From the Blogosphere
Google Is Becoming Big Brother
The giant Google has great administrators and programmers; something is definitely not right about it, though
By: Treff LaPlante
Sep. 3, 2010 04:00 PM
My company recently started using Google's enterprise mail service. We did this as part of an effort to be more efficient and more competitive.
Google has great administrators and programmers who manage the service, as well as spam-detection and firewall features. And the price is terrific. It is clearly a superior choice versus managing our own mail server the way we've done it for the past seven years.
Something is definitely not right about it, though.
I am using the Google mail client even as I write this blog, which I'll e-mail to someone who will review and publish it. In the upper right corner of the screen, I see these links:
Aw, that's nice, Google's helping me.
Or is it?
Earlier, I was reviewing an e-mail from a strategic partner who does search engine marketing. In that same upper corner I noticed a bunch of links to his competitors - companies to which I wouldn't otherwise have given much thought. Does my partner want his e-mails to me to be the trigger by which I learn about his competitors?
Even worse, every time I send an e-mail to a client, am I introducing them to my competitors in cloud computing?
Maybe I should go back to using the telephone.
Something isn't right about that either. Google's telephone service - Google Voice - is getting a lot of attention. I've had two people suggest I look at it in the last two weeks. Google basically provides a full-service phone system, including automatically converting all of the speech to text.
Once a conversation is converted to text, doesn't it become just like an e-mail?
Trust me when I tell you that if you seriously use Google's mail service nonstop for more than a week, you will become amazed by the precision with which it can deliver advertisements to you. It isn't random luck that causes these very precise messages to magically appear in front of your eyeballs.
When we made the decision to convert to Google mail, I thought its competitive pricing and services were a boon to my 5GL programmingbusiness. But now, since I've gotten a glimpse into what it's doing with my life's information, I realize I sold Google the keys to the kingdom for a pittance. I made a fool's bargain.
You probably think I'm overreacting, and that targeted advertising is relatively benign. I felt that way two weeks ago.
Assuming Google hires scientists, statisticians and behavioral psychologists (hard to imagine, huh?), isn't it just a matter of time until it learns to use my life's history to nudge my very thoughts and actions?
Don't take my word for any of this. Here's Google CEO and board Chairman Eric Schmidt:
On Google's control over your behavior: "I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."
On not respecting your privacy: "I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
On why you should only listen to Google: The Internet is quickly becoming a "cesspool" where false information thrives. "Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool."
On why Google should be allowed to store all this data about you: "Would you prefer someone else? Is there a government that you would prefer to be in charge of this?"
Originally posted on the Central Penn Business Journal Gadget Cube.
Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1
Latest Cloud Developer Stories
Subscribe to the World's Most Powerful Newsletters
Subscribe to Our Rss Feeds & Get Your SYS-CON News Live!
SYS-CON Featured Whitepapers
Most Read This Week