All change at Google this week...
In something of a first it seems the search giant is preparing to tow the line by both scaling back the reach of Google News and dropping its own Gears technology for the HTML5 industry standard.
News first and in aiming to pacify a certain angry Australian publishing mogul, Google Senior Business Product Manager Josh Cohen has announced Google will adjust its existing ‘First Click Free’ software “so that publishers can limit users to no more than five pages per day without registering or subscribing.”
“If you're a Google user, this means that you may start to see a registration page after you've clicked through to more than five articles on the website of a publisher using First Click Free in a day,” he continued. “We think this approach still protects the typical user from cloaking, while allowing publishers to focus on potential subscribers who are accessing a lot of their content on a regular basis.”
Previously First Click Free rather sneakily gave users access to subscription only content ‘for the first click’. On top of this Google will also index any free preview pages on a subscription site and label such stories as ‘subscription’ on Google News. Will Murdock be happy? I suspect he’ll just see it as his first step towards victory (which I doubt).
Secondly, it seems Google Gears is for the chop (grind?!)
Speaking to PC Magazine, Google Engineering director Linus Upson admitted: "We're very focused on moving HTML5 forward, and that's where we're putting all of our energy. When we started the Gears project, we did it because we couldn't get the browser vendors interested in building offline applications. And so, so we said, okay, we'll build a plugin that could do it. And lo and behold, once we shipped Gears, suddenly the browser vendors got very interested in adding capabilities to build offline applications. You can almost think of what's in HTML5, with app cache, and database, and those things, as essentially Gears 2, and that's how we view it.”
In short: goodbye Gears you were wonderful bridging software. In all fairness this makes a great deal of sense and it’s good to see Google admitting that an open platform is the way forward.
It was beautiful while it lasted...