Monday, January 04, 2010

One more reason to love Google

Or why Orthodox Judaism ought to be like Google*

Google makes its money from ads. So why would the company create a free web browser that accepts extensions that can block ads? Because Google gets it, that's why. First the back story, then the drasha:
Google announced on Dec. 8 that the test, or beta, version of Chrome would accept extensions — little programs that improve or customize the browser’s performance — as a way of harnessing the creativity of an outside community of programmers who would work free and agree to share what they make with other... As it happens, two 28-year-olds, Michael Gundlach, an independent programmer from outside Athens, Ga., and Tom Joseph, an M.D.-Ph.D. student at Mount Sinai Medical School, separately went through the exact same experience. In telephone interviews, each told of excitedly looking to see if he could install a Chrome extension of his favorite Firefox add-on, Adblock Plus, which prevents ads from appearing on Web sites, whether bright flashing animation or the text ads that Google serves up after a search.They did not find one. So, naturally, each spent a day or so creating a rough version of such an extension, with much more work to come. AdThwart from Mr. Joseph is now No. 2 in popularity among the more than 1,200 Chrome extensions; AdBlock from Mr. Gundlach is No. 8. Together, they already have more than 120,000 users.
Google could have blocked the blockers, engendered bad feelings, and implicitly agreed that ads are an annoying detriment to the web-browsing experience. Instead Google is allowing ad blockers, and committing itself to making better ads, or as Google's engineering director put it, "...if advertising is so annoying that a large segment of the population wants to block it, then advertising should get less annoying.”

The drasha:  Google's position is the exact opposite of the typical fundamentalist attitude. Instead of banning opposition, or trying to rig the rules of the game, Google is looking inward and improving its argument.

*subtitle suggested by @AviHein

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