I keep blogging about this, even though the message seems to be falling on deaf ears. Let me repeat: this is going to put Microsoft out of business. Did that get your attention?
This not just another browser, it is both a browser and an operating system combined. This means Windows will go bye-bye – and of course, IE too.
Vaporware has been common in the software industry. Some companies, and Microsoft is typical, will announce that it is developing a great new product. This serves two purposes: it brings their stock price up and it scares off the competition. Microsoft, for example, announced its Longhorn operating system – but never delivered it, and had to settle for Windows Vista instead.
In the last company I worked for in Silicon Valley, we didn’t really have a product, we just claimed we did, and got a lot of money that way – until people finally wised up. In other words, deceit is common.
But Google seems to be different. They not only said they would be doing it, but that it would be open source, and would be released incrementally, as work progressed, so developers could take a look at it and see how it is coming along – and to see if it was real.
One young sharp young developer in England, who hasn’t even graduated yet, has been releasing his own versions of the Chrome OS. This young man does not have to worry about getting a job, he will have his pick of them. This does not mean his life is perfect. I have known some of these bright young types, and they are as good as anyone else about messing up their lives. But at least they don’t have to worry about money.
I am continually amazed how trusting people are on the Internet. They seem to think everyone is wonderful and will not harm them in any way – an attitude they would consider naive in the ordinary world. They remind me of converts to a new religion. The Internet has opened up a whole new world for them, one that seems perfect – almost like the Kingdom of Heaven.
This kingdom, however, is populated by the same kinds of people found anywhere – and some of these have found a hunting ground full of gullible people who keep telling each other the Net is nothing to worry about – and a media that says more-or-less the same thing: there is nothing to worry about in the Promised Land.
Let me lay it on you: the Net can be a dangerous place, and you should be as careful there as anywhere. You wouldn’t give the keys to your house to anyone, and you should protect your space on the Net just as carefully – and even more carefully, because the keys there can be counterfeited more easily.
You may say “But I have nothing to hide. Why should I bother?” Everybody has things to hide, that’s what privacy is about. Lots of people want to know everything about you – and will do anything to find you out. And once that happens, you will no longer exist in your private world – but only in the data banks of the powers that be. If we don’t have boundaries, we don’t exist.
This seems counter-intuitive to many people in the net generation: they feel everyone should know everything about them, because that is the only way they can be. The more of them is out there, the more of them there is.
To my mind, nothing could be worse. It is a new form of suicide: suicide by sublimation into a new world that promises to become all – but in reality destroys all.
The internet has become our global commons: a critical public resource that more than a billion people use to learn, innovate, trade, befriend and play. We envision a century ahead where this shared resource grows even richer and more vibrant. For this to happen, we must continue to build and operate an internet that is:
Open. Built on technologies that anyone can study, use or improve without asking permission.
Participatory, fueled by the ideas and energy of 100s of millions of people.
Decentralized in both architecture and control, ensuring continued choice and diversity.
Public much like a public square, with space not just for commerce but also for vibrant social and civic life.
Of course, this vision faces many challenges. Current examples: control over our digital identities and data is centralizing; and the growing mobile internet is far less open than the one on our desktop. At a more basic level, few people take the time to consider the internet as a public resource. They simply take it for granted, like air. Drumbeat is about gathering a critical mass of people to address challenges like these.
This last issue is going to be the hardest. Americans are no longer interested in taking care of themselves, as a nation. They think the New Deal, or any form of big government, is a Bad Deal, and are only interested in taking care of themselves – and maybe their family. No one else.