This column was originally published on RealMoney on Jan. 3 at 10:14 a.m. EST. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers. For more information about subscribing to RealMoney, please
- Is it content-source agnostic or not? Click on its video page and see it try to guide you to videos that it can sell and get a cut for. You lose consumers' trust when you try to sell them information from favored sources, rather than just acting as a blind conduit. Google's much-ballyhooed Gmail API strategy, in which it was going to allow the 1.5 billion people on the Internet full control of their Gmail accounts, has been quietly terminated. Oh, sure, Google is still offering the ability to develop Gmail applications such as task-bar notification of new emails, but it has quietly shuttered the ability to log in and control your Gmail account from any site but the actual Gmail site. Where was the press release announcing that change, which rendered hundreds of applications developed off the Gmail API worthless? Google didn't exactly hype that change the way it did the launch of the original Gmail API. Here's the third and outright evil example of Google having lost its way: It's fighting against private-ownership rights as it attempts to enlist the U.S. government to stop innovation of Internet-like networks. The catch phrase for this battle comes from Google and its brethren, who call it "Net Neutrality." Google is pretending that it's fighting for some sort of level playing field, when it's actually fighting for "Forceful Net Control" (a much more accurate term that I'll coin for it). Verizon ( VZ) and other companies are sinking tens of billions of dollars into their physical networks, which they think will enable all kinds of new killer apps that would collectively take us into Web 3.0 and beyond, making Web 2.0 look like a minor stepping stone into the future. But Google and its cronies are sending millions upon millions of dollars to your representatives and asking them to freeze the current Internet in place. Google says it's acting in the best interest of consumers and end users. Why the use of force then? A truly "non-evil" company would have no interest in using governmental force to stop attempts at innovation. A truly "non-evil" entity would want Verizon to risk billions innovating its network and figuring out ways to monetize such investments. Using force to stop innovation sounds awfully evil to me. And I'll cynically call this one like it is and say that Google's evil here stems from the fact that it knows it has won this version of the Internet and wants the government to make sure it stays on top. Evil is as evil does.