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You know, Google, the web already had this feature (vrypan.net)
667 points by vrypan on Apr 11, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 429 comments



Google has overstayed the web's welcome.

What started out as a quirky, innovative company that bucked all of the suit-and-tie trends (see Microsoft, HP, even Apple in some regards) of Silicon Valley, has now turned into a monstrous calamity with no regard for its users. Up until 2009, it was breezy and beautiful, but right now, at this moment, it's a different story altogether.

Don't be evil? Pfeh. The only thing left of Google that they haven't managed to screw up or cause outrage over is search. The only thing they can't afford to change, for fear people will stop using it.

This harkens back far before Google, far before any company dared invest in the Internet. This type of corporate mentality is one we see often, but tend to forget quickly. Apple did it in the 1990s. Microsoft is doing it now; look at Windows 8.

Any corporation that strays too far from its roots with fail. Not in a fiscal sense, but in an ethical sense, and that's the worst type of failure there is. Do I hope they get their shit together and start being Google again? Of course. They could start by fixing YouTube, exhuming Google Reader, and rethinking the decision to end iGoogle.

And please, PLEASE, reinvent that horrid thing called Google+. Even the name sucks.


The biggest problem with Google has been that they've been a "benevolent monarch", more or less. Meaning, much of the reason why google has been good for the web has been due to specific choices that google leadership has made and the ways that google has chosen to wield its power. This contrasts to strict limits on power and strong external forces from competition, etc.

As long as the monarch is benevolent this is great, but then there's no mechanism to prevent abuses of power, and then maybe the monarch changes, or circumstances change, and the inevitable happens.

Google is making more money than ever, but that's still not enough for them. And now we're starting to see a lot of the "well, we chose not to be evil" slip away. The problem with "don't be evil" is that it's weak, and it's a double negative. Contrast it with "be good". Neutral isn't evil[1], and once you're down in the moral gray area pit anyway it's easy to move the goal posts and define "evil" differently. One could make a very well-founded argument, for example, that Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and even EA or Comcast are not, strictly speaking, "evil" companies.

[1: what makes a man turn neutral?]


The biggest problem with Google has been that they've been a "benevolent monarch", more or less.

The saddest part is that for the longest time I never minded them taking that role. The evil part is that they're subsuming their benevolence under sophistry to convince people to send them all of their internet activity. They're using up all their goodwill, and I'm not sure they haven't used all of it up as far as I'm concerned.

Once upon a time, Windows 95's installation screens had a bullet point that said, "Everything you do will be easier and more fun," when now we all know that a) that wasn't their goal; and b) they weren't going to make it that way anyway, but they'd sure be happy if "whatever you do" is on Windows and that you redefine your sense of "easier and more fun" to be whatever Microsoft decided it should be. These moves by Google remind me of those days.

It's times like this when I laugh and laugh about how smart all the people at Google are supposed to be. I guess one of the benefits of that to them is the ability to twist language to convince people to go against their own interests in giving Google all of their Internet usage behavior for cheap. Keep in mind companies pay BIG BUCKS for what Google wants you to give them in exchange for...access to Google+?


> One could make a very well-founded argument, for example, that Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and even EA or Comcast are not, strictly speaking, "evil" companies.

I'll venture to say this is the case. Most tech firms are small-fries when it comes to evil.

Cargill, Monsanto, and pretty much any oil company - now that's serious evil. And that's just in recent history. We're not even talking the East India Trading company.

Wake me when a tech firm profits billions through sweetheart contracts on an unjustifiable war or, through ineptitude or malevolence, kills tens of thousands in an industrial disaster.


That's exactly my point. With a directive like "don't be evil" there's so very much wiggle room. If google spends the rest of its life hovering at a level above Exxon or even the East India Trading Company it might consider its "don't be evil" goal satisfied, but that's a pretty frightening future to imagine.


The problem with "don't be evil" is that it sets up the company to look hypocritical when it does something that could be construed as evil (or at least ambiguous).

Just like "it just works" for Apple - really super awesome, except when it doesn't - for large groups of their customers.

People may disagree on what's evil (especially when media companies can easily be "hired" to muddy the waters). Hypocrisy is much easier to detect and justifiably besmirches the brand value.


"Don't be evil" is equivalent to a guy walking around with a badge tht says "not a rapist"


Are you sure Monsanto is evil? As far as I understand, contrary to popular belief they only sue farmers who use their patented seeds if they also buy the pesticide that goes along with those seeds. Maybe they're evil for some other reason I'm not aware of?


Are you kidding?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/13/genetically-modifie...

http://www.pressherald.com/news/Appeal-set-January-organic-f...

The latter is just evil. Suing farmers cause crops were contaminated through unwanted pollination by neighboring farms [using Monsanto's genetically altered seeds and chemicals]. Finally the farmers are banning together and counter-suing.

And this are just 2 examples. Do further searching and you'll find many more cases going back decades.


> The latter is just evil. Suing farmers cause crops were contaminated through unwanted pollination by neighboring farms

I already acknowledged that this view exists in the comment you replied to. However, I suspect this view stems from farmers talking to the press, and not from the careful reading of court records. See for example this quote from your second link:

> The judge also called the farmers' claims that they could be subject to patent-infringement lawsuits "unsubstantiated" because "not one single plaintiff claims to have been so threatened."

The Wikipedia article on Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser does mention that he was convicted without having used the pesticide, but the court did not believe the contamination was accidental in any case.


Intentional contamination or no, patenting genes and extorting royalties from people propagating self-replicating organisms is very much evil.

If farmers want to pay for seed stock of known features and quality, that's great. What they do after that should be totally under their control and domain. A legal precedent for interfering with the ancient practice of saving seed and selection of seeds from desirable plants is so entirely "evil" I can't explain it to someone who doesn't "get" it already. The evilness or any corporate control of genetics in the wild (outside of their production labs) should be self-evident.

I laugh at the audacity of garden catalogs that warn that you cannot take cuttings of certain patented items, like thornless blackberries. Blackberries are stupid-easy to propagate with cuttings, and it is completely absurd to think that people will (or should) obey such a warning.


> A legal precedent for interfering with the ancient practice of saving seed and selection of seeds from desirable plants [...]

This seems deliberately vague, and covers a lot of scenarios not covered by any court ruling I have seen. If you're going to call them evil, you need to do it with some specificity.

If you're proposing that we abolish GMO patents, I'd say that's a reckless policy that risks cutting off the funding source for increasingly important GMO research. There's probably going to be a couple billion more people on this planet, so it seems that we need better farming yields. Your arguments against the law seem to be on the form "the law is easy to break, hence it should not exist", which I think would apply to way too many laws to be a viable argument. If the law was hard to avoid breaking, I would agree more.

On the other hand, I agree that Monsanto's production of chemical weapons for the US government during the Vietnam war was probably evil.


Look into their role in the Agent Orange poisoning of Vietnam during the war. If that's not evil then the word has no meaning.


Go earn you Monsanto pay elsewhere. This isn't reddit, we're not falling for your bullshit here.


Google's character was obvious to me when they insisted their slogan was "don't be evil" and not "do no evil".

A "do no evil" pledge is something that can be judged. Did they do evil by sabotaging the local 'yellow pages' in Africa? Was using their position on the board of competitors for their own advantage evil? This phrase refers to events and actions and facts, things that accountability is based on. Something can even be an honest mistake that does evil.

But "don't be evil" is an accountability dodge. Instead of judging actions and events it says to look at the company as a whole. Is an evil act threatening OEMs with no more Google apps unless they tow the line ok because it's all to 'unify Android'? Is it okay to sabotage privacy because otherwise Facebook will eat their lunch? Can two wrongs make a right?

The question of whether Google is evil is much more complicated and ambiguous than whether Google does or has done evil. That they insisted on not being judged based on their actions speaks volumes.


And your character was obvious to me the minute you said that "do no evil" is a more useful standard than "don't be evil".

"Do no evil" is an impossible and therefore pointless standard. How many people do you know that have done no evil in their life? Have you? I've certainly made my share of arguably evil mistakes.

Now consider a company with tens of thousands of employees. Even if 1% of their employees (intentionally or not, per your standard) committed evil at work 1% of the time, that's still (on average) multiple incidents a day. Exactly how many days do you think "do no evil" would last before it was drowned in noise?

Yes, "don't be evil" is a more complicated and ambiguous judgement. But at least it is one that can meaningfully be made rather than an unreachable standard that's trotted out when it's convenient and ignored when it isn't.


The doctor's creed is "do no harm" or "never do harm", even though it's impossible for a doctor to never ever cause harm. They have this oath because they want to be held accountable for their mistakes.

Doctors don't go around saying just "don't be harmful" or that as long as they have good intentions some harm is okay.

The simple fact is that formulation "don't be evil" is intended to avoid accountability. You can overlook some evil because you perceive them as having good intentions. Maybe you should consider that an advertising company may have put more thought into their motto and how it affects your perception of them than you realize.


>"don't be evil" is an accountability dodge.

This is really, thoroughly missing the point. There was never anybody to enforce "don't be evil" -- if they had made it "do no evil" then there would still be no one to enforce it. It's a goal, not a law. If Google violates "don't be evil" then nothing happens differently than if they had never adopted it.

The point of "don't be evil" is to remind Google employees which end is up. It's something they can point to when someone else wants them to Do The Wrong Thing, as an official justification for refusing. If you think that means they're going to adhere to it in 100% of cases then you're liable to be disappointed, but I expect we're all still better off that they try most of the time than if they were to just throw it away and become comic book super-villains.


> Google's character was obvious to me when they insisted their slogan was "don't be evil" and not "do no evil".

I thought the consensus was that "don't be evil" meant "don't be Microsoft" (of the 90s) which makes it a pretty easy slogan to be judged by.


Since you raised the issue, how exactly is a for profit and publicly owned company supposed to run effectively if not through a (benevolent or not) monarchy? Do you expect Google to put product decisions up for a vote?


I think you misunderstand. This isn't about actions, it's about power. Google is in a bit of an unusual position because it has a shit-load of power that it, mostly, hasn't abused for its own advantage, yet. Partly because google has been "good" many people haven't been overly concerned about their power and they haven't sought to try to limit that power (in all of the typical ways power is usually limited in the business world, through regulation, through competition, etc.) But on the flip side that means that there are very few roadblocks to google deciding all of a sudden to try to convert its power into cold hard cash, regardless of how it hurts individuals. Which may be something that could happen in the near future.


What I specially hate about Google+ is the fact that Google can't stop spamming me to join it.

Now even Google Play comments need to be part of Google+.

You know what, Google? Fuck you. No. Fuck you twice. I won't join that fucking horrid place. I don't even have Facebook, why would I join a crappy social network?


You're acting like the act of "joining" is some huge deal. You already have an account with Google. "Joining" Google+ probably flips 3 bits in some BigTable database somewhere. The only reason you are getting so self-righteous about it is because Google is giving you the option. If you don't _do_ anything on Google+, what's it matter?

Interesting that you bring up you Facebook anti-creds. Do you also not own a TV?


Joining IS a huge deal. Lots of things are getting shared when you have a Google+ account, most of which I don't want to share (e.g. which YouTube videos I like, my Google Play comments...) and have to be turned off explicitly. I know this because I once was a Google+ user for a short time (during which I didn't even notice).

When I mentioned Facebook I just meant: "I'm not into the biggest and most useful social network, why would I join your crappy-and-useless one?"

P.S.: I don't own a TV.


I have so far avoided combining my YouTube and Google Plus account. They keep annoying me with random overlay asking me to combine them but so far I've been saying not now. One way I've minimized exposure to this is using the android app instead of the desktop browser version but it may not be for everyone.

