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Google does a lot of things well, maybe too well, and it's adding to its portfolio of tools on a weekly basis. At some point you have to look at the number of pies in which Google has its fingers and start to get a little frightened of this company. I came across this video the other day and it really summed up just how pervasive Google is.

Here's just a sample of what they've done in the last few weeks:

As Google deftly moves into more and more areas of our computing lives, at some point you have to stop and ask yourself if this is a good thing, or if it's something to watch closely because with every tool (as the video shows), the more information Google has about you.

Will It Ever Stop?

I remember writing years ago about the uncanny ability of Google to keep itself in the news. Early on as it was developing as a company, that made sense, but today as it lives and breathes as a multi-billion dollar, multi-national behemoth, it's still doing it. You would think that like its corporate alter-ego, Microsoft, it would eventually become slow to change. The larger an organization gets, the less likely it is to innovate, and the more likely it is to rest on its past successes. But Google seems to defy this stereotype.

Should We Be Scared?

I think it's impossible to look at Google, and the amount of information it has been able to collect on us and not be at least a little bit frightened about that. Lately, I've gone so far as to consider giving up Google tools, but instead I actually added a new one to my arsenal when I recently started using the Chrome browser because (much to my chagrin), it's much better than what I had been using (Firefox).

Sure, I could change from Google Reader to something like Bloglines. I could move my email to Yahoo!. I would still have access to my material online, but I wouldn't have that convenience of the single log-on.

And so Google continues to march forward, and we continue to use its tools. We can see the writing on the wall (or perhaps inside the massive databases), yet we can't stop ourselves. The tools are enticing, convenient and free.

But at some point, maybe in the not-too-distant future, perhaps users like me will reach the end point. Maybe we'll decide that we've had enough. The closer I look at Google, the more I consider it. I don't see how you can't at least think about it.

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Last Post by jonsmit129
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And that's not even taking into consideration that Google wants to be in your TV controller too.... from Marketplace: The Future of Television

Edited by mmpartee: correcting code used for link

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Right, I forgot about that one, Morriss. The announcements come so quickly, it's hard to keep up with them al!

Thanks for the comment,
Ron

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well, instead we could let microsoft control all of our information. that would be a brilliant idea. I think I would trust google with my info over any other large company in the world. it doesn't matter who you use for your services, they're all going to collect the same information on you.

and i see how microsoft gets so much garbage, they truly do bad things with their power, we see it every day. unlike google, who continually gives back to its users, and is always pushing the envelope on advancing technology. i have yet to see google do anything that makes me lose trust in them.

seems like people no longer pick on companies that are evil, now they pick on any large company that is doing well for themselves, even if they are nice and give back every day.

if google wants to control my e-mail, why not, as long as it works well and they keep my trust.
if google wants to control my internet, why not, as long as it works well and their prices are fair.
if google wants to control my television, why not, as long as it works well and their prices are fair.

what i want to know is, where are all the other companies, why aren't they doing more.

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This is a great video that highlights Google's awesome power and size.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7yfV6RzE30

If they stick to the "Don't be evil" mantra of theirs, then we have nothing to worry about. But let's face it, they make money from selling our lives to advertisers and corporates. I don't feel comfortable dealing with Google at all. As an example, many Australian universities are now going to packaged Google mail deals for corresondence between the campus and its students and lecturers / assistant staff. You must use the student Google account as outside addresses are all blocked. In the meantime the terms and conditions of the email account are that Google "owns" all data sent through the account.

Google = "Goliath Corporation" in "The Eyre Affair".

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loganf:
As I see it, it's not an either/or proposition. I certainly don't trust Microsoft any more than I do Google (or any large corporation for that matter). As I stated in the post, I agree that they produce good tools. That's why I continue to use them, but for me, the amount of information they have on me makes me uncomfortable.

What's more, chances are they are using that data in conjunction with advertisers today to fine-tune ads and give the people who feed the corporate beast what they need to make more money.

In today's world where corporations are running amok, it is troubling at the very least, that one company could be consolidating so much power. You don't have to believe it or worry about it, but it's my job to put it out there so you can at least consider it and mull it over.

Thanks for your comment.

