Thursday, March 20, 2008

Don't Start Being Evil, Google.

I have to say I'm a bit upset at Google right now. Normally I like them a lot; great innovators, let you use the web your way, don't force ugly, annoying, animated, flashing and blorping adds on you and such.

However...

I recently received a new computer to use at work. I pulled most of the software I wanted off of my old system, but forgot to grab the Google Notebook extension for IE. I don't even remember if I can do that or not. I don't remember if I had bothered to keep the installer in my download archives after I downloaded it or if it was relegated to the temporary internet files and irretrievably wiped when my weekly shredder task went off. Regardless, the computer it might have been on has likewise since been cleaned and that avenue is no longer open to me.

"No problem," I thought. "I can just download it again from Google." Not so easy apparently. I will be the first to admit that I seem to have some arcane, mystical connotation intended, inability to use Google Search. I know, I know, it's the best search utility out there and I will also be the first to say that the fault lies entirely with me. But the only version of the Notebook browser extension that I can find is included in the Google Toolbar download. The last thing I want is any toolbar cluttering up my browser, I don't care who wrote it.

I happened to notice that I can still download the FireFox Google Notebook browser extension separate from the FireFox Google Toolbar and more enlightened individuals than myself might suggest that I just start using FireFox. To this I would respond "Shinanigans! Deflections!" and jump up and down pointing a finger shaking with anger in whatever general direction your reported IP suggests you might be. The problem here is with Google, not the browser.

For the most part I like Google and their products. But I'm also one of those weird people that generally likes Microsoft. Wrapping one incredibly useful feature into a new product just to get me to download the whole new product just reeks of those Microsoft tactics that only make me generally like them as opposed to becoming a media thumping zealot touting how great Vista is. Granted, Microsoft takes such tactics to entirely different extremes. But then, that's why the title of this article is only "Don't Start Being Evil" And for those of you that want to pick nits, the toolbar has entered a new beta mode so, yes, it is a new product. "But everything Google makes is in beta. That doesn't mean any of it is new." You don't get it both ways. Either software is in beta and it's new or it's out of beta and it's mature and you have to take responsibility for it. Narney narney narney, I'm moving on.

All that said, a full retraction and apology would be immediately forth coming if anyone can point me in the general direction of a Google sponsored download link for the Google Notebook extension for IE without the Google Toolbar that existed prior to this posting. I will also gladly make some corrections if I am made aware of a new Google sponsored link that gets created after this posting. And if anyone really holds me to either of those things, I might suggest that there are far more important blogs to be reading than mine.