I probably don't need to tell you this but just in case: If you have a concern about a Play Store, please contact the developers and give them a chance to fix things. Thank you!


They started pulling that nonsense on me too. About every tenth video has an overlay and there is no "just leave me alone" option. I end up using an incognito tab instead. For the life of me I can't tell what choice they are trying to force me to make and what is wrong with how things are at the moment.


The overlay has changed a couple of times, when they've combined or relabeled the options. The last time I got it, they had removed the "go away" option, so I gave them one of the answers they accepted - "I don't want to use my g+ profile, because X".

Of course, about 30 seconds afterwards, I noticed that the option that actually was most accurate for my situation was Y, but I hadn't clicked on that, so whatever.


> and have to be turned off explicitly.

Why is `opt-out` a big deal?


Because settings change. I don't know if tomorrow Google is going to add a new feature to share new things, and I don't want to watch for new things to opt out of. It's a cognitive load I don't need.


It's not "opt out once," it's opt out and monitor that your decision isn't "forgotten" at any point in the future in which case you need to opt out again. So, yeah, "continuous hidden opt out" is annoying.


>You're acting like the act of "joining" is some huge deal.

Joining IS a huge deal. One I won't do.


You know, I don't really like Google+ but I have had no difficulty in opting out of it and declining to share things like my YouTube favorites and so forth (with a few exceptions that were wholly by choice). I'm not happy with their social strategy in general, but I don't feel it's anything like as burdensome on the user as Facebook's, which caused me to stop using that service altogether.


Well, I've had difficulty opting out, and new Google accounts are linked to Google+ by default.

E.g.: I have an Android phone and I would like to rate a scam app so people don't download it.

Oops, it's not possible without a Google+ account.

See my other comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5535556


I think you're fixating on Google+ as a social network, when that's not really the point. Google+ is meant to serve as an identity layer for Google, so you don't have a bunch of different logins / passwords to silo-ed properties, which makes a frustrating user experience. They give you pretty damn good tools for deciding what parts of the identity are shared for this exact reason. You can enable Google+ and basically ignore the 'destination social network' entirely if that's what you want.

As for having Play store comments attached to your G+ identity, what is your complaint there? I'm sure the quality of reviews is way higher when you can't hide behind an anonymous account.


>I think you're fixating on Google+ as a social network, when that's not really the point. Google+ is meant to serve as an identity layer for Google, so you don't have a bunch of different logins / passwords to silo-ed properties, which makes a frustrating user experience.

No, it's not meant like that at all.

Google didn't create Google+ to have a single sign on. It created it specifically to compete with Facebook.

(As if the crap that Google+ is, as a social network, ever had a chance).

The SSO thing was forced upon Google to unwilling users of its disparate services. I, for one, never wanted my YouTube account linked to my Gmail account etc.


http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57413309-93/larry-page-goog...

"[Larry Page] ... called [G+] the "social spine," reminding listeners that the service isn't just a destination, but a unifying social framework for all Google's products."

First off, Google allows you to have multiple identities with SSO. And I find it hard to argue that it's not a good thing for 99% of the user base. Managing multiple accounts sucks, and being able to share between them (and supporting a very rich set of privacy tools) is a win for most users.

A genuine question: Why don't you want your YouTube account linked to your Gmail?


> Why don't you want your YouTube account linked to your Gmail?

Because.

Do I even need a reason?


Under some circumstances, yes, you should have a reason: say Google makes it require an effort to keep the accounts separate (I think this might aspect be the case), then you probably should have a reason for thinking its worth the effort.


No. The accounts are already linked! My accounts are not separate. This is a common misconception apparently: my Google accounts are already linked in a single Google Account. I'm not very happy with it, but hey... it's comfortable.

I just refuse to have the social aspects of Google imposed on me through Google+. I don't want my mum to know I liked "Used Panties Exchange" in Google Play. Heck, I don't even want Google+! It's a service I don't need, don't want and feel it's just getting pushed on me.

But well, even then... it's just because I just don't want to! Why don't you use <insert here a service you don't use>? Because you don't want to. Period.

It's like jokes: they're not funny if you try too hard. I might've tried the service by myself, but they just blew away any interest I had. If they're so desperate for users it certainly can't be a good place to be.


>A genuine question: Why don't you want your YouTube account linked to your Gmail?

For one: because.

Second: I don't want people from work etc to know I'm the same guy writing the cheerleading comments on Insane Clown Posse videos.


how else are you going to use the youtube comments as they are meant to be? I can't make half-witted, nonsensical, semi-racist comments if they are linked to my own name!


I find the "half-witted, nonsensical, semi-racist" YouTube comments are the only real democracy on the Internet.

It's the only one place were you can say anything, there are people of all ages, religions, creeds, sexes etc, from the most progressive to hardcore KKK members, and they can freely discuss anything, with no censorship and no moderation from a higher source of power.

Only the whole community can vote and "hide" a message they deem bad.

YouTube comments, which some "intelligent" people don't like, are the closed thing we have to a truly free discussion.

People don't like them because they like to flock with their own and only exchange mild agreement and trivialities, and abhor any contact with the true Other, be him a black gay Latin American or a white, protestant Bible Belter. To put it simply: some supposedly progressive people hate talking to other people with different ideas even more than bigots.

Learning to co-exist and talk on YouTube, I believe, really makes you a better person.


"No, it's not meant like that at all."

Cool, so it's your baseless opinion vs Google's public stance on their motivations. How productive.

"I, for one, never wanted my YouTube account linked to my Gmail account etc."

I'm sorry that you feel entitled to have Google bend to your will with regards to their high-quality services for which you pay nothing.


>Cool, so it's your baseless opinion vs Google's public stance on their motivations. How productive.

Yes, "baseless". You only ignored the other part of my comment, where, you know, I argue about it. How productive (and what an honor in Turing's name).

The reason Google created Google+ are well known, stated officially and have nothing to do with having a single sign on. They could have a single sign on system without Google+.

Nothing necessitates a social forum as a part of a SSO system.

So, there, you have. Feel more productive now?

>for which you pay nothing

Em, I'd hate to break it to you, but Google makes lots of money selling ads targeted to me and other users.


Do you think Google is a charity?


I already have the same login and password with my Google Account. Which came years before Google+. Which I'm happy with. Which wasn't anonymous, just not viewable as a social profile as a whole, which I don't want and I'm actively refusing.

Whatever Google says, they're just trying to bring users to Google+ (although unsuccessfully) as a social hub.


While you may not want to comment on Google Play apps publicly, there's a lot of value for other users in being able to see what their actual friends said about an app rather than just random anonymous commenters. (And we've seen the issues on places like Amazon with ratings spamming.)

It's just reality that some features may benefit the larger population but might not be to your taste - obviously every feature can't be loved by every user - but I'm not sure that justifies rage.


"[...] value for other users in being able to see what their actual friends said about an app [...]"

Problem: I add value to their ecosystem at the expense of my anonymity. Loosing my anonymity does not return the value to me in any use case.


"we've seen the issues on places like Amazon with ratings spamming"

My experience with Amazon ratings is that they've been accurate and useful. If there's a spam problem Amazon is dealing with it well, without requiring "real names" or social connections.


The ratings on Amazon for things like pots and pans are fine and useful. Books seem to be the main target for spamming.


Google is trying to consolidate all of their services under one account. Like it or not a Google+ is just public facing page for a Google account. In away it dose make sense and answers an age old internet problem. It requires users to be responsible for what they put online.


Yea, people who oppose China's human rights policies while living in China need to step up and stop hiding behind anonymity, the cowards!


Yes, you are right. I can see how requiring your name when rating an android app or commenting on a YouTube video would drastically affect human rights activists in China. I am sorry if you are expecting a company whose business model revolves around selling user information to protect your anonymity, then you are going to have a bad time. A company like Google is going to comply to government request for information, that is why we have services, utilities, and tools that protect your anonymity online. Google is doing nothing wrong by asking for your name (they probably have it anyways). However, if they where blocking search results to prevent your anonymity, that is a different story altogether. In a case like China, it is the government that is doing the blocking and Google has no choice in the matter if they want to do business there.


I was addressing your comment about "take responsibly for what you put online". We need the ability to be anonymous because sometimes things that need to be said simply can't be said if you're not anonymous.


Why do you think people should be? There is value to anonymity, just not to Google. Therefore they are trying to eliminate it.


From an engineering stand point it cuts down on spam and false comments. If you have your name tied to a review chances are you are going to be more honest. Don't get me wrong anonymity is extremely important on the web, but you can't deny that it is abused. Look at the current state of YouTube. YouTube has some of the nastiest comments around. Instead of censoring, Google had an idea to tie your name to your comments. If you read comments by users using their name they aren't saying things like "Go f* yourself you fing fg. I f*ed your mother last night". The truth of the matter is everyone loves to attack Google for Google+, but the real threat to anonymity are companies that write and sponsor bills like SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA.


They really do push you to at least create an account though. I've accidentally created and had to close an account several times. I've given up and just left an open but dormant account now.


My Mum had me help her set up an Android phone recently, one of the first steps after on turning it on was a request to sign up to google+.

Spamming it on every google service is a good way to inflate their numbers, but it's a horrible way to drive genuine user engagement.


I am not sure what happened to Google but I am strongly disliking their new decisions. The Yelp debacle, the new cards, Google Instant previews, Google+...I can go on.


So don't joint. No need to be rude about it.


Have you tried commenting on Google Play? You need Google+. I have an Android phone but I shouldn't need a Google+ account when I have my regular Google account which actually works on Google Play.

And it wasn't like this when I bought my phone. I can't "opt out" of my phone. I already bought it before they required Google+ for Play's comments.

Have you tried using YouTube? They keep nagging you to open a profile.

etc. etc.


I tried using Facebook and it wants me to create a Profile!

I want to post a tweet but Twitter wants me to create a Profile!


I already have a profile both for Google Play and for YouTube. They want me to sign to a different service.

"I want to post a tweet but Twitter wants me to open a bank account!"

Your argument is invalid.

Also: they wouldn't be nagging me if I had no account. Did they nag you when using YouTube while logged out? They don't nag me when I'm not logged in.


Google's argument is that they aren't different services, they are all 'just Google'. Say what you want about that philosophy, but it has worked well for many people, myself included.


I have a Google Account which is 'just Google'. That came years before Google+.

Whatever Google says, they're just trying to impose Google+ as a social hub.


Identity across Google's services is an absolute mess. They seem to be trying to integrate on one identity per person rather than separate YouTube, GMail, Google Search, Play, etc. accounts. Which makes perfect sense, considering they're all part of the same organization.

"I just want to register for courses, but my university wants me to make a .edu email address!" would be a better analogy. They aren't part of the same functionality, but the organization is moving towards one identity provider across all its services.

Could you imagine the nightmare for IT if email, library, VPN, course registration, brusar, Blackboard, facilities ticketing, software discounts, help desk, file server, 802.11X, workstation login, etc. were all separate usernames/passwords? There is a reason most universities have one central authentication service. My school's network IDs are even even integrated with ID cards so (as of next year) you can reserve space with your network login and then tap/swipe your ID to access it.

It isn't like Twitter asking you to open a bank account because Twitter doesn't also provide banking.


Every web site out there that wants engagement from users encourage visitors to create an account.


I'm actively trying not to use Google+ and it wants me to create a profile!


Just to play the devil's advocate here, it's not like Google Play is necessary for an Android device to work. That's already an extreme improvement over Apple's store, which is even less free, open, and modular and also requires you to create an Apple ID (though thankfully Apple hasn't tried fumbling with a tied-in social network or similar web services).


