Halloween is always a time to examine what makes our culture cringe. Traditionally, But in this information-technology world, a new boogieman has surfaced, terrifying us to our very core: Google.
Why should we be scared of a website? Because it’s more than a website. It is a monopoly on the way we live. The way we run our companies. Using Google is the only way we know how to function.
When it comes down to it, there is one main reason why we should be afraid of Google: the ultimate control of information. In any situation, regardless of mal intentions or history of past criminal work, the possession of such a crowd of information is a very frightening – and dangerous – thing.
Currently, over 26 million internet users have a Google Mail, or Gmail, account. Throughout the development of additional programs (Maps, Checkout, Reader, Calendar, Blogger, Finance, etc.), Google has facilitated the management of personal information and streamlined access to outside sources.
As if it’s not enough for me just to contemplate the sheer volume of information I trust with Google, this media conglomerate carries no shame in taunting me. In my email, Google will show me ads for EXACTLY what I’m looking for. If my email mentions pizza at 7 PM on Friday night, it will list me local pizza parlors (of course, only ones who chose to advertise with Google,) and will ask me if I want to add my 7 PM rendez-vous to my calendar. Google reads my email as intelligently as I do.
If I am on a different website looking for pizza, Google ads will still surface, attempting to steer my decision to its preferred pizza partners. Now if I want to locate a pizza joint in my area, Google Maps can show me all nearby options, but my eye will be draw to those who “update their Google listing” with pictures, profiles, and additional information. We blindly follow Google to the depths of the earth. The leader is never questioned.
Do we love this? Absolutely. I don’t know what I would do without it. But there’s really no other way to describe it than creepy. In the end, it means Google known everything about me. It knows what I’m doing and when through my GCal. It stores my deepest, darkest secrets in my email. It can see where I’m looking to visit in my latest GMaps search.
Step aside all you lions, tigers and bears. Google has arrived, and is here to stay.