One Ring to Rule Them All
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 del.icio.us 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 del.icio.us, 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 del.icio.us 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 del.icio.us in the first place was because they aren't getting all their search and discover needs met by Google.