The Google-God’s (NEW) Strategy
I’m reading a lot of posts expressing excitement over the new Gmail service that is forthcoming from Google. Yes, I know we geeks get all tingly when it comes to internet search intuitiveness, context, relevance and a gig of free storage space, BUT we’re talking private email here folks. Ya know what I mean?
Here is an excerpt from Phil Wolff:
- “How does Yahoo differ from Google? Where Yahoo sells communication, Google sells context. Where Yahoo brings integration, Google leads with relevance. Where Yahoo! lets you type up a “buddy list”, watch Google tweak your orkut social network with clues from your mailing behavior, and vice versa. Where Yahoo uses their toolbar to access their many services/properties, Google’s toolbar will observe your browser experiences. And that includes now sending and reading email, surfing, news watching, reading and writing weblogs, following and posting to usenet, and shopping. With email, orkut and your toolbar, they now can create a compound profile of your interests. Context, relevance, experience. Tough to beat.”
Ooh I’m so excited. Discussing legal issues with your lawyer, mom’s fixation over the colour of underwear you got for Christmas, or lovelorn letters to your ex-girlfriend and all that. Do YOU want that collected and indexed in the name of “context and relevance”? We might as well let all our skeletons out of the closet now because it won’t be long before the Google-God knows anything and everything about us! Think about it - I mean really, REALLY seriously think about it.
- “We collect limited account information and store and maintain your account and email messages on our secure servers … We serve highly relevant ads and other information as part of the service using our unique content-targeting technology … Google’s computers process the information in your email for various purposes, including formatting and displaying the information to you, delivering targeted related information (such as advertisements and related links)”…
So how much and what information is actually collected? Who knows. People are entitled to know what kind of information Google will pull from email, whether or not it logs this information, and for how long. Can your Gmail address or any other personal identifier be linked to those logs, or to your Google search history? And where will all that information end up some day - an internet search perhaps? Remember - information is POWER, and the Google-God has the keys to the kingdom.
In all fairness its policy does say:
- “Google will never sell, rent or share your personal information, including your Gmail address or email content, with any third parties for marketing purposes without your express permission”.
Sounds nice doesn’t it? BUT read between the lines folks - they’re ONLY talking about personally identifiable information - i.e. your account. I’m sorry but I don’t take any comfort in that. Pretty vague language for all that information that is being collected. And they’re only talking “third parties” here - not Google itself.
I gotta tell you folks, if this is where we’re headed it scares the bejeebers out of me. So to get more “juice” with the search engines we have to give up privacy? I sure as heck don’t. Good grief - maybe Google really is God after all, or perhaps the Antichrist. It’s 1984 in 2004.
I really, sincerely hope that I’m wrong because I’m a Google fan. So please Google, prove me wrong and I’ll die a happy geek :-\ More…