This week one Big G sued another. That is, the Google folks sued the government over a bid for a new e-mail system which they claim unfairly favors Microsoft.
The suit -- a 37 page complaint -- was officially filed on October 29, and says the Department of the Interior (DOI) did not even consider Google Apps in its Request for Quotation (RFQ).
(The DOI RFQ specified that the DOI was looking for a unified e-mail, calendaring and collaboration solution, but limited the options to Microsoft offerings only. The contract is worth US$ 49.3 million over five years.
Think Google is being childish? You're not alone. ZDNet's Zach Whittaker wrote an open letter to Google which states the following:
Instead of kicking up a fuss that you weren’t even considered, perhaps you should have examined why Google Apps wasn’t contemplated in the first place and made proactive steps to make it better?
If you found this move by the US DoI offensive, it made me wonder why you haven’t hurled lawsuits at universities publicly denouncing Google Apps for Education as having ‘unacceptable’ levels of privacy. Though universities and institutions of education do not pay for the outsourced cloud offerings of either Microsoft’s Live@edu or Google Apps for Education, you rely on good press from these institutions to build up the portfolio for other potential education customers.
It's a valid argument, but, then again, this is very much about precedent. If Google doesn’t challenge, there's always the possibility that future RFQs will have similar requirements.
No, Facebook, No
In a move that could be seen as a big fat hand in the face, Google has changed the terms of service on its contacts API. Essentially, this means third-party apps and services can’t pull data from Google without allowing Google to do the same with their data.
Bad news for Facebook, a company that's not exactly known for their reciprocity. In the past, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the company believes in data portability in principle, but made sure to mention the privacy issues involved with access to e-mail addresses and other data.
This is understandable given how much heat the social networking company has gotten for leaking data in the past, but if it doesn't match Google's moves, some serious ties are about to be severed.
Google Instant Goes Mobile
Making good on their promise, the Google team rolled out their new-ish query prediction technology to mobile devices this week.
"Like the desktop version of Google Instant, when you type on your mobile device you’ll see predictions of what you might be searching for," wrote Google engineer Steve Kanefsky.
Google Instant's anticipatory abilities are particularly valuable on mobile devices, as character entry typically takes more effort and page loading is slower. Further, Kanefsky says that Google Instant pushes mobile browsers and wireless networks into new territory via a new AJAX and HTML implementation, which updates search results pages dynamically.