God is out on whether Google is good or evil

The New York Times ran a spirited little piece yesterday talking about whether Google was a goodie two shoes or a scheming little monopolistic rat.

Executives from Google are apparently trailing round US journalists armed only with a charm offensive, while Microsoft is following them around providing the same hacks with ammunition intended to shoot down Google’s puffery.

This follows a declaration by the head of the Justice Department in May that she and the office would be keeping a particularly close idea on tech companies – that includes Google, Apple, Microsoft and the whole crew.

It might help that Google’s chief lawyer, Kent Walker, used to work at the Justice Department but the New York Times doesn’t seem to think so.

Consumer Watchdog managed to get hold of the slides that Google is touting around earlier this month, and it’s clear that Google wants us all to think that it’s just a minnow compared to giants like Microsoft and IBM. Interestingly, it doesn’t include Intel in the figures – Paul Otellini, Intel’s CEO is on Google’s board.

One key message Google wants you and me to understand that “competition is just a click away” – that means that if something comes along that’s better, like Microsoft’s Bing, for example, arguably – Google stands the risk of being toppled off its search perch.

And the slides contrast “open” Firefox with “closed” Internet Explorer”.

For itself, Google claims that it’s opened up over a million lines of code and over 100 software projects, hosts over 150,000 open source projects, provides Chrome as its open source browser, and Android as its open source mobile operating system.