[deleted]


So what?


"Change your difficult to remember name on YouTube to your easy to remember real name!"

Yeah because I really want all those racists and gun nuts knowing what my real name is.


Google, more than any other company, has made the web a better place. The web was horrible dumping ground before Google - laced with Portals and flashing display ads, pathetic Search, fragmented content.

Chrome's the best browser, Gmail the best Email client, Google Maps / Earth the best mapping client, there's only 1 YouTube, the Mobile landscape would be a walled garden with every user a hostage if it wasn't for Android, then there's a zillion other apps I use on a daily basis that is best-in-class like Hangouts, Analytics, Google G+ Communities, Groups, etc - and I use them all for free.

The world needs more Google's not less, the web is a much better place for having them.


I disagree, the web of the 90s was really awesome. I remember one of the first things I did when I got online was look up Star Wars websites (using Webcrawler). There were dozens of sites, all made by fans, all amateur, all full of cheesy graphics, .wav sounds, but all unique. Here's the Google results for "Star wars". Tell me when you get to a result that wasn't created by a corporation: https://www.google.com/q=star+wars


The web of the 90s was an awesome exclusive subculture. The web google has been promoting is inclusive and egalitarian. It isn't just for nerds, and cares about things other than Star Wars.


I think the word you're looking for is "corporate". It's not google's fault, of course. It's just the way the world works when money is involved. Large organizations that stood to make a profit were going to change it significantly to raise their margins, no matter what.

The web of the 1990s was far more open to participation outside of the walled gardens. It may have been more difficult to get started with, but it was definitely more inclusive.


"The web google has been promoting is inclusive and egalitarian."

Egalitarian, for as long as you can fund, and outbid others in, Adwords. Google has switched to what amounts to a pay-per-play model in searches they have ads for, and on the rest they favor huge established brand$. Hardly egalitarian


I never thought I'd ever say this; but I miss Geocities. And i miss WebRings. There were so many unusual sites out there. In the 90's the web was fun, artsy and mysterious. Now it's all MTV.


Maybe there's a startup opportunity in creating a successor to webrings that isn't Facebook.


>Google, more than any other company, has made the web a better place. The web was horrible dumping ground before Google - laced with Portals and flashing display ads, pathetic Search, fragmented content.

Perhaps you have not been around in the nineties / early 00, but the web was far more exciting and cool that the corporate BS that it is today.

And YouTube was acquired, it wasn't Google's. Same with Google Earth / Maps. And Chrome started as Webkit by Apple (based on KHTML). Google just bought all these things or threw money at forking them (Webkit), and made the web it's own monopoly.


I agree. I miss the web of the nineties. Fan pages made by amateurs, crazy color combinations, under construction gifs, minimal ads (just a simple banner), no tracking into oblivion. But most of all the vibrant feel, the helpfullness and the innocence. It was a cozy place.


...and when you searched for "widgets" you'd find a person a thousand miles away who knew about as much as there possibly is to know about widgets, and they had a little website with all the information. Maybe they were a bus driver, or maybe a professor, but they loved widgets and shared that with you.

Now? "Buy WIDGETS with Amazon".


More than any other here, your post makes me nostalgic about the old days. Kudos.


It's an odd argument to make - that is, yes, of course the web is now better in many aspects than what it was 10 years ago -- but what makes you think that without Google the progress would stop, or even stall? If you think about it, anything that a lot of people care about and work on will get better after 10 years of work. You don't need a dictator, even a supposedly benevolent one, to have progress.


>The world needs more Google's not less, the web is a much better place for having them.

You mean it needs more companies who buy awesome technologies that other companies created (e.g. ... well, nearly everything on your list of "best in class")? Don't we have enough of those already?


In your opinion. In my opinon the Gmail web client is a disgusting mess of anti-usability and Chrome is arguably not "the best". Webkit is the best - Chrome is a good browser, but empirically - not - the best for ever type of user. Google Maps / Earth may be the best overall free mapping solution for consumers, but it's certainly not the best for all mapping needs. The client applications are somewhat anaemic.

Youtube - Other than the fact that Youtube hosts all the videos - the overall user experience really, really sucks in my opinion. It never remembers settings, you can't disable autoplay and now they're trying to force everybody to use a real-name Google account to view mature content. Totally lame. I truly hope something better comes along.

I agree with the general sentiment of this article though - that Google was awesome because they were so simple and useful and now they're less awesome because they're pushing this agenda of Google Everything and Everything Online which is annoying to many of us.


I've found the web becomes much better when you make Flash click-to-play. YouTube especially, since the videos don't start until you ask.


That, unfortunately, only works for Flash and not HTML5. But maybe I should just use a better browser and then magically this wouldn’t be an issue or something.


Click-to-play doesn't work along with 1px players. For video it's okay, but come to some music streaming service and be confused how to turn music on.


>Google has overstayed the web's welcome.

Then stop using their products. Switch to bing, switch to Internet Explorer, get an iPhone and shut up about it.

No, google has not "overstayed the web's welcome", google has overstayed the welcome of a few entitled silicon valley golddiggers who will continue feeling wronged for the next 10 minutes until they realize what wonderful things google has created in the world for them to use.


>Then stop using their products. Switch to bing, switch to Internet Explorer, get an iPhone and shut up about it.

And who exactly are you to tell him to "shut up about it"? He made his case. You might disagree. State your case and let the discussion continue. Anything else --like telling him to "shup up"-- should be beneath HN standards.

For one, people do use alternative products. It's not as if Chrome is the ultimate browser. It's not like Android is the ultimate phone OS. The only real Google stronghold is search. Even there, Bing has come a long way, lots of geeks prefer DuckDuckGo, and 1.3 Billion Chinese could not care less about Google Search for example. More than that, people would be really happy to see a real contender in the search space in the West too.

And, more importantly, one market leading service does not justify taking abuse from the company that offers it -- or putting up with their other mediocre offerings.

Actually, come to think of it, nothing justifies taking abuse from any company or putting up with BS schemes they make. Even if they are the only ones selling water in Sahara.


I don't know, he/she didn't really "make a case". Read it again -- the OP doesn't actually say anything in the grandparent post besides "they used to be great, but now I hate them". Why does the OP hate them? Who knows!

The fact that such a contentless diatribe is at #1 is depressing. That too should be beneath HN's standards.


> Why does the OP hate them? Who knows!

I quite clearly stated this in my post. Everything that isn't research-based, or what is user-oriented, like Google+, YouTube, etc. has been milked to death and ruined in the process.

Other things, like how they consistently buy off startups and kill them, also annoy the hell out of me.

> The fact that such a contentless diatribe is at #1 is depressing. That too should be beneath HN's standards.

Obviously opinions, while mixed, account for half of reasoning. Opinions seem to be in the favor that Google has lost its way.


> YouTube, etc. has been milked to death and ruined in the process.

Youtube, in fact, is much better in 2013 than what it was in 2007. eg. I have seamless integration with other products I use (eg. uploading a video from my android phone) or I can purchase/rent content which I couldn't earlier. Can you explain how Youtube has been "ruined"?

> like how they consistently buy off startups and kill them, also annoy the hell out of me.

Then do you also hate the founders who sell their companies to Google (or any other big company)?


>Youtube, in fact, is much better in 2013 than what it was in 2007. eg. I have seamless integration with other products I use (eg. uploading a video from my android phone) or I can purchase/rent content which I couldn't earlier. Can you explain how Youtube has been "ruined"?

I can.

For one, being able to purchase/rent is irrelevant to the original YouTube idea. It wasn't a movie marketplace -- it was about sharing videos. People can purchase/rent content from 10000 sources, it's not what made YT useful originally.

Second, it has been ruined by:

1) Constant ads, from "skip in 4 seconds" to "you have to watch all 30s, sucka".

2) Taking off videos, or taking off their audio content, when some media company decides the music is theirs.

3) Forced G+ integration.


> People can purchase/rent content from 10000 sources, it's not what made YT useful originally.

Correct, but now I can do all my online-video-related activities in one place. How is "going to 10000 different sources" better than that? Google already has my credit card info. Ability to purchase content on YT means I don't have to give my CC details to yet another website. How is that not a good thing for the user?

> 1) Constant ads, from "skip in 4 seconds" to "you have to watch all 30s, sucka".

I prefer that experience over alternatives which have even more intrusive ads.

>2) Taking off videos, or taking off their audio content, when some media company decides the music is theirs.

This can happen to any website. Google is just complying with the law. Are you proposing that Google should violate the law?

> 3) Forced G+ integration. I agree, its bad. But saying YT is "ruined" because of that is hyperbole.


>they consistently buy off startups and kill them

Shouldn't we be citing sources, so that readers can learn and decide for themselves?


They could always Google it.

Sorry.


I'm sympathetic to your post (and more sympathetic to the blog post), but Google has overstayed the web's welcome. is just emo bullshit.

The guy that replied to you is right, and hopefully I'll start following that advice too, because I'm not a big fan of Google practices these days either. For me it started with Schmidt's comments about privacy. There's some comments that clown has said, which should have gotten him fired immediately.


> The only real Google stronghold is search.

I've experimented with switching away from Google products and I found search easiest to replace (I went with DuckDuckGo personally). YouTube, Gmail and Google Talk are what I've had difficulties replacing.


Huh?

1) There are tons of decent email services out there.

2) GoogleTalk, who uses that?

3) YouTube I agree. Though that's an acquired company, so it's not all to Google's credit. If it was up to Google, we'd only have the shitty Google Video.


> 1) There are tons of decent email services out there.

Honestly, no, not really. It's especially not true if you want to avoid one of the main problems with Google products (ad targeting). Gmail itself is actually pretty poor IMHO as it is, though. The UI drives me crazy sometimes. So I may eventually go to a cheap paid service and also get rid of ads too.

> 2) GoogleTalk, who uses that?

Me and a number of my close friends.


> 2) GoogleTalk, who uses that?

Everyone I know. It's the only person-to-person (ie not irc) chat protocol I use. OTOH, at least it's jabber, which is federated. So yeah.


I agree that telling someone to shut up should be beneath HN standards. That was rude and unnecessary.


Your example of china (where google sacrificed profit in order to stay true to their ideals of openness) destroys the rest of your argument. "1.3 billion Chinese" are living in a censored Internet, that is a far greater tragedy than how an public corporation chooses to prioritize feature requests.


Google doesn't lead in South Korea and Russia either - and challenged in Czech and Japan. It is possible.


> Then stop using their products. Switch to bing, switch to Internet Explorer, get an iPhone and shut up about it.

I use Yahoo (flame me all you want), I use Firefox, and I do own an iPhone.

But I am not going to shut up about it, because Google is forcing me away even though they're the best at what they do.

I hate them because I care.


>I hate them because I care.

I am sorry but I can't understand your rationale. Please elaborate? What do you care about and what do you hate? Do you care about Google as a publicly shared company and hate the lack of focus in the growing company? Do you care about the web and hate the growth of walled gardens?

>Google is forcing me away even though they're the best at what they do

What specifically bothers you? If there is one thing I have learned from the Internet, it is that I am never first and I am never unique. Perhaps, someone else has found workarounds for the problems you face?

I don't know why anyone would choose to use Y! Search but Firefox is a great web browser and the iPhone is a great app phone (not that you needed my validation). In any case, wish you all the best. :)


Google has done an amazing job of mixing really shitty practices like this with really amazing things like the self driving car and glass.

As long as they continue to diversify and innovate they will have supporters... even if they often break their "don't be evil" motto.