Ron

Edited by Techwriter10: n/a

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Von_Wanderlust

I actually link to that same video at the end of the first paragraph. Unfortunately there is no embedding on this site or I would have included it in the post to illustrate my point more clearly.

Even if the corporate mind-set is "to not be evil" and it may very well be, I don't think you can trust that it always will be. Google is a publicly traded company and answers mostly to its stock holders, not to its users. If things got sticky, they always have that huge database of user information to peddle.

Your example is a good one.

Thanks for your comment.

Ron

Edited by Techwriter10: n/a

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1% or less, of people are leaders. The rest follow the crowd, wherever it goes. People trusting Google with their private data may as well box up their private files and ship them to the FBI. Enjoy the dream. Maybe you will wake up when it turns to a nightmare.

Edited by adugan: spelling

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> what i want to know is, where are all the other companies,
> why aren't they doing more.

Because the people like to stand behind Goliath and feel safe. It's the people that make a Google what it is. The people won't support a small independent business. The people want a big name. When people don't have alternatives, it's the people's own fault for standing behind Goliath.

Anyone believing Google will "do no evil" is naive.

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adugan:
Thanks for the comments. I agree. Google is a very powerful brand that lands at or near the top of trusted brands surveys every year. It's hard for anyone to get passed that, but it's not impossible. Google was a new company at one time too. It did something well. If there is a company out there that can change search as we know it, then anything is possible.

Ron

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don't worry dude... it'll happen to it what always happens to those who are at the top, there's only one way now.... see history of IBM, Microsoft to cheer yourself up ;-)

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capatainobvious
What tools are you using to replace the Google ones you had been using?

Ron

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Tom2332
There is that point I made though that they seem to be avoiding the mistakes that Microsoft and IBM made before them, but you could be right. What goes up must come down, right? :-)

Thanks for commenting.
Ron

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The problem isn't what Google is now. To quote:
Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Edited by missing pointer: n/a

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missing pointer:
You didn't miss the point there. :-) It's so true.

Thanks for the comment.
Ron

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Yeah, and even worse it matters little how high the ethical standards of the founders are; it's what happens when another IT company with more money and lower standards eventually buys them out ( know any really big IT companies with poor ethics?). Or maybe a vulture company; all that data has serious value, and there's always someone who'd be prepared to onsell to people with lower standards than your average gutter rat.

I believe all the data they have ever got about each of us may well still be present somewhere, and we consented to that (or at least our friends using Google address books did).

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Ron,

Where would you prefer your data to be? Would you want your data at the hands of an accountable corporation that gives you tools, offers you a dashboard to look at your data, lets you move your data to other services and even lets you opt out... or would you prefer your data in the hands of unaccountable state agency (plural thereof, actually) that gives you false claims to security, does not tell you what data they have, does not let you opt out, offers you no real benefit from that data of yours and that has been shown in the past to misuse that data?

As someone who keeps close tabs on the information revolution, you should know that information is no longer in our hands and the amount of 'evil data sinks' capturing our every phone call, purchase, doggy-walk (think street cams) etc. is such that our life is transforming beyond what anyone anticipated (and it will take us a long time to figure out the degree of this transformation).

Actually, the second option is not for us to choose. Only the first, and given that our data is out there, Google (and Yahoo and others) are giving us the only chance of getting any benefit over it.

Hence my relative peace of mind regarding Google and my data as far as it relates to them. No other company has offered the amount of control or transparency of my data as Google had. I really hope that they will keep chanting the "do no evil" mantra - it is much better than the common 'do more money' mantra and their IPO certainly raised that point with respect to what share-holders should expect.

Sure there are risks and if a US government is overthrown by some tyrant group who takes over all corporate databases (Google included) then they will know much about us. At that point we would have much better things to worry about...

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droharai:
Thanks for the thoughtful comment. It all comes down to your own comfort level with how much information one company has on you and how much you trust that company, or even if you don't, how much you are willing to trade off for the convenience of the free service.

There are no easy answers to these questions.

Ron

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This conversation is going no where. It’s lacking the place of a good leader to head the things to come out on conclusion.
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jon
SNIP

Edited by jay 11: removed fake signature

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