Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD--see Wikipedia) is how IBM tried to retain its dominance, what Microsoft used to cement its monopoly and, now, I suggest we review recent Google news and wonder:
Industry Leaders Announce Open Platform for Mobile Devices: In which Google and "a broad alliance of leading technology and wireless companies today joined forces to announce the development of Android, the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices."
Google Launches OpenSocial to Spread Social Applications Across the Web: When we learn that Google's "release of OpenSocial marks the first time that multiple social networks have been made accessible under a common API to make development and distribution easier and more efficient for developers."
MySpace and Google Join Forces to Launch Open Platform for Social Application Development: Which marks the "joining forces" of "MySpace, the world's largest social network, and Google as founding members of OpenSocial.
The Nielsen Company and Google Establish Strategic Relationship: Announcing the launching of "a first step," a Web analytics "relationship [that] leverages Nielsen’s experience in television audience measurement to bring demographic data to the Google TV Ads™ advertising platform."
Basically, four of the last five press releases from Google have amounted to "me and my friends are going to..." beat a major competitor or rule a marketplace based on pre-announcements without a great deal of substance or products that can be seen and used today. Google sounds more like Microsoft circa 1988-to-1992, when it was launching consortia right and left to block competitors without delivering much, or any, real product. Microsoft still does this, but it doesn't enjoy the credibility (or, better, the credulousness) that greet Google announcements.
Google says "me and my friends are going to..." beat you with technologies that can't be seen or used today.Android, the Google open mobile platform introduced today is months or years away from release, albeit some companies claim it will be part of products in the next year. Reality is nowhere to be seen or held, nor can you buy any of these big ideas.
OpenSocial, for all the noise, is little more than a loose collection of APIs that solve no new problems in social networking. I agree with Dare Obasanjo of Microsoft that "OpenSocial is to a standardized widget platform as an internal combustion engine is to an airplane. A step in the right direction but still very far from the end goal." Sure, Dare works for Microsoft, but that doesn't mean this is an inaccurate assessment of the OpenSocial announcement.
And the thing to remember is that internal combustion engines come in a variety of designs, so the variety of airplanes that might be built on OpenSocial is still limited by the shortcomings of Google's APIs, which are missing many of the functions needed for social interaction, let alone providing user privacy. OpenSocial is a fragment of a platform for a market that doesn't need a single monolithic platform.
Why is it that tech companies hovering around the beginning of their second decade in business resort to fear, uncertainty and doubt to counter the inevitable swell of creativity that challenge their consolidation of markets? With each of these announcements, Google is saying to potential customers that it will out-deliver anybody who may come out with products or services in the markets it covets, but doesn't yet own. We expect better of the company, because it claims to be different. The script playing out these days, however, is all too familiar.
UPDATE: The lede of this article has been modified to include the definition and an explanation of FUD.