Is glass really that amazing? Personally I think it's going to fail, like a long line of recent Google products.


I consider it like the 1980's cell phone. Way too expensive, not nearly capable enough, and you look really silly using it. But then let it evolve for a decade or two, and you might get something inevitable. Eventually i'm expecting something like the augmented reality in the TV show continuum, and that is something people would really be into.


Not sure it'll be a huge consumer hit, but you can't argue that they're innovating, they're continuing to push technology further.


It's almost as if Google isn't a single person...


> Then stop using their products. Switch to bing,

they are still smart enough not to screw their search. The very second you have to be logged in to search, they are dead.

but for everything else... want to leave a review in googleAppstore? enable g+.

Want to thumbs up a video on youtube? enable g+.

Want to do something in picasa? enable g+ (i don't even know which feature i was using, because i never was able to use the product enough to remember)

well, for all those, I've switched to something better.

vimeo now wins my content. I'm back at flickr pro. and amazon app store I'd use you if i didn't installed all my APKs after compiling them from source.

(for your point of using internet explorer? what are you? twelve?)

... typed on Opera. with Firefox being used for work underneath


I'm sorry but do you really need to enable G+ to do all those things?

I've enabled G+ long time ago without Google asking me to, so I'm genuinely asking. I'm too lazy to create an account just to check it out.


Yes, you are prompted to enable G+ in many "normal" activities. You are also prompted to "unify your accounts" and "use your real name" in youtube. You cannot even skip that "use your real name" prompt, I usually reload the link I wanted and hope the window disappears.

Not sure a new account helps, G+ could be enabled from the start.


I have an old blogger account and was being prompted to switch to using g+. The prompt said that I could do a trial run and I decided to switch. However, after switching to my real name, I couldn't find a link to switch back to my blogger username. Luckily somebody had blogged about it and found a link to switch back. The change would have been permanent after 30(?) days.

I wonder how many bloggers have their real names and pics appear alongside their blog posts in google search because of this.


I like duckduckgo.com. Somehow, whenever I try it I always end up back over at google. The results arent really better at google- they are just tied into the way we work and live. Its hard to untangle it all.

I also like firefox and opera. But again, I am at this moment using chrome. I dont know how it happens.


>what wonderful things google has created in the world for them to use.

Like.... search? That's all they made that I used. Every other product of theirs I used wasn't theirs when I started using it. They bought it and often fucked it up.

In another post you go on about how we should be so excited by google cars and google glass. I am excited such things have been made but I'm very disappointed that they come from google. If I ride in a google car am I going to get to recover that wasted travel time by reading a book or working on my laptop? Or will I be unable to do anything because some shitty ad is blasted at me the whole way (or, worse, at regular annoying intervals)? Same thing with google glass, this could add so much but will it? Or is this going to end up as a way for google to blast more shitty ads at me?


Nah, switch to DuckDuckGo and Firefox please :)


People don't seem to be aware of https://startpage.com/

They anonymize your search data and then send it off to Google search.

I tried DDG a few times, and as much as I want to like it, their search results weren't as good as Google's.


Are you aware of the different way to input your search they (ddg) use? They prioritize your search based on the order you input words. After realizing that, I can find almost everything from there. And if not you can use their !bang syntax to continue the same search in whatever other search engine you like. Google won't link me to a bing search. But ddg will. If I search "search engine best rated" and do not see results I am looking for I just ad "!g" or "!b" to it and it takes you right into the results of that search for google or bing. How is that not more effective?


You know. I have DDG setup as my default search engine, but I find that I use "!g" way too often.


No one's doubting that Google has a great of achievement or hasn't earned the success they have.

That doesn't mean that people don't have a right to criticize the google that exists today.


> has overstayed the welcome of a few entitled silicon valley golddiggers

Is the web a bunch of people posting pictures of their cats, and commenting on "news" stories; or the people who are building it?


I stopped using all of their products about a year and a half, thank you very much. And I never looked back, I feel safer than ever, I'm not being tracked all the time, I own my data, and I will never have to fear again being banned for no reason or having a service shut down overnight and losing all of my data. I can do whatever I want.


If you think Google is the only one tracking you on the web, gooooood luck!


I haven't said that. I'm sure there is a fallacy that matches what you said.


So you don't use the web anymore?


The web wasn't born with Google, and is not going to end if it goes away. I use the web everyday, I can't live without it. I learned half of everything I know thanks to it, and with that knowledge I'm now working from home, earning more than any of my friends. I recommend you to try to replace the services you use one by one, until there is only one big step left to make, and that's it. You can be free again after that (or for the first time, if you are very young and have always used google products).


The harshness of your reply seems unwarranted.


I must have missed all of this outrage over Android, Chrome, GMail, Docs + Drive, Adwords, Analytics, etc, etc.

To be honest, I'm really glad Google finally pulled the plug on Reader instead of letting it rot to death. It's opened up the market for companies who will really focus on it. The same with iGoogle, which will be replaced by a much better "Google Now"-ish product.


Maybe you missed it, but searching here in Hacker News, you'll find it creeping along. PLENTY of complaints

In my personal case:

Android - bugs that stay open for years (my own post from a year ago is unresolved, and it affects all Spanish-speaking Android users

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4532596 )

Chrome: other than it displaying advertising, I haven't heard much bad about Chrome

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5218153

GMail: if you have a problem with GMail, you're SCREWED. My mother still hasn't got her account back, and mine was hacked some time ago (I now have 2-factor auth, which still has some bugs - for example someone reported a bug with Android auth even if you revoke the keys)

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3839726

Adwords: don't get me started. The rules for an Adwords account are really opaque. I think there's a post on the frontpage right now. Ahh, here it is:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5523992

I've had my run-ins with Adwords too.

While I still depend way too much on my GMail account, I have my personal email somewhere else, and I won't consider it for business use (and they probably are going to lose millions of dollars because of that).

There's still not a strong challenger to AdWords, but I'll definitely look forward to it.

Even Google search is starting to degrade somewhat, it's still not Altavista-level.

To be fair, Google still produces some amazing products which they give away for free, but they generate a lot of ill will by not giving even paid support.


Pretty much everything you listed has been a problem with those products from the beginning. My point is, Google hasn't ruined everything like the OP wants to claim, and there's no massive backlash, even for Google+. It's really a shame that even on a site like HN, a completely exaggerated and emotionally driven response that only has a shred of truth can get so many upvotes.


tl;dr 'i'm mad and can name at least one thing i don't like about every Google product'

one could make a similar list about every popular product - online or offline. nothing pleases everybody all the time at scale.


I think I know how to Google. I never had any problems with Google products. I use Gmail, Analytics, Google+, YouTube, Chrome, Android and it all works bloody perfectly, and I am not even a Google supremacist.


For me, they killed (are killing) the two products I use most... iGoogle, and Reader. That's it.. I've bought into the android ecosystem and what I use most there is reader.

Without those two products, I have far less reason to use google for anything.


That's not exactly true. People don't get in such a hissy fit over microsoft's online applications, like hotmail or the office web apps. Microsoft isn't 'better' than google, though i would argue they're no worse either.


You really don't think such a list could be created finding at least one subjective flaw in everything Microsoft has ever created? I'd do it myself if it wouldn't be such an absurd waste of time.

I'm not saying Microsoft products suck, just reiterating my earlier point that nothing done at scale is going to be perfect to everybody.


For me, the main difference is, I've submitted bugs to Microsoft's bug tracking database (for both free and paid products), and someone has ANSWERED.

Their products can even subjectively have more flaws than Google's - I switched from Hotmail to Gmail, Windows Phone 7.5 has a lot of frustrations built-in, and Chrome is faster imo than IE, but one thing Microsoft does a lot better than Google is tech support.

When I needed them to come through (for critical business needs), they have. Google hasn't. And that's why they have my money, and Google doesn't (even though I WANT TO pay them for said support, and believe their products are better).


Overstayed the web's welcome? I'm not convinced that's happened yet.

I certainly don't disagree with your points, but it's moot. Normal users don't care about things like "privacy" or "neutrality" or "standards". If it works and is free, that's good enough. And the page views Google gets is testament to the fact that nobody outside of the HN-esque world has any issues with Google.

Heck, I (and most people here) use GMail+Search+Docs+etc for the same reasons "normal" people do.. the privacy I give up is worth the convenience of their products.


... nobody outside of the HN-esque world has any issues with Google.

Until they do. And that's the rub. Even non-hackers often eventually get burned by these issues, but they aren't usually thinking about any of this stuff in advance. They lack awareness.

What that tells me is that we need to find a way to do a better of educating people on the importance of things like "privacy" or "neutrality" or "standards".

How best to do that is, of course, an open question...


> Normal users don't care about things like "privacy" ...

This is not true. If you explained exactly what the extension was doing to a normal user I can almost guarantee they wouldn't like it. No one wants every website they visit to be looked at by an external source. The problem is it's not obvious this is happening. Hell, I'm a web developer and even I wouldn't have thought twice about how Google was displaying this information to me. The technology has gotten so far outside of a "normal users"'s grasp that it's not even fair anymore. They care about privacy, they just have no way of knowing each and every way their privacy can be eroded.

Luckily no one uses Google+ so the extension is pretty useless...


Wouldn't my ISP also be recording this information? Your non https browsing is also being sent through countless routers you have no control over. Hell even Google is already tracking you through GA, the +1 button and Adsense. And if you are using Chrome everything you type in the search bar is being sent to power autocomplete.


  > Wouldn't my ISP also be recording this information?
In most countries your ISP would not be allowed to log that information, except for a) billing purposes, or b) in conjunction with the new spying laws. Even then, only traffic information is stored, only for the purpose of surrendering it after law enforcement produces a warrant, and it can only be stored for a limited time (3 or 6 months).

This isn't very nice either -- but most places there are some very strict laws on storing, and using communication data.


> nobody outside of the HN-esque world has any issues with Google.

People say the same thing about non-technical people using Facebook, but it isn't all that truthful. They have legitimate concerns, they're just waiting on the internet-at-large to determine the next best thing before expending any energy on making the switch.


> And the page views Google gets is testament to the fact that nobody outside of the HN-esque world has any issues with Google.

And every car on the road is a testament to the fact that nobody outside of Greenpeace has any issues with the oil industry? :) There is no good alternative to Google Search.

In my social circles in Germany, only HN-esque people use Google's other products like GMail, many don't use FB either for privacy concerns. I'd even say that distrust in Google is one of the factors that Germans strongly favour Firefox over Google (according to http://gs.statcounter.com). And that's just one country... User groups are more complex than HN/non HN.


That's part of what makes this strategy a bit strange, because "normal" users don't care about or use Google+ either.


I actually kinda like G+, BUT... I agree with the author of TFA about Google and their move away from the Open Web and towards another walled garden. If I could subscribe to RSS feeds to populate my G+ streams, and post to G+ using AtomPub, and expose my social-graph from G+ using FOAF, consume G+ using RSS/Atom, etc., then I would have no problem with it. But right now, Google seem determined to build something that's just one more walled garden, albeit one with a gate[1] that you can laboriously, manually, tediously drag your "stuff" out through.

[1]: http://www.google.com/takeout


What do they need to do to fix YouTube? (I'm really asking. I think some of it is broken, and maybe people can pass information onto YouTube people.)

1) Default to 240: I want to be able to always watch videos in the worst resolution possible. I want the lightest bandwidth possible. I'd sometimes be happy with just the audio. It seems that I can't default to 240, no matter what I click.

2) Small elements in UI: There is a teeny little grey drop-down arrow at the top of the Subscriptions list. I didn't see that for weeks, and the randomly changing order of the subscriptions menu drove me bonkers. Making that arrow bigger would be good.

