Sunday, May 27, 2007

Google watching, judging, controlling your life?

In addition to the many ways the Google is manipulated by partisans seeking to deceive the internet readership, I have some real problems with the company. A private company, it provides little of the safeguards against misuse of all the information it collects than the government (I may explain that seeming contradiction to the normal thought process of a conservative later on in an update).

While I love searching books, I think Google's plan to put books online without compensation is theft of copyright. I hate that they collect information on my blog searches, and provide it to other companies for payment. I don't like their pro-censorship position (google Tieneman Square on the china version), their capitulation to governments around the world to limit their people's access to the web information while pretending they aren't.

Not to mention their disdain for liberal over conservative, their celebration of secular events while ignoring the patriotic and religious (see their cute iconic treatments on "holidays", and of course the shear "size" they have reached -- I don't trust the "big guys", they are too strong.

So today I found myself shaking my head in agreement at this article from the Financial Times, titled "Google's goal: to organize your daily life":

Google’s ambition to maximise the personal information it holds on users is so great that the search engine envisages a day when it can tell people what jobs to take and how they might spend their days off.

“The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’ ”

But to do that, they are going to need to know a little bit more about you:

Mr Schmidt told journalists in London: “We cannot even answer the most basic questions because we don’t know enough about you. That is the most important aspect of Google’s expansion.”

He said Google’s newly relaunched iGoogle service, which allows users to personalise their own Google search page and publish their own content, would be a key feature.

Another service, Google personalised search, launched two years ago, allows users to give Google permission to store their web-surfing history, what they have searched and clicked on, and use this to create more personalised search results for them

So while you think Google is being kind to you, offering personalized service, it turns out it's just part of their plan to learn so much about you that they can run your life for you. All of course to help you, because you might not know yourself well enough and Google will know what is good for you.

Some people have recognized the danger:

Earlier this year, however, Google bowed to concerns from privacy activists in the US and Europe, by agreeing to limit the amount of time it keeps information about the internet searches made by its users to two years.

Two years is a long time.

Google has also faced concerns that its proposed $3.1bn acquisition of DoubleClick will lead to an erosion of online privacy.

Fears have been stoked by the potential for Google to build up a detailed picture of someone’s behaviour by combining its records of web searches with the information from DoubleClick’s “cookies”, the software it places on users’ machines to track which sites they visit.

Unfortunately, we haven't learned the lesson of the fox guarding the henhouse:

Mr Schmidt said this year that the company was working on technology to reduce concerns.

So Google's goal is to know everything about us, so they can run our lives, but since people are concerned about that, Google is going to fix it so they can't do what they have staked their future on doing. Right.

Gee, imagine next year, when someone wants to know why half the republicans in Prince William County were so interested in terrorist organizations? I sure hope nobody uses those Google searches to "associate" people with a fixation on pro-terrorist organizations. That would be such a shame.


Anonymous said...

You are correct with this post. There has been a move afoot to make the placing of third party cookies a crime, because it really is a legalized form of phishing. But until the citizens can hijack Congress back from the special interest groups, it is currently defined as "advertising".

Charles said...

I notice that today, Memorial Day, Google has done NOTHING on their page in remembrance of our troops.