Aaron Swartz has written a really excellent post on what Google means by “Don’t be evil”. His conclusion is that in essence, it means “don’t make things worse for your users simply to make money”.
In the conversation, Chris Soghoian pointed to Google’s refusal to implement Do-Not-Track on its browsers or servers as a violation of this. I’m not so sure it is. I’d actually argue that not implementing do-not-track is, from Google’s perspective, acting in the user’s best interests.
Here’s how the argument goes: the web runs on ads. Ads can either be irrelevant, or relevant. Irrelevant ads waste the time of the user, and the money of the advertiser. They’re useless to the user. Relevant ads, on the other hand, are actually useful to the user – being delivered a good offer or product at the right time, when you’re actually interested in that product category, is useful.
Hence, do-not-track, which prevents Google and others making ads more relevant (and thus useful) is user-hostile.
I’m not saying that I think that argument is right, but I think it’s a rational argument – and a consistent one with “don’t be evil”.
It’s not even out yet, and already the Lenovo IdeaPad — the Chinese manufacturer’s attempt to crack the tablet market — is getting something of a savaging:
The IdeaPad K1 has been in development in one form or another for a year and a half, yet it still isn’t ready. And even if it had hit the market a year ago, it wouldn’t have been good enough (at least in its current form) to go head-to-head with the original iPad. The K1′s hardware is chunky and cheap-feeling, its screen is washed out, and the software is unstable to the point of being unusable at times. It sounds harsh, but when you can pick up the iPad 2 or the Galaxy Tab 2 for just $499, the $50 you save by getting a K1 doesn’t seem close to worth it — unless, of course, you think there’s some value in buggy software.
So it’s shitty hardware, buggy software, and not even comparable to the iPad of a year ago?
It certainly isn’t getting anywhere near the point that Lenovo’s CEO, Yang Yuanquing, is after:
Apple only covers the top tier. With a $500 price you cannot go to the small cities, townships, low salary class, low income class. I don’t want to say we want to significantly lower the price, rather our strategy is to provide more categories, to cover different market segments.
So much for that. If Lenovo can make an expensive tablet this bad, just how bad will one be if they push the price down?
And as I’ve said many times over the years, Web 2.0 IS ALL ABOUT personal sovereignty. About using media to do something meaningful, WITHOUT someone else giving you permission first, without having to rely on anyone else’s resources, authority and money. Self-sufficiency. Exactly.i.e. not waiting for the green light. In the blogosphere, the only light IS the green light.
This is something the people complaining about “real names” policies need to remember. If you’re posting content on someone else’s site, you’re playing by someone else’s rules. If you’re not happy about that, don’t keep asking permission – pleading with the king for a “fair” approach won’t get you far. Do it yourself.
Related articles, courtesy of Zemanta:
Susan Decker for Bloomberg:
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), the world’s largest software maker, began arguing its U.S. trade case that Android- based smartphones made by Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. use technology derived from Microsoft inventions.
In a trial that began today before the International Trade Commission in Washington, Microsoft accused Motorola Mobility of infringing seven of its patents and requested a halt to imports of certain Motorola phones. The ITC has the power to stop imports of products that violate U.S. patent rights.
Lots of people seem to have missed this in the discussion of why Google bought Motorola: Motorola’s patent pool hasn’t protected it from being sued. There’s no reason to suppose that it will protect Google (or any of its other licensees) now.
Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Nick Bradbury, author of the very fine FeedDemon, on learning Android and “the fragmentation thing“:
Of course, I can’t write my first post about Android without mentioning its supposed “fragmentation” problem. It is a problem, but it’s mostly blown out of proportion. Desktop developers have always had to create software that works across different OS versions, different devices and different screen sizes, so the fact that you have to do that on Android isn’t a big deal. But it is a big deal when different Android devices handle things differently – video playback and recording, for example, are challenging due to device differences, and getting video streaming to work reliably across devices feels impossible (as Netflix discovered).
Nick, I think, gets this right. Fragmentation is real, but developers deal with it.