July 25, 2014

Google – The Hungry Beast

Interesting video.  Watch and think.  It’s intriguing, though Google still doesn’t scare me quite as much as Facebook. Perhaps that is because I make a great deal of money thanks to Google, I spend quite a bit of money with Google to place targeted ads for some of the online businesses we own, and I generally think the service is useful? Still, the idea that all of these things are in a single corporate portfolio is a bit terrifying. I still hate the Google glasses idea, though.

  • Gilvus

    I can see the masts of incoming anti-competition lawsuits over the horizon…

    This is sort of like the whole credit-card thing today: everyone pays the same price,  but if you’re using a rewards card you’re screwing over the people who pay with cash because the merchants are raising their prices to cope with the credit card fees. If you want, you can elect to pay with cash (i.e. shun Google) but you’ll pay more and lose the convenience of swiping a card (i.e. using Google’s search engine and other products).

    I’m sure there’s people who’ll be willing to pay 2-5% extra dollars or seconds to avoid Google’s tracking network.

  • Stanley

    ” It’s intriguing, though Google still doesn’t scare me quite as much as
    Facebook. Perhaps that is because I make a great deal of money thanks
    to Google, I spend quite a bit of money with Google to place targeted
    ads for some of the online businesses we own, and I generally think the
    service is useful?”

    Mental model exposure effect?  Hehe, sorry, couldn’t help myself.

    But that aside, it’s interesting how Google became a giant information amassing entity. Of course, it is what they could potentially do with the information frightens people. Although, in acquiring those personal information, they’ve acquired assets – assets in the sense that there are people out there willing to pay for the demographic information exclusive to Google.

    Of course, if they were to be found selling those, it’d hit Google hard. But Google can and will sell, if there is incentive to doing so.

    You’ve taught me those: people pay for stuff they want, incentives and Cui Bono, mental model. So, I suppose this is also in a way, a thank you note to you for all the great stuff you’ve generously shared with us ^^

  • Ian Francis

    I disagree.  The most important thing is control.  As long as I retain the ability in some manner to disable the ability for Google to track me whenever I am on the web, I am not too concerned.  It does me no good if Google is very transparent with informing me that they are selling my lcoation data to the government and doesn’t let me opt out of it.  I gladly let Google track my location with my phone, track my searches, and monitor my media consumption because I like the services I get in return.  But more importantly, I know that if Google decides to shed their motto of “Don’t Be Evil” and starts letting the government know where I am too so they can watch my every move, I can just stop using those services and its over.  I have the power in this situation.

    If a stipulation of using the internet or having a smartphone is that I am forced to allow Google to take this information, I no longer have control.  Yes, I could still stop using the internet or get rid of my smartphone, but that really isn’t a viable option in this day and age.  Transparency is a nice additional layer since it allows me to know what is being done with my information, but unless I also retain control of said information, the power would remain in the hands of Google.

    • Jacek Janiszewski

      What makes you think you ever had control to begin with? Due to the very nature of digital information embedding tracking data and performing the tracking is effortless. Often tracking capability is an implicit and non-intended feature of a perfectly natural system. To make a system that protects privacy would require an additional layer of complexity and work. The barrier to gather information is low, the barrier to ensure privacy is high in comparison. To give you any real granular measure of control over your data would require major re engineering.

      There are smartphones, CCTV, RFID payment cards, cloud services on the data supply side and ever increasing complexity and accuracy of data profiling creating the demand. Piracy of music, failed DRM, the streissand effect and shortcomings of internet privacy are instances of the same phenomenon – that information “wants to be free”, regardless of regulations.

      As you said, the conveniences of modern technology are incredible, to many worth the hidden cost of privacy. Control over privacy is technically infeasible and goes against the entropy of information. Even now, with tablets and mobile OSes we’re moving towards less, not more control – at least on my PC I can filter the cookies (which still doesn’t stop the clever tracking methods like flash cookies, image cache identification..).

      As much as I’d like control, it’s feasible only for the hardcore nerds who understand the underlying systems – and even then controlling your privacy is a full-time job. The best we can hope for is fine transparency, and it’s not like Google will fetch you a raw database dump anyway.

  • Roberth

    …and here we are, using Youtube (because it is the most well known video streaming website) to say that Google Inc. is taking control and becoming an evil corporation. Talk about monopoly!

    • Joshua Kennon

      +1