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Clash of the (computer) service-providing titans

We are all being corralled.       It is a slippery-slope as we become effectively "tied" to the computer behemoths, Apple, Google, etc.   

A little over a decade ago, just before the masses discovered the digital universe, the internet was a borderless new frontier: a terra nullius to be populated by individuals, groups and programmers as they saw fit. There were few rules and no boundaries. Freedom and open standards, sharing information for the greater good was the ethos.

Today, the open internet we once knew is fracturing into a series of gated communities or fiefdoms controlled by giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and to a lesser extent Microsoft. A billion-dollar battle conducted in walled cities where companies try to lock our consumption into their vision of the internet. It has left some lamenting the ''web we lost''.
The same firm in some cases now provides not just the content we consume but the devices we consume it on and a plethora of other services to help manage our digital lives, be it email, online storage or e-commerce.


Increasingly, the web kings are expanding into each other's turf and butting heads with smaller pretenders to the throne, such as Twitter, locking competitors out of their ecosystems but, more importantly, locking us, the consumers, in.


Continue reading here.   On a related topic see "The Emperor of All Identities" in The New York Times.

"A few years after it was founded, Google adopted a list of guiding principles it titled, “Ten things we know to be true.” No. 4 was “Democracy on the Web works.”

That’s a worthy sentiment — though a bit surprising coming from the Web’s emperor.

For that, arguably, is what Google has become. Its search engine accounts for nearly 80 percent of all Web searches in the United States — and a remarkable 98 percent of searches from mobile devices. In that role, Google is not just an eponymous verb but perhaps the most central conduit of information in the nation — and, indeed, on the planet. No other search engine comes close."


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