Organize world’s information and make it universally accessible & useful – Google.
Google as a Trend Setter
Larry Page and Sergey Brin decided to set their unofficial slogan as ‘Don’t be Evil’ back in 1998, while they were laying the foundations of Google with merely 16% shares. Since then, Google has been proven itself repeatedly not being an evil when it comes to Information Access & Sharing. It has been the trendsetters in so many versatile range of services including Online Advertisement (AdSense), Search Engine (Google Search), Smart Phone Operating Systems (Android), Web Browser (Chrome), Maps & Navigation (Google Earth). Google, for sure, has been a trend setter over the internet.
The Support for Openness
Google promotes and supports Open Source in many ways. The usual way of this is to adapt Open Source technologies in their products. The very obvious example of this is the support of WebRTC and its implementation in Chrome. The browser itself has over 750 Million active users as per Google (see here) which gives the organization enough data to analyze, realize and improve the quality of the Open technology being run behind the scenes. From Apache to Python, Google supports a vast number of Open Source projects and organizations. It helps Google a lot, but sometimes, bad things happen… like what happened with XMPP.
The Twist In The Story – XMPP (Jabber) Dilemma
“Google will be releasing a new communications product called Hangouts which users may choose to use instead of Google Talk. The new service does not support XMPP.” – Google I/O 2013.
And then they announced to stop their support for XMPP in their one of the most popular product when it comes to VoIP/Web Conferencing. Apparently, Google did so as Microsoft was taking negative advantage of that by integrating Lync with XMPP that would have enabled Outlook to Google Hangout sessions pretty easily.
Google’s stance seems strange. Dropping an Open Source support just because some closed source vendor is using it to benefit itself, is lame enough. Openness means to be very Open to everyone – even to your competitors. Dropping Jabber support from Hangout is more of the selfishness as there is a whole lot of open source projects that would not be able to go ahead with Hangout. This, for sure, is a real twist in the story of Google Open Source Support!
And The Opportunist Strikes!
And soon after Google decides this, Microsoft announces the connectivity between Skype and Lync enabled platforms… Interesting, isn’t it? Microsoft, that couldn’t capture the market using their epic (usually discouraged) Lync, not trying to penetrate in VoIP using the shield of Skype. This, I believe, is the right time to do so as Viber has recently announced to become next Skype using better tactic, capture the viral Smartphone market first and then extend your support to Desktops to compete Skype.
And The Award of Ultimate Victim Goes To…
The Open Source Community… As they are the ones who are going to be suffered the most. Time is the only factor to decide about how good or bad this move would be for Google but we, the Open Source Community, feel sad to witness this day, when Google, the most favorite of us all, disappointed everyone by dropping their support for XMPP giving Microsoft a chance to promote their closed source stuff.