Google earlier this month reported its earnings for the first quarter of 2012, topping Wall Street’s estimates. The Internet giant also announced plans to create a new class of non-voting capital stock that would effectively create a 2-for-1 stock split. As a result, Google would be able to issue new shares of stock for acquisitions and employee compensation without diluting the 56.3% voting stake the company’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin control. Not everyone is happy about the planned split, however, and a shareholder has sued the company and its board in an attempt to block the plan. The class action lawsuit is being put forward by the Brockton Retirement Board, which has accused Google of breaching its fiduciary duty to the company’s shareholders, Reuters reported on Monday. The complaint states that Page and Brin “wish to retain this power, while selling off large amounts of their stockholdings, and reaping billions of dollars in proceeds.” The Brockton Retirement Board asked a Delaware judge to block the plan and award unspecified compensatory damages.
A recent interview with Google’s cofounder Sergey Brin received a lot of attention due to his view that Apple and Facebook are the biggest threats to the open Internet. Today, Brin took some time to clarify his thoughts about the coverage of his interview, which he feels has been “particularly distorted.” In a Google+ post, Brin noted he has “always admired Apple’s products,” and he currently uses an iMac (Imac?):
Moreover, I have much admiration for two of the companies we discussed — Apple and Facebook. I have always admired Apple’s products. In fact, I am writing this post on an Imac and using an Apple keyboard I have cherished for the past seven years.
- Besides governments and the entertainment industry, Google cofounder sees Facebook and Apple as the biggest threat to the open Internet (9to5mac.com)
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said during an interview published on Sunday that Apple and Facebook pose serious threats to Internet freedom because of their closed approaches to software. While speaking with The Guardian, Brin said there are ”very powerful forces that have lined up against the open Internet on all sides and around the world. I am more worried than I have been in the past. It’s scary.” The executive pointed to the “walled-garden” philosophy that sees companies like Apple and Facebook maintain tight control over third-party software on their respective platforms as the cause for his concerns. Read on for more.
Brin voiced concerns that this closed approach prevents companies like Google from accessing the information stored on the companies’ networks, possibly revealing one of the main causes for his position. ”There’s a lot to be lost,” Brin said. “For example, all the information in apps, that data is not crawlable by web crawlers. You can’t search it.”
The Google co-founder acknowledged that there are much more serious threats to freedom on the Web than his company’s two nearest rivals, however — namely the efforts of countries like China, Saudi Arabia and Iran to censor and restrict access to the Internet. Brin also noted that the entertainment industry’s anti-piracy efforts stand to impede Internet freedom.
In an interview with the Guardian over the weekend, Google cofounder Sergey Brin said:
[...]he was most concerned by the efforts of countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and Iran to censor and restrict use of the internet, but warned that the rise of Facebook and Apple, which have their own proprietary platforms and control access to their users, risked stifling innovation and balkanizing the web.” There’s a lot to be lost,” he said. “For example, all the information in apps – that data is not crawlable by web crawlers. You can’t search it.”
It is interesting that “lost” is defined above as “not crawlable by Google’s search engine.” Framing the argument—as “what is in the best interests of users” versus what Google wants—would probably have helped his case. We are supposed to think that it is just a coincidence the two biggest corporate threats to Google are also the two biggest threats to humanity/the Internet. (via Slashdot)
It’s hard to say how popular Chrome OS, Google’s browser-centric operating system, really is. There can be little doubt, though, that Google is quite serious about this initiative. Today, Google launched the latest developer version of Chrome OS and this update sports the first major redesign of the operation system’s interface since its launch in late 2010.
In this new version, Chrome OS almost looks like a traditional OS, with a full-blown desktop and window manager instead of just a browser and tabs. Aura, as this hardware-accelerated window manager is known, is Chrome’s next generation user interface framework and it is making its public debut in this new developer version of Chrome OS.
This update is quite a departure from Chrome OS’s origins. Until now, Chrome OS basically just gave users access to a single browser window at a time (you could already have multiple browser windows open on separate virtual screens) and launching new apps meant you first had to open a new tab and then look for the app you wanted to start. Now, Chrome OS features a Launchpad-like app launcher, as well as a Windows-like taskbar (Google calls it a “shelf”). Apps, it is worth noting, still start in a browser tab and not as stand-alone windows, though.
In short, Chrome OS now looks and behaves a lot more like the desktop operating systems it set out to challenge.
In a way, this almost feels as if Google is admitting defeat here. When Chrome OS launched, Google’s Sergey Brin argued that traditional PC operating systems were “torturing users.” Chrome OS was supposed to be all about “speed, simplicity and security” and Google wanted to use it to “re-think what operating systems should be.” This new version, however, does away with a bit of this simplicity in favor of greater functionality. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, and may just help Chrome OS gain more mainstream acceptance as new users will surely find it to be a more familiar experience.
While Aura is obviously the star of this update, it’s worth noting that the latest version also introduces support for files compressed in the .tar, .gz and .bzip2 formats, as well as better support for multi-monitor setups.