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Google Patches?

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...

Tell me what you think by submitting a comment to this post.

By Brian Krebs  |  August 24, 2005; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  From the Bunker  
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Comments

How is Google evil in the sense that Microsoft is evil? Are the jealous that they have better recruiting techniques? Pay better?

One thing that was completely neglected in the article was orientation in the developer community. Google openly publishes APIs, encourages people to adopt and extend their platform (Google Hacking) and broadly implements standards-based solutions, when available.

Anyone try to make a SIP stack compatible with LCS lately? How about Java?

Jealous? Yes. But, only because I haven't gotten an offer and didn't buy at the IPO.

Timothy

Posted by: Timothy | August 24, 2005 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I also am worried that Google will outgrow its altruistic foundation, and that it will become as institutionalized and heartless as the corporate giant that is Microsoft. The best defense against 'selling-out' however is a strong offense. If Google pushes the court to reopen its Library scanning, limits its profits to advertisements, continues to improve its employee benefits and trats as sacrosanct the free-ness of its applications (all actions I believe it's undertaking), I think the company will revolutionize the industry. Furthermore, the importation of 'corporate culture' governance and 'financial strategists' should be avoided at all costs. We should hope that the company will remain guided by its heart, and not its wallet.

Posted by: Milton "Dreaming of Menlo Park" | August 24, 2005 4:40 PM | Report abuse

First of all, pretty much any well-developed software of useful complexity will require some patching eventually. See Apple.
Second, the concept of a Microsoft competitor should be supported unless there are real reasons not to.
Third, worrying about patching non-existent software is a thin reed to support an article/blog entry. But Friday is almost here.

Posted by: GBV | August 24, 2005 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Its called capitalism...Welcome to American Economics. You would do the same thing if you were in charge. This is a society driven by money and esteem.

Posted by: Matt | August 24, 2005 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey, there's another Matt here :)

I laughed out loud when I read the comment about Google being altruistic and Microsoft being heartless. You have GOT to be kidding.

I'm not saying Google is not altruistic, but to ignore all of the work that Microsoft has done in communities, education and around the world, not to mention Bill Gates' massive philanthropy is very ignorant.

Posted by: Matt | August 24, 2005 8:44 PM | Report abuse

I think people should start looking at Google and other search engines with a different eye.

I suggest that you read this interview with famous hacker Michal Zalewski.

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/security/2005/08/25/zalewski.html?page=3


There are a couple of interesting topics... the need for randomness, how a hacker mind works, applying AI to security tools, and especially *unconventional* uses for search engines such as Google.

Posted by: Fong | August 27, 2005 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I think people should start looking at Google and other search engines with a different eye.

I suggest that you read this interview with famous hacker Michal Zalewski.

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/security/2005/08/25/zalewski.html?page=3


There are a couple of interesting topics... the need for randomness, how a hacker mind works, applying AI to security tools, and especially *unconventional* uses for search engines such as Google.

Posted by: Fong | August 27, 2005 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I think people should start looking at Google and other search engines with a different eye.

I suggest that you read this interview with famous hacker Michal Zalewski.

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/security/2005/08/25/zalewski.html?page=3


There are a couple of interesting topics... the need for randomness, how a hacker mind works, applying AI to security tools, and especially *unconventional* uses for search engines such as Google.

Posted by: Fong | August 27, 2005 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Is my home still standing after Katrina? High resolution satellite photos are coming on line to help answer that. Please check out: www.earth.google.com for free download of Google Earth. Then check out:
http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/93932/Main/90791/#Post93932
If you click on the Download now portion of that post, the www.digitalimage.com Quickbird satellite photos from 8/31/05 will show about 2 meter resolution of individual rooftops in the Chalmette area of New Orleans. These images appear as an overlay of the historical Google map of Chalmette. If this dowload is legitimate, it may help a lot of folks to see their own homes, even if in a bit of a fuzzy image. A bit of newspaper hound work may find even better images of the damage to individual homes. (www.Orbimage.com does not plan to provide satellite photos by individual addresses, acording to a post that I got this AM).
Keep up the good work. Blessings, Alan

Posted by: Alan Caroe | September 1, 2005 8:05 PM | Report abuse

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