Google on Offense, Google on Defense
Google and Microsoft are all over the news yesterday and today (I get confused: does the news happen on the day it happens or on the next day when my paper newspaper shows up on my stoop?). Three quick stories.
1. Google announced that it is going into the operating system business. In May, 1995, Bill Gates wrote his famous Internet Tidal Wave Memo. What scared Gates?: “One scary possibility being discussed by Internet fans is whether they should get together and create something far less expensive than a PC which is powerful enough for Web browsing.” Of course, now this is about more than just surfing the Internet; it is about moving the functionality of the desktop and more into the browser.
3. Google is getting bounced around over how transparent it is over its efforts in targeted advertising. Google apparently has been giving a presentation in Washington on its approach to what it calls “interest-based advertising.” The presentation is labeled Google Confidential, even though it consists mainly of screen shots from Google websites. Google has rethought that approach and has now released the presentation generally. I guess information really does want to be free.
My most recent draft article, Online Advertising, Identity and Privacy (abstract here and you can download from there) addresses exactly these issues. It is very much a work in progress, so if you have comments, please email them to me.