This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Google's Special Relativity

It has filed for a lot of patents, but it hasn't enforced them nearly as much as other companies. Google has sent out its share of cease-and-desist letters, but most of these are attempts to control access to the information that Google has under its control -- such as scraping Google News feeds or collecting data on Orkut users -- not the technology that allows access to that information.

And therein lies the source of Google's bad vibes. Google isn't proprietary about its technology, but it is about its information. It offers a blogging software, but it won't let its own employees blog about Google. It will aggregate personal information about you, but it has often lashed out at anyone disclosing information about Google -- how much money a user makes from AdWords, say, or the results of a Google search on its CEO's name.

When such virulent secrecy isn't alienating, it's puzzling. What does a company so passionately devoted to information have to gain from withholding it? Of course, no company would gain from baring its every last detail to the world, but if Google is serious about enabling collaborative innovation with open-standards technology, it could further more innovation by sharing even just a bit more insight into upcoming projects or even a more coherent vision.

Every tiny glimpse into Google's next move -- it wants to make San Francisco wireless, it is buying up dark fiber, its Google Base project may herald a move into classifieds -- triggers a typhoon of speculation that, if anything, hurts Google by adding to its misleading reputation as a menacing bully. Offering even a broad sketch of such plans in development would encourage thousands of programmers and content creators to help it achieve its vision.

Instead, Google simply offers the same old stale bread: It will organize the world's information over the next 300 years -- a vision so absurdly broad as to be itself meaningless.

True, it's still early on in the Google story. But someday, people may look back and see the seeds of the company's downfall in its irrational secrecy. After all, embracing open standards is a double-edged tool: Since you're not forcing your proprietary technology down everyone's throats, people want to work with you. But you also leave yourself open to attack from an even smarter rival.

Let's say that such a rival starts small, like Google did, and lures the smartest talent to create technology every bit as innovative as Google's. Now let's say it reached out to the community and shared its own information as openly as it did its technology.

Would it beat Google? If it could be the true anti-bully, it would have a very good shot.

2 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,030.21 +6.04 0.03%
S&P 500 2,081.88 -0.29 -0.01%
NASDAQ 4,773.4720 +8.0480 0.17%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs