Last week in Google was like a week in a bad soap opera: First the Internet giant pissed everyone off when they partnered with Verizon in a proposition to erode 'net neutrality, then Oracle slapped them with a patent and copyright infringement suit.
No More Network Neutrality
The 'net went nuts last Monday when Google, in cahoots with Verizon, posted a proposition on their official blog that would entirely redefine the Internet. Basically, the two companies are lobbying for the creation of a tiered, private Internet, while connections on mobile devices remain free-for-all.
Tons of people came out of the woodwork with their pitchforks, worried that treating wired Internet services differently from wireless and Internet traffic prioritization could result in an era of pay-to-play service. Google tried to save face after being ripped a new one by posting a follow-up entry in which they claim a "number of inaccuracies" were reported about the deal. In an attempt to "separate fact from fiction", Google labeled the following rumors as myths:
- Google has “sold out” on network neutrality.
- This proposal represents a step backwards for the open Internet.
- This proposal would eliminate network neutrality over wireless.
- This proposal will allow broadband providers to “cannibalize” the public Internet.
- Google is working with Verizon on this because of Android.
- Two corporations legislating the future of the Internet.
“I don’t know that Google pondered the moral decision this time,” said Jordan Rohan, an Internet and digital media analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. “I think the business decision to cooperate with Verizon superseded the other complications and side effects that it may cause.”
Check out some details about each myth here.
That Whole Lawsuit Thing
Late on Thursday night, Oracle (news, site) announced that they've filed a patent and copyright infringement suit against Google. Allegedly, Google's Android cell phone platform infringes on some of Oracle's Java-related intellectual property.
Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney shed a bit more light on the situation by explaining that Android uses a Java-compatible technology known as Dalvik. Oracle believes that Dalvik is a competitor to Java, and infringes upon seven different Java-related patents. As a result, the company is seeking a court order preventing Google from using Java as part of their phone operating system, as well as unspecified damages and legal fees.
Further, The Wall Street Journal exposed a confidential, soul-searching document in which Google wonders what to do with all the data it has on everyone.
"...Google is trying to establish itself as the clearinghouse for as many ad transactions as possible, even when those deals don't actually involve consumer data that Google provides or sees," wrote Jessica E. Vascellaro. "The further step in that progression would be for Google to become a clearinghouse for everyone's data, too. That idea, also laid out in the [confidential] vision statement, is still being considered, people familiar with the talks say. That would put Google—already one of the biggest repositories of consumer data anywhere—at the center of the trade in other people's data as well."
Oh, There Were Some Perks, Too
Not everything was doom and gloom. Google released a few cool perks, including:
The Contacts feature in Gmail now operates a bit more like the rest of the service.New perks include:
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Sort by last name
- Custom labels for phone numbers and other fields
- Undo changes you've just made
- Automatic saving
- Structured name fields, so you can adjust titles, suffixes, and other name components
- A more prominent notes field
Google + Social Gold
Google acquired a company called Jambool and their Social Gold product. Essentially, the tool lets other sites build virtual-currency infrastructures, leading many to belive that Google may be working on its own virtual-currency system (think Facebook credits).
Google Earth Enterprise
Google Earth Enterprise 4.0 brought to the table a new feature that allows authenticated end-users to extract portions of a published GEE globe and serve the data locally from their own laptops or other storage devices: