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The Atlantic is being deliberately misleading here. Pay for Software? I think they should have said, "Why You Should Pay for Internet Service."

That is, unless there's a way for you to download Instagram's entire service as a package and install it on your own infrastructure (not likely), you aren't ever going to pay them for "software." If you pay them, it will be a subscription to their service.

I think the real culprit here is actually Google, who can (and do!) release all kinds of useful free services. They then actively support the misconception that all online services should be free – this helps them because consumers then make the error of assuming that this is reasonable; meanwhile, Google benefits as consumers turn a blind eye to their data mining, advertising, etc.

I suppose it would be fair to blame all the large cloud providers competing in the same space (Microsoft and Yahoo for example). However, Google was the first to try this and arguably the most successful.




Google was not even close to being the first to give away services. Hotmail and Yahoo mail were around before Google even existed. And that's just the first two that came to mind.

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That's not what I said, of course. Google doesn't just "give away services:"

They release all kinds of useful free services. They then actively support the misconception that all online services should be free – this helps them because consumers then make the error of assuming that this is reasonable; meanwhile, Google benefits as consumers turn a blind eye to their data mining, advertising, etc.

In other words, Google was the first to really push what could be done in free services. Sure, HTTP was a "free service" before Google ever existed – but that's not my point. Search engines existed before, but Google took a first step by placing the search results first – instead of the flashing banner ads.

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I remember the 90s before Google existed. There were search engines without ads. Search engines added ads after gaining an audience, just like Google did. Text ads were invented by Overture, another search company, before Google existed.

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