When Google introduced their Google Frame to help make Microsoft’s browser Internet Explorer web compliant, testing by PC World confirmed the following:
One would of thought that Microsoft would of been pleased. But Microsoft warned Internet Explorer users that using the Google Frame plug-in could make the browser less secure.
“It’s not necessarily that plug-ins aren’t or can’t be secure, but that running a browser within a browser doubles the potential attack surface in a way that we don’t see is particularly helpful,” said Amy Bazdukas, Microsoft’s general manager for IE.
Bazdukas also said that by running Chrome Frame, IE8 users were unwittingly discarding all the private browsing protections that Microsoft built into its newest browser.
AT&T tried to attack Google over Google’s Voice application for the Apple iPhone. AT&T tried to bring up the fact that the app would not connect to all phone numbers. AT&T wanted the FCC to investigate the allegation but Google responded back quickly:
Here’s the quick background: Local telephone carriers charge long-distance companies for originating and terminating calls to and from their networks. Certain local carriers in rural areas charge AT&T and other long-distance companies especially high rates to connect calls to their networks. Sometimes these local carriers partner and share revenue with adult chat services, conference calling centers, party lines, and others that are able to attract lots of incoming phone calls to their networks.
Under the common carrier laws, AT&T and other traditional phone companies are required to connect these calls. In the past they’ve argued that these rural carriers are abusing the system to “establish grossly excessive access charges under false pretenses,” and to “offer kickbacks to operators of pornographic chat lines and other calling services.” (This is a complicated issue, but these articles from USA Today and the Associated Press explain it well.)
We agree with AT&T that the current carrier compensation system is badly flawed, and that the single best answer is for the FCC to take the necessary steps to fix it.
So how does any of this relate to Google Voice?
Google Voice’s goal is to provide consumers with free or low-cost access to as many advanced communications features as possible. In order to do this, Google Voice does restrict certain outbound calls from our Web platform to these high-priced destinations. But despite AT&T’s efforts to blur the distinctions between Google Voice and traditional phone service, there are many significant differences:
- Unlike traditional carriers, Google Voice is a free, Web-based software application, and so not subject to common carrier laws.
- Google Voice is not intended to be a replacement for traditional phone service — in fact, you need an existing land or wireless line in order to use it. Importantly, users are still able to make outbound calls on any other phone device.
Google Voice is currently invitation-only, serving a limited number of users.
It seems that AT&T needs to read the FCC rules which appear to not apply to software developers like Google and actually apply to AT&T. It seems that Google is also coming under fire by Apple. Apple had originally rejected the Google Voice app for the iPhone which started the FCC ball rolling which could end up forcing these companies into possible rule changes.