Monday, January 30, 2006

TheHug is back

TheHug is back from hiding; changed, transformed. I was re-reading my first post, written innocently a year and half ago. Did I respect the goals I set for my self?

1) "Keep in touch with my friends" well, not really no, because none of them bothers to check my blog; most don’t even have the url. Disappointing; their lack of interest is probably due to my lack of interest-ing writing.

2) "Writing is good for my health", this goal at least has been somewhat achieved. Sometimes at disastrous consequences, but usually it has been a pleasant experience.

"As for the readers" I have definitely not updated once a week, once again my laziness has taken the best of me, no matter how hard I try to fight it.

I definitely can’t "argue ideas better", but glancing all the crap written here I can see that my interest have changed, from political and cultural discussions (spawned from my The Globe and Mail reading mornings) to feeble attempts at semi-disguised fiction writing (spawned from my ceasing of morning read of the Globe and Mail and beginning of nightly Russian fiction reading).

TheHug is back, with a new prefabricated look by Blogger, and more lazy-boring-failed attempts at being smarter than you.

Well, talking about Blogger, finally a topic for an interesting post crosses my mind. Whatever happened to the search engine once known as Google? Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of these playa-hatters that bark at Google just out of jealousy and hate for the success of others. I am not one of those irrational hippies that can not accept the corporate business side of any for-profit enterprise; that’s what Google is, they are out to make a profit, not different from any other business. Well, different a bit, because they have always pretended to be a “no-evil” corporation, and that has helped them tremendously, from day one, to win the consumers hearts.

Now, after a few years of ruling the search engine world, and after a hugely, blown way out of proportion IPO, Google is spreading its tentacles, like any good corporate monster would do, causing lots of barking and biting from all over the place. Yet, I, a self-proclaimed new age hippie (aka a tree lover out to make a profit too), I am not barking at Google; I am saying go, continue, keep on growing, keep on spreading your now fat body over the web, but please keep your “do no evil” moto.

Not being an expert on the Googlefying of the Internet, I know that Google has acquired and/or developed Blogger (hoasting this post), photo organiser software Picasa, earth satellite-photo provider (aka. who needs spies when we have Google) Google Earth, Gmail (the best email tool I have ever used), Google Talk (which could eventually compete with Skype and MSN) and probably a bunch of others that I am not aware of. I use regularly or on occasion all of these products, except Picasa, because once again I am too lazy I guess to really organise my stuff.

On one side, the fact that Google is expanding so quickly is scary. My main concern with Microsoft is that they are everywhere and we need their software for everything every day; simply put they are a monopoly, and monopolies are dangerous because we depend on them while they escape of most social and governmental control (imagine the US Gov pissing off Bill; all he would have to do is type those secrete commands and all the XPs in Washington will be under his command). So, my biggest concern is seeing Google become another monopoly. Yet, we live and die with Microsoft, and everything has been ok until now, and Yahoo, the real Internet giant, has absolutely everything you might ever want or need under their wing, and I see no one complaining or my well-being jeopardised because of that.

Basically, monopolies already exist, and we accept them, so why not another one, especially if the new one supports Mozilla Firefox, allows its employees to work on their own projects, provides me with free long distance calls, fights the US federal government in order to protect our privacy, and tells me whenever there is an important birth-day.

Another facet of Google’s expansion strategy that I greatly respect is that, they do not attempt to create content, but they provide tools for third-parties to provide content online, and use this content as a carrier for their targeted text ads. Their search engine organises everyone’s web sites, Google Scholar provides easy and quick access to scientific literature, Blogger allows million of wanna-be-writers, like me, to publish themselves, Google AdWord allows for kitchen business women and men to advertise effectively for very little, and finally, Google AdSense allows other kitchen business women and men (like me) to monetize their independently generated content.

In fact, I see Google as becoming a giant octopus, with its tentacles spreading through a large web of independent content, supporting it by bringing and showcasing this web to the reader. Google isn’t trying to build content and bring readers to it; Google is using other people’s content and is bringing readers to it. Google is like a giant support group for a bunch of small anarchist, left, right wing, conservative, liberal, hippies, clerics, virgins, fornicators punks showcasing whatever they want on the web.

I much rather support a company that allows me to be a part of the giant waste of time the Internet is, than support a company that only allows me to be a passive consumer of this waste of time.

True, Google makes money from advertisement, feeding the marketing and consumerism machine that runs our world. But this advertisement is un-obtrusive, not-flashy, and somewhat well-target text ads. We are far away from flashy and hypnotising half-page covering animated ads. And true, Google has sometimes caved away from its moto, as for example, when it recently accepted the Chinese government demands to block some of its searches.

Yet, as I said before, a company that produces quality products, at low or no cost, that supports technical innovation, that allows the user to become the producer and that provides quick access to fundamental information, will have my support; this until they too get spoiled by the greed for riches.

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