Google: A little more like Microsoft every day

Google is dropping the Firefox browser as its default in Google Pack, making the Web giant look increasingly like the desktop monopolist, Microsoft, every day.

Recently, Google made a series of changes to its Chrome end-user license agreement, including the removal of language that describes how users can terminate their relationship with Google, as ReadWriteWeb discovered. Evil? Nah. That's likely just lawyers talking.

Or what about Google's efforts to get special treatment with broadband operators, paving a Google-centric "fast lane" on the Web?

Today's news from Computerworld, however, has Google looking more like the old Microsoft monopoly it replaces.

While Google's one-download assortment of Google code and third-party applications--the Google Pack--used to install the Mozilla Firefox browser by default, Google has now eliminated Firefox as the default browser in its Google Pack installation.

Yes, Firefox is still available as a choice to Google Pack users, but is this just one more step toward Google's own tightly integrated universe?

Microsoft, of course, is (or was) the master of the tie-in, using its dominance in Office or Windows to push customers to use Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, etc. Google has yet to reach the "push" phase, preferring instead to nudge, cajole, and pull would-be customers along, but its increasingly tenuous ties to Firefox suggest that its aim to unseat Microsoft can't accommodate third parties. Not for long, anyway.

Google, of course, is different. As a general rule, Google embraces openness . Perhaps the browser is just a different beast, given its critical importance to Google's services. Entrusting the gateway to Google's Web to third parties may simply not be viable.

Even so, I liked to think that third parties like Mozilla helped to ensure that Google would "not be evil." Time will tell if Google has the will power to keep itself honest.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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