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Discussing software, the web, politics, sexuality and the unending supply of human stupidity.


google


Alphabet graveyard: A for Answers, B for Base, C for Code, D for Dodgeball, E for Etherpad, F for Friend Connect, G for Gears, H for Health, I for iGoogle, J for Jaiku, K for Knol, L for Latitude, M for Meebo, N for Nexus Q, O for Orkut, P for Picasa, Q for Quickoffice, R for Reader, S for Sidewiki, T for Talk, U for University Search, V for Video, W for Wave, X for Google X.

I’m sure Google will discontinue a service starting with ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ soon. Rest in peace.


+1 and Google+: no thanks, fuck off.

I guess I’ll get the useful stuff out the way first:

google.com##button.eswd

Add this to your Adblock custom filter list and all those silly ‘+1’ buttons on Google search results will go away.

Why would I not want to participate in Google’s glorious new social networking system?

Simple.

They’ve tried and failed before, and I enjoy having a firewall between my email and goofy social crap.

If I had known that my Gmail login would become such an important part of my online identity, I would have chosen a better name. When I started, I thought “oh, I’ll just get a Gmail account and redirect my mail there”. I have mail for all the various domains I use pointing to Gmail and it’s fine. But now this goofy username I picked is becoming public facing, and becoming “my identity”. I don’t want that. Or at the very least, let me change my username to something actually representative of me.

If I file a bug on Google Code, my goofy Gmail username ends up being used. If I sign up for a Google Group, my goofy Gmail username gets the mail. I don’t want this.

Then along comes Buzz and Wave and Docs and in order to use any of those services, I have to… tell people my Google username, despite it being arbitrary and not something I want people to know about. Yet I have this nice email address - tom@tommorris.org - why can’t I just use that everywhere instead?

Unless I can change my Google username to something more suitable, I don’t participate in services that require me to use that username.

But there’s more. I don’t participate in Google social crap because I want to keep a firewall between public and private.

Social networks like Twitter and Facebook and my blog: that’s all public. I’ve been on the Internet long enough to know that you should expect no privacy. I’m happy living in that world. If the complete contents of my Facebook account were published in the New York Times, there wouldn’t be anything that would actually damage me other than that I’m boring. I don’t put lots of personal or emotional crap on these sites because even when Facebook tells me that something isn’t public, it is a good assumption to act as if it one day could be.

If I want to share something with my friends, I put it on the public-facing web. Stand back, I know HTML! (And MediaWiki markup!)

E-mail is that little zone of private left. When I’m in e-mail mode, I’m in grown-up mode. I don’t want my e-mail dealings to be used to bootstrap some crap new Facebook thing. Despite this, they already have numerous times. First with Google Talk (which I’m okay with and do use), then with Google Reader’s social features (which you can turn off, thankfully), then with Buzz (which I opted out of almost immediately because… it’s shit). And despite all this, Google still wants to take my goddamn email and bootstrap a bloody social network off the back of it. No thanks, fuck off.

What have I gained from Google’s repeated attempts to try and make my life more social? Absolutely nothing. I want nothing more to do with it. I want to opt-out of any future Google related “social” things. I’d also quite like to change my Gmail username without having to transfer gigs of email.

I don’t want to “like” things or “+1” things or “share” things. I already like things using this thing called a brain, and I already share things by posting them on my blog.

If, like me, you enjoy having a clean separation between private and public, tell Google+ no thanks, fuck off. And before anyone asks whether I’ve tried it: no. I don’t need to try it to know that it’s something I don’t want. If someone had started making toasters that hook up to an iPhone to operate, and sync your personal browning knob control settings to iTunes or the iCloud, I wouldn’t have to try one to know I’m not interested. Anything Google and social, I’m not interested: no thanks, fuck off. That is all.


Now is the time at which we should stop taking seriously anyone who says Google is living up to "don't be evil".

Station Approach, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1


Google have acquired AppJet, which means they've acquired EtherPad and the EtherPad team are going to start working on Wave. This is great news for them, but not so good news for their users and customers. They announced that they would be shutting down EtherPad. This is very sad indeed. EtherPad is Wave for people who actually need to get shit done. We used it really successfully for drafting things like blog posts and e-mails for BarCampLondon 7. I've tested it as a way to draft Citizendium articles collaboratively. Simon Willison used it at BarCamp recently on a birds-of-a-feather session on non-relational databases and NoSQL so that people could collaboratively edit a list of all the different non-relational database servers that are coming out - really successful. I was very sad to see the announcement that it was disappearing, as were many others in the comments and on Twitter. The good news? They've listened to the users! They are keeping the site going until... they open source EtherPad. Woohoo! This is the best outcome of all: we will be able to run our own EtherPads locally, on our own servers - this will be great for things like RailsCamp where we are offline. I'm already on Google Wave - it's a fancy toy to show how clever browser-based apps are. EtherPad is the real deal.