I touch on open government and public data themes in this blog article —
Google is half open: the conclusion I draw after reading product management SVP Jonathan Rosenberg’s long, rambling essay, “The Meaning of Open,” a seeming apologia pro vita sua posted December 21 to the Official Google Blog. Rosenberg and Google get it — open source software creates value for everyone and give-back is essential; open information creates choice and engenders trust among individuals who engage in the Internet ecosystem — but for all the pride and confidence and even wisdom conveyed in the essay —
Closed systems are well-defined and profitable, but only for those who control them. Open systems are chaotic and profitable, but only for those who understand them well and move faster than everyone else. Closed systems grow quickly while open systems evolve more slowly, so placing your bets on open requires the optimism, will, and means to think long term. Fortunately, at Google we have all three of these.
— the repeated assertions of Google’s openness only reinforce that Google’s core, its strategic direction — Rosenberg’s own product management brief — is closed rather than community-driven. In the end, for Google, (updating a Vulgate translation of a phrase of Isaiah’s, adding tech-marketing talk), “my secret [sauce] is my own.”