Saturday, November 26, 2005

Is Google becoming the old Microsoft?

I'm seeing some really weird things happening lately. Microsoft releases SSE, a two way RSS like spec, under an open Creative Commons license (!). Google refuses to allow true RSS feeds that would open Google's engines to the world.

What's happening here?

Google is at the center of a centralized view of the worlds data. It controls everything, and everyone, coming in and out. It then monetizes that with advertising, allowing it to create lots of cool free services (that area also tracked and often, but not always, monetized with advertising). The problem for those of us that like to pick bits and pieces of things out there and subscribe to them via RSS is Google doesn't want to lose it's place at the center, so won't let you subscribe to things through their engine. If you did, they wouldn't be able to sell you advertising along the sides and tops of your page.

Microsoft, having no real advertising business, and not really understanding this space (as a company, although some of the folks working for them certainly do) is going the opposite route. Maybe just to do what it can to slow down Google, maybe because it's the right thing to do, I can't really tell. The SSE spec they put out, defining how to make RSS two way (simplified view, but reasonably accurate) is, by all outward appearances, legit. It's open. It's licensed right. It adds to RSS in a positive community way that doesn't (necessary) benefit only Microsoft.

Like I said, what's going on here?

Is Google's success creating the walled fortress mentality that made Microsoft into the evil empire of the north (and makes Apple, with it's much smaller walled fortress build around the iPod and iTunes the same)?

Is Google moving into the old space owned by Microsoft and, in it's fear of having someone do to it what it did to IBM driving them to actually do the right thing (albiet for the wrong reasons)?

2006 is going to be a very interesting year in the technology world indeed.

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