If you have born witness to the the relative positions of Apple and Google with regards to the open-ness of their respective mobile platforms (or any information platforms, for that matter), or read my personal thoughts on open vs. closed, you may be interested then, by Eric Schmidt’s recent comments on the state of personal identities manifest on the internet at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe:
“The only way to manage this is true transparency and no anonymity. In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it.”
If you blinked, you might have missed the implication that Google sees the entire internet becoming in essence a “closed platform” where online profiles, software, essentially everything is “signed” in such a way that it can be traced back to an actual human being. You may remember the term “signed” from such mobile platforms as Apple’s iOS, frequently criticized by Google and tech-heads the world around for it’s authenticated and closed platform.
One can debate the definition of the term “transparent” in this context – and Apple’s eco system certainly isn’t (then again neither are Google’s advertising or artificial intelligence algorythms) – but it certainly appears that Schmidt is conceding predicting that the route Apple has taken with its iSystem is the route that the entire internet will follow in years to come. To my thinking Google would like to see its gAccounts become the de-facto internet passport, much as an AppleID is the passport to media and iDevices.
Google also tossed its lot in with Verizon this week in an effort that, if satisfied, will drastically change the way information has been transferred around the internet since we conjured it back in the 90s. By cutting a deal that would give Google’s internet traffic priority over other internet traffic delivered through Verizon’s pipes, Google is advocating diminished opportunity for would be web-startups and entrepreneurs. If Google was an infant-startup in the year 2010, their own opportunities would be stifled by what Google the 2010 megalith is currently trying to achieve.
Computer scientists and thinkers have said for years that the rise of an authenticated internet was inevitable, and I don’t have a problem with that. In it, as with everything, things are lost and things are gained.
Since its rise, Google has excelled at two things since their rise: Effective web searches and advertising (they also do some other things well, but mostly things they’ve purchased from other companies). The later can be defined many ways, but it is essentially an art of manipulation, sometimes deceitful, sometimes not. I’m not here to pass judgement, but only to observe that it now seems that Google’s success with the latter is far greater than their well-honed ability to provide smart search results.
Google: Don’t Be Evil
Google: All websites are created equal, but some are more equal than others.