Posted in War on Privacy

Google fan: Monster of Mountain View is on the decline

Writing for TechCrunch, Jon Evans opines that Google has lost its way, and is headed for a downfall:

A spectre is haunting Mountain View. No, not bed bugs: bit rot. Google is in serious decline.

I don’t see how they can deny it. They have famously always been a data-driven organization, and the data is compelling. Business Insider’s list of the 15 biggest tech flops of 2010 cited no fewer than four from Google: Buzz, Wave, Google TV, and the Nexus One. Bizarre errors have erupted in Google Maps. Many of its best engineers are leaving. Influential luminaries like Vivek Wadhwa, Jeff Atwood, Marco Arment and Paul Kedrosky (way ahead of the curve) say their core search service is much degraded from its glory years, and the numbers bear this out; after years of unassailable dominance, Google’s search-market share is diminishing—it dropped an eyebrow-raising 1.2% just from October to November—while Microsoft’s Bing, whose UI Google tried and embarrassingly failed to copy earlier this year, is on the rise.

It’s a stretch to say Google is in decline. They’re still a big, very powerful company with the ability to keep close tabs on zillions of people.

They’ve had setbacks, yes, but those setbacks are by no means fatal.

Google is well-entrenched in many ways. For instance, the number of websites that have Google scripts embedded in them (Analytics, Adsense, APIs, recaptcha, YouTube) is astronomical. And the number of people Google can track using the spyware baked into Android is also huge.

Google won’t implode overnight. But hopefully, their setbacks will continue mounting, and their dominance will fade as people start to realize the extent of their assault on user privacy.