I find it quite ironic that Google is a strong advocate for net neutrality when it comes to the actions of other content providers and ISPs, but does not extend this to its own products. Maybe not evil, but certainly hypocritical.
Open Google.com in a Firefox browser and you're met with a not-so-subtle nudge to ditch Mozilla and download Google Chrome. The banner can be closed by simply clicking on the "x," but it will pop back up every time you open the search engine's homepage in a Mozilla-branded browser.
It's a trivial thing in the end, and seemingly innocuous. But is it part of a larger problem?
When Chrome bounced onto the scene in 2008, the geek in me was stoked. Browsers were broken, and Google had the manpower, the know-how, and the motivation to move web browser capabilities forward.
Six years later, it can't be denied that Google has done just that.
Still, it's been hard for me to shake the notion that there's something less than noble about Google's intentions. 2014 Google is very different from 2008 Google. Now, the search behemoth is infiltrating every aspect of our digital lives: you could get by using nothing but Google products for your entire digital experience.
And it all starts with Chrome. If Google can control your web browser, it can control your web. In its quest for complete browser domination, it may be deliberately hindering the ability of Firefox to deliver the same experience as Chrome. In Google's perfect world, everything works better in Chrome.
According to a loyal Firefox user, Google may be inching closer towards that reality through nefarious means. I won't give you much more setup than that, other than to say: take this with a grain of salt. The claims made are unsubstantiated. Still, taking the long view and connecting the dots doesn't seem to be a far stretch. Whatever your conclusions, it's a highly interesting read for those of us who care about the future of the open web.
Is Google Crippling Firefox? ➝