Have The Lawyers Taken Over From The Technologists At Google?

from the the-deal dept

Despite today's deal with the BBC, it's no secret that Google has had a rough time lately in its dealings with major media companies. The company hasn't had much luck in convincing them to put their content on YouTube, with most deciding to take their videos and go home. But, the company claims it's still doing well with smaller, more independent media companies, and that it's been adding 200 content partners per quarter. It's no surprise that smaller players would be more receptive, since they don't have the resources that a Viacom has to widely distribute their content. Google, of course, knows how much money there is in the long tail, so it makes sense that they'd pursue these deals. But more importantly, it seems that the YouTube deal has changed Google in a significant way. Prior to the acquisition, the company created simple tools that anyone could use and make money off of -- no negotiation needed. But now the company is at the point where it needs to actively pursue and enter into deals with large content companies. It seems the company's legal department is in the news as much as its technical side, if not more so. While this may have always been inevitable, the company is coming to resemble the big tech and media companies that it so aggressively undermined in its beginning.

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  • identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, 2 Mar 2007 @ 10:23am

    Its like the bitter old man next door

    Google has been under the gun from so many sources (lawsuits from Belgian news papers, TV and Music studios) that its only a matter of time before they become bitter. They make something that was designed to make every one's lives easier but all there getting from there hard work is crap.

    I for one would like to say thank you Google for making my life easier. Because of them I found answers to questions that would never have been solved by myself, or would have required a $250 call to Microsoft.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Tyshaun, 2 Mar 2007 @ 4:49pm

      Re: Its like the bitter old man next door

      Google has been under the gun from so many sources (lawsuits from Belgian news papers, TV and Music studios) that its only a matter of time before they become bitter. They make something that was designed to make every one's lives easier but all there getting from there hard work is crap. I for one would like to say thank you Google for making my life easier. Because of them I found answers to questions that would never have been solved by myself, or would have required a $250 call to Microsoft.

      I think part of our problem (not Googles) as technology advocates is that we drank too much of the Google Koolaid. What I mean is that people ascribed altruistic attributes to Google as though it was something more than what it is, a corporation. Corporations act in a very predictable way and the mantra of any decent corporation is the same, maximie profit. If the corp can do this and produce "warm fuzzy" products, all the better, but I think we have been delusional to think that Google wouldn't morph over time into the very companies it is currently undercutting.

      This isn't a good or bad thing, just a statement of fact. In order for Google to grow and generate more profit the emphasis will gradually shift from new development to more collaboration and enhancement of existing products (I guess that's why I always get so upset when techDirt columnists go on and on about how innovation is the future growth model for companies and neglect the realities of corporate culture and the emphasis on show term profit maximization).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    rishi, 2 Mar 2007 @ 11:12am

    a suggestion for YouTube

    I have a suggestion for YouTube. Google should add a feature to play back the video in varying resolutions/bit rates. The video can be uploaded in a single higher bit rate and converted to various bit rates upon request.

    This would probably require a change in the encoding used, but since it is a proprietery system it should not be a problem to do so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Adam, 2 Mar 2007 @ 11:34am

    lol

    this is not the google suggestion forums... lol

    and there's a typo in the article

    While it this may in the last sentence

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2007 @ 11:58am

    i suggest you get your head out of your ass

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    toby scammell, 2 Mar 2007 @ 12:15pm

    I disagree that the Youtube deal has significantly changed the company--it's only changed the way the company is covered by bloggers and the media. This is an important distinction. Youtube is getting way too much coverage considering how important it is to google as a whole. All the negative talk about gootube is frustrating to those of us who own stock because the negative talk is overshadowing google's growth & other successes. In the larger context of google's financials, youtube is not significant.

    But the negative talk about youtube has become a self-fulfilling prophecy and the stock has suffered as a result.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    misanthropic humanist, 3 Mar 2007 @ 4:42am

    defeatist climate

    There's a theme here, in Joes introduction and in the comments. That theme is utterly black cynicism, defeatist thinking and resignation.

    I just want to echo what Bumbling Old Fool said to me in response to my comments to another story, because I agree with him, that changes for the betterment of society are always worth fighting for.
    We may each have different views on what that action should be, but it is better to have a positive attitude than a beaten down shrug of the shoulders.

    Joe says: "But now the company is at the point where it needs to actively pursue and enter into deals with large content companies."

    Is it? Justify that! Who says it needs to do any such thing? Why does it? This is a poisonous assumption.

    Joe says: "While this may have always been inevitable..."

    Inevitable? By what token? What forces? Simply saying that it's inevitable hides a thousand dark assumptions. Justify it. Come out and say what you dare not say.

    Tynshaun goes one step further by saying that Google was never even the altruistic entity it represented itself as in the first place. which in a way is almost worse, it denies the existence of socially conscious business in the first place and the possibility that it can ever prosper.


    Here is the real problem:

    It is us.

    By accepting the status quo, by accepting corruption, decay of principles and the feculant rot that sets in when the lawyers arrive we each become part of that process. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Each time someone makes an empty and defeatist statement like "that's just the way things are" they become part of the problem.

    Right now the lawyers are an extrememly destructive force in society. There are too many of them, they multiply like germs and have the same toxic effect. They are destroying the law and respect for it, they are destroying business, government and free social activity.

    Companies like Google are just one of the many victims symptomatic of a wider problem. They are under attack from the outside not from the inside.

    Let us stop repeating the falsehood that all business tends towards something corrupt, rotten and at odds with society. It doesn't have to be that way, not if we identify and bleach the pathogen. We can recover from this disease of litigious waste and disposal of wealth by WMD (weapons of mediocre destruction) - the US legal system and its army of parasites reduces everything to its most impotent and mediocre level, it is a wasting disease.

    I still have some faith that Google can recover from its illness and beat out the pencil pushing weasels. And if they cannot, then there are dozens of other search engines waiting in the wings to usurp them.

    Piratebay and AllofMp3 are two companies that should be held up as heroic examples of what can be achieved by refusing to play the weasel game. The very fact that US lawyers deem an entity "illegal" is enough to convince me that it is force for good. Google are an organisation of international scope. If necessary Google can tell the lawyers to fuck off and relocate their center of operations. This would be such a huge loss to the US economy. If I were Google I would put that "nuclear" option on the table right now and simply threaten that the cost of doing business in the USA is too high.

    Anyway, fwiw I use the Clusty meta-search engine. It is about 20% faster than Google and returns better results.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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