Google & Facebook Downtimes, An Eye-Opener
By sheer coincidence, Google and Facebook one after another had their system downtimes and the world felt it heavily. We came into the realization that we depend on these two companies on how: we communicate; how we speak with each other; how to entertain ourselves and how to share our everyday lives with our acquaintances. Many companies have embraced Facebook services, including Instagram for marketing use. Enterprises are also moving away from hosting their own email servers, embracing Gmail as their email system, lessening the cost of email operations, maintenance and salary of email administrators.
Youtube in all its consumer-side audiences is able to penetrate the corporate space as well. Many companies opt to use Youtube as a platform for their video training materials instead of hosting them onsite, which lessens the cost overhead for companies with their need to train their staff. With two decades of Google and 1½ decades of Facebook, people surrendered their personal information and gave their trust to the two companies, which brought them immense influence. The success of Chrome shows that first hand, as it stole the top browser spot against the erstwhile king of all browsers, Internet Explorer. Web developers today will always develop first for Chrome-based browsers, with other browser families like Firefox being treated as a second-tier browser only. Facebook, on the other hand, made itself as a household name, as more web developers choose to use Facebook login as an authentication system for their websites.
The problem with giving a huge trust to two corporate for-profit companies of our Internet-lives is the parallel growth of dependence and less motivation to “reinvent the wheel.” Why settle for an internal email system, there is Gmail? Why acquire an instant messaging system for the organization, there is Facebook Messenger? Many potential innovations no longer become possible, as people become comfortable with the services offered by Google and Facebook. Starting a new search engine, email service, instant messaging app, a video sharing site, and social media network is automatically doomed, given the influence and weight exerted by Google and Facebook. Twitter just survives, because it offers a niche service compared to Facebook, but as we can see Twitter already saturated its userbase, it no longer grows exponentially, not even laterally.
People in the IT industry and start-ups need to continue their motivation to innovate, but the moment any indication of success in the horizon they are bought/acquired by tech giants. Both Facebook and Google have the lion-share of all IT company acquisitions at least in the past decade. The acquired companies tend to follow two directions; one is the path of success like Youtube, which we saw Google providing it the autonomy it requires to thrive in the video-sharing market segment. But not all acquisitions are successful, one example is Picasa, acquired by Google from Lifescape Inc in 2002. The search giant made the Picasa app a successful software in handling images, but as soon as they have developed their own, they retired Picasa for Google Photos.
The money that the original creators receive from an acquisition is a good thing, that is not the problem. However, there are times that acquisition hurts innovation, the hunger to create new solutions for the current problems, having an alternative when it comes to dealing with everyday challenges. We have to seriously think about showing courage to remain in control of our innovative mindset, instead of letting powerful companies buy it from us.
Julia Sowells922 Posts
Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.