Thursday, March 4, 2010

Did Google Steal My Soul?

I came across this interesting write up on Site Reference and figured I would share it.

I wasn't looking for Google... but Google was looking for me.

Google seemed very austere. No flashing banners, no blinking buttons, no prettiness at all in fact, but very COOL non-the-less. Less is more. Clothed in simple green and blue, I liked Google right away.

Google said that I could search all of the world's information that was currently online. Google said that one day, in the near future, the sum of all human experience, the totality of all knowledge would be safely stored, managed and maintained by Google.

Wow! I said. What do you want in return? Nothing said Google. Google love is yours for FREE.

Later Google said to me that I could use a new 'threaded' email system that would give me 2Gb of web memory space so that I need never ever delete another email. All of my emails could be kept for the record, on the record forever.

Wow! I said. What do you want in return? Nothing said Google. Google love is yours for FREE.

Still later Google said to me that I was so cherished that I could have a calendar in which I could input all of my appointments and tasks and all of my contacts of friends, family and associates. I could access this information from any computer, anywhere in the world at any time.

Wow! I said. What do you want in return? Nothing said Google. Google love is yours for FREE.

Soon Google gave me Docs for me to write, analyse, plan and present with complete ease and accessible by anyone whom I authorised. My friend and I could collaborate and work on the same document together even if he was in Tokyo and I am in London.

Wow! I said. What do you want in return? Nothing said Google. Google love is yours for FREE.

Google encouraged me to use Chrome as my browser of choice as all other browsers are... so steam-aged. Google convinced me that I needed speed in my browsing experience. This is the fastest loading browser on God's Green Earth they said. I hate Redmond so I was cool with that.

Wow! I said. What do you want in return? Nothing said Google. Google love is yours for FREE.

Over the years Google has given me Alerts, Books, Blogger, Checkout, Custom Search, Desktop, Earth, Finance, iGoogle, Images, Maps, News, Product Search, Scholar, Toolbar, YouTube and also Groups, Picassa, Reader, Sites, SketchUp, Translate and more...

Wow! I said. What do you want in return? Nothing said Google. Google love is yours for FREE.

Google just kept on giving and giving and giving...

Over the years Google and I have become very close, so close that Google now knows more about me than I probably do myself.

Who I am, who my friends and family are: Gmail, Contacts, Calendar, Checkout, Streetview. Google has a record of all of my personal information including banking and financial affairs. My calendar holds up to date contact information on all of my family, friends and business associates. It knows where they all live and what their houses and streets look like.

My financial affairs: AdSense, AdWords, Checkout, Streetview. Google knows where I work, what I do and how much money I make, where that money comes from and why. Google knows where I work, from which office and what it looks like.

Where I am, what time, with whom, for how long: Calendar, Latitude, Maps, Gmail, Earth, Search. Google knows where I am from my calendar but also from the computer I am using it can tell which city I'm in, how I got there, which websites I visit, how long I stayed there and which language I read in.

What I read and talk about: Google News, Gmail, Blogger, Search, GTalk, Voice. Google knows what type of news I am interested in. It knows what subjects I read about. It knows and has back ups of every single email that I have sent or was sent to me and by whom at what time and what the content was. These are packaged in 'conversations' so are all related to each other.

What my interests are: Search, Blogger, Voice, Picassa, Gmail, Chrome, Docs, Checkout. Google tracks every search I make and which links I click to and for how long. Google knows my shopping habits, what I buy, where they are delivered to and how much it cost. It deduces my spending budget and financial thresholds.

What I watch and when I watch: YouTube, Search, Chrome. Google notes what I look at on YouTube and how many similar videos I watch. It can deduce from this what kind of TV and movie shows I would be interested in and when they should be promoted to me. Every search is logged and recorded.

Cross-referenced and cross-correlated Google can infer from this arsenal of digital information my complete make-up as a person and a Google user.

The listing above is not exhaustive and I'm sure you can point out other areas of Google dominance. Hint: Google Health, Google Mobile, Google Wave, Chrome OS... get my drift?

You might think that, knowing all of the above as I do, I am against Google but you'd be wrong. Apart from the China censorship scandal, I actually believe that, on balance, Google is a worthy entity and on the whole makes life easier for most. Right now, it is a benevolent power.

I'll panic when the Google board members consider changing the name to SkyNet.

Okay, so call me paranoid but I still don't believe that Google is all that "not being evil". I honestly believe that they know too much and am a little concerned with what they may do with that info - not so much on a personal level but as a whole.

Just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean that they're not all coming for me!


  1. I have to agree with you. Some of the blogs that I have read often complain about Google and how ranking and search results works in it. Yes, maybe there are some things that should be improved but still we can't deny the fact that Google had really helped us in a lot of ways.

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