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The web wasn't lost by people posting baby pictures to Facebook. The web was lost when Google leveraged market dominance to enact a complete abrogation of web standards -- since the HTML 'standard' is now a 'Living Document,' the standard is "do whatever Chrome does," which is an unattainable goal.

There are four voting members of WHATWG. Two of them use Google's web rendering engine. A third is entirely financially dependent on Google. The other one is Apple. Who speaks for you? Nobody.

The trick to this seems to be to gain a majority share of a given committee, then release an updated set of standards that nobody on Earth has the labor availability to enact.

Once your competitors fall behind your breakneck feature pace, look around and say "oh well, we're the only ones who matter, since nobody else is doing this!" and declare the matter closed.

Anyone who isn't rich enough to keep up can be safely ignored. Anyone who is rich enough to keep up can be bought out.

I don't really buy it.
I mean Chrome controls HTML not through the committee, they control HTML because everyone uses Chrome (except iOS, where Apple outright forbids it).

Also MS using Chrome engine doesn't mean they have no say at all, if Google pushes out a feature MS doesn't like, they can just disable it in their version.

Point is, standards aren't made by committee, they're made by pushing out "experimental" features, land-grabbing market share, then documenting them ex-post.

Risk is that they'll create a "DRM webpage" feature where ad-blocking is impossible. Then web developers will use this so they can monetize websites easier. But even with overwhelming market share there are still a million things that can go wrong with such a plan as that.

@cjd I agree with your last point, but that only works once you've broken the standards committees. Google tried to ignore them, then wound up having to go back and form WHATWG anyway, because the W3C wouldn't be distracted from standards-based protocols.

Microsoft won't devote sufficient labor expenditure to deviate from core Blink features, in my estimation. If they tried it, there would be a user revolt once Youtube got slow, or GMail glitched, or any of the other tricks Google pulls.

AFAIK W3C is still the decision body whereas WHATWG is only proposing solutions to W3C. So yes, there is a severe monopolization problem with weak Firefox and strong chrome(ium) browsers, but WHATWG is probably not a root cause.

@SebastianGallehr No. As of a year ago the W3C has wholly abdicated control of the HTML and DOM standards to WHATWG:

All the W3C can do now is rubber-stamp whatever WHATWG churns out.

@khm As much as I love reminding everyone how Google is an evil mind control cult which must be stopped… I can’t blame them for making the web terrible.

The first big blow to the Internet was a company called America OnLine, who ran a blitzkrieg ad campaign littering people’s lawns with CDs of how to buy their company’s new product: the Internet. People call it Eternal September, since September was know as a time when a lot of clueless new students discovered the Internet and made trouble. That September, AOL drove up demand so high that existing decentralized systems had no time to adapt and were quickly overwhelmed. And corporations were ready to take over.

The Netscape corporation promised to bring a multimedia experience to the Internet, all while cementing a centralized unscalable infrastructure. They had no support for multihoming, and their caching algorithms were designed to give the server control of your computer, leaving you with nothing to do but wish that your browser hadn’t deleted its last cached copy of a website. They ignored existing encryption schemes, and instead designed a protection racket they called SSL. And of course the demand for bandwidth to transmit images, then video, in real time, with Netscape helpfully breaking and failing when you don’t, drove everyone straight back to IBM style mainframe servers, also known as “The Cloud.”

That was around the time Google started taking over quietly behind the scenes with that “investing profits into options” scam which works so well. Things were already going downhill though.

That’s what I remember, at least…


@cy My memory agrees with yours, but I can't find evidence that the people behind the wheel at Netscape were actually evil.

Even if they were, at least they also had the grace to be incompetent.

@khm I consider SSL itself to be evidence, since they could’ve easily supported PGP instead. SSL has been the primary driver behind the corporatization of the Internet. But um… well, Andreessen has gotten up to some shady stuff, when investing in Skype right before MS bought it, and being on the board of Facebook. Honestly I even consider any unusual amount of financial success as sufficient evidence to put the burden of proof on him that he’s not a scumbag. But I’m obviously not his loving wife who bore him a child, so I dunno.

He’s probably small change compared to the completely anonymous investors hiding behind mutual funds and retirees. And I don’t know about any of the others who were behind the design of Mosaic.