20 October 2008

Clouds on the Cloud Horizon

Following my post about RMS's doubts about clouds, Stan D. Freeman has kindly pointed me towards the growing kerfuffle over iGoogle's new format in the US, and how everyone is now redefining themselves as Brits (sounds a good move to me).

As Stan points out, this neatly underlines exactly the point that RMS was talking about: once in the cloud, you are in the lap of the gods (or something like that). It seems that Google is forgetting the first rule of Web 2.0: users rule. Why not just let people *choose* what they want? Isn't that supposed to be the way we do things around here?


Stan D. Freeman said...

Thanks for the post, Glyn.

Posing as Brits (great as that is) won't work for long. Google has announced plans to roll out the new version worldwide very soon.

Thankfully, somebody has already released a Greasemonkey script that allows Firefox users to collapse and uncollapse the sidebar. That allows iGoogle to remain useful to me during my conversion to Netvibes. Netvibes has GPL'd their back-end server code so I'll never have to worry about them "pulling a Google" on my homepage because I can host it on my own server.

Much as I would like to see Google give us a choice to revert to the older version (like they do with GMail), I don't think it's going to happen. Google is now monetizing iGoogle and the new version delivers advertising in the "canvas" view (which the older version doesn't have).

I suppose this is Google telling us "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch" (and I hear they're cutting back on their famous gourmet cafeteria for their employees as well). I guess it's not all manna falling from the clouds any more; these days we can expect some acid rain from time to time, even from one of our favorite clouds.

Glyn Moody said...

Yes, maybe learning TANSTAAFL - except in the world of free software - is an important lesson....