a party to it. They want to take as much of the pie as they can get.
Consider that because of your highly-technical background, you may be underestimating the popularity of Google Reader and overestimating the popularity of Hacker News among the general internet-savvy population at the time.
Google Reader was an irrelevant product to the general public, only adopted by a very small niche of users, just as Hacker News is largely irrelevant and unknown to the general public.
Do you have any numbers to back this up? From what I remember, it had at least several million users.
While CNN and Engadget had 24M and 7M RSS subscribers (which include Google Reader), the numbers drop quickly, with the 3rd one having 1.7M (NYT).
Also, apparently the Google Reader Android app had <5M downloads at time of shutdown.
Given that distribution and how fast it drops, I'd expect Reader to have had a couple million daily active users at time of shutdown, a tiny drop in the Internet & Google ocean.
And you can go around and ask people who don't work in tech: nobody will have heard of Google Reader.
* Google Reader and RSS
* Google Talk and Jabber
* Gmail and self-hosted mail (not exclusively Google, but one of the big mail senders)
The post's point was not that this is malicious, it's about what happens in big corporations with big ideas, big roadmaps and big reorgs. The fact that this has happened quite a few times is unsurprising.
Checking this, a quick search finds:
Oh, and, perhaps a bit ironically with respect to recent conversation and concerns around Google and its acquisitions:
In September 2011, Google announced it would discontinue a number of its products, including Google Web Security, which was acquired by Google as part of Postini. On August 21, 2012, Google announced it would be shutting down all of Postini's web services and folding the service's users into Google Apps.
I recall that, but it was no longer in my conscious memory.
If this was Microsoft, the term that would be used would be Embrace, Extend, Extinguish, but it's probably more along th lines of team reorgs and changes in strategy. Google claimed trouble with spam XMPP federation, but this article sums up some of the feelings at the time, and it's more likely that with a bunch of different products Google needed to consolidate efforts and the new team had different prioritie (like hangouts and wave at the time).
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Talk#History_of_interop...
 - https://developers.google.com/talk/jep_extensions/extensions
 - https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-moves-away-from-the-xmp...
... what? Ultra, ultra hyperbole much? I get it, shutting down reader sucked, but seriously you can literally use any RSS reader to read feeds. Google didn't "kill RSS".
Seriously, voicing opinions is one thing but fear mongering and hyperbole is another and this article leans far too heavily towards the latter.
1. RSS readers everywhere
2. Google comes out with one
3. Other RSS readers wither on the vine b/c everyone uses #2
4. Google decides to sunset their RSS reader.
Is that wrong?
- RSS readers are _dead simple_ to build. If you're an average programmer you could make an MVP within 2 days.
- Many of the RSS readers are/were free. I don't think Google having Reader caused any great migrations, but even if it did I doubt it would have caused other readers to implode or anything like that.
I _believe_ what happened is that Reader had a small but vocal user group who were (understandably) upset at the sunsetting, and caused a big hubbub about it. I _suspect_ many of today's Reader complainers have never actually used Reader, and are just piggy-backing off some low-hanging Google bashing fruit.
Again, I'll happily nod at the badness of Google killing off Reader, but I intensely dislike the amount of hyperbole in the statement that Google "killed RSS". It's a thing that never took off. That's all that happened. It's still accessible, there are many clients you could use, and so on - it just so happens that most sites don't bother creating an RSS feed.
This seems to be what Google does. They either kill off a free service that people relied on or begin charging lots of money.
> that people relied on
Maybe when the "Web 2.0" bubble finally bursts, a key learning for the world will be: you can't build a sustainable business on top of someone else's unsustainable business. If your business depends on a long-term regular supply of anything (information, raw materials, whatever), then you probably want to figure out as quickly as possible how to pay something close to what that is worth and ignore the shifty guys knocking on the back door saying "hey, dude, look at these steaks! best quality! super low prices! don't ask where they come from... I'll even give you the first batch for free!"
Only in Google's case, they capture the market fully and then kill it rather than leave it running the captive portal.
Had we had more time I probably would have looked at doing our own implementation using leaflet and Open Street Map. But that is a pretty big project to throw in when are in the middle of a year long roadmap. I assume this played into Googles strategy. Give them enough of a heads up, but not enough time for most to move away.
I think the service used to only really impact medium-to-big sites, but the price change basically impacts any site. After 25,000 map loads (page hits) you start incurring some substantial fees.
