Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Google and the End of Privacy

I'm not particularly fond of Google or their business model; but I make it a point to discuss them every once in a while and chronicle their eventual domination of the world and end privacy. A couple of days ago Google released Google Desktop 3.0 with a significant change. It now provides users with the ability to store their hard drive index on the Google Grid. This of course provides the convenience of being able to search your hard drive index from a remote computer; say you want to search your office computer from home. Although that might be very convenient for some; me included. Google is touching on a sensitive privacy subject; perhaps ending privacy completely. Compare their old statement: “These combined results can be seen only from your own computer; your computer’s content is never sent to Google (or anyone else).” With their explanation of "search across computers" feature.

In order to share your indexed files between your computers, we first copy this content to Google Desktop servers located at Google. This is necessary, for example, if one of your computers is turned off or otherwise offline when new or updated items are indexed on another of your machines. We store this data temporarily on Google Desktop servers and automatically delete older flies, and your data is never accessible by anyone doing a Google search.

Not evil enough? How does the idea of a Gmail hosted service sound like? Yes Google is running a limited public beta of this service. Indexing the content of your Gmail was not enough; Google seeks to index your corporate email too! More on the Gmail blog And the rumor mill keeps on going. Google are to launch an AJAX based WYSIWYG web page editor, a new calendar built into Gmail, Wifi in major cities. It seems Google is going at it in everyway. They're even branching out to traditional media. And have recently acquired dMarc, a radio advertising broker for $102 million dollars, and will shell out an extra $1 billion if they sell enough advertising, with TV advertising in the horizon. So what does Google know about you? Your searches, browsing pattern, email contents, Gtalk conversations (speech2text), my social network (Gtalk and Orkut), desktop content, blog contents, appointments, and location. What you listen to on Radio and what you watch on TV. I wouldn't be surprised if they acquire podscope in the near future to index what podcasts I listen to. All of this is used to serve me the best targeted Adsense Ads possible. All of this available to agencies like the FBI, CIA, etc. Ten days ago, an article in Business Week caught my attention, the author described Google as a race car driver with dreams of the checkered flag, but until his debut on the NASCAR circuit, he pays the bills by trolling the back alleys behind the wheel of a cab and I cannot agree more. Now I wonder when will someone rise up and stop them, or are we to wait for the apocalypse and await a new future where Google's monopoly out shadow’s Microsoft's. Digg It Related Links: EPIC 2014 Google Desktop Reloaded Gilmor Daily A New Desktop


OmAr said...

man, i totally agree with you, i mean, there are millions of other features google can offer to increase their business but rather, they go into all the private issues, and by the way it's not just google...everyone heard the last scandle conserning privacy in the united states.

sk8erboi said...

I think that Google are gambling what they have, IMHO I get a feeling that they either want to have it all, or nothing at all.

Instead of trying to achieve a sustainable steady growth, they are trying to have an exponential growth, and will probably end up out growing themselves. Trying to be no.1 in every service is unacheivable, for an example Google Video, a service that was admitted to be poorly designed.

If they keep going like this, I think we are gonna have a Google bubble sometime over the next couple of years.

mediaphile said...

nevermind the legally binding privacy statements and google's refusal to let the government see their search data, how about just not using it? problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this like discussing America's obesity problem over a dinner at McDonald's? I mean, google owns this site, right? The one you're writing on and I'm commenting on?

Yeah, the whole thing kinda creeps me out, too. So I only do a limited number of things with google. But their mail service really does beat the pants off everything else out there, so I'm gonna keep using it. And their map service too. I mean, has anyone tried comparing it to yahoo's or mapquest's lately? No contest, IMO.

But for as neat as blogger is, I'm run MT on my own site. And as neat as picasa may be, I don't want them indexing my pics. And as neat as the desktop may be, I just make a point to save things in a structural way that makes sense to me, so I can find them easily enough later.

Bitching is fine and good, but if you really want to see change, propose an alternative, or better yet, make it happen.

Oh, and sorry about the anonymous cowardice, but I don't have or want a blogger acct. If you want to write back and tell me what a dumbass I am, my mail is puckylunk. I'm sure you can guess the rest. :)

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