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Comment This would have been a grand theft from authors (Score 1) 234

Google is a publishing company. It typically believes it has the right to profit from content created by other people, even without their permission. In fact, that is their entire business model -- selling ads against content created by other people. (search is how they draw in the eyeballs, or it used to be, now they also have phones, web services, etc.)

But in this deal with the "Authors Guild" they were really overreaching. They were trying to make themselves the defacto publisher of all copyrighted works. Period. Without paying the copyright holders ("the artists and writers") a dime.

Some companies might have tried to cut deals with authors to put their books on some kind of google branded service. But not google -- they try and get the laws re-written and cut deals with large, bureaucratic organization to make their behavior legal, and then dress it all up in "Freedom."

For google, this was never about "out of print" books. They wouldn't be out of print if there was money in them. This was always about the money. Thanks to this ruling, if Google wants money from publishing books they are going to have to make deals with authors. Just like any other publishing company.

Comment Re:Content is the most important piece (Score 1) 218

I'm talking about paid digital video as a whole, not just "subscriptions" which would be an arbitrary line to draw.

The point I'm making is these kinds of services only succeed in the marketplace when they have content deals in place with the big content providers. The story says: "this has the ability to really change the streaming market" -- I would argue that the market will go wherever the content deals are.

Amazon knows this. I bet Amazon CAN put some big content deals in place. When that happens, THEN we can talk about them changing the market.

Comment Content is the most important piece (Score 2) 218

"Sure the selection isn't that great yet but this has the ability to really change the streaming market"

Really? That sentence right there sums up why engineering types consistently fail to take on the big players in this market.

I think you have it backwards: the "selection" is EVERYTHING. Until a company shows it can make the kind of content deals Apple can with the big content creators, it will fail to gain market share.

The content is critical.

Comment Re:how can anyone know he quit the NSA?` (Score 1) 145

Sounds to me like a good way for no-such-agency to get a mole in a powerful position to install backdoors in a popular line of consumer communication devices.

I don't think this exec. is going to be allowed to check in code to the main repository without anyone reviewing it.

So if your theory is correct, that the NSA wants back doors in iphones, they will need Apple mgmt to go along.

And if Apple mgmt goes along with that (who knows), then what would the NSA need this mole for?

What I'm saying is, your theory doesn't really pass Occam's razor.

Comment Re:It is against the law. (Score 4, Insightful) 481

Asking open source customers to break the law to use your service isn't exactly friendly to open source.

They aren't asking you to use their service. They've decided that for now, writing a custom application targeting your demographic - people who use Linux exclusively - isn't likely to be profitable for them.

There's nothing in the licenses of the open source projects they are involved with (use / contribute to) that makes this a problem.

Seems to me this is a non-issue. You just wish they would support your OS of choice. I do too. But it's not exactly scandalous that they don't.

Comment Re:Spamvertisement (Score 1) 146

Hmm. Okay. You may be right. The overall good-vs-evil tone of the conversation and wikileaks fixation so irked me that I kind of glossed over this.

On the other hand, if a major tech vendor releases a new service that may be something newsworthy. No? Do we not consider it news when apple or google do something new? Should we? (Maybe I don't know the answer to that!)

I guess I clicked on the story kind of hoping to find out what slashdotters think about the new service. To find out if there is anything compelling in the new service. And instead I found slashdot's wikileaks fixation annoying.

But maybe you're right, and this never should have been a story. Maybe verbatim posting of press releases is better left to the likes of cnet etc!

Comment Re:Spamvertisement (Score 1) 146

Fine, I'll bite, I can afford the karma hit.

I've been looking for a new DNS host. And it's funny, I actually clicked on this story thinking I'd get to read some informed comments about the pluses and minuses of Amazon's new service from people who would know.

Amazon "cloud" hosting services - popular with geeks, used by employed developers everywhere.

Slashdot - a place where informed geeks talk about technical matters.

See how I could easily have made that mistake?

But I forgot, sometimes on slashdot the world is divided into "good corporations" (!?) and "evil corporations" and Amazon (for cancelling the account of a high profile customer who was violating their terms of service) has now been labeled "evil" and therefore we can't talk about their technology anymore.

Amazon does stuff I like and stuff I don't. Just like Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, et al. And just about every other corporation in technology.

Are you guys honestly implying that Amazon whipped up and rolled out this new service over the weekend to, like, change the subject re: wikileaks? Perhaps you need to take a step back and look around.

I live in Seattle and know lots of people who work at Amazon. They aren't fascists or CIA agents (as far as I know). They're geeks who program cool stuff and sell it to make a living. Amazon cloud stuff (despite the name) is cool, and of general interest to anyone who does this for a living. A new service from them is of interest to this geek, anyway.

Sheesh, people.

Comment Re:What? (Score 1) 257

If you worked at a web startup whose business model is to charge theaters to syndicate movie times, you would feel differently.

I am not saying google shouldn't be allowed to do this. They should. But people should understand Google's search results page is an expression of their business strategy. Not a scientific formula.

Comment Re:Not Search Results (Score 1) 257

Maps and tickers are pretty clearly value-added features, as are the arithmetic operators, etc.

Google health or the patent database, on the other hand, are a little more complicated. Just a little. They are an attempt to compete with existing companies in an advertising / content business where google doesn't yet have a toehold in the market.

There's no way that the patent listing referred to in the article (999999), or the acne article, are more useful to the searcher than real algorithmic results would have been. They're not necessarily even accurate (unlike a stock ticker which is a simple data point).

Obviously google has the right to use its success in search to try and push its way into other areas of business. But it's disingenuous to claim they AREN'T doing this. They are.

Whether it's evil or not is subjective. But let's not pretend google's search results page is some kind of scientifically valid result. A lot of what they show is part of their larger business strategy, and searchers simply need to understand that when they use google's products.

Comment Re:Stupid Article (Score 1) 257

Search is different. The broker analogy is more accurate -- People's expectation with a search engine is that it's giving them accurate, neutral results. It's like thinking your stock broker is guiding you to buy certain stocks based on what will give you the best retirement -- then you find out actually he's been guiding you to stocks from companies that he does business with. (familiar from recent history.)

Sure it's free speech and they're a corporation and have the right to make a profit. But there is an expectation (cultivated by google) that their results are neutral, and they aren't.

When google makes money by advertising that's business. When they make money by changing their search results in a way that is less accurate but more profitable, that's less than honest.

Comment Re:Take a lesson out of Google's/Facebook playback (Score 1) 338

Mod parent up. This is exactly right --

These 2 things are each (separately) totally legal:

(1) Having a monopoly in a certain market (as MS was legally found to do in desktop operating systems during their antitrust battle).

(2) Leveraging your powerful position in one market to try and break into another market.

Both are separately legal.

But what you can't do, legally, is BOTH things at the same time. That's what got Microsoft into trouble with the law.

The last thing google wants is for the government to make a factual determination re: #1 (do they have a monopoly on search) because if that happens #2 becomes illegal.

(And suddenly a lot of Google's other little PROJECTs start getting shut down or spun off.)

So they're going to tread carefully. Sending out blackmail letters leveraging their search muscle to influence other sites' video policies would result in the big fist of govt. coming down on their heads.

Deservedly so IMHO.

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