Edit: Yes, yes it is http://scripting.com/2014/08/08/myBlogDoesntNeedHttps.html
Ask Dennis Prager, Steven Crowder, Philip DeFranco. This is old news, not a vague fear
> It's like when we change administrations in Washington. Very chaotic
Not at all the same. In the USA, we have a baseline of actions the government cannot take: it is described in the Constitution and contains a well defined appeals process, as well as a large set of tools to protect against tyranny. Google offers its users and even its paying paying clients none of these privileges.
How does this even make sense?
This is like saying "Once flying squirrels take control of the government...".
Sure, a government controlled by flying squirrels is something scary. But that doesn't make any sense.
You should be scared of walled gardens displacing the web.
Google is highly influential in how information is consumed and distributed. People use chrome to browse web, google search for searching information etc. If they have major control over how information is distributed, they have major control over the web. Ofcourse there are other similar services that are not provided by Google, but they are very less influential due to lack of users.
> You should be scared of walled gardens displacing the web.
What if web becomes a walled garden ? Look at what Google did with DRM, even Mozilla had to give up their efforts to fight against it. How could that be possible without having a major influence over the web ?
> What if web becomes a walled garden ?
That, again, doesn't even make sense.
A walled garden isn't "you need to pay to access my content". A walled garden is "you can only access my content".
Apple is a walled garden. Facebook is a walled garden. The web, by definition, isn't a walled garden.
And that's why Apple and Facebook kinda hate the web.
It was only about 20 years ago that Microsoft went from thinking the web has nothing to do with their core business, to becoming the dominant browser maker, to spending 5 years without releasing an update, and hamstringing all efforts to push the state of web development forward for almost a decade.
Google is approaching a similar level of dominance with Chrome now, and it's pretty scary when you consider the kinds of power plays they could make if they really wanted to. A walled garden, by comparison doesn't have much chance of displacing something as broad as the web except by a complete paradigm shift—mobile apps are the closest thing we've had since the web became dominant, but there's still the installation barrier that has slowed or reversed the process with app fatigue.
Google Search processes 2/3-3/4 of all searches, with declining market share. Search is held hostage by user's expectations, if the quality of search were to decline users would leave.
AdSense is in a commanding position, but it is under attack from a lot of different directions. Facebook gives more targeted ads. Snap allows more qualified ads. Apple is revamping it's ad system.
Google is in a strong position, but this isn't a case of them gaining more control, and their power is defiantly under check by other interests.
Using the closure of Google Reader as an example of how Google could "turn off huge parts of web" is ridiculous.
Google reader was just a web-based RSS reader. Its user base was dwindling because RSS was falling out of fashion. Google alerted users well ahead of time of the closure, and gave users ample opportunity to move their subscriptions to another RSS aggregator.
Closing their own service is not a big deal. It's wasn't the first service Google has shuttered, nor will it be the last. Every company does this to services that no longer benefit the company.
No data was removed from the web.
No functionality was destroyed.
The Google Reader source code was made available to the public.
Competing services were champing at the bit to replace Google Reader (and didn't succeed, because hardly anyone uses RSS anymore).
It seems like Dave Winner suffers from a lack of understanding of how the web works, and an irrational distrust of large corporations.
Frankly, if you want to point a finger for the death of RSS, blame Facebook and Twitter.
It was? Where to find it? Please don't tell me it got lost when Google Code shut down.
Personally I far more fear Amazon's literal control of the web and the monoculture they've created. For us personally moving off of AWS would be a nightmare.
From The China Hustle, Dirty Money, and The Big Short, it is clear people are putting a lot of trust in the "free market" across the board. Society seems convinced that abusive behavior is acceptable collateral damage required for "free markets" to work; that accepting white collar crime is better than regulating a big company; giving a $1B fine to a company that made $40B in profits is punishment enough to keep companies honest. It is not clear there is a better way...
The fear of change expressed on this article is natural.
Enforcing HTTPS is good for consumers. But, we need to watch carefully with the market dominance of Google Chrome.
"To mangle three metaphors, if you drink that kool-aid, you’re either locked in the trunk like Dave Winer says or if you like my metaphor-ware better, you’re a sharecropper. Either way, it sucks."
Can you support this claim with examples?
Google is headed for a total crash on its current trajectory. Almost the entire business is built on an anti-user model. At some point there will be a reckoning. Their end will be triggered by technology trend that they will be unable to compete with.
The solution to fixing Google is funding more startups with ideas on how to take them out. Google's weapon here is keeping tens of thousands of good technology people locked up with golden hand cuffs. That and strangling startups in their cradle.
