Locking the Big $$$ In

Google is often accused of abusing its dominant position in search and other online services, so today’s news that the same is the case for the augmented-reality of Google Glass should come as no surprise. A survey commissioned by ICOMP (a Brussels-based institute/think-tank on digital competition) found that a majority of clicks by Google Glass users favour Google’s own sponsored links. Surely there will be lots of debate about the methodology of this report and Netopia is not convinced it is exhaustive by any means. The interesting point, however, is that there is a pattern repeating. It used to be tech companies, pirates and telcos knocking Hollywood for locking movies into the “window”-model (theatres first, then dvd, then tv, you know the pattern) and not embracing the value of “accessibility”. Turns out maybe accessibility isn’t the key to the future after all, windowing and lock-in turns up in all sorts of ways. Try extracting your Facebook friend list in some useful format. Or moving your photos from one cloud-storage to another. If you want to change phone carrier, you will have to go through the “anti-churn” department (churn is what telcos call subscribers leaving). The list is endless, making “accessibility” look more like a nice phrase – lock-in is where you get the big bucks from.

ICOMP report: http://www.i-comp.org/blog/2013/icomp-announces-results-of-new-eye-tracking-study/