Tag Archives: your rights online

Google’s recent sins

Here’s a list of some of the sins that Google committed against me as a small user, and without leaving me a venue to vent myself off (where someone might actually read it).

Let me point out: most of them are not evil — unless you consider willful sloppiness evil. I also still love Google. I am however highly frustrated by some of the stuff they do.

Google Talk app for Chrome… OS
After introducing Chrome Web Store, Google managed to frakk up one of its offering. Google Talk app is available only for Chrome OS. One of commenters alleges that this is because on other platforms the browser lacks capability to show popups and other feats of integration. Well, the way out is clear then, isn’t it?

GoogleSoftwareUpdateAgent on Mac
Read more in my previous post. Read more in this post why having this agent is evil.

Charging $5.00 for adding content to Chrome Web Store
I understand this one — they’re trying to filter out spam this way. I agree, this is a good way to do it. Still, I had to cash out $5.00 to add a free app and no way of getting the cash back… because Google Checkout merchant accounts are unavailable outside US (and UK, I think).

Google Checkout merchant accounts are US/UK only
Google is one of the first mega-ultra-big computing-related companies that offered its services in Croatia, in Croatian, and overall localized. We also got Google Translate support relatively early in its development, and it works relatively well. It’s true that some of the services lag an internal release or two behind it’s .com counterparts, but still, for a 4-million-strong country, we’re pretty well supported. We can also receive payments from Google Adsense; they simply mail a check.

Then Google Checkout comes and Google frakks up by not allowing me to earn money that way. Then they do an even worse sin, and allow Chrome Web Store payments only through Checkout. Hello, guys! We can already receive money from you. Apple allows app developers from Croatia to earn money from iPhone development (and soon Mac development). Why the hell can’t a company that already has a payment system in place, that is obviously dedicated to Croatian market, and overall is obviously familiar with Croatia, introduce its payment system over here?

Google Latitude is iOS4 only, Google Goggles is iOS4 only, new Gmail interface is iOS4 only, …
Frakk you on this one, Google, seriously. Have you heard about NSObject’s “respondsToSelector”?

Damn you for making Latitude iOS4 only. My iPhone 2G is not good enough for it? Oh, you mean the point of the app is sharing location in background? You mean there is no chance that I might not want to load the web-based app in Safari? That’s right, on iPhone 2G Safari is “HYPER-FAST” and Latitude loads instantly on it — why the hell would I want a native app?!

Damn you for filtering Google Goggles out of your app. My iPhone has a camera already — why the hell can’t you process a static image I photograph and extract the data from that?

Damn you for leaving us 2G users to use old interface of Mobile Gmail. You told me on Twitter (can’t find link, sorry) that you had to override native scrolling in order to do some of the magic. What about simply using “position: fixed;” for your toolbar? That was not possible? Because that’s basically why I want to use the new interface — I really am not interested in much else.

No native client Google Talk with video chat
Hey Google. I don’t want your browser-based plugin. I want to use native Google Talk as you used to develop for Windows, but I want it to have video chat support. And I want to use it on my Mac. Did you know, Google, that Gmail video plugin is the only way your Mac users can use video chat? No, that’s not acceptable — I don’t want to have to switch to one of a zillion Safari tabs I have open whenever I receive a message, and I don’t want people’s clients to get confused about which client to deliver to.

And your plugin crashes often, taking Safari down with it. That. is. not. acceptable.

Fragmenting people more and more
They began by having screwy support for Google Talk on Mac and Linux (no native client). Then they went on doing the same with Video chat plugin (only recently was it released).
Chrome was also very delayed on Mac and Linux and initially had LOADS of Windows-specific code. Why?
Then Google began offering services only on Android (Google Goggles).
Then they went on discriminating me by offering new stuff only on iOS4.
Then they went on discriminating me by offering new stuff only on Google Chrome OS.

What the hell, Google.
What the hell.

Sorry, blog readers, I had to get this out of my system. And who knows, maybe someone from Google will actually come and read this, and start to wonder what end users might think about it. You can’t compare yourself to Apple: Apple is dedicated to a single platform, but grudgingly supports another. You, Google, support “everything” — you are a web company, remember? You want to support everyone.

In the end you don’t.

Google, get your shit together. I hope I won’t have to move to my own setup. But maybe worrying about backup, setting up open source solutions, et cetera is less trouble than having to worry about in what way will I next be looked down on by Google, because of the place I live in, because of the computer I use, or because of the phone I use. Of course that it is not so yet, but …

Palladium strikes back

History books from 95 years in the future:

While everyone was watching Microsoft, Trusted Computing and Palladium, the locked down computing slithered from completely different direction. Apple created the iPad with iPhone OS. This started the avalanche of new locked-down computers with approved-only applications. This is the cause behind today’s technological triumvirate of Microsoft, EglayaTech* and Apple, where only 500 students a year complete training courses for Approved Developers in the three schools — the modern equivalent of priesthood. We don’t need the millions of developers we needed at the turn of the millennium. Therefore, we barely get even the mere thousands that we do need and nothing guarantees their particular quality. For many of those who might be good don’t stand the chance.

Further reading:
Why I’m Excited About the iPad: A Developer’s Perspective
The Right to Read

* Name invented.

Facebook’s disregard for privacy is rampant

Most recent example:

I don’t want everyone on my friend list to be know my friend list. Perhaps I have a few friends in the mafia and in the law enforcement, too. Or maybe I just work for two competing companies at the same time. Providing this setting is quite important to me, but it doesn’t seem that is so for Facebook.
Sigh. So I should just shut up because I don’t pay for the service nor do I click on the links? That’s a flawed logic. If someone offers me a free bag of chips, is it ok if that bag is spoiled? Is it ok if that’s the only way to stay in touch with some of my friends?
Permission management similar to that for other options (“only friends, but customized to not include those in group Limited profile…”) would be great. But I won’t be holding my breath.

YouTube subscriptions and podcasts

I’ve whipped together a small experimental piece of web code that you log in to via OpenID/OAuth hybrid protocol using your Google Account (meaning I have no access to your password), and grab URL for an RSS feed. This RSS feed contains your YouTube account’s newest subscribed videos, and links to video files in addition to what Google ordinarily provides: link to video’s web page and link to embedded player. Purpose? Getting subscriptions as a podcast in iTunes or Miro.

However, sadly, this will probably never see the the light of day (and probably I’m not supposed to use it) because of annoying restriction in YouTube API ToS: they don’t access to videos except through embedded player or via their web. This is understandable, for podcasting involves downloading a copy of entire video, and YouTube/Google doesn’t want you to copy the videos (in fact, API specifically prohibits storing the videos, too).

Perhaps they wouldn’t care about my own personal use, but it looks like publicly announcing availability of this small service would not be welcome by Google. Well, something good out of it: at least I now have PHP 5.3 compatible PHP-OpenID library with OAuth extension, and a framework for OpenID-only login.

PS Happy New Year +1 day :-)

FriendFeed was acquired by Facebook?!

According to Slashdot, that’s what happened. I don’t really find much use for FriendFeed (I’d have an information overload, if everyone I knew used it). But I have handed them over a list of services I used, and they happily fed off the data I provided about my use habits.

And I was ok with that.
But Facebook is kind-of … not very widely known for its care about users’ privacy, is it? So the only thing I left active on my FriendFeed account is a link to this blog. I may close the account completely, if there’s a link, because I find it enough to have a single Facebook account, thankyouverymuch.
That reminds me, I should clean up the Facebook account of the more private data, too.