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There is something about the amount of usage, though.

50% of all communication between Chrome and Google sites is now through a path that is not standardized, nor on track to standardization, and is just special to the combination of Google's browser plus Google's sites. That sets off warning lights for some people, and for good reason.

I totally get that to experiment with a new protocol, you need real-world data. Definitely. So if say 1% or 5% of that communication were non-standard, I really wouldn't have much of an issue. But when the "experimentation" is 50%, it's on the verge of being the normal path; it doesn't seem like experimentation. Perhaps they could continue the experiment and go from 50% to 60% or 80% - there isn't much a difference at that point. In fact, if the new protocol is better, it would be almost irrational not to - if 50% is considered ok ethically, and moving to 60% saves costs, then why wouldn't you?

I'm not saying that there is something wrong here. It's not even seriously worrying, given Google's positive track record on SPDY. Still, it's very close to the edge of being worrying. That worry of course is that they expand beyond 50%, and are slow to standardize or never do so - in which case things would clearly be wrong. Again, Google has a good reputation here, given SPDY. Still, I'm surprised Google feels ok to move half of all communication to a non-standard protocol, apparently unconcerned about that worrying anyone.




What exactly is worrying? Sorry, but it seems like you've written a lot but said very little.


Probably because they've sped up communication between the browser they provide and their website.

The logic behind it is benevolent and reasonable, but the short-term effect is that Chrome users get an incentive to use GWS/Gmail/Drive rather than Yahoo/Dropbox, and GWS/GMail/Yahoo users get an incentive to use Chrome rather than Firefox/Safari/IE.

If Chrome intentionally started rendering Yahoo slower, that would be blatantly anti-competitive. This is, in effect, just about the same thing, only with practical reasons behind it (much like their were practical reasons behind integrating IE into Windows).


> If Chrome intentionally started rendering Yahoo slower, that would be blatantly anti-competitive. This is, in effect, just about the same thing, only with practical reasons behind it (much like their were practical reasons behind integrating IE into Windows).

This seems to be a poor analogy.

One of the main draws of capitalism is to encourage companies to compete by offering quality products. One of the main drawbacks is that companies are also able to compete by sabotaging the ability of other companies to offer quality products.

The second is the reason for anti-competitive laws. Sabotaging Yahoo falls into this category. Offering a better product that what's already on the market - especially without impeding the quality of the old product - falls squarely into the first.


It is easily arguable that Google is preventing Yahoo from achieving the same result by abusing its control of the Web client. Lines are blurrier than you paint them in your text.


Yahoo could implement QUIC on their servers if they wanted too - there's at least a prototype server in the Chromium source tree


But even if they did - how would they convince Chrome to use their new QUIC endpoint if - as is apparently the case - QUIC is only enabled for a select, hardcoded list of servers?


How so? Not helping competition is very different from actively working against them.


As the top-level poster to this chain said,

> it is interesting how a company was able to quietly move a large user base from open protocols to a proprietary protocol.

Some of us may believe Google is doing so for good reasons, some of us might not be sure - but that is all beside the point.

The point is that this is a massive show of power. And it has been applied quietly - no one (outside of Google) knew about this massive change in activity until this blogpost.

In any hands, that amount of power should be worrying.


> And it has been applied quietly - no one (outside of Google) knew about this massive change in activity until this blogpost

Only if you weren't paying attention. They've been discussing testing it on Google's servers like they did SPDY for a long time now. The first announcement I can find that they were switching some Google traffic over to it was almost two years ago[1], and if you're on blink-dev or chromium-dev (or proto-quic, if you're serious about it) you'd have gotten periodic updates on the topic. Youtube videos about it[2] (with discussion on HN[3]), etc etc.

[1] https://groups.google.com/a/chromium.org/forum/#!topic/chrom...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQZ-0mXFmk8

[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7227255


But this could be said about any massive (tech) company with billions of users and a pervasive presence in the mainstream.

I don't think this is a cause for concern but rather a victory for progress and efficiency that a company can finally do such large scale testing and experimentation to move us all to a better standard.


Well, what is an example of a company with similar power?

No one else has a web browser with market share anywhere near.

And no other browser vendor has any major websites. Microsoft has Bing and MSN etc. sites, but those are fairly small compared to google.com, google docs, google maps, etc. etc.

Facebook would be a company with a website that has massive reach. But Facebook doesn't control a browser. If it did have a major browser, it would be as concerning as Google is.

It's the combination of major browser + major websites that allowed Google to divert a massive part of internet usage from a standard protocol to a non-standard one. No one else can do that today.


As I said, I don't think it's likely or an actual cause for worry. But what this comes close to causing worrying about is if a majority of people using the web were using a non-standard protocol to browse it. That's completely antithetical to the idea of an open web.

Right now, 50% of Chrome users (the #1 browser), on Google websites (some of the #1 websites), are in that state.


Antithetical? The web is still open.

This is only Google sites visited by Chrome. It's not like you can't visit these Google sites with normal HTTP with other browsers, nor does Chrome use QUIC on the rest of the web. If they walled themselves in then I could see a cause for concern but right now, even 50% of the traffic between Google sites and Chrome is still nowhere near the majority of internet traffic in any sense.

Because the web is open and massive is precisely the reason why changes like these will not happen overnight but potentially take decades. The amount of old legacy stuff on the web including protocols, implementations, security holes, ipv4, etc that seem like they'll never get upgraded is far more worrying to me.




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