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Seems like Elgan is saying Google is like a cable company and their goal of organizing the world's information is analogous to a cable company's marriage of content & carriage and bundling services to follow the "dumb pipe" metaphor all the way through.

It's implied that Google is doing this organization for us not because there's room for innovation and improvement, but because they simply want to insert themselves into our lives anyway they can.

I think it's more likely that Google doesn't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, they want make a better bath tub. If that reinforces their role as middle man, fine, but it isn't like Inbox is a superfluous solution in search of a problem! And it isn't like Gmail doesn't already have a lot of intelligence and monetization built in to it on top of the basic protocol that make it a business winner for Google anyway.

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