Keep Out of My Data

Walled garden — website content that a company collects and maintains but is not accessible to search by other companies.

“Another cause for concern [for Google] is that firms such as Facebook and Apple are hoarding customer data, thereby making them inaccessible to Google’s search engine. The rise of such ‘walled gardens’ on the web clearly bothers Google’s top brass. ‘Two years ago I would have told you this isn’t a problem,’ says Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive. ‘Now I will tell you it is a threat.’ Google recently clashed publicly and caustically with Facebook over the latter’s data practices, warning potential users that the social network had become ‘a data dead end’.

The search firm is seeing barriers go up elsewhere too. Take media companies, which are now thinking twice before licensing content to Google or making it freely available on the web. The biggest producers of television content in America are wary of supplying programming to new internet-enabled television services such as Google TV. And the rush towards tablet computers by newspaper companies hungry for new sources of revenue means that many of them are withdrawing free content from the internet.”

See article at: The Economist 04Dec10, p. 77: “How long will Google’s magic last?”