It's a Google World

Google has released a beta version of its new online spreadsheet, which by itself is not a bad thing. I do have two concerns, though: one is that the Google spreadsheet is not as complete as Excel, or OpenOffice. For over a decade, Excel has had charting, as Lotus 1-2-3 did previously, something the Google tool lacks. My bigger concern is that Google and Microsoft are so focused on copying each other, they're failing to focus on truly innovative ideas.

Google, Google
Dell recently agreed to bundle the Google toolbar with its PCs. Now Dell is planning to sell search servers with Google's name on them. I looked at several Google Web pages and PDF datasheets, and nowhere could I find whether the Google Search Appliance ran Windows Server or Linux. I did find an obscure page that seems to indicate the search appliance runs Linux; I'm not sure why Google wouldn't be crowing about this. Meanwhile, I found absolutely nothing about the new products on Dell's own Web site. Maybe Michael doesn't want to aggravate Bill.

Google, Google, Oh, Google
Google execs have aggressively defended their actions in China where they have essentially supported repressive speech policies. But no one seemed to ask Google's young founders until recently when Sergey Brin admitted that Google had "compromised its principles" by cooperating with the Chinese government.

Brin has just met with the U.S. Senate to give his view on "'Net Neutrality" asking that major cable companies and telcos not be allowed to charge extra for their networks, or be able to give themselves better network access to sell their own services.

Microsoft Fixes Windows Security -- for $50 a Year!
I've always felt that an operating system should be secure from the start (my two sons' iBooks have never been intruded upon). Meanwhile, makers of anti-virus and other software, along with government regulators, argue that building such protections into Windows is bundling. Such an attitude allows, or perhaps even forces, Microsoft to sell security separately, which is why we now have Windows Live OneCare (used to just be called OneCare until Redmond got Live religion!), a yearly subscription-based service to block viruses, tune performance, offer enhanced help and ease backup.

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RFID and the Illegal Immigrant Supply Chain
RFID tags are a godsend for supply chains and can mean the difference between profit and loss, creaming the competition or being turned into mincemeat. But the leader of an RFID company has another idea: tag immigrants at the U.S. border so they can be tracked and forced to leave when their guest stay is up. Some see this an invasion of privacy. What do you think? Let us know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Visual Studio and SQL Server, Sitting in a Tree
One of the key goals of Visual Studio was to be a close development partner for SQL Server 2005. But apparently it wasn't close enough, as Microsoft just announced a special rev of Visual Studio for database jockeys. If you are at this month's Tech-Ed, snag your beta there.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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