|Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] You are the product
I can't remember the last time I cared about Mozilla. I also can't
remember a time when we needed it more.
Back in 2008 I could say, with some semblance of sanity, that "The Web's
platform is Firefox." Nearly 10 years later, Mozilla's Firefox is almost
a rounding error in desktop market share, and nonexistent in mobile
browser market share. It offers a few other services, like Pocket, but
largely gets ignored.
This is a mistake. Our world is increasingly mediated by the internet,
and that internet has just a few gatekeepers, collecting tolls as we
browse. As Python guru Matt Harrison put it, "Vendors control the
default browser which 99.9% of people use." Those vendors are happy to
sell us access to information. Nothing about it is free.
SEE: Mobile Cross Platform Development Bundle (TechRepublic Academy)
You are most definitely the product
On mobile, where the majority of the world's content is now consumed,
Google and Facebook own eight of the top 10 apps, with apps devouring
87% of our time spent on smartphones and tablets, according to new
comScore data (Figure A).
For that remaining 13% of time spent on the mobile web, Google and Apple
offer the two dominant browsers. Though Apple has introduced ad blocking
in Safari, according to Augustine Fou, head of Marketing Science, an ad
consultancy, roughly 0% of mobile users block ads. Much of this comes
down to how hard it is to deliver good ad blocking on mobile devices, as
Cloud Technology Partners engineer Adam Barrett has posited, but part of
it also comes down to how clunky it is to get ad blocking operational on
your browser of choice.
And, for most people, their browser of choice (Google Chrome) has yet to
implement ad blocking.
Oh, sure, it's coming. Google has talked up how it's going to block "the
most intrusive ads." But let's be clear: Google's business depends upon
advertising. It might be willing to scrap the worst ads—the kind that
may push users onto other platforms—but there is zero chance that Google
will stop selling user privacy to build its ad revenues. No one at
Google has "bankruptcy" as a goal.
SEE: Download: Online security 101: Tips for protecting your privacy
from hackers and spies (TechRepublic)
In sum, the majority of our time online is now mediated by just a few
megacorporations, and for the most part their top incentive is to borrow
our privacy just long enough to target an ad at us.
Mozilla to the rescue?
Then there's Mozilla, an organization whose mantra is "Internet for
people, not profit." That feels like a necessary voice to add to today's
internet oligopoly, but it's not one we're hearing. Mozilla once had a
commanding share of the desktop web browser market; today that share has
dwindled, and on mobile devices it's virtually non-existent.
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This isn't good, but I'm not sure what to do about it. We clearly need
an organization standing up for web freedom, as expecting Google to do
that is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. Google does many
great things, but its clear incentive is to sell ads. We are Google's
product, as the saying goes.
SEE: Firefox fights back (CNET)
It's unclear what Mozilla should do. While it took its eye off the
mobile ball for too long, its Firefox and Firefox Focus browsers are
great. I've been running them at Mozilla director Asa Dotzler's
suggestion, and I'm impressed by how zippy fast they both are. In
Firefox (though not Firefox Focus, which strips all the crap away), I
still get the "sponsored content" silliness telling me that "Stunning
Asian Women Seek Older Men from Ottawa." Yes, I'm typing this from
Ottawa, but I'm only here overnight. And am I really that old? (OK,
don't answer that....)
As former MySQL executive and Duo Security COO Zack Urlocker has stated,
"What is Mozilla's 21st-century mission? I am not sure browser wars
Nor do other areas where Mozilla seems to be investing (like Pocket, an
Instapaper clone that allows you to save content for later reading?).
Rust, a cool programming language it's developing, has promise, but not
to save the web from the all-consuming embrace of Facebook and Google,
especially as they wall off the experience in apps.
If I sound like I don't know what to propose Mozilla should do, it's
because I don't. I simply feel strongly that the role Mozilla played in
the early browser wars needs to be resurrected to save the web today.
I'd love your thoughts: Is it too late, or is there something that
Mozilla (or Apple or...?) can do to reverse this shift toward
centralization and content closure?
So many immigrant groups have swept through our town
that Brooklyn, like Atlantis, reaches mythological
proportions in the mind of the world - RI Safir 1998
DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS - RI Safir 2002
http://www.nylxs.com - Leadership Development in Free Software
http://www2.mrbrklyn.com/resources - Unpublished Archive
http://www.coinhangout.com - coins!
Being so tracked is for FARM ANIMALS and and extermination camps,
but incompatible with living as a free human being. -RI Safir 2013
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