3) Default to Uploads only: When I click a name in the subscriptions list I want to see the videos they've uploaded. I probably don't care about other videos they've liked. And if I do I can clicky the menu. Making me clicky the menu for something I do every time is sub-optimal.

4) Please god something for comments: Google and YouTube are full of smart people. Some kind of "poor comment quality" filter should be easy to implement. Allow youtubers to have no comments; full comments; or 'no poor comments'. (Maybe with a 1, 2, or 3 level setting). This would stop people posting "FIRST!!" and then getting into flamebaiting over it. It could stop some of the vile juvenile language use. (Seriously, I can string all those words together, but I can't show a nipple?) It's not a cure for poor comments, but it could help.

I don't know what iGoogle is. Seriously, I think I'm signed into it. Or maybe I signed out when I found out it was going.

I'm not quite sure where you're going with the MS thing. For years they've had "sweet spot" OSs. MSDOS 3.3 was good; MSDOS 6 was good. Win 3.11 for workgroups was good while the other win 3.1s were bad. Windows 98SE with plus pack (is that right?) was good, while all the others were okay. Windows 2000 was god tier. Windows ME was a crime.


1. There are numerous userscripts that let you select a default video quality. I use YousableTubeFix, which also adds video download links and a number of fine-grained interface tweaks (heck, you can even remove the comment section completely, mooting point 4!)

3. Agreed.

4. The anarchy of the comment sections are part of the fun of Youtube to me. I rarely read even a page of comments, but the top voted ones manage to make me chuckle surprisingly often. Filtering worthless comments like "FIRST" could improve things a bit, but then you're on the slippery slope towards Google's definition of worthless not matching your own. I don't mind a cesspool with a few hidden gems, because I never even see the cesspool in the first place.

The only thing that really bugs me about Youtube is Google trying to integrate Google+ and real names with it. The parts of Youtube I'm interested in are anonymous or pseudonymous and filled with (not necessarily "bad") stuff that people don't want tied to their real name. Stop bugging us to attach our real names to everything, Google, you're missing the appeal of your own service.


ya that real names thing is starting to piss me off. i get prompted for that way too often and it's way too hard to make that prompt go away. it seems designed to make you end up misclicking at some point trying to close it. and once you do every random possibly inappropriate video you ever liked or commented on will be tied to your real name? seriously?


> Google and YouTube are full of smart people. Some kind of "poor comment quality" filter should be easy to implement.

This touches on something I actually feel deserves a second look, if only from an academic or sociological perspective.

I have never quite understood why Youtube appears to be the single largest (or, at least most prominent) internet cesspool. Comments there are routinely among the most vile I've seen anywhere, and I've never been able to rationalize a suitable explanation.


Pretty much everyone who uses the internet, uses YouTube. But the ones who comment on YouTube represent the race to the bottom in terms of quality. The vast majority of internet users watch YouTube videos, but only the vile juvenile trolls and assholes bother to comment.

Install this and your experience will improve: http://www.tannr.com/herp-derp-youtube-comments/


My guess is that it has huge visibility and no moderation. There's almost no chance of your comment being deleted, no matter how vile, stupid or offensive it is, and it's in one of the biggest places of the internet. It's like doing graffiti on the White House, but you can get away with it.


Its like doing Grafitti in New York with 20 Cops and 3 sanitation workers taking care of the entire city. Of course you can get away with it, and there are plenty of people getting away with it.


Mean correlates with stupid. More stupid people watch TV than read. YouTube is TV.


It's a little bit more complicated than that. Every smart person I know browses Youtube. Youtube isn't like a TV network; most videos are only a few minutes long, so it's not inherently a timesuck the way that watching an hour long drama is.

The difference is that because Youtube has no moderation in its comments, smart people look at the comments and immediately decide that it's not worth their time. So, the only people who comment are the idiots who just like to see their words on the Internet.


Unfortunately, everyone browses YouTube. And there's a lot more not-smart people than smart people. (And teenagers have a lot more time on their hands than adults.)

I'd argue the root problem of YouTube comments is that they're not associated with any real community at all, in most cases. There's almost no benefit to posting a good comment, and no penalty to posting a stupid one.

Imagine how stupid the comments would be if everyone watching a TV show with you could post to the same wall.


This is definitely true. The smart people will be on a community like this, Reddit, or forum, post a link to the video, and discuss it within their own community. Only the idiots will post comments directly onto the video's page.


Really? Why in the world would they do that? Effectively zero of the smart people I know browse YouTube.

Most of my programmer friends listen to podcasts, but I honestly have no idea what smart people do with YouTube.



Wow. That article was awesome. The video was cool, too, although it didn't hold my interest like the story did.

The thing is, I don't doubt there's lots of interesting content on YouTube. I just can't conceive of browsing through it for fun. There's too much good stuff to read.


It's still a decently authoritative source for music.


Right, but every dumb person you know browses YouTube as well, and comment quality is pulled down by dumb people more easily than it can be pulled up by smart people.

Anything that requires actual reading already has a barrier to entry to the dumbest of the dumb.


I've found grim proof of this by observing people at shared computers in public libraries. It's not simply people watching a video now and then, but dozens of people spending their entire allotment of time watching YouTube as they would watch TV, amidst a sea of free books.


Proof of what? The post you're commenting on makes two claims: (1) mean correlates with stupid, (2) more stupid people watch TV than read. How does your library experience prove either of those things? I guess you meant (2), but how do you know how smart library users that watch videos on computers are and how smart library users that read are? Did you just apply some prejudice you have? I wouldn't regard that as proof. And as a person that greatly enjoys reading, watching TV and watching videos on YouTube, I'll probably be offended by any such prejudice. ;)


Quality of the videos, and like begets like?


> Default to 240: I want to be able to always watch videos in the worst resolution possible. I want the lightest bandwidth possible. I'd sometimes be happy with just the audio. It seems that I can't default to 240, no matter what I click.

Strange you mention this, because just minutes ago I changed a video to 240, and it prompted me to save my preference (the text was headlined with "Slow Connection?"). Maybe a new feature?


I have that option enabled, and it just defaults to 360p. As far as I can tell, that option just makes it not increase the resolution when you click full screen.


Go back later and see if it sticks :)


Maybe I don't go to the right videos, but I don't find Youtube comments that bad. They are mostly useless, sometimes a bit too brutally honest, but nothing that offensive. I find comments on mainstream news sites, and on sites using Disqus (for some reason I can't explain) much worse.

I have a lot of problems with their interface, starting from the latest useless homepage, but I've mostly given up. Nowadays, I stay logged out and get updates from my subscriptions by email (which is also uselessly tricky to activate).


Personally I'd hate a default to 240 feature. I don't care about bandwidth, I'm tired of clicking the HQ button.


I think the point is more "set a preferred default resolution" than "default to least BW".

I increasingly use youtube-dl for YouTube, Vimeo, and a few other sites. I prefer watching videos using something other than my browser, with uniform controls, the ability to speed up (especially talking head crap) and slow down (um, explosions and crashes) video. Preferences and commandline options can be used to specify preferred resolution, though HD can be really nice.


You can always try using this Chrome extension Auto HD For YouTube https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/empty-title/koiaok...


I think it was meant as a setting, which could live along side a default to HD setting.


Maps? Gmail? Youtube? All these are screwed up? Compared to whom? Driverless cars? Android? Streetview?

Damn I am tired of people unhappy with one product line using it to damn the entire company.


I dislike how they are playing fast and loose with my personal information and seem to be building their own "walled garden" on the internet by sabotaging open standards like RSS. But if they get everyone to ride in self-driving cars I will forgive them forever. I cannot exaggerate how excited I am about that, it will completely reshape American society.


How, in any way, did they "sabotage open standards like RSS"? That's a pretty broad statement to throw out there - that Google is somehow undermining the open standards process. I'd argue it's done better than other companies, including Apple and Microsoft, in supporting open standards.


One example would be Calendar. First they announce that they retire EAS for CalDav. A few month later they announce that CalDAV will be deprecated and only available for selected developers and other services should use the proprietary Google calendar API.

Which is kinda sad as Google could have really improved CalDAV with their move. Now it is back to "walled garden".


While I think that pattern sucks, I'm not sure that "not supporting" a standard constitutes "sabotaging" it. There's a big gap between "promoting" and "destroying/undermining", it's not either-or. Saying Google "sabotaged" a standard implies that they somehow made it unusable for everyone.


You think they haven't caused outrage in the Search space? The DuckDuckGo people would like to have a word with you.

As for Google+, aside from the ever-increasing pervasive integrations with other Google properties, I actually do like the product itself. They've made sense of choosing who you share individual items with (Facebook still hasn't done this), it combines the "friend" and "follower" models nicely (it's quite nice reading posts from people like Linus there), the photo albums are very nicely presented and high in quality, and Hangouts are unmatched IMO. If I knew anyone else who used it, I would participate there more...


Overall I am a big fan of Google and admire their ability to create products that are not only technically superior but fairly open for most useful definitions of that term.

But Google+ is a poison spreading through the rest of the business. Their ridiculous, disingenuous defense of their real name policy was the first thing they did that made me second guess my reliance on their services. Their agenda of shoving it down everyone's throat on the back of their other services seems sinister.


Don't be evil? Pfeh.

Google is a publicly traded company (Stock Ticker: NASDAQ: GOOG)

The demands of the shareholders and board of directors outweighs the expectations of Google's users and business partners.


The "Don't be evil" motto was created out of the fact that at the time, other search engines were taking money to show ads higher on the page in search results, without being marked. The methodology is essentially the same as being transparent in how they've executed on that. They're a business, they'll do what's healthy for that business to do. At the same time, however, they're more open and transparent than most Internet companies with what they're doing with data and what they hope to achieve.

I'm tired of people denouncing Google+ as some sort of crazed attempt at creating a Facebook competitor, when Google repeatedly has to clarify that it is simply Google's social fabric. Stream is a competitor to newsfeed, but +1s are displayed in search results (Search Plus Your World), and other recommendation data is spread about Google too. It's primary goal creates a unified identity across all Google services.

If Google were truly being "evil," they'd automatically turn on Google+ for everybody and provide no opt out or no way to leave. They haven't. You can still "downgrade" and remove Google+.


That has not stopped Apple.

Going public does not mean you abandon the ideals your company was founded on.


killed all my Google accounts. Can't stand G+ at least with FB most of the people who have accounts wanted the account. G+ most people don't even want the stupid thing.


I guess it won't be long now before we start coming up with the "Evil Empire" and "Borg" comparisons for Google. No tech monopoly seems to be immune...


And please, PLEASE, reinvent that horrid thing called Google+. Even the name sucks.

How about Doubleplusgoogle? Or maybe MeinGoogle?


Google's search has changed. At one point the searches you and I perform would have returned the same results. Now, even without being logged it, we get differing results. This can be both good and bad depending on your view but it certainly has changed.


>The only thing left of Google that they haven't managed to screw up or cause outrage over is search.

Really? They're on the verge of it. The way they load search results as their auto-complete hones in, breaks browser history.


Google, has no obligation to support Reader. What they did to the RSS market was shady, indeed, but it is well within their rights and they did not do anything that would infringe on the rights of developers or users the way Apple does. Nobody has a right to make a profitable RSS service, and nobody can tell them they have to support RSS in place of their social network of choice

Apple on the otherhand enforces a single marketplace on their operating system today. Microsoft has mostly learned from their past mistakes and people watch their every move and jump on them if any technology they use can be used to subvert freedom of developers or users down the line.

