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Archive for September, 2009

30
Sep

Google creates sneaky program to convert Internet Explorer into its own browser

This headline is not an April Fools' joke:

Chrome Frame is a new browser plug-in developed by Google to give you a Chrome browsing experience inside of Internet Explorer. Let me restate that slightly to make it more clear: Chrome Frame turns IE into Chrome.

Yes, it’s both hilarious and awesome (or hilariously awesome, if you will) that Google seems to dislike IE so much that it has spent its own time improving it. Google claims its goals are noble. Talking to Group Product Manager Mike Smith and Software Engineer Alex Russell, they tell us that they simply want to make a more seamless web experience for both web users and developers. That said, they are only targeting one browser, IE, right now.

And so Google's march towards full control of the user desktop continues.

With its Chrome Big Brother operating system still months away from shipping, and the Chrome browser clinging to a toehold of market share, Google has come up with yet another scheme to get its spyware onto users' computers: Take over installations of Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Google's “plugin” even rebrands Internet Explorer in the About window.

And there's only an IE “plugin”…. for now. In the near future, expect to see a plugin for Firefox which does the same thing to Mozilla's browser. When is Mozilla going to realize that Google is not their friend and break off that search deal?

Mozilla is a nonprofit that is in Google's way. Google wants all Firefox users to be using its Chrome spyware. It's not enough that Firefox ships with Google as the default search engine. The entire browser needs to be provided by Google so that Google can track search habits and web browsing history to feed its profit machine. For now, Google is going after Microsoft, but without a doubt it will soon seek to cannibalize Mozilla. The Foundation is, of course, a nonprofit, so buying it isn't really a possibility, and taking control of Firefox is not feasible either because Firefox's code is open source. Google will probably opt for a plugin that takes over Firefox, and continue to urge people to simply download its Chrome spyware and abandon their other browser(s).

Google is already using its websites, i.e. YouTube, to promote Chrome spyware. It's only a matter of time before it becomes more aggressive about pushing the browser onto users. Google could, if it wanted, embed download links on every search results page. Such a plan has no doubt already been considered by the Monster of Mountain View and may be closer to implementation than anybody knows.

17
Sep

Lawsuit scares Google away from bidding for Skype

What a stroke of luck:

Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, who became billionaires after selling Skype to eBay in 2005, filed a copyright lawsuit on Wednesday against Skype in the United States District Court of Northern California. The suit comes a little more than two weeks after eBay announced it would sell most of Skype for $1.9 billion to a consortium of investors led by the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.

[…]

Several potential bidders for Skype, including Google, cited wariness about potential liabilities in the Skype case as a reason for backing away from a potential deal, according to a person briefed on the Skype sales process. It is not clear if the latest suit will delay the Skype sale.

Is there any tech company smaller than Microsoft, Adobe, Yahoo, or Oracle (and excluding hardware manufacturers) that Google bigwigs haven't thought about acquiring?

16
Sep

Google gobbles up reCAPTCHA

This sucks:

Google Inc., the most popular Internet search engine, acquired ReCaptcha, a company that helps prevent fraud and spam at Web sites such as Ticketmaster.com.

The technology will be used to protect Web surfers and improve the scanning of books and newspapers, Google said today on its blog. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. The technology is used on more than 100,000 sites.

reCAPTCHA, originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University, but apparently no longer affiliated with that great institution, is easily the most usable and readable CAPCTHA system out there. Now it's just another extension of the Google empire, another way for Google to collect data from webmasters. This site – Leave Google Behind – has not used reCAPTCHA to date, and now it won't for sure.

What's even more sinister is that Google plans to use this acquisition to bolster its evil plan to gain control over orphaned books. That plan has run into significant and welcome opposition; the head of the U.S. Copyright Office has even spoken out against it to Congress.

If Feedburner offers any history lesson, the swallowing of reCAPTCHA will be messy and bumpy.

3
Sep

Google – Like a giant vacuum cleaner

Renowned cartoonist David Horsey, who draws for Hearst Corp., has put together a pretty compelling cartoon illustrating Google's global ambitions to compile and control every bit of information it can, no matter how intrusive…