Quite so, quite so

And so, at a time when the status of the EU is under unprecedented scrutiny, one of its most bureaucratic wings is making the best possible case for its continued existence. United, we can stand against the Googleplex.

Got to stop the bastards, of course. Because if everyone just gave us free search and free computer operating systems then where would we be?

33 thoughts on “Quite so, quite so”

  1. “Alphabet, Google’s parent company, plans to build a city, it emerged last week. ,, the plans underscore the extent to which the world’s biggest tech companies are tackling nation states head on, seizing responsibilities that used to be the preserve of governments…”

    Anyone remember the last time a government built a city?

  2. The entire reason I even *have* an Android phone is precisely because it gives me the freedom to use other app stores and non-store applications.

  3. To answer Tim’s question, we’d be in a place where we all, even those of us who’d be happy to pay, have to use the one (or few remaining) products that cost no cash money (/= free).

    Oh, wait…

  4. Wasn’t the Government going to build some sort of “eco-town” in the middle of nowhere, powered by er, well, nothing?

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    JuliaM – “Anyone remember the last time a government built a city?”

    From the 40s through to the 70s, the British government tried to create “New Towns”. According to Wikipedia, they are:

    Stevenage, Hertfordshire (designated 11 November 1946)[1]
    Crawley, Sussex (designated 9 January 1947)[2]
    Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire (designated 4 February 1947)[3]
    Harlow, Essex (designated 25 March 1947)[4]
    Newton Aycliffe, County Durham (designated 19 April 1947 as Aycliffe New Town)[5]
    Peterlee, County Durham (designated 10 March 1948, as Easington New Town)[6]
    Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, Hertfordshire (both designated 20 May 1948)[7]
    Basildon, Essex (designated 4 January 1949)[8]
    Bracknell, Berkshire (designated 17 June 1949)[9]
    Corby, Northamptonshire (designated 1 April 1950)[10]
    Skelmersdale, Lancashire (designated 9 October 1961)[11]
    Telford, Shropshire (designated 16 January 1963)[12]
    Redditch, Worcestershire (designated 10 April 1964)[13]
    Runcorn, Cheshire (designated 10 April 1964)[14]
    Washington, Tyne and Wear (designated 24 July 1964)[15]
    Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire (designated 23 January 1967)[16]
    Peterborough, Cambridgeshire (designated 21 July 1967)[17]
    Northampton, Northamptonshire (designated 14 February 1968)[18]
    Warrington, Cheshire (designated 26 April 1968)[19]
    Telford, Shropshire (designated 29 November 1968)[20]
    Central Lancashire, Lancashire (designated 26 March 1970)[21]

    I wouldn’t think they are all toxic waste dumps.

  6. Anyway–despite small glitches–Google and CIAbook are mostly up the Federal Tyranny’s arse anyway.

    Perhaps the Euro-trash are jealous.

  7. Driven-through quite a few location but only visited –daytrips- two. Welwyn and Runcorn.

    Welwyn didn’t seem so bad what with the main pedestrian street. But it was a nice summer day when I was there so maybe that made it look better.

    Runcorn however was a shithole dump. Ugly to look at with crappy little rundown office buildings everywhere. And at the time seemingly a pioneer of the modern trend of roadworks everywhere.

  8. “free search and free computer operating systems”
    Really?
    Someone tells me something’s free I look carefully for what I’m paying. Usually, I find a hefty invoice.
    Linux? Seems to be free.
    The Android abomination’s why, since someone obligingly sat on the phablet, I probably won’t get another smart phone. Seems impossible to use without Google harvesting my data. And I’m not iPoser material.
    I was unwise enough to take up the W10, free upgrade on one of the laptops & let it go over the month rollback period. Now I’ve got to format the drive & rebuild from scratch to get rid of the vile intrusive piece of shite.
    TANSTAAFL

  9. Whatsapp”s useful though. Anyone asks me to Whatsapp I know they’re needing to economise on phone charges. Means they’re probably not people I need to know.

  10. “Anyone asks me to Whatsapp I know they’re needing to economise on phone charges”

    Rubbish – its effectively a better way of texting, that includes easy picture/video/audio file transfers as well.

  11. Indeed, as Ukliberty points out, it’s not free; you are paying in information. If you are signed into a Google account whilst searching then the information collected is considerable (though they still track you whilst logged out), and if you use Google Now on a smartphone then they’re collecting quite a bit. Take a look here for an example of some of what they track, or look at the privacy policy.

    Google’s services are rather useful and I’d rather pay in cash, but then I’d have no way of telling if they really were omitting the intelligence gathering or were still collecting it and taking my money as well. Writing my own software to replace even some of the functions Google offers would be a full-time job and I already have one writing other software.

    Caveat: The above should not be read as an endorsement of EU meddling.

  12. Seems impossible to use without Google harvesting my data.

    It’s possible to get Android phones without the Google services included. You can even install something like CyanogenMod over a supported Android phone and lose the Google parts.

  13. Because if everyone just gave us free search and free computer operating systems then where would we be?

    If the government did it we’d all still be using Minitel.

  14. “But the plans underscore the extent to which the world’s biggest tech companies are tackling nation states head on, seizing responsibilities that used to be the preserve of governments, all while luxuriating in their own status as transnational entities, seemingly impervious to the oversight or control of any one country.”

