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I worked in Ads for a year when I started here. I understand the business model of my company quite well :-)

And I still consider what Google provides (search, gmail) "free". Free as in free beer- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratis_versus_libre

I'm certainly not "giving my time away for free": to be clear, I'm a salaried worker, and I choose to work the hours I do. Further, to be clear: Google gives me immense resources to carry out life-saving scientific research, the intellectual property of which belongs to scientists (and the general public), not Google.

> And I still consider what Google provides (search, gmail) "free"

And you would join a large number of people who have recently started using that word to mean "can cost any amount in anything of value as long as it's not currency". So sure, it's "free" in that way and still not free in the definition of the term that's actually useful to people. Boring semantic argument, let's drop it.

As to the rest, this is a much better way of phrasing it than in terms of Google's "generosity", which is what I was pointing out as flawed.

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