Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why do we start to hate Google for building fences around us?

My post entitled "Some controversy in the field of web analytics... at last!" raised interest, and it was exactly my intent when I wrote it. Without discussion and debates, we are just a bunch of nerds all agreeing on the topics that we are often the only ones to understand (we must admit "web analytics" is a nerd field... isn't it?)

One of my statements got the attention of Brian Clifton, author of "Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics" and a former Google UK employee:
I haven't been following all the Yahoo forum threads, so out of interest, what you mean by "we start to hate you [Google] for building fences around us, then slowly turning them into cages walls."
Over the years, people began to hate Microsoft because of its sheer power in the marketplace. Slowly, Google power is growing and the number of people who, for good or bad reasons, will tag Google as "bad", "wrong" or maybe even "evil" will increase. I think this is unavoidable.

Regarding web analytics, on one end Google is helping the industry by raising awareness and bringing free features to the mass, on the other side, it will gradually kill lots of players in doing so. I'm sure they won't really love Google for that... but it's also the hard laws of the market (or is it? Isn't it becoming unfair advantage to offer so many things for free? Some would certainly say so...)

As we move so many of our "stuff" toward Google we become vulnerable to the will of God (or Google, as you wish)... Here's what I currently use from Google:
  • Google Mail
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Docs
  • Youtube videos
  • AdWords & AdSense
  • Google Analytics
  • Google is primary source for search
  • Google News, including world news, local news, economy, companies, products, etc.
  • Google Finance
  • Google Trends
  • Google Reader
  • Google Forum
  • Google Maps
  • Google Apps for my domain
  • even this blog is using Blogger
  • I might be forgetting a couple...
  • who knows what's next...
All of that for free? With no master plan other than "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."? Just "make money without doing evil"? In history, have we ever seen such a concentration of power not derail at some point?

I'm sure most of you have seen the video Epic 2014 and 2015, or "Googlezone"... it already dates a couple of years, but the essence of the message is even stronger now than it was 5 years ago.

Am I the black sheep for being somewhat scared of the concentration of power?