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Aug 23 2007   4:52PM GMT

Golden Google gets tarnished

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

It was bound to happen. Google, the maestro of sleek (i.e. non Microsoft-like) interfaces and Web applications and services, is starting to feel some pain.

Netcraft, picking up a report on the Blogger status page, reports that Blogger and Blogspot — Google sites both — were offline for an hour on Wednesday.

Google apologized “profusely.”

Mitigating factor: Google’s outed itself on its own site. Counter-mitigating factor: Given the gazillions of self-posters affected, this was probably pre-emptive PR. Nothing like ticking off a nation of navel-gazers.

It’s one thing for freebie services to crap out — even many bloggers have to agree that you get what you pay for. But, as Google pushes more and more into real-world business apps, the stakes change and so does the scrutiny.

You can practically smell the schadenfreude from Redmond. What company gets slammed more for outages, bugs, and hack attacks than Microsoft? And what company look more like an old fogey compared to Google’s glitz?

Now it’s time for Google to be measured for maturity.

And, some folks are also starting to wonder publicly if Google is really a good open-source netizen. It uses the stack but critics say it releases only a tiny portion of the enhancements it makes.

Money quote from The Register’s Ashlee Vance:

“Google has become the poster child for the software as a service (SaaS) abuse of open source software. The ad broker uses copious amounts of open code but gets around returning changes to “the community” by claiming it does not redistribute the code. Instead, Google simply places the software on servers and ships a service to consumers.”

Somewhere, someone in Redmond is smiling. Barbara Darrow, a Boston-area journalist, can be reached at badarrow@comcast.net .

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