You're Damn Right I'm a Fanboy: MG Siegler on Apple, Google, Startup Culture, and Jackasses on the Internet

by MG Siegler

What's in the book?

The best of MG Siegler's insights into contemporary technology and social media.

    • On Apple and the Art of Kicking Ass
    • Steve Jobs: The Crazy One
    • On Google and the Art of Being Evil
    • Startups and Startup Culture
    • SEO Bait and the Plight of Tech Journalism
    • MG Siegler VS. People Who Suck



As we all know by now, comments on the Internet are a fascinating thing. My favorite involve the word “fanboy.” Generally speaking, being a fanboy means you write (stories, tweets, whatever) about a certain topic with a positive angle. It’s meant to be a derogatory term, but the truth is that it’s so overused that it’s almost completely meaningless. For the sake of this post, though, I’ll play ball. I have a confession to make: I’m a fanboy.

Now, I didn’t say specifically what I’m a fanboy of, because there have been too many titles bestowed upon me over the years. At various points over just the past few months, I’ve been an Apple fanboy, a Google fanboy, a Twitter fanboy, a Facebook fanboy, a Foursquare fanboy, a Gowalla fanboy, and yes, even a Microsoft fanboy. Never mind that most of companies compete with one another, so it would be hard to be a true fanboy of multiple ones without misrepresenting my fanboydom of a few of the others. We’ll just say I’m a fanboy and leave it at that. And that leaves me wondering: why wouldn’t you want to be a fanboy?


MG Siegler is a general partner at CrunchFund and a columnist forTechCrunch, where he has been writing since 2009. His focus is on Apple.

Prior to TechCrunch, MG covered various technology beats for VentureBeat.

Originally from Ohio, MG attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. He’s previously lived in Los Angeles where he worked in Hollywood and in San Diego where he worked in web development. He also writes at his own blog, ParisLemon, and tweets a lot.

He now lives in San Francisco.


With the deep inclusion of Google+ into Search, Google is tempting fate. We’ve been over this. A lot. And this story is going to continue for some time to come. It sure looks like Google is almost asking for an inquiry into potentially anti-competitive practices (and it’s coming). Which is insane. So the next logical question is why? Why is Google risking so much to do this?

My colleague Eric had a very interesting theory earlier. Maybe Google’s real motive is to get the government to also look into Facebook’s often-unfair practices with regard to their network ahead of their IPO. If social and not search is indeed the future, call this pre-subversion. And if there’s any shred of truth to this theory, more power to Google; it’s rather genius (though still extremely risky).

But the more likely answer as to why Google is doing Search+ is much simpler. At a high level, they believe social elements are going to be an extremely important part of search going forward. Given that the two biggest players in social, Facebook and Twitter, don’t give them full access to their data (Twitter used to but the relationship ended, Facebook never did), Google is doing the only thing they can in their minds to still get the data they need: bolster Google+.

That makes sense. The problem, again, is how they’re doing it — with Google Search, a property which has a (natural) monopoly. Google will argue that they have no choice due to the lack of data from Twitter and Facebook. But that’s not good enough. First of all, they do have enough data to equalize the two most troublesome areas of Search+: the “People and Pages” box (let’s call it the Google+ Juice Box), and the social profiles in Google Search drop-downs.

Second, Facebook and Twitter can likely argue that giving Google access to such data would be a huge detriment to their respective businesses. Again, Twitter used to give access, but then they could not reach an agreement on new terms. It was all about money. Google saying that Twitter “chose” not to renew reads like a public shakedown, in that light.

And this points to something deeper going on behind the scenes here, which is likely the actual crux of this problem. Google believes it’s their right and duty to perfect their search engine at all cost. That’s the only way you can explain some of their actions (not only this, but surfacing some of their other data over competitors as well). But because of their market dominance, Google’s rivals believe the measures the search giant is taking in order to improve their product are unfair.

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