I don't have any dog in this race, but I don't understand why Apple continues to get a free pass to implement market control mascaraing in the name of clean interfaces with comforting whitespace and unified design, especially when it is used regularly to usurp users' and developers' rights.

This article is nothing but platitudes and entitlement. Somehow people got in their minds that they have a right to Google Search and can demand features and support from them.. I have no idea how this idea came about, but it seems that the gist of it is that we've come to expect everything for free from Google and that's just how it should always be.


I understand where you're coming from, but I don't think any criticism of Google automatically translates into tacit support of Apple. They [Apple] certainly have their warts, but this isn't about them at all.

For my part, I share many of the frustrations voiced here. I can't stand Google's persistence in ensuring I'm constantly logged in, or Chrome's ever helpful reminder that I should sync it with my Google account.

The business case is obvious, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. In fact, I dislike it enough to no longer use Chrome as my default browser and have moved away from all of their services with the exception of Gmail.

I don't take my privacy as seriously as some here, but it's easily gotten to the point that I no longer feel comfortable trusting Google with the entirety of my online experience. For what it's worth, my bar [for not-trusting-companies] is set relatively high, and Google has absolutely begun clearing it, unfortunately.


It is support for Apple with the OP casually mentions Apple as being somehow better than Microsoft today then vaguely points to Windows 8 as if there were anything especially wrong with it from a moral point of view. IMHO, My post is more on topic than the OPs because I actually address the Google situation where the OP is just shallow insinuation and emotional appeal directed at Google.

I have yet to see any proof that Google has done anything shady with the information they collect from users that isn't mandated by law, while that is not true of Apple. That's probably the reason that people continue to trust them with their data while people trust Apple simply because it is trendy or easy.


>> Google, has no obligation to support Reader. What they did to the RSS market was shady, indeed, but it is well within their rights

And people complaining are well within their rights, if you want to go that route.

>> Apple on the otherhand enforces a single marketplace on their operating system today.

Apple doesn't hold a monopoly share, Microsoft does. You should see what we say /said about, and what governments did to Microsoft. Google also holds almost a monopoly share on search, maps, video etc (largely because Google's own stuff was promoted on Search, while drowning competitors).


Don't be evil? Pfeh. The only thing left of Google that they haven't managed to screw up or cause outrage over is search. The only thing they can't afford to change, for fear people will stop using it.

Search is gone too, virtually all ads: http://cdn.ghacks.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/google-sear... http://www.click-conversion.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/g...


Your two examples are "get credit card" and "Nike shoes on sale"? Try "geomorphology" or "big o notation" or anything not consumer related. Quite frankly if I searched for "Nike shoes on sale" then those ads are exactly what I'd want to see.


in related news....my point was not that they are ads but that ads are probably 90% of the page. To the unsuspecting user, those seem like unbiased results (not as ads) and to everyone they start the "Google tax" price increase for everyone.

Try "geomorphology" or "big o notation" Go and buy those keywords and see what happens. Google posts ad for bought keywords and that usually includes every commercial word. If the defense is that not sure if you're helping them.


You guys in this thread whining about google:

It isn't google that has changed, it is the whole world which has changed.

Look at the things that some of you champion; the iPhone, the iPad...anything running iOS, anything made by apple computer, the company that is pushing the hardest against openness on the internet. Oh, you want some basic browser functionality like uploading files? Spend time learning objective C, writing an app, submitting it to us (can't let anything edgy get through! Don't use any APIs we don't like!) and then selling it in our closed off app store so that people stay in our warm walled in garden of shiny plastic.

You talk about "growth hackers" or "hustlers" as if these people are anything but parasites on our creative culture.

Yeah, google does some shitty things. Google+ is obnoxious. Some of the stuff happening with youtube is obnoxious, but google remains as one of the coolest companies in the world, still funding the coolest things in the world just because they can.

If a little bit of annoying google+ talk is the price that humanity has to pay for things like google driverless cars, google glass, and google fiber FINALLY holding bandwidth providers to task on bringing fiber to the curb, then GOOD.

I will continue to take that deal. The people whining about google+ will too.

Oh hey! You know we could just give it all back.

Back goes chrome! Remember when firefox leaked memory like a sieve but we all STILL ran it because there wasn't a viable alternative (unless you were double super extra hip and ran Opera)

Back goes android! Enjoy choosing between Apples complete joke of a mobile operating system and RIM, or palm.

Back goes google glass! Maybe Microsoft will sink the money required into developing a viable headmounted display.

Back goes google cars! Oh! Maybe Mercedes will license some garbage developed by a defense contractor in the 90s and sell it on their most expensive luxury cars.

Reading this thread reads like I'm reading the comments of a bunch of spoiled children.

If you seriously hate google+ this much, then good! Use all of these wonderful, world changing tools we have around us and "hustle" and "growth hack" your way into a brand new web browser and suite of free mail, spam filtering, document storage, and search.

I look forward to see it!


I really agree with you, except for one minor point: You are still thinking of google as if it's the "old google". Definitely before Google+ and probably even before the adwords division started calling all the shots.

That's when google could have been called "one of the coolest companies in the world". Now they are heavily invested in building their own walled garden. Maybe it's not even anyone being "evil", and it's just an emergent behaviour. That doesn't change the fact that google is a giant surveillance machine. Argue that it's benign or that you trust them, but that's still what it is. A non-evil system of ubiquitous surveillance is an oxymoron.

I admit I'm excited by google cars and google glass, but I worry I won't end up being able to use them. Is there any chance they won't report on everything you see and do to google servers to be sold to/subpoenaed by whoever wants it?


Something that has happened to me over the past month that I never thought would happen - I'm actively looking to use Bing and DuckDuckGo over Google.

Bing, something I laughed at just a few months ago.

Google's results are starting to waver and the Google+ requirement is a cancer eating their products from the inside.


Did you ever try the google vs bing comparison site? (http://www.bingiton.com/). I tried it and google won 5-0, it wasn't even close!

But I agree that google is not what it used to be. They have a weird hunger for our data. But it's not just them, all web companies have become very aggressive in getting our data, it feels like we're being watched the whole time. It's exactly the opposite of what the internet was early on, it's almost like a change in the philosophy of the web. And not for the better.

It seems like issues that famous people have, that they lose privacy at the price of fame, that whatever they do is public, forever. We all lost privacy and we didn't even get fame!


Wow, thanks for pointing that site out. I was actually hoping to see an improvement in Bing, but I picked Google 4 out of 5 times (doing more than just programming related searches, too)


I like to imagine someday Microsoft is going to come out and say the results which they said Google won Bing won and vice versa. This is the only thing that makes sense given Microsoft's marketing speak on that site (suggesting Bing wins in the majority of cases) as I've never known someone to actually have Bing come out on top.


When I came up with my own search terms, Google won, 4 to 1. When I selected from the set they gave me (the list below the box to type in a manual query), Bing honestly won every single round. That's actually how they ran the experiment: they gave each person a set of search terms chosen from the Google Zeitgeist to select from. If you are curious to learn more about the experiment, Microsoft has a not-terribly-in-depth article covering the setup (there may be something more in-depth somewhere, but this is what Bing forwarded me to and it at least seems to directly answer your question).

http://www.bing.com/blogs/site_blogs/b/search/archive/2013/0...

Frankly, though, the reason that I believe Bing kept winning for me is that for these really popular core queries, the results were very similar: Bing simply selected more useful text snippets from news articles (letting me avoid clicking results) and weirdly even had better page titles, so it made what was overall the same results more pleasant to use. When I selected my own queries, though, the fact that Google continues to (and will forever) have a larger selection of the Internet available to its search engine became the deciding factor, as it would surface a few interesting things that Bing wouldn't catch.

What I thereby obtain from Bing it On! is not that I want to switch from Google, but that Google has too much power at this point: they are probably forever going to get my search queries simply because they figured out how to index the web extensively and efficiently before "how to build scalable systems" became more general knowledge (although some of that is actually due to Google, so there's this part of me that is saying "shut up and be grateful"), but now that they have this lead there's no real way to kick them down, even if someone else has managed to use the data they have more effectively.


Ah, thanks for the insight and the link.


I did when it first came out, and Google won...but not now.


>Google's results are starting to waver

I'll be honest I don't know for sure, but I highly doubt Google would intentionally hurt themselves by ruining their search results. Also,

>Google+ requirement is a cancer eating their products from the inside.

I do agree it's B.S. but using 4 different computers on a regular basis and being a student I find it more useful to use their products than not. Especially, the syncing options so basically my drive/chrome holds everything between all my computers. This would be impossible without having some way to link them (via email say, well they use Google+ to try and make more money like every company NEEDS to do to survive). Therefore I say I am alright with their changes because Bing and DuckDuckGo have significantly reduced capacities (to the point of usability is fair at best)


> I highly doubt Google would intentionally hurt themselves by ruining their search results.

Arguably bubbling is ruining the search results. Sometimes such a thing can be advantageous but I do go to https://startpage.com/do/search sometimes to break out and it can be quite productive when trying to find a new result. The only difference is that one is tracking me and bubbling results and the other is not.

Since Google has recorded my IP, I have a hard time breaking the bubble when using Google from at home, whether I am logged in or not. I know this be cause I once decided to set my locale on Google to Spanish. Now I have cleared my cookies, etc. and I am not logged in but it assumes from -- I can only imagine -- my static IP that I want all my search results in Spanish.


> I'll be honest I don't know for sure, but I highly doubt Google would intentionally hurt themselves by ruining their search results. Also,

I think it's more likely they have competing objectives and they can easily allow their search result quality to slip in order to have large gains in other areas because, honestly, they have a complete monopoly on search.

The days of competing on search result quality are long gone.


Google+ is a blight. I have multiple Google Accounts (I don't need my real name attached to my main gmail account!) and it's utter horror trying to use Google products.

You either give up on having an anonymous email because they WILL FORCE YOUR real name to be attached to your email, or you give up on Google integration features because you simply CANNOT use Google features without a real name anymore.

Trying to switch between my "public Google account" for functionality and my "private Google account" for privacy is almost impossible when you consider how broadly Google integrates the features. It's simply unteneable, completely. Google wants my privacy gone, and is denying me access to their services until I agree to give it up entirely.

Very, very frustrating for users who have more than one account.


I honestly think that I'll eventually leave google once they start REQUIRING me google+, which it seems very likely looking at the pace they've been kind of blackmailing gmail users into becoming g+ users. They didn't do the Play store thing to "solve" the spammer issue (seriously? Is anyone really believing that sorry explanation?). What I've found personally is that zoho offers some very good free products. Their email client doesn't suck, I haven't used them much but it's one of the best options out there (I started to "field" google alternatives when they did the Play store thing because it was so out of line and proved the extent of their data hungry ways).


I tried to create multiple YouTube channels for uploading different types of videos since I didn't want them all bundled in one channel. That now requires making multiple Google accounts. It's not impossible but it's highly discouraged, and they require registering each one with a phone number.


What integration features are you giving up because of not having a Google+ account? It sounds like you want Google+ to _not_ be integrated, and yet you highly value the fact that other services are integrated. In the end, we can't have it both ways.


Reply to myself: If you're an Android dev, sorry I've never rated your apps, left comments or gotten ahold of you!

The Play Store REQUIRES a fully activated real-name Google+ Account to rate apps and leave feedback, so I've been wholly unable to communicate with the dozens and dozens of apps that request feedback.

Sorry friends. Blame Google!


The question is - has this policy reduced the number of spammy, irrelevant or ignorant comments on the Play store. It used to be several notches below the quality of Youtube comments.


