Don’t be IEvil


Ryan Paul @ Ars has written a great article addressing Google’s disappointing, exasperating, worrying unilateral actions and lack of openness.

Google’s poor track record on open governance makes it difficult to place faith in the company’s motives and trust it to be a responsible steward of a critically important Web technology.

Google’s not-invented-here complex and increasingly self-absorbed view of how the Internet should function go against the grain of the open Web.

Google’s rhetoric doesn’t match its conduct. The company’s documented strategy of using secrecy and control over standards to achieve a competitive advantage in “open” ecosystems can’t be ignored.

The article also links to a blog entry by developer Henri Bergius which echoes the sentiment…

Many of their plans to make [the] web competitive against native development environments are good, there is indeed much to improve in the stack. But what I’m uneasy with is the unilateral way they go about it, preferring “big reveals” and post-facto standardization instead of the open conversation that built most of the Internet we have today. This is not the way to collaborate.

…and references a comment by Brendan Eich, the original author of javascript and a member of the board of directors of the Mozilla Foundation:

So “Works best in Chrome” and even “Works only in Chrome” are new norms promulgated intentionally by Google. We see more of this fragmentation every day. As a user of Chrome and Firefox (and Safari), I find it painful to experience, never mind the political bad taste.

Like Bergius, in general, I’m a fan of Google — it’s a bold, innovative, visionary company — but I’m an even bigger fan of the Open Web. And that is one of the reasons Firefox is my browser of choice.

Google…don’t be IEvil. Don’t let Chrome become the new (isolationist, proprietary) IE.



  1. I think the general perception of Google is changing for the worse based on certain behaviours (including the ones you’ve brought up here).

    There’s also the fact that it’s constantly buying up innovative competitors — or if it can’t buy them, then copy what they’re doing: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2011/09/google-will-copy-whatever-it-cant-buy/42566/

    As far as Chrome goes, I was a loyal Firefox user for many years but I find it incredibly sluggish and slow these days — so much so I felt I had no choice but to swap to Chrome.

  2. I agree that Firefox can be sluggish in its current iteration, but I’m hopeful that by the end of the year, with the memshrink improvements, the new javascript type inference engine, and the new graphics backend (Azure), it will be much improved.

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