Interesting insight into the mind behind the company.
Really, it's like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, isn't it?
"Our policy is we try things" - nothing wrong with that, some of the big recent web 'enhancements' have been born by people trying new ideas (and I use scare quotes because ChatRoulette and Twitter were surely people knocking together something and dropping it online to see if anybody bites). However, "We celebrate our failures" is just bizarre. Are there plaques on the wall in The Chocolate Factory that read Fail, Fail, Epic Fail, Fail? I doubt it. When things don't work, they should be quietly withdrawn and disposed of in an ecological manner (like shredded and spread across a field as all good manure is). I would nominate "the new look YouTube".
If you want to see "a very clever product", look at Amazon. Business ethic aside, it is clear, it is easy, it is secure (they deal with payments to third party vendors themselves, not passing the buck to third-party shysters like a certain not-terribly-reputable on-line auction house. Amazon is just too damn simple, too damn good at predicting what you might want. My wishlist far outweights my paycheque! THAT is a very clever product.
Google wants to upsurp Facebook? Yes please, if only to see the back of Larry. But Google might want to take note from MySpace. Did Murdoch's mob cock it up, or was it going down the S-bend already?
I've had some small dealings with Buzz as a part of my YouTube account which magically created a Google account. My "real name" is "Rick WantsSomeBloodyPrivacy" and my current location is "OverThere, Earth". Funny thing is, I never asked for all of this lot to be shared as a matter of course. Since Google as so keen on sharing, could I sign their support email address to all the pervy mailing lists I can find? It's auto-opt-in, you see...
Skip the exabytes bollocks. It is like my mother's comparisons with The Library Of Congress versus the Internet. If I take a crap and video it, we're looking at many magabytes of information, depending on codec and bitrate. I have someplace a CD-ROM with a load of Project Guttenberg books in ASCII format, added together would be less than a video of me taking a dump. In fact, that archive apparently contains the entire works of William Shakespeare within it. All of the pretentious twaddle of the great Bard, classics such as Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, various Bronté sisters, Mary Shelley... or me, on the bog. Why the obsession with toiletry functions? Easy. Information != Knowledge. There is knowledge and history in books. The majorty of tweets and blogs (yes, including my own...) aren't fit to be printed on toilet paper to be flushed away along side the number 2. Thus, the statistic about five exabytes is simply not relevant. Oh, and until 2003 it was not common for people to HAVE a means of spewing their information to the world. In the 16th century ladies danced and peasants toiled, and both spoke, if not to each other. What's different now is all of this can be dumped on YouTube. Throughout human history, events have happened but only recently have we had the technology to stick a camera on every street corner to fill harddiscs with images nobody will ever look at.
"People aren't ready for the technology revolution that's going to happen to them" - like the Puritans of old and the Luddites of slightly-less-old, people generally aren't ready for any big change. There is, perhaps, a sense of self-preservation built into this attitude. We may argue over climate change and who causes it, we may argue over whether or not mobile phones and genetic modification aren't ultimately harmful, but the truth is the evidence on both sides is both shakey and full of obvious unscientific bias. But, hey, screw the truth and let's plough ahead with all this really cool technology. Perhaps the best example of this is newkewler weapons. Awesome destructiveness sadly unleashed twice upon the Japanese (nobody deserves that), followed by years of blowing up deserts and small pacific islands with increasingly greater weapons. But it was apparent pretty soon how powerful these things are, and now we're stuck in a situation where nobody will admit to how many of these weapons actually exist or where they're stockpiled, suffice to say the ultimate deterrent is in place, for if one country should attack in this manner, they will be attacked in return. There will be no winner. This was evident back in the days of Dr. Strangelove, updated for the '80s crowd in WarGames, yet until recent bans on testing, bigger and better weapons were built. For God's sake, using one in hostility could all but signal the demise of our species, so why the bloody hell make a bigger one? The Luddites were wrong about many things, but about some things they were actually right. Call them "Deniers" if you will, but let history be the judge, not you.