The question is, does the policy prevent highly trained testing staff who are willing to donate their time to developers for free from helping developers (but for their own reasons wish to remain anonymous).

It's a trade off, and real name policies don't only exclude negative posters.

(To expand: I tested someone's js project on reddit just yesterday, offering my platform, multiple browsers, a decent writeup, images/screenshots etc. But my reddit account is fully anonymous. If my real name was required, s/he never would have gotten that free help)


Hmn. This is a genuine problem. And you can support the real-names-for-public-reviews-to-avoid-spam policy (I'm mildly against, myself), while still believing this is a genuine problem.

Do the developers give you no alternate avenues for communication? No email contact or anything?


whats wrong with society where we don't want to tell someone constructive criticism or positive feedback like it was a face to face conversation except online ?


What's wrong with receiving valuable information without being able to ascertain who sent it to you?


Information you can't trust because the source is suspect is significantly less valuable. See: spamming on Yelp and Amazon reviews.


How much more can you trust a profile pic and a real-ish name than "someguy443"?


A hell of a lot more, when it's someone you know personally. That's why they want the Google+ info - so they can show you what people you know thought of something.


Really A lot more?

Lets say you wrote a cool android app, but there is a little bug in it that is triggered by a phone you don't own or weren't able to test, I have that phone. I go to contact you, which of the following reports do you trust more -

From: mhurron [at] saminds.com From: Google+ Roman Fox

Now be honest, even though this exact setup probably smells off. Given receiving a email from the above or from the above Google+ account, are you going to trust one or dismiss one simply on the name of the account?


you're just detracting from the original question. You're absolutely right that feedback and information can be given without being able to ascertain who its sent from, but still why aren't people able to be civil and provide feedback with their identities known.


> why aren't people able to be civil and provide feedback with their identities known?

I find this quite funny with you being the anonymous guy and me being out there in the open with my identity.

Maybe you should answer your own question?


I do give feedback and provide criticism on the Play and Amazon store. When a site asks for a username, I pick a username. If the site asks for a real name I'll give that as well. If HN wanted real names it should have asked.


I don't know if this is normal? I followed the tutorial on fixtracking.com and installed DuckDuckGo plug-in for Firefox, and later i realized by analyzing http traffic that everything i type in address bar is sent to DuckDuckGo, even it is not selected as a default search engine. I wouldn't trust DuckDuckGo


There is nothing malicious going on there. It does that so you can get instant answers where there would normally be auto-completion. This is covered very nicely in a paragraph in the addon's description, and can very obviously be disabled in the addon's preferences.


If you check the chrome page on fixtracking.com (prepared by DuckDuckGo), it is asking you to uncheck "Use a prediction service to help complete searches and URLs typed in the address bar", so what is the point here?It is enabled by default.


Not sure what you mean there -- these are two completely different things. That disables using a service (Google or Bing) to autocomplete. It does not affect what extensions like the DuckDuckGo one do.


It's quite surprising to me how persistent is the "don't be evil" brand [1] announced more than a decade ago. Since those lean, startup days, Google has evolved into a grand corporate machine with vastly different set of goals and values.

It is a centuries old cycle: once young and free spirited goes corrupt and rotten on it's way to a bigger market share.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_be_evil


Google glass and cars are the vestiges of the old Google. The travesty is that they are subservient to G+.


Is there any evidence to back this up? In terms of consumer products, Google Now is also pretty awesome, and has no interaction with G+ that I've seen.


Google Glass is new Google. It's a walled garden that requires a Google server to function. It's more of a greenhouse, really...


  > Look at the things that some of you champion; the 
  > iPhone, the iPad...anything running iOS, anything 
  > made by apple computer, the company that is pushing 
  > hardest against openness on the internet.
 
What a bunch of nonsense. Even the first iPhone had a browser which supported more of HTML5/CSS3 than desktop browsers at the time. It was not Google, it was Apple who brought canvas, css transforms, css animations to WebKit.

  > Oh, you want some basic browser functionality like
  > uploading files? Spend time learning objective C, 
Or spend some time learning that Safar on iOS 6 supports file input.

  > submitting it to us (can't let anything edgy get
  > through! Don't use any APIs we don't like!)
How about 60 000 apps ditched by Google?

  > shiny plastic.
It's glass and aluminium. And for some reason more people use web on iOS devices than on that oh-so-open and pro-web Android. Seriously, how long ago did stock Android browser stop to suck?


>Even the first iPhone had a browser which supported more of HTML5/CSS3 than desktop browsers at the time.

Except for the feature that most people mainly use plugins for: audio/video-playback. Only supporting proprietary codecs can hardly be considered open web support.

>How about 60 000 apps ditched by Google?

I don't think you can compare a curated marketplace with a walled garden. There is a difference between jailbreaking and tapping a checkbox to allow third party apps.

All that said I can't agree with the first comment either. I used to be a fanboy of Google but I'm having a harder and harder time justifying it with some of their recent moves.


Apple's early support for HTML5 audio/video tags is worlds better than the contemporary alternative. It seems plausible to me that without Apple's refusal to support Flash the audio and video tags would never have taken off.

Isn't the open video codec problem still unresolved?


Your recent comment on Apple pulling AppGratis from the App Store - "Go and innovate on Android, what's the problem. Or make your own platform and innovate there. Or use HTML5. What makes me sad is constant whining about stuff like this." - doesn't exactly reconcile with your disputing the OPs point regarding Apple and openness or taking objection to OPs stance on guys whining about Google. That is, unless your first retort had nothing at all to do with the OPs point about openness.


Openness and innovation are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to both champion standards and have a walled garden.


> Or spend some time learning that Safar on iOS 6 supports file input.

I've only been able to upload images.


There is nothing Google Glass does that my smartphone already can't.

And how is Apple waging war against openness? WebKit is open-source. They're pushing HTML5 against Flash (open vs proprietary). Darwin (OS X without Quartz and DPS) is open source. A few of the apps included with OS X are open-source.

Google cars? Driverless car research has been going on for years, both before and alongside Google.

Look, I'm not badmouthing their accomplishments. All I'm saying is that they're just not the company they used to be.


> And how is Apple waging war against openness?

Lawsuits against competitors kicking their ass using open platforms? That and making their every single a move a walled garden you have to use with no other options.

I see you mention WebKit as an open alibi, but that's a poor example. It was forked from an open project and thus they were forced to leave it open. These days though it's not even being maintained in a way which suits the definition of open in any useful way.

Holding the key to the source and at the same time having a committing policy which says its "OK" to break it on all platforms not yours with others needing your permission to fix things doesn't really paint a nice picture of you as a advocate of openness.


> That and making their every single a move a walled garden you have to use with no other options.

OSX runs whatever you want it to. If you are referring to code-signing, keep in mind that Android requires you to explicitly allow unsigned apps as well.


> And how is Apple waging war against openness?

This does not need to be an either / or proposition.

_Both_ Apple and Google are doing "evil", in their own way. Along with a bunch of cool stuff, too.


Exactly. Apple is just worse.


  > There is nothing Google Glass does that my smartphone already can't.
Sure there is. Your smartphone can't make you automatically resemble a rejected character design from Johnny Mnemonic!


> There is nothing Google Glass does that my smartphone already can't.

Did the iPad have features the iPhone didn't? It seems to be doing ok for being a different form factor for iOS. There may be arguments for the usefulness of Glass but I don't think this is it.


Did the iPad have features the iPhone didn't?

More screen real-estate, but then again, it's like glass. It doesn't do anything my smartphone can't, except give me more room for bigger apps.


> There is nothing Google Glass does that my smartphone already can't.

Can you wear your smartphone on your face?


HTML5 is not standard, certainly not open. Everyone abandoned WebKit for some unknown reason having to do with Apple. Please list these OSS Apps, I would love to know since Google and Wikpedia say nothing like that.


>HTML5 is not standard, certainly not open

What, because some vendors take liberty with codec choices? HTML5, while not officially ratified as an RFC, has an agreed-upon standard version, and the implementations of it are far more standardized than HTML4 ever was. As for openness, it's a markup language, there's nothing that CANT be open about it. The only possible thing about html5 that isn't open is the popular choice of video codec, h264, in which case: whoop de doo.


Thanks for making my point for me.



TextEdit and Chess are two.


And even more important - CUPS.


Yes, but they didn't create CUPS. Keeping it open source might have been a conditions of the purchase (citation needed :)


Perhaps you're right, I don't know, but for me it's irrelevant. Someone wanted examples of OSS from Apple, and in my opinion it's the most important one when I was a Linux User. I was not trying to defend Apple. I think they deserve a lot of criticism they receive, but that they also deserve some credit. This is also true for most (if not all) other firms that are often discussed here. Just wanted to highlight that rarely are things black or white, but that we rather deal with a lot of different shades of grey.



I don't know if it's crazy, but I wouldn't say that site is the answer. Yes, it has the open source word all over it, but have you spent two minutes to look at the content? Most of the "relevant" stuff is just to comply with third party OSS licenses (read: non APSL projects).

Although not exactly the same, it looks to me more or less like this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=2...

OSS is about community not just a website to release files (aka "code dump"). If you had pointed to http://www.webkit.org/ or http://www.cups.org/ ; well, that would be different.

EDIT: typos


Maybe not CUPS.

From http://www.cups.org/documentation.php/license.html

"CUPSTM is provided under the GNU General Public License ("GPL") and GNU Library General Public License ("LGPL"), Version 2, with exceptions for Apple operating systems and the OpenSSL toolkit."

I wonder why the OpenSSL toolkit needs an exemption.


OpenSSL's license imposes additional restrictions which are not compatible with the GPL. Thus, if you release code under the GPL but want to allow people to link it with OpenSSL, you need to provide an exception.

There's an article covering the topic with much more nuance at https://lwn.net/Articles/428111/


Thanks, I had originally thought it may have been some residual effect of the export embargo on crypto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_of_cryptography_in_the_U...;

I'm going to have to do some more reading on this. I was particularly interested in the quote "the problem here is actually a former OpenSSL hacker who has no interest (and, in fact, a positive interest against) in changing the OpenSSL licensing". Sounds intriguing!


CUPS is developed by Apple and released as open source using the GPL (in fact, to contribute code you must sign a contributor agreement with Apple: http://www.cups.org/articles.php?L186+T+Q).

I'm not sure if I understand your comment.


From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CUPS#History

"Michael Sweet, who owned Easy Software Products, started developing CUPS in 1997. The first public betas appeared in 1999.[3] The original design of CUPS used the LPD protocol, but due to limitations in LPD and vendor incompatibilities, the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) was chosen instead. CUPS was quickly adopted as the default printing system for several Linux distributions, including Red Hat Linux.[citation needed] In March 2002, Apple Inc. adopted CUPS as the printing system for Mac OS X 10.2.[4] In February 2007, Apple Inc. hired chief developer Michael Sweet and purchased the CUPS source code"

CUPS is currently chiefly developed by Apple but, unlike many other commercially "owned" open-source projects, it has a license clause that exempts them from the license that applies to you and I.

I'm sure there are many other examples of this, I was originally pointing out that the licensing terms for WebKit and CUPS are not really that similar from Apple's perspective. From our perspective, yes, both GPL (well LGPL for WebKit)


You're thinking free software. Open source does not mean free. But you're right, open source without being free is pretty bad, as is locking your devices on your software and your own only, even for the purpose of making the experience "perfect".


Oh come on, even Microsoft has their "open source" website: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/openness/default.aspx

This is marketing bullshit directed at developers angry at all their surveillance, their walled gardens, their "you can't replace our OS" and so on.


