Google and the Issue of Trust

Sparked by a post by Blake Ross, many are starting to question Google. The “tips” issue seems to be the tipping point for many. To be honest, that issue doesn't bother me much. For me, it came when they deprecated the SOAP API. In my mind, that marked the first time Google made a decision based on something besides technical merit. If they had dropped the SOAP API for something like a REST API, I'd have thought much differently about the situation. The replacement, however, was the AJAX Search API which is in no way comparable. The SOAP API allowed you to do whatever you needed to do with the data. The AJAX Search API doesn't allow you to do anything with the data except show it verbatim, and it has ads. The deprecation was especially poignant for LQ, since we used it as an alternative search method to supplement our normal search functionality (which uses FULLTEXT). We'll either need to drop the alternative search, or move it to something like the Yahoo! REST API. 2007 may prove to be an interesting year for Google. They remain technically superior, but they may find they're not able to do some of the things they do (giving no idea of what the revenue share on AdSense is comes to mind, but so do other things) once they are no longer the darling. Being able to ignore the Street and move in whatever direction they wanted has been a core strength of Google in my mind. That ability may be coming to an end though. Kudos to Matt Cutts (a Google employee) for speaking on the issue openly and transparently. That's what's needed right now. Goggle has been very good at responding to criticism in the past. Hopefully that trend will continue.

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