Category Archives: Google

Google killing XMPP federation with their Google Hangouts?

According to the Ars Technica article on Hangouts, we can expect Google to drop support for XMPP federation.

We should apparently be happy that Google is not dropping XMPP client-to-server connections.

The instant messaging space is apparently turning into a duopoly of Microsoft’s Skype and Google’s Hangouts with everyone else shoved to the sidelines. I’m not counting Facebook Chat as a serious alternative, and iMessage is not intended as an instant messaging service.

I hopefully don’t have to point out how much this frustrates and annoys me. Google is turning out to be worse than Microsoft ever was: they’re actively backpedaling on their past promises. They’re backstabbing the “open”. Scratch that — they’re throwing a stake through open’s heart, ripping it in pieces, then gorging on its still beating remains. Instead of reading RSS through Reader, we’re supposed to read custom posts via the closed and locked down Google+. They are killing iGoogle. They’re basically killing the open web and open Internet, while at the same time paying lip service to open.

Android, which is just-enough-Linux-but-not-really. Rich authorship markup, which requires two-way linking to Google+ instead of using the semantic web techniques.

I’ll keep on looking for ways to back out of Google ecosystem as much as possible. What’s next — Gmail that can’t send emails out?

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 …

Google’s built-in page previews — reason for releasing Chrome?

After all the years we’ve had Firefox plugins to insert page previews into search results, Google finally added their own. They dubbed it “Instant previews”. These previews are vertically larger than what any of the plugins did before, they include enlarged select portions of text relevant to your query, and they appear only when you click on a search result text (not on the link). After that, you can just hover the mouse above search results.

So what I wonder is: could it be that Google embarked on a journey to build a hyperfast browsing experience in order to provide a better search experience? Or was Chrome really just a part of a larger scheme to collect customer data and statistically analyze it, as was thought previously? I’m not sure; probably it was “let’s build a browser first” and then “what can we use the browser for?” — but the idea that Chrome might be the developed in order to alleviate performance issues that using some other browsers might create running on Google’s servers does not strike me as impossible. This way, they can generate previews without creating a horrible, horrible impact that using some other browser might create.

I just wonder when we’ll be able to see the codebase they use for creating the previews, and will they even release it, considering that WebKit’s LGPL (derived from KHTML’s LGPL) does not require source code release unless the binaries are released; even then, if libs are dynamically linked, source code release is required only for modified library binaries. Still, having a free, usable off-screen rendered WebKit would be very useful. But oh — there is already such a thing, for example Origyn Web Browser (site seems down, here’s a wikipedia link)

Deleting Google Buzz == Deleting your Google Profile

Deleting Google Buzz appears to be impossible without destroying your Google Profile at the same time. I wonder which Googler’s bright idea that was? Well, at least Profile is not the same as Account.

Yahoo! Search uses Google Gears for local storage?

Update, August 9th 2009: It’s used only on Google Chrome, and it’s used by the Search Pad for improving the user experience by speeding up responsiveness. I’ve recently written a new post on the subject.

I’ve just used Yahoo! Search in Google Chrome. I got a typical Gears popup asking me if I want to let the web site use Gears. I still have no idea why Yahoo! suddenly likes using a Google product; neither Google Search nor Yahoo! Search are helpful for several keywords.

Yahoo!’s Search blog doesn’t mention it either.
Any info, anyone?