You do realize that Apple's Open Source site has been around prior to "all their surveillance, their walled gardens?" Or are you trying to claim that Apple was creating PR for the eventual iPhone fallout back in 2001/2002?


http://www.opensource.apple.com/release/developer-tools-45/

This means that I can build the developer tools in, say, ubuntu, and/or that I can cross-compile to target iOS?



> Apples complete joke of a mobile operating system

How could you possibly think iOS is a "complete joke".. without being a raging GooGoo fanboy, that is?


There should be an equivalent of Godwin's law for the word fanboy and its derivatives. When I see it I immediately know rational conversation is over.


Then actually look up Godwin's law. It says something about the probability of a Nazi comparison occuring, but nothing about that loosing the argument or ending the conversation. And that's just as well, because why would it be otherwise? Because Godwin said so? What, is he Adolf Hitler or something?


The corollary to Godwin's law is that the first person to bring up the Nazis automatically loses the argument.


We need a new law that states whoever brings up Godwin's Law without Nazis being mentioned also loses the argument.


A law and a corollary are still two distinct things. What people like to claim Godwin's law says, it doesn't actually. And that one is just one of many corollaries (not "the corollary") many random people made up because they could, and which I reject because they have no basis in valid reasoning. After all, the only argument here is "someone said that". Why do people who believe nonsense on someone elses say-so object to Nazi comparisons? Well, well ^^


"The Nazis and the Soviets both used intimidation tactics to further their political power". Ohhh...it seems I have lost the argument. Horrible pity, really.


A fanboy is a fanboy. There's nothing wrong with pointing one out. Just be glad I didn't spell it "fanboi".


The post you replied to (with the "GooGoo Fanboy" term) was overly vociferous.

But that's when it's most important to avoid words like 'fanboy' because otherwise discussion dies. People probably thought you had a good point, but you lose that when you use words like 'googoo fanboy'. And that'll do nothing to sway the person you're replying to. If anything it'll just entrench them even more.


I didn't really think so. I thought GooGoo Fanboy was apt satire myself. The hyperbole of the original poster clearly showed that he/she was already very entrenched anyway.

And considering it's possible that debating someone's strongly held points with logical counter points will only irrationally strengthen the person's original beliefs anyway, I think humor was appropriate:

http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/10/1...


Even if that's true, there are still many other HN readers watching the conversation who may be more open to logical arguments from either side.

So I think it's still "worth it" to respond in a meaningful way, even though you may not convince the original poster.


> But that's when it's most important to avoid words like 'fanboy' because otherwise discussion dies.

Any discussion with a raging fanboy is dead to begin with. He will reject anything that goes against his rose-tinted view of Google. Reason and logic won't reach him, and that's why it's alright to just call him a fanboy and move on, even though that's pointless too, of course.

In this case, I just wanted to point out the absurdity of calling iOS a "complete joke".

> And that'll do nothing to sway the person you're replying to. If anything it'll just entrench them even more.

That's alright. He's already plenty entrenched. He'll change his views when he has to.


How can you call that overly vociferous without thinking the same thing about "Apple's joke of an operating system"?


I was calling 'apple's joke of an OS' overly vociferous, not 'googoo fanboy'.


It adds to the noise, so, yes, there is something wrong with pointing it out.


Hello. I don't have any strong pro-Google feelings. I used to really like Apple.

iOS is only good for people that want something which works and which they don't need to spend any effort on maintaining. It is a complete joke for people that want a powerful mobile computing device.

I use an iPhone now but my next phone will be an Android. To be honest I'll probably continue to buy iPod Touches as long as they can be jailbroken, but that's the only way I can make iOS into a platform that I'm willing to use.

The last significant innovation in iOS was Notification Center. Android already had that, along with widgets, custom lock screens, custom keyboards...


> iOS is only good for people that want something which works

I believe that already disqualifies it from being a "complete joke", and the definition of a "powerful mobile computing device" might involve something else besides "being able to install whatever software you want to".


I spent two hours with my wife's iPhone trying to figure out which app was burning all her juice. On my android it takes just a few seconds since I can run a task manager that actually reports CPU utilization. From what I can tell, that is completely forbidden on iOS. Still, her phone does not "just work".


Mine seems to. Shrug There's always a counter-anecdote somewhere, I guess.

Back when the iPhone 4 was new, my friend had some kind of HTC Android, and he would beam about how he could run a tool that would help him micromanage battery power so that he could shut off this app versus that app (which he had to do quite often). I simply never had to. As Anandtech can back up, the iPhone 4 had amazing battery life compared to its contemporaries. Though more anecdotal evidence seems to show that newer iOS devices consume more power.

Anyway, for reference, Settings > Privacy > Location Services. You can see what is actively using GPS. As part of its low-power design efforts, other than music, there really isn't much else that the OS will allow to run in the background. All other closed apps are frozen in a saved state. Also, Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services, at the bottom, Status Bar Icon.


Yes iOS is for people who want to do something on their devices, android is for people who want to do something to their devices. Like a car owner who knows how to drive, but is not a mechanic and car owner who is a mechanic and spends days in the garage tweaking the engine instead of driving. Guess which one drives more. Maybe that explains disparity between the market share and web usage stats for iOS and Android.


The fact you can customize Android doesn't mean that you have to. The default Nexus OS is fine right out of the box, and generally reviewed as comparable to iOS. Just because you have the option to work on your car doesn't mean you have to.


To me, the vocal, diehard android fan is akin to the Fast and the Furious crowd so proud that they can modify their cheaper Hondas/Scions/Dodges to be as [insert adjective of choice] as a more expensive German luxury car. When really, nobody else cares. Neither the people who want a cheap reliable car nor the people in the luxury segment.

Personally, I drive a Honda. I like it. I work on it, and I could modify it, but as I get older and busier, I'm looking forward to getting something nicer that just works.


I will have to rethink my life plans of outfitting a Tesla Sports car with functioning Tesla Coils. Noone outside of me will care about it, and if it's not external respect, it ain't no respect at all. Having some fun (with dangerously high voltages)? Don't make me laugh.

I mean yes, if you don't enjoy the smell of coronal discharge and smoldering tank capacitors (They're both toxic smells by the way), and you just build one for show, you're not going to win anything. But if you're absolutely obsessed with modding/hacking/knitting/whatever, you don't care about winning anything, just the process of doing, as self-help-book-like that might sound.


>and if it's not external respect, it ain't no respect at all.

To be clear, that's your claim, not mine. Ultimately, people do what they like to do.

>Noone outside of me will care about it

This I could agree with, but sure, there'll be like-minded folks that will be interested. However, that's different from being smug and superior about your hobby.


>and if it's not external respect, it ain't no respect at all.

Yeah, but it was also sarcastic. I used to add //sarcasm tags, but they make you sound conceited.

>However, that's different from being smug and superior about your hobby.

I will be as smug and superior about my hobby as I want to //sarcasm.

But no, in all seriousness, having to act smug and superior about your hobby means you are trying to use it to garner social recognition/a feeling of superiority which you think will make you happy, which means your hobby doesn't allready intrinsically do that for you. An exception to that are hobbies intrinsically made for showing off, like golf or trophy wives.

///Last sentence is humorous and therfore not to be consumed straight out of the bottle. Dilute with 5cl literary figure appreciation for each cl, and consume within 3 days of opening.


What garbage. People buy phones to use them, period. Apple consumers are not special and more productive than other consumers.


Installing a new Android home launcher, setting up llama, etc on Android is NOTHING like trying to work through an automanual and make changes to your car. This analogy is utterly wrong..


I think you mean "people with mechanical aptitude" because the mechanics I know work on their own cars alot less than the car enthusiasts I know. And they certainly enjoy driving the cars they put so much time into a heck of alot more than the people who bring it into a mechanic to fix everything.


Perhaps the GP owns a windows phone :)


> If a little bit of annoying google+ talk is the price that humanity has to pay for things like google driverless cars, google glass, and google fiber FINALLY holding bandwidth providers to task on bringing fiber to the curb, then GOOD.

Driverless cars and Internet fiber to the curb aren't Google inventions.


That's a silly argument; you don't have to be the first to do something to be the first to make a difference with it. See: the computer GUI, Google's search engine, Apple's iPod, Apple's iPhone, etc.

Google Fiber is certainly a big deal at 3-8x as fast as the fastest generally available consumer connection. Comcast only goes up to 150-300mbps in their fastest markets, for much more than the $70/month Google Fiber costs.


Nor HMDs. I want all three of these things to become mature, affordable products. I don't really want any of them from an advertising company.


Just for info. The research team at my university on driverless cars.

http://vislab.it/

From Parma (Italy) to Shangai(China), 15000 kilometers

report http://vislab.it/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/21-VisLab-VIAC-d...

Without hype and before Google.


This guy is right. A lot of it has to do with the demise of the PC too. You can't build a Napster on underpowered and severely restrictive phones and tablets, so the net is increasingly becoming the new cable TV.

However, by design, the internet is not destined to be like that, and it will not be. The past few years may have been an aberration.


Well, the phones and tablets get less underpowered and restrictive each day.

Current phones are way more powerfull than PCs were when Napster was launched. They could easily run something like it today. As they are also powerfull enough to decide what to do with meta tags (or the more modern semantic ones) and to keep several dictionaries of data in place. They just don't do that for marketing reasons.

I also think that things CAN change, but I doubt that change is that inevitable as you say.


How is it that they get less restrictive each day?


"Oh hey! You know we could just give it all back."

Because I don't like part of a company, I have to avoid using any other part of that company? Or if I don't, I can't complain about the part of the company I don't like? I don't subscribe to such black and white thinking.


How is Apple's iOS a "complete joke of a mobile operating system" when it was so revolutionary and years ahead of its time in 2007? We're used to it now, but it really seemed like magic at the time.


This is a narrow sighted viewpoint.

Google is a corporation that wants to win. Most corporations are the same. The fact that they are looking out for their own interests, doesn't mean we shouldn't look out for our own.


Quite the rose-tinted glasses you got on there. Relax. Besides, I'm not sure which is worse: spoiled children or slightly delusional children. Remember when Android didn't have Chrome? Or any version prior to ICS really. But whatever floats your boat.


Just somehow when my Galaxy S2 updated to ICS it became noticeably worse. Maybe just a bit more responsive. And what's wrong with Opera Mobile excapt slightly wrong rendering on some sites?

Btw, looking for a new smartphone and still the best option seems to be the same SGS2 without upgrade to ICS.


Few things are truly all good or all bad. Google can do shitty things, be imperfect, and it doesn't mean they still aren't a good company. But we should still be allowed to discuss things they do wrong without being called "spoiled children".


Is there an article detailing where Mercedes/others are getting their self-driving technology from? I'm just curious; the timing does seem oddly quick, and they sure sound optimistic.


I agree with everything you are saying. If it wasn't for Google+ affecting search results, I wouldn't bother. But Google+ with the tied-in votes and google+ authorship data means websites have to sign up for a proprietary social network. Switch the votes to an open system(or do away with it) and use microdata alone for authorship.

Keep search clean and don't indulge in anti-competitive behaviour.


Lol and your post reads like a google PR post.


I'd love to read a PR piece mentioning "yeah, google does some shitty things. Google+ is obnoxious. Some of the stuff happening with youtube is obnoxious".


GDF out in full force, how is this joke of a comment that doesn't even understand the most basic of things like where webkit came from by the top of the list.



Your absolutely right on all accounts but you could have presented your argument in a less aggressive manner, despite the rampant fanboy-ism, transparently willful ignorance and fellatious marketing.


He is wrong on many accounts.


i'm sure he is. you however have named 0. makes you the biggest failure of all


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