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One Ring to Rule Them All

? And so the Google Games Begin... |


| A blogger who writes first, second and third drafts ?

November 16, 2005

One Ring to Rule Them All

Heather Green

In his biting review of Google Base, Fred Wilson gets to a bigger issue that's bubbling up these days. Is Google becoming like Microsoft, aspiring to own everything? Does it want to control the ecosystem, to have the one ring to rule them all?

This post and particularly the Lord of the Rings language reminded me of some of the discussions at a provocative meeting hosted recently by Fred and his Union Square Ventures VC firm. Proponents of open architecture systems talked about the rivalry between those open systems and closed proprietary ones, notably Microsoft's. That led to a lot of talk about how great Google has been in opening up APIs and how people have benefited from that and how companies like and others should work with Google. The notion? By allowing Google to crawl their services and pull together data , the community at large would benefit more.

But Joshua Schachter, the founder of of, Seth Goldstein, and I talked a little afterwards about how this belief in Google and equating it with community seemed to miss the point that Google seems to be displacing Microsoft in wanting to have one ring to rule them all.

One of Schachter's points, which you can find on page 14 and 15 in the reformatted transcript from the session, is that people on have created a community and it's not a given that the value of that community will be enhanced by opening it up to Google. And this logic seems to make sense. Because when you think about it, the reason people turned to in the first place was because they aren't getting all their search and discover needs met by Google.

02:18 PM

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Tracked on November 17, 2005 10:41 PM

Since Google is so involved in "open arch" systems and seemingly giving away its technology, many people view Google as being very altruistic. Doing work for the "good of the community." (It's only giving away its service, not technology.)

That cannot be the driving force behind why Google does what it does. It's in it to make $$$. It's a for-profit and public company.

There is nothing wrong with that, but just don't be fooled by Google's actions. Yes, I agree that it wants to "have one ring" to rule all.

By pooling a large audience, it has a lot of leverage to generate advertising and other income.


Posted by: Mike Driehorst at November 16, 2005 03:52 PM

Heather: in my opinion the only difference between them is that Google is one-eighth the size of Microsoft. They both want to own the field of gold. One ring to rule them all means one telephone number. :-)

Posted by: John Evans (Syntagma) at November 16, 2005 04:23 PM

It seems that the tendence is vivid: Google wants to rule it all!

Posted by: Lord of the rings fun at April 10, 2006 04:16 AM

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