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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Google philosophy: "Don't be evil" just keeps on giving

Google gives another big freebie to the web and it's users.

Thanks for the Gift Google!
After acquiring On2 Technologies this year for $124 million,it was expected that Google would incorporate On2's popular video codec, called VP8, into their repertoire. This video codec is the prime property of On2 Technologies, and the main reason why Google acquired them.
And now that do they do with their acquisition? They give it away for free, of course. Google has just announced this week in their I/O Conference that they will be opening up the VP8 Video Codec as license-free and open-sourced for the internet. The codec has been transformed into a new format called WebM, and Google has already started distributing the Developer kits for the codec, as well as encoding videos with it on YouTube, starting now.

"The Web is the most important platform of our generation and because it's a platform controlled by none of us, it's the only platform that belongs to all of us," said Google VP of engineering Vic Gundotra. This is likely another potshot at Apple, whose ongoing war with Adobe to kill Flash  from the internet, has raised a lot of bad press for the Cupertino iPhone makers.

Google says: "Don't Be Evil"

Just add this new $124 million donation to the list of amazing programs that Google has given us for free:

  1. Google search - it's practically the Gateway to the internet and the home page or default search engine for most of us
  2. GMail - Free email service, with features that can rival any other. Also it is totally free, unlike some providers *cough Yahoo cough* that require premium payment for "premium service"
  3. GoogleDocs  - not quite as good as Open Office yet, and leagues behind Microsoft Office, but its a serviceable document creator/editor. On the forefront, it is the flagship for Google's "Cloud Storage" agenda. Oh, and its free.
  4. Picasa - An amazing Photo album and editor software, among the most popularly used along with Flickr and iPhoto. It has features that match or exceed the aforementioned programs, and again it is totally free. But if you want to upload your precious photo albums online you will need to get Picasa Web Albums along with the standalone program. But wait, Picasa web albums is free too! That's another cloud storage solution from Google. It's not totally accurate to say it's free because if you want more storage space beyond the free allocation, you will need to pay $0.25 per GB. But that's still a lot cheaper than other solutions, like say MobileMe. Flickr has a better deal with unlimited storage for $25, but it's stand-alone, while the additional storage from Google will carry across all Google services (like Docs and mail).
  5. Android - Google's entry into the smartphone arena (presumably to battle the monopoly being cultivated by the iPhone). They provide the Android software open to any phone manufacturer. 
  6. Google Maps and Google Earth - All i can say that if anyone who has tried using these programs will never argue about how incredibly innovative and useful they are (not to mention cool). With applications like this, you'd expect a hefty charge, but once again it's free. Google even provides it to its competitors in the smartphone sector! 
  7. Youtube - let's not forget that little website that plays videos, you may have heard of it (and it's free).

While Microsoft and Apple seem to be in a contest of who is more Evil, dangerously crossing in and out the borders of Anti-Trust cases regularly, Google is blowing away more cash to give stuff away for free. 
(..In case you cant tell...I Like Google). 
However they're no saints either, we all know their cash cow is the advertising that goes on the internet, which they practically control. It just so happens that their best interest also coincides with our best interests: Keep the internet free, uncontrolled, and innovating enough for everyone to keep online (giving them more ad space and exposure).

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