    That sentence says everything about these people. They don’t see government monopoly being turned to private market as a good thing, but a bad one.

    “But not everyone is prepared to let this power grab continue without resistance. Last Wednesday, the competition commission of the European Union opened an investigation against Google, the second in as many years, alleging that the company “pursues an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in internet search”, in the words of the commission’s fierce chief, Margrethe Vestager.”

    Sorry, but I can change my browser to Firefox in seconds and have it pointing at Bing in another few seconds.

    “The commission’s problem is with Android, Google’s operating system for mobile phones. Although Google makes the software, it does not build any phones itself, preferring to license its products to third-parties such as Samsung or Huawei.”

    And to anyone else, because Android is open source. They even tell you how to build it. OK, technically speaking it’s under copyright, but with the GPL license it’s out there in the wild. Google have no power to stop someone making an Android phone and have it pointing at Bing.

    “But tied to Android is a whole suite of Google apps, all linked to Google’s Play app store: Google Search, YouTube, Gmail and more.”

    No, the Google apps aren’t tied to Android. You can download the source code and build it.

    “To be allowed to pre-install the app store, a manufacturer must pre-install all these apps as well – 11 in total. The Google Search box must be placed on the first home screen, as must a folder with those other apps.”

    What? A company that spends a ton of money on the app store might like to make some money back in other ways? Oh, the horror.

  15. “Although Google makes the software, it does not build any phones itself, preferring to license its products to third-parties such as Samsung or Huawei.”

    Somebody remind me how many PCs Microsoft make.

  16. “Because if everyone just gave us free search and free computer operating systems then where would we be?”

    Less dependent upon the state?

  17. Bloke in Germany
    “April 24, 2016 at 8:57 am

    To answer Tim’s question, we’d be in a place where we all, even those of us who’d be happy to pay, have to use the one (or few remaining) products that cost no cash money (/= free).

    Oh, wait…”

    Well, if those free products met our needs . . .

    If they don’t then someone will *sell* you a product which does – assuming there are enough of you to make it profitable.

  18. Been through a few of those towns, not a lot to recommend them.
    Didn’t see Cwmbran in the list, referred to by some as the home of the roundabout and I’ve met a few HGV drivers that loathe the place

  19. “Rubbish – its (Whatsap) effectively a better way of texting, that includes easy picture/video/audio file transfers as well.

    As I rarely read texts – you may enjoy constantly tapping on your fondletoy but spare me the result – colour me disinterested. Files go by e-mail & WTF do people insist on sharing their music & snaps with you?

  20. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “bloke does not like doing something” = “something is crap”. WhatsApp is a brilliant application. I resent people who don’t use it and force me to use other, lesser apps.

    So now where are we?

  21. Add Brasília and Washington DC to the list of government founded cities. I can’t be positive but I am fairly certain that the Romans founded a town called Londinium that is still around.

    “By 2005, who wanted to buy a computer that couldn’t play MP3s out of the box?”

    Anyone who had half a clue what they were doing and a decent internet connection. Microsoft’s offerings were free but there was almost always a better alternative for a consumer with a little knowledge.

    The real problem here is the uneducated consumers. As soon as someone starts looking around it is easy to find better products than the ‘free’ bundled version. Netscape didn’t lose out due to quality. They lost to convenience as the average computer user is too lazy to utilize their machine properly.

  22. @bloke in spain
    “I was unwise enough to take up the W10, free upgrade on one of the laptops & let it go over the month rollback period. Now I’ve got to format the drive & rebuild from scratch to get rid of the vile intrusive piece of shite.”

    Lots of privacy tweaks/tools available eg

    DisableWinTracking

    and

    Spybot Anti-Beacon is a standalone tool which was designed to block and stop the various tracking (telemetry) issues present in Windows 10. It has since been modified to block similar tracking functionality in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems.

    HTH

  23. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Costa Rica – “So now where are we?”

    Well my phone only uses Galileo and GLONASS. So apparently we are somewhere in Mali.

  24. ” Netscape didn’t lose out due to quality. They lost to convenience as the average computer user is too lazy to utilize their machine properly.”

    If I remember correct, Netscape lost because they decided to spend a year or two rewriting their software from scratch. Which is always tempting, and almost always a really bad idea.

  25. @Pcar
    My W10 preventer software caught a W10 Upgrade file masquerading as a W7 security update in the latest Windows Update downloads. If Microsoft are being this sneaky, what else’s buried in their software?
    And sorry, if I have to take active measures to prevent a product I’ve chosen & paid for being trashed in favour of a product I haven’t & don’t want, I regard this as a hostile act. No better than stealing.

  26. Edward M Grant,

    They rebuilt Navigator as more like a platform based on XUL, rather than adding features. Plus, they charged for it, and Microsoft didn’t.

    I’ve worked on a few ‘let’s do a lovely engineering rewrite’ project where the software architects manage to get the ear of management, and talk them into a wholesale rewrite and it always fails. It’s like Heavens Gate. The tech people will then just go off into a land of self-indulgence, showing off how clever they are. And that cleverness means the code base is enormous and expensive to maintain. Piecemeal development, replacing chunks at a time as they’re needed nearly always works much better.

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