Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Google or Government and Privacy

Everyone is concerned about the Government, Credit Agencies, Spammers, Phishers, etc.. gaining too much information on their personal behavior, but very few seem to be too concerned about Google gaining too much information about them. Google is in a strange business of trading information for services for cash. How they do it is they give you fantastic free services, such as:

1) Gmail
2) Google Analytics
3) Google Voice
4) Blogger
5) Medical Records
6) Google Maps
7) WiFi Service
8) The list goes on and on

Now they are getting into Phones and recently I heard they want to outfit houses with meter readers. They must have been foaming at the mouth to get Twitter, but I understand Twitter has dumped them (now Apple is courting Twitter, I hope it doesn't go to Apple, they build great machines and OS, but seem to have lousy user applications).

Google monetizes this by selling the information for their advertising network, with more information they will become a warehouse for all info on everyone. I'm sure they obfuscate the information, so it's difficult to determine where it came from, but I'm also sure somewhere in the bowels of Google's empire is EVERY email that I've sent via GMail that has ALL my information in it.

There are a few concerns I have about all this information being centralized. The first is what sort of security measures are there around my information. This leads to, what does Google do with this information, they might not sell it now, but will they in the future. Google stores ALL of your information, including emails and websites visited. To me this is somewhat scary. Everyone looks at Microsoft as being evil, but Microsoft isn't into gathering all kinds of information on people, they want to dominate software and operating systems, I see Google as being the company to keep an eye on.

Now having said that, I do use plenty of Google properties for my online work. Why? Well because they are good, Google understands how to develop a good web application (or purchase established web applications). I'm getting careful about what I give Google, but as Google grows I'm not sure I'll be able to continue this.

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