Google used to care so much about standards and openness. They had the most standards-compliant browser, an RSS/Atom feed aggregator, and search results from social circles meant Buzz, Twitter, Flickr, and anyone else willing to let Google index its data.
Now Google is basically at the top—or close enough that it feels like it is. Suddenly they have lost interest in openness and standards. Now -webkit- prefixes and chrome.* APIs are going to make Chrome the new IE. Google's focus has shifted from the open web to the Chrome web. Google+ is replacing Google's old work at aggregating social data from a variety of networks. In Buzz and Reader, users could pull in tweets, Flickr uploads, blog posts, RSS feeds, FriendFeed content, and more. Google+ keeps everything tightly under Google's control.
Where is this going to go next? I could definitely see Google abandoning XMPP Google Talk for some non-standards-based expansion of Google+ Messenger. One thing is for sure, the Google that built its image as a company that put the interests of the Internet as a whole before its own interests is gone. Google is very quickly ceasing to be special and becoming yet another rich company.
Long story short, Google was calling for open standards when others were in charge. Now it is on top, it is happy to take advantage of that, and its products are so nice that we are not going to stop them. At least I am not. I like Gmail too much.
And, oddly enough, it is now Microsoft calling for open standards. Funny how these things go...
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