Scripting News for 6/29/2006

Frank Barnako: Why is John Edwards at Gnomedex? 

Melodeo looks good, but isn’t its name too close to Odeo? 

Good afternoon from the Seattle waterfront where the nerds and geeks of the tech blogging world have gathered for Gnomedex 6.0. The opening party is tonight, 7PM-10:30PM. Me, I don’t have anything that I have to do, other than talk on Saturday morning for a mere 15 minutes at 9:45AM. 

According to Business 2.0, Vic Gundotra, the guy who hired Scoble at Microsoft, is jumping ship, to Google, after doing a year of charitable work (Niall Kennedy says, to honor a non-compete). It’s interesting, he was trying real hard to keep Scoble at Microsoft, but all along he must have been negotiating the job at Google. Meanwhile, Mini-Microsoft, in Microsoft-speak, says a downsizing is coming. “Shuffling of the executive deck chairs today, but the iceberg hits tomorrow.” 

In Gundotra, Google is hiring someone who believes in RSS.  

Betsy Devine on people who “support our troops.” 

It’s come to my attention that some people didn’t learn The Golden Rule when they were young. Perhaps that’s why discourse on the Internet can be so unpleasant.  

Identity and trust 

Today Google announced the innocuously named “Google Checkout” but it’s so much more than that, and if we’ve learned anything about identity and trust, it won’t work for Google, as it didn’t work for Microsoft.

First, we could all benefit from a common identity system for the Internet. Think about all the times and places you enter your social security number, date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, credit card number, the secret number on the back of the credit card. If you had all that information about someone else, and their bank account numbers, you could probably have all their money. And every day we hear stories of companies we trust with this information, losing it. Note the big word in there is trust. Trust a company? Hah. Now which companies do you trust? Are companies trust-worthy?

Yesterday I got my credit card bill. There was a charge of $1017 for a hotel stay that was supposed to be picked up by a company. I actually only stayed one night, the rate was $400 a night, so not only were they were mistaken in charging me instead of the company, they overcharged us. How much you want to bet that I end up paying the $1017? In this case there were two companies not worthy of trust. (When told of the problem the first company should have let me know immediately that they would cover the expense, but they didn’t. Ooops, there goes the trust.)

Microsoft asked for our trust with Hailstorm. But they were behaving very badly. They claimed their bad behavior was legal (it wasn’t, it turns out) but that wasn’t even the point. If we sense that a company is bad, the first thing they lose is our trust. It turns out the concern was totally justified, many times over. As they were screwing Netscape, they were screwing us, their users, even harder, sitting on the browser, not making any improvements, as malware of all types rendered our computers more and more useless. Now Microsoft is paying for their sins. (They never even apologized for all our wasted time.)

Now we turn to Google. I remember when my idea of Google soured, it was an instant flip, one day I thought these are good people who love the web, when they grow it’s good for me. Really, we used to think of Google that way. But then they started acting like Microsoft, stupidly doing things that undermine the rare priviledge they had won. It was hard to argue that losing the trust hurt them or their shareholders, until today, when their intention to be the identity czar of the Internet became apparent. It won’t work for the same reason it didn’t work for Microsoft, they screwed with our trust too many times.

It’s sad that we can’t launch companies in the tech industry that deserve our trust, it’s sad because it holds back progress and innovation. But you can’t trust who you don’t trust, and I don’t trust Google.

Ponzi and Jory 

New header graphic. Taken at BloggerCon IV in SF, last week by Scott Beale. Noteworthy for a few reasons. 1. It’s the first time I’ve used a picture taken by someone else as a Scripting News header graphic (I asked for permission, which Scott graciously gave). Of course, using a photo taken by someone else at BloggerCon is totally appropriate, and symbolic, since it’s entirely a collaborative thing. 2. What a fantastic picture of two people, Ponzi Indharasophang and Jory Des Jardin, who are totally engaged, in the loop, in the room, minds turned on, and getting something done. This is what I’d like people to think of when they think of BloggerCon and the unconference format. 3. Ponzi’s conference, Gnomedex, starts today. Jory’s, BlogHer, is in July.

4 responses to this post.

  1. It doesn’t help that there are two versions of the golden rule: one positive and one negative.

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    “Don’t do unto others what you would not have done unto you.”

    Pro-active versus inactive.


  2. At Barcamp we had a discussion of trust and who can we trust with our data? Google?, M$? or The Government (not).

    There seems to be an opportunity for the comminity to get together to solve this issue. I would much rather trust one organization, than everyone I do business with. I want to give my personal informaition once and thats it. A standard for your data should be set so that if multiple players are in the “trust” space you can port your data from one to the other.


  3. Why is George Bush not at Gnomedex?


  4. Thanks for your item on Trust. It is certainly hard won online! I trusted friendly Google for a year or two… then read their terms and conditions for Adsense. All power to ya, Google. The same thinking as Ms’s EULA and the win. domination of the desktop. All power to ya.


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