"We can predict where you are going to go" - really? Asides from going to work, I don't tend to plan my life out that well. Have fun predicting.
"Show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are. You think you don't have 14 photos of yourself on the internet? You've got Facebook photos!" - you numpties! You really need 14 photos of me to tell me who I am? How about the one tagged "Rick" that's a picture of Haruhi Suzumiya. Will that do? Seriously though, with tags and descriptions, needing 14 photos is a pretty poor average. I'm not even sure if I have 14 photos of me on my blog (I prefer to be behind the camera), but you really shouldn't need that many.
"People will find it's very useful to have devices that remember what you want to do, because you forgot ..." - yeah, it's an odd book with dates and times printed in it. I would call it an "agenda", but it seems these days agendas are supposed to be hidden...
"But society isn't ready for questions that will be raised as result of user-generated content." - what you mean is you're not ready for the questions that society will want to ask YOU.
"true transparency and no anonymity" - never existed except in the minds of the naïve. This is why I'm not a tin-foil-wearing Google-phobe. I know I'm not anonymous, I know I'm being watched by a big machine with nothing better to do. I know the pointless blatherinfgs that I spew are neatly indexed for retrieval for ever and ever (try clicking my user ID link to the left, you'll see all I've posted here). The simple answer is not to post all sorts of personal stuff then suffer bladder failure when you realise what you've done, the simple answer is to post only stuff that you feel comfortable posting, and NEVER EVER naked or semi naked pictures or pictures of you wasted/high/puking 'cos that'll be a whole bucket of Fail if ten years from now a prospective new boss whose done his homework slaps printouts on the table and says "explain" while you writhe and struggle to remember an event so amazing you just had to dump it on the internet. Well, I guess it was the greatest thing ever at the time, but now... oh dear.
"it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you" - I am identified by my passport / ID card, which is not foolproof but is a fair rigamarole to get sorted out, thus it is taken to be authentic enough. There is no such thing as a foolproof means of identification, and one might validly surmise human attitudes are such that when moving away from paper based documentation (which can be challenged) to electronic documentation (which is all too often just 'assumed' to be correct), that the ability for people to AUTHENTICATE somebody's identity is increasingly difficult. You see, nobody gives a toss about my identification. I could, on a rainy day, if I felt so inclined, attempt to knock up a passport identifying myself as Yuki Nagato. It would be a stupid official that did not recognise it as being a bogus form of ID, and that's what it is supposed to be about. Not what form of identification I am carrying, but how trustworthy that identification is. I think a recent Microsoft trust issue (where IE has a trust certificate for Microsoft but Firefox doesn't) brilliantly demonstrates why we really need to stop thinking electronic for our means of identification. Trust is too easily misplaced in digital form. Computers don't have eyebrows to raise, or the ability to "suspect".
"We need a [verified] name service for people." - really? Why. Explain. I am me, and if it is something of importance, I will turn up in person. If that isn't sufficient, FOAD.
"Governments will demand it." - somehow I doubt this. They'll all want the latest toy, no doubt, but on their own terms. Only a very very stupid-ass piece-of-crap sorry excuse of a pathetic waste of taxpayer cash proporting to be a "government" would willingly hand over mass chunks of personal data about its populace to the governments of foreign nations, or companies on foreign soil that are thus obliged to provide this data for examination. Like, oh, I dunno, New Labour? Probably the current lot too as not a lot has changed really.
And yes, Google-fans, I'm happy insulting "New Labour", just as I would be perfectly willing to call Tony Blair "Bush's lap-puppy" to his *face*. He was. I would, however, be less willing to tell Gordon Brown what I think of him, those sorts of words really shouldn't be said in public unless you're a(n in)famous TV chef...
My final paragraph is a personal apology to the El Reg commentator that didn't like my long rambling posts. Oops! Sorry... but this is how I am. If you think this is bad, you wanna see the chaos/clutter in my mind. ;-)