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An open letter to Google

Friday, November 20, 2009 by Dave Winer.

I had an interesting but somewhat disturbing exchange with a Google guy on Twitter today. It reveals a bunch of disconnects, that I'm going to try, in this post, to address.  Permalink to this paragraph

1. Please take these statements at face value.  Permalink to this paragraph

2. I am just a person, I am not in competition with Google.  Permalink to this paragraph

3. I am a Google user. My primary email account is on GMail. I just bought a Droid, and started a Droid blog to help other people get started. I like it primarily because it connects so well with Google services. Permalink to this paragraph

4. I am a former Google shareholder. I made a shitload of money from my Google investment. Thank you. A picture named sidesmiley.gif Permalink to this paragraph

5. I think Google is a big company. I think the people at Google, like most people everywhere, mean well. Like every big organization there are some who don't mean well. But I judge each individual as a person. I don't assume because a person works at Google that they are good or bad or otherwise. Permalink to this paragraph

6. I don't have the first clue what it's like to be inside Google, and honestly I don't care.  Permalink to this paragraph

7. Now about PubSubHubBub. When I first looked at it I saw Atom all over it. I quickly hit the Back button. Permalink to this paragraph

8. There was a time when I seriously considered implementing it. But it required me to understand concepts I didn't understand and had no interest in investing in. It seemed to me that I would have to reimplement a lot of stuff I already had working. This is something big companies ask you to do a lot of.  Permalink to this paragraph

9. One of the reasons I revitalized rssCloud was to influence Google to support RSS better in PSHB. Permalink to this paragraph

10. One of the clues that PSHB needs to be reconstructed is that it's so hard to describe. What's needed here is easy to explain: Instant updates for RSS. If you think RSS is a bad choice of terms, do some research. The world sees it that way. If you make that more general, you lose people. They get confused. PSHB is very very confusing to people. That hinders adoption. Permalink to this paragraph

11. Fostering adoption of complex technologies is something I know a lot about. I'm very good at it. You can ignore me if you want, but I usually am right about this stuff.  Permalink to this paragraph

12. Switching gears, I like the Internet because it means I can ignore big companies and still create meaningful software.  Permalink to this paragraph

13. I think Google doesn't like RSS. I see that in a lot of things Google does.  Permalink to this paragraph

14. I wish Google would give up on fighting RSS. I think it's pointless. I don't think defeating or blunting or obviating RSS has anything to do with Google's business. Permalink to this paragraph

15. You can argue with me on any of these points, but remember #2. If you convince me I'm wrong (which is unlikely, btw, I'm no different than anyone else in that regard), you still have just convinced one person.  Permalink to this paragraph

16. All this disclaimed, we have a common interest, I think. I don't want to pretend to speak for Google, so I don't want to try to say what that is. Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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