Top three middle fingers of 2012

23:39, Dec 17 2012

I understand the appeal of yearender lists. The High Fidelity fan in me appreciates how ranking culture is like sport for people who hate sport, but writing them is nerve wracking. A year is a long time, and it is super easy to miss something big that happened in early January and feels aeons ago. Ranking a defined number of things is relatively easy for me, (Buffy seasons, from best to worst: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 4, 1) but when I am picking from the huge swath of "things that happened over the last 8766 hours" I get a little more panicky.

My favourite part about tech writing changes with every blog, but it generally fits into two extremes: praising something excellent or getting angry about companies being asshats to consumers. I went with the latter with this post, the headline was sanitised, but here are the top three dick moves of 2012.

1) Apple Maps. From the rare apology, the departure of one of their rising stars, the parody blog, the endangered Australians, to the applauded return of Google Maps to iOS, this one has been a nightmare for Apple that the most valuable company in the world probably shouldn't be susceptible to. Yes, Google wasn't offering them the full maps package, yes, it is their ecosystem to do with what they will, but they still made a product significantly worse for users, intentionally.

2) Twitter killing it's own ecosystem. I may have been calling out Instagram just the other week, but as API changes go, Twitter's were even worse. Essentially, they crippled third party Twitter clients, especially new ones, seeking to draw users to their official offerings, as well as disabling "friend finder" services that used Twitter in other apps. This makes sense from a 'delivering ads' standpoint, but these clients helped build Twitter into what it is - this was a sucker punch, pure and simple. Not only that, it hurts users in a very obvious way - for example - Twitter haven't gotten around to developing a Windows 8 app. Fair enough, not a huge userbase and they can't invest time everywhere, but someone has made a fairly good one, called Tweetro - only it has reached it's limit of 100k users and now can't add any more. Even without an official alternative, Twitter is actively hurting third party clients.

3) Google screwing with its search results. I've always believed in the sancitity of Google results. Sure, there were ads on the side, but the main results were untampered with, unless you were looking for child porn or something. Google has started forcing Google + results into your search's, while not adding "social" links from any of it's rivals. Integrating social results was in general a good idea, one they had going quite well before Twitter stopped letting them (grr), but only chucking your own network's stuff in there is pretty goddamn cunning.

There are of course, many other dick moves pulled in tech. I haven't even touched the abomination that is modern day DLC in video games, or Facebook's rigged attempt at appearing democratic, Windows Phone 7.8, or the wide variety of flawed internet governance plans that have made headlines over the last little while. What has struck you as particularly mean spirited this year?

Photo: Reuters