Google closes the Web in korea?

According to reports from Korea, Google has decided to add support for ActiveX for the Korean market rather than joining the efforts by Opera and others to push for open Web standards.

This is quite disappointing, since Google might actually have some influence, considering their position in the market. Then again, Google do not always practice what they preach when it comes to an open Web, so perhaps this move shouldn't come as a surprise.

On the other hand, one could say that Google is simply being pragmatic. They want to enter the Korean market, and doing it by opening the Web would be a long and difficult process. They want to work with the real Web in Korea, similar to how Opera and other browsers support both broken code and non-standard extensions, and they want to do it right now. There's a lot of money at stake here.

But I am still disappointed. We need Google to help the rest of us with proper efforts to push for open standards. Opera has been doing it for years. We've even struggled with compatibility for Google services. There's also the question of how implementing ActiveX in Chrome on a Windows computer will help people with alternative browsers on alternative platforms, especially mobile phones.

I guess we will just have to wait and see how important Google thinks an open Web is. So far, I am not impressed.

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3 thoughts on “Google closes the Web in korea?

  1. This "announcement" is very odd. I think this should have been announced by the Chrome team, not by Google Korea. How are they going to "support" something like ActiveX? Isn't it proprietary, shouldn't they have to reverse engineer the whole thing, or would they just use windows ActiveX runtimes? What does "Just in Korea" mean?If this is possible, why no other browsers has tried it before? What about security implications?I think that unless there are more details provided by the Chrome team, I find this hard to believe.

  2. Google wants to have Chrome be pre-installed on computers (http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/google/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212101417 ), so this is really a necessary step in that direction. Most people use the browser that is pre-installed. Would you rather have it be IE with ActiveX or Chrome with ActiveX?There is always a certain set of "evil" technologies that browser makers must support in order to reach critical mass. For example, Opera supports Microsoft Windows because otherwise they would not reach 90%+ of their users. In Chrome's case, supporting ActiveX is necessary to reach that 90% in Korea (especially if they want OEMs to preinstall their browser).Google isn't solidifying ActiveX's role as a standard plugin API. Google is obviously not interested in helping ActiveX succeed. Instead, it will support the bare minimum bit of ActiveX to gain critical mass in the Korean browser market. And then what? Microsoft can't "extend" ActiveX because it no longer has a monopoly on ActiveX implementations. And at some point, developers will probably move on to more powerful future plugin APIs based on open standards, because common ActiveX impementations lack a lot of capabilities compared to the future API.(disclaimer: I'm not necessarily speaking on the behalf of any of my former employers in this post. These opinions are my own.)

  3. "I guess we will just have to wait and see how important Google thinks an open Web is. So far, I am not impressed."I think you are over-reacting here. After all, Opera also provides a "View in IE" button in its official KB :http://www.opera.com/support/kb/view/415/And I'm eager to see what Opera Ibis will include for Chinese market.Also both NPAPI and ActiveX are not web standards. And it doesn't say Google Chrome will stop supporting NPAPI, so I don't think it "closes the Web" in any way.

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