Google Retracts After Caught Stealing Ideas

Campfire is a web-based group chat software that allows people and business groups located in different areas to communicate, share information, collaborate and keep track of chats.

Borrowing someone’s idea is a practice that’s very common in the software industry and is obviously a common occurrence online. But the search outfit that "does no evil" is a bit shaky in its shoes as of late. Google’s PR group released a statement about HuddleChat yesterday saying:

"Like the other sample apps in the Google App Engine gallery, HuddleChat was written by several Googlers as a side project to demonstrate the usefulness of Google App Engine."

Unsatisfied with Google’s PR, online users began posting articles comparing Huddle Chat with with Campfire, and things really sparked. The feedback was so bad that Google ended up posting a retraction to their original PR:

"The App Engine team was looking for some sample apps to help kick the tires on their new system, so we invited Googlers to build some as side projects. A couple of our colleagues here built HuddleChat in their spare time because they wanted to share work within their team more easily and thought persistent web chat would do the trick. We’ve heard some complaints from the developer community, though, so rather than divert attention from Google App Engine itself, we thought it better to just take HuddleChat down."

No mention about Campfire in Google’s new PR.

37Signals founder Jason Fried noted deep similarities between HuddleChat and Campfire. Fried expressed concerns about Google’s ethics and questioned the search giant’s motives.

"We’re flattered Google thinks Campfire is a great product, we’re just disappointed that they stooped so low to basically copy it feature for features, layout for layout. We thought that would be beneath Google, but maybe it’s time to reevaluate what they stand for," said Fried.

  • This is such a stupid article. Campfire's chat app is a *minimalist* chat client. OF COURSE the features will be replicated. There's only so many ways to put together a text box, a send button, and a place for the text to show up as history.
  • I agree, as more more apps go towards the web 2.0 'style' there is only going to be so many ways to display content. Eventually content and functions will start looking like everyone elses. I would have a problem if they 'forked' the code and used as their own, but it appears they built their own code using HuddleChat has a template for functions they wanted. I have no problem with that. It's been so many times before. You only have to look at MAC/PC OS and see that they 'borrow' from each other.

  • The whole wording of this article is written to attack Google. You only have to look at the Slashdot article on the same thing to see that.
  • gxsolace
    they wouldn't have pulled the app if they thought the blogsphere was wrong. obviously goog thinks that the complaints are warranted, hence huddleChat gets pulled. If it were MS doing the same thing, everyone would be up in arms. Just cuz its google doesnt mean ppl should turn a blind eye.
  • Artical Title is "Google Retracts After Caught Stealing Ideas"
    Live Bookmark Title is "Google Caught Stealing App From ..."

    Im thinking this is all being a little to biases against google.
  • Rancifer7
    It could be a case of cryptonesia. One of the developers saw campfire and used it briefly then when they went to write their own much later unknowingly borrowed the ideas of the other program. happens all the time in many fields. But without looking at the code, it would be hard to say for sure.