Googling the meaning of open

The official Google Blog has a long, long Bill Clintonesque essay on the “meaning of open” that goes on and on with nuggets like this:

“The topic of open seems to be coming up a lot lately at Google. I’ve been in meetings where we’re discussing a product and someone says something to the effect that we should be more open. Then a debate ensues which reveals that even though most everyone in the room believes in open we don’t necessarily agree on what it means in practice.”

It’s a long essay and, frankly, a bit dense for such a topic as “open.”

So, here’s my attempt to translate the essay into what they “meant” to say:

1. Open means whatever Google says it means, just google it if you don’t believe us.
2. Open means what Google’s competitors don’t do — read the open space between the lines.
3. Open means what Google’s detractors don’t want. Rupert Murdoch, for example. He’s un-open.
4. Open means un-closed. (See: “closed”)
5. Open means something Google can give away for free but still control.
6. Open means something that Twitter isn’t.
7. Open means something that Facebook isn’t.
8. Open means something that Microsoft isn’t.
9. Open means something that Apple isn’t.

In the spirit of openness, I am confessing: I didn’t actually read the essay.

  • Thanks for summarying so I don't have to read it. 😉

  • Nigel Stolting

    Number 9 is my favorite, having been resigned to get my wife an iPhone – the decision driven purely on iTunes support!

  • Certainly one of the biggest three technology questions for organizations, especially with the rise of Cloud computing.

  • At times I have wondered what 'open' really means in open source. Great translation – Thanks.

  • At times I have wondered what 'open' really means in open source. Great translation – Thanks.