by Daring Fireball author John Gruber: HuddleChat, a free chat site that Google (GOOG) created to show off its new App Engine cloud computing platform, is a blatant, feature-by-feature rip-off of a popular ‘freemium’ commercial app, 37signals’ Campfire.
The layout is the same, the tabs at the top of the screen are the same, the right-side sidebar listing participants and file uploads is the same. It even copies Campfire’s trick of formatting a message as “code” if it contains literal newline characters.
Borrowing ideas is fair game, but copying an entire app is wrong. And it’s creepy, in a Microsoft-of-the-’90s way, when it’s a $150 billion company cloning an app from a 10-person company.
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