Blog Herald joins call for Google toolbar hack

Filed as General on July 4, 2003 10:26 pm

by Duncan

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Google is the talk of the blogosphere. Owner of blogger, and a new toolbar that allows direct posting to blogger, Google is acting more and more like a Microsoft of the internet age in its attempts to control our browsing, searching and blogging choices. Voidstar has recently called on a hack for the Google toolbar so that it can support alternative blogging sites and tools. The Blog Herald not only supports this push, but calls on Google to provide such support in future versions of the toolbar so that it can truly be lauded as a great internet company and not the blogging monopolist it appears to be turning into; the irony here being in that participating in the Blog Standards Echo project, it is starting to have about as much credibility as Microsoft on Java; get inside then seek and destroy. It is not too late to repent Google…

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  1. By Tim Swanson posted on July 7, 2003 at 5:18 pm
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    I wouldn’t compare MS with Google with the Echo project. Sun has wanted to keep Java under their roof: bake their cake and eat it too. Echo is an open standard that is “free” to use ? Google does not own the underlying code or the trademark.

    And I would hardly consider Google a ‘monopolist.’ The only way you can truly have a monopoly is if you use physical force, Google is far from unleashing an army of PhD’s whom will knock your door down and force you to use their services.

    So as long as alternatives exist (such as MT, Radio, Cafelog, etc.) the market is quite safe.

  2. By Scott Alexander posted on July 8, 2003 at 4:55 am
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    I am concerned about Google leveraging their de facto monopoly position in the search engine world, and now their acquisition of blogger, to tilt their tools to encourage people to stay with their products. So there is a possibility of them acting like Microsoft.

    However, I think it is also possible to fight back. What google often does is simply “get out the gate first” with a new innovation. From what I understand, neither their toolbar nor their search algorithms are rocket science, and most of the systems we are working with here – HTML, blogging, IP, even trackback – are open standards. When I first heard how google implemented another one of their innovations – pagerank – it sounded like it could also be misused. But on the other hand, there is some usefulness to a ranking of pages based on how many people link to them – provided perhaps that alternative methods of sorting pages are also made available.

    We do need to remind google of the danger of becoming an “island” – interoperability is good PR and it’s good programming in the long run. I think (hope) they will probably listen, and make things such as their toolbar non-blogger-specific.

    However, one great way to encourage good behavior from google is by competing with them. I used to complain for years that writing Microsoft Office really should be such a big deal – and now it’s been cloned and opensourced as OpenOffice.org . The same thing could be done with google – there’s no law saying other programmers can’t sit down and figure out how to write some good scalable open-standard search engine algorithms or open-standard toolbars enabling direct blog posting. These are real needs and they are too important to be left to just one company.

    In the cyberworld, scarcity is usually a myth, and everyone usually benefits from open standards in the long run. Sure Ford doesn’t want to give away how they build their cars but having more cars on the highway doesn’t really help Ford cars at all. But the online world isn’t like that – spectrum isn’t limited and actually increases when there are more users you can beam to. The Balkanization of the current Instant Messaging offerings from Yahoo, AOL, MSN certainly can’t be good for those companies. If google does the wrong thing, they won’t have a stranglehold the way Microsoft did, because in the networked world, someone will just run around them. It was pretty hard to run around Microsoft when they were able to force all the big PC makers to license their operating system – “or else” (illegal as that later turned out to be!)

  3. By atom grid posted on July 8, 2003 at 5:22 am
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    Whether or not Google has created a “blogging monopoly” remains to be seen. Blogger existed before being acquired by Google, and at the time Blogger wasn’t considered a monopoly.

    Since the launch of Blogger a number of people made a decision to delegate the “back end” taks of posting and archiving text to an organization that is essentially out of their control. Obviously, not everyone is willing or able to create some sort of posting interface for their own site using tools like Perl or PHP.

    The current “consumer convenience” issue (posting from the toolbar, but only to Blogger) is the result of prior “consumer convenience” (people wanting an easy-to-use/install interface). Posting from an instant messaging application or using a scaled down interface via a wireless device are also examples of “consumer convenience” which all seem to mainly revolve around “immediacy.”

  4. By cyril posted on July 10, 2003 at 1:26 am
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    Rather than hacking the G-toolbar, wouldn’t it be more simple not to use Google?
    I mean, if you consider they are abusing of their huge, monopolistic success, just use another search engine. There are many, and some of them are at least as good…
    (one of my favorite is AllTheWeb.com, and MicrodocNews has just demonstrated it is more efficient than Google on some searches…)

  5. Tim SwansonJuly 8, 2003 at 5:08 am
  6. By losco jones posted on December 13, 2004 at 11:44 am
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    well its easy, u think google is like MS, then dont use it, you have the option, your pc didnt come with google, (most likely windows did come with it), googletoolbar is not part of MSIE (but msie is part of windows and you cant do shit about it), why not just install a good “whatever else toolbar” that does what you want? i mean this is as ridiculous as asking their google bar to search on yahoo, its their service for their use, if you use it is because you like it, if you dont like blogging with it then manually do it or install another tool from the service you actually use, and stop wanting them to do everything for you, next you are going to ask they search on yahoo and send their stats to askjeeves and offer you faster and better than the rest by using their search algorithms without using any of their services, stupid enough.