Strong opinions, weakly held

Is Google a copy cat?

Over at O’Reilly, Mark Sigal makes a provocative argument about Google:

All of this is, of course, very funny because isn’t Google’s whole business model about imitating, co-opting and commoditizing?

I don’t agree with him that the kind of copying Bing is engaging in is fundamentally different than the kind of copying Google does. Google strikes me as a market follower — they bring the Google sensibility to paths that others have blazed. In this case, Microsoft is engaging in rank plagiarism.


  1. ‘MS didn’t cheat [ed: plagiarize] with their Bing “falling for the honeypot” hits: they’re horrifically panoptician by design.’ http://twitter.com/rektide/status/32515663473938432

    That this hasn’t yet been spun into the huge data privacy issue that it is is utterly baffling to me. Everytime IE asks you whether you wish to accept the defaults, or click through 8 screens, every time a program has an option burried in a menu somewhere with wording a better couched than “share all my data,” think of this little case study.

    Google crawled links. They looked at the public web, and followed that web as far outwards as they could. MS looked at what it’s users were doing. The difference is obvious: users aren’t necessarily using their web browsers on the public web.

  2. Google strikes me as a market follower…

    Do you remember search before Google? Do you remember maps before Google? Do you remember email before Google?

  3. Disagree on the issue at hand. Google mines curated links from the web via spidering without compensation, information they have no particular moral right to besides the fact that it is available on the public web.

    Bing mines curated links from the web via clickstreams of volunteers*. Among those curated links are the links Google curated, but so what? Google takes links from Reddit and Delicious and millions of individual curators of web pages. What’s the difference?

    I see what Bing did as basically looking over the shoulder of a bunch of users of its product. It’s like monitoring what a bunch of people watch on TV and noting down which of your competitors’ shows they liked best. “Hey, people like crappy reality TV, let’s make some of that.”

    • Well, “volunteers”, most of whom probably did not understand what they were agreeing to, although that is probably true of users of Google search, is certainly true of the Google tracking cookies and analytics, etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


© 2024 rc3.org

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