Microsoft's broken model got destroyed and so will Google's. It takes a long time for these slow motion train wrecks to play out.
And that's saying a mouthful.
Internet is supposed to be about the content, ideas, journalism, etc. But there is virtually no VC investment in the content. Nothing. That is scary, and Google is single handedly responsible for it.
I blogged about it back then:
Have you stopped to consider that content is a nearly-worthless commodity for which very few people are willing to pay actual cash for?
Take a look at the finances of content providers over the past 20 years. How many publishers, newspapers, studios, etc. shut down? Why do you think that is?
I've worked for two large newspaper companies in the past. They both operated on this model:
- Newsstand fee covers the cost of printing and distribution
- Classified ads revenue pays for everything else.
Craigslist hurt newspapers and local news far more than most people realize.
Also, I run a website for doctors. Google learns that my visitor is a doctor, and next time displays a doctor related ad on Candy Crush, when she is playing the game. So by invading her privacy, Google makes money and my website literally competes against Candy Crush for the ad revenue.
You can remove Google and Facebook, replace by anyone else, or eliminate it entirely. It still won't solve the problem: nobody wants to pay for your content.
Maybe the problem is in your content...
Removing Google and Facebook changes the game entirely. They have such a strangle hold on the way the internet operates financially--by utilizing their deep integration with users' usage of the web to feed them highly targeted ads--that alternate usage models can't compete.
Exactly, content became a near-worthless commodity.
> Removing Google and Facebook changes the game entirely.
No, it doesn't.
But it seems that what you're suggesting is that ad-funded business models should be outlawed, is that it?
I also think that Google and any indexing service should be held accountable for linking to pirated content.
I don't fully understand the way Google sells ads on a marketplace, but I think that Google is guilty of being unsavory in their behavior as the premier online advertisement market place and search giant.
I don't think that ad-funding a business should be illegal, I just don't think that advertising should be as valuable as it is when the biggest data horders on the web are the ones doing the advertising.
Then someone needs to set up a search engine that has the option of only returning sites that are controlled by an individual person, not a corp or non-profit or other group. I would be interesting to see how that might work.
Just stop clicking on the freaking ads already!
I pass all traffic through this, including mobile devices, so protection even when away from home. Is it 100% foolproof? No. But I have yet to have issues, and Google and others have zero profiles on me, as I have no accounts with them or Facebook, et al. It's nice to be able to be relatively off-the-grid while still taking advantage of what the Internet has to offer.
>My fear is this -- once Google has control of the web, they can turn off huge parts of it for whatever reason, however thoughtless, and without disclosing why.
This person has either been watching too many movies that depict the web as a place where IP's can be traced by writing Visual Basic GUI's or doesn't understand how the Internet works.
Another point that he has been harping on is that lots of sites do not need https, but Chrome will shortly warn on visiting those sites. It stands to reason some future version of Chrome will block those sites outright. There are parts of the internet that could disappear when that happens.
You may not necessarily agree with his doomsday scenarios, but I assure you Dave Winer understands how the internet works.
Unless what you're trying to say is that you're totally fine with third parties (governments, ISPs, the person whose WiFi you're connected to, some random script kiddie):
- snooping on your browsing habits (you can intercept and read off an entire HTTP request plain as day, including headers such as User-Agent strings, the specific URL that's being visited, etc, allowing you to build a profile of/digitally fingerprint the unsuspecting user; these are encrypted in an HTTPS request)
- maliciously handling your requests, returning whatever response they please instead of forwarding it to the intended remote, allowing them to not just censor the content but straight-up lie to you without your knowledge
- tampering with responses - injecting a cryptominer, tracker, script that adds your computer to a botnet or other malicious/non-benevolent script into the response before it reaches you or even just fucking around with the CSS or throwing in porn for the lulz
I wouldn't mind if they were to "throw in some porn for the lulz", but that has never happened for me...
The point is that for this sort of web use, my brain is already turned on, and there's nothing at risk. If someone rewrites a page to mislead me, I'll notice eventually, whether that someone is running a TLS site or MitMing a non-TLS site.
ps. your first sentence is pretty obnoxious; there's no need to personalize this.
Just wait till their automated algorithm suddenly (and mistakenly) blocks your account for "suspicious activity." (I've been there)
Maybe there is something "innovative" to using such algorithms but I'm not sure it's all good. What's bad though: stability, for you as a user.