Gary Rivlin over at the New York Times has written an excellent piece today headlined, "Relax, Bill Gates: It's Google's Turn as the Villain" (registration required). Rivlin spoke to Silicon Valley investors and venture capitalists who collectively think Google is in danger of developing some of the traits that many people love to loathe about Microsoft.
From the story: "Instead of embracing Google as one of their own, many in Silicon Valley are skittish about its size and power. They fret that the very strengths that made Google a search-engine phenomenon are distancing it from the entrepreneurial culture that produced it -- and even transforming it into a threat." The story goes on to talk about the hubris that many see Google developing as it dips its feet into all kinds of businesses and technologies.
Google made news elsewhere this week by acknowledging that it is developing a free instant-messaging application that would allow people to make Internet-based phone calls. The Times story, meanwhile, notes that Google's recent $4 billion stock issue is part of what's fueling speculation that the company is preparing to enter any number of other markets, from services for mobile phone users to an online payment service that would compete with PayPal. Then there are rumors that Google also is developing a Web browser and software designed to compete with Microsoft Office.
All this news got me to wondering: How long will it be until Google becomes vilified like Microsoft in other ways, such as if the company is ever forced to close security holes in its software by periodically or regularly issuing security patches?
I am sure all the smart people hired away from Microsoft to go work at Google are making sure the Google apps receive a thorough code-review for security flaws during beta testing, but my guess is that more people are bound to start digging into Google's software for holes as it moves toward developing more applications that run on top of Windows and connect people over the Internet. I just hope that in addition to Microsoft Patch (black) Tuesday, we don't also one day have Google Patch Wednesday...
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