quick note on the googlebar

One of the small pleasures of having one’s own weblog is that it’s easy to add context or background information when you’re quoted in a press story that you feel is incomplete. I think last week when InternetNews ran the story "Google Toolbar ‘BlogThis’ Rankles Rivals" there was probably a little more I wish had been communicated.

The point I was trying to make is that Google can (and should!) do whatever it can to get value out of its acquisition of Blogger. I think promoting blogging on the most useful toolbar that exists is only a good thing. Everything I said in the article was accurately quoted (except possibly the incoherent babble about "pound[s] of flesh") by Ryan, but the general gist of what I was trying to say was "I’m cool with the new GoogleBar" and I don’t think that came across.

The points I was trying to make about Google were in the larger sense, that the search engine is really becoming a utility company for the web. I used to help run a water company years ago, and one of the worst parts of running a utility, especially a monopoly one, is that you’re so tightly restricted in what you can do. I think that the common perception of Google as the plumbing of the ‘net is going to result in that level of scrutiny over their actions, and though it didn’t come across in the story, I think that sort of limitation on what Google can do would be a shame, not a positive outcome. Nobody does their best when everyone’s staring at them and scrutinizing their every move. Except Olympic gymnasts. And frankly, Olympic gymnasts aren’t really human anyway.

The other interesting thing I’ve learned in doing more press and being a "business person" now is that it’s harder to get away with the somewhat irreverent sense of humor that I have. I had put a link up on my sidebar to the GoogleBar bug reporting page, saying that you could post a "lack of MT support" as a bug on that screen. It was a joke, people! It’d be great if someday some future version of the GoogleBar supports neutral posting to weblog systems. Right now, though, it just triggers the BlogThis bookmarklet, which makes perfect sense since, in case you didn’t know, Google owns Blogger.

Anyway, for those of you who know how pathologically laid back I am, or are familiar with my sense of humor, sorry to have to explain myself at such length. For the rest of you, please keep the following things in mind whenever reading things I write:

  1. I love everyone!
  2. I kid because I love!

Everything clear now?