Google knows more about you than your WIFE

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My tech-savvy next door neighbor Elizabeth sent me an article about Consumer Watchdog who is deeply concerned that “Google knows more about you than the FBI.”

Google knows every mental itch you’ve ever tried to scratch in the last 5 years. Heck yeah baby…

Dude, Google knows more about you than your WIFE.

“The Justice Department should be worried when Google tries to obfuscate its data tracking capacity and reach rather than disclose all of it,” said Judy Dugan, research director of Consumer Watchdog. “Congress should demand that Google stop tracking Americans’ online behavior without their prior permission.”

Article is here

Google’s Power Point presentation about Targeted Advertising (pretty educational, actually, especially for Content Network advertisers)

Here’s a satirical, left-leaning mock-up of that same Power Point by the privacy people

AND:

Google is releasing the Chrome Operating System for netbook PC’s. With services like Google Docs who needs MS Office anymore? Google replaces Microsoft. It’s built on Linux, it’s free, and no Microsoft OS cuts the cost of a new computer by perhaps 80 bucks or so.

Perfect for the $200 Wal-Mart PC. It’s coming, baby, just you watch.

And who knows…. it might not need anti-virus software that clogs up your system and slows the whole experience to a crawl (my biggest gripe about Windows).

Can you think of anybody who consistently comes up with more irresistible offers than Google?

Article: Google’s OS Model Borders on the Brilliant

I’d love your comments about all of this stuff. But first, some grist for the mill – my thoughts:

-Google has done a glorious job of doing what I encourage all my customers to do: Create offers that are so sensationally irresistible that you can’t help but use their search engine. They’ve beat all comers fair and square.

-Google has brought unfathomably powerful technology to the fingertips of every person in the modern world. Yesterday I was printing a map for a friend from out of town and I click on a link and it displays an actual photograph of every intersection she needs to turn at. Who would have ever believed it, even 10 years ago?

-I am 100% totally in favor of Google having some good, serious competition. I WANT people to have strong alternatives. Let’s talk about PPC for a moment. Their rivals have just plain sucked. MSN AdCenter is a pain in the ass. Yahoo Search Marketing pay per click is cumbersome at best. MSN has only 5% as much traffic as Google and it’s not as good. Yahoo has only 30% as much traffic and it’s not as good.

-Yahoo NEVER could get their act together and Google totally kicked them in the ass. Advertisers said, “Please make it easy for me to give you my money!” But Yahoo clogged it up with red tape. I had a multi-billion dollar mutual fund consult with me and we spent a whole hour talking about how Yahoo couldn’t get their act together. That was 3 years ago. They still haven’t.

-Am I afraid of Google becoming Big Brother? YES I AM. Google is immensely powerful. All the stuff Google knows about me? Frightening. (Especially because I use Gmail extensively). 2009 is 1984.

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So what do I think about these Watchdog Groups? Some thoughts:

* There isn’t a DANG THING that Congress can do about this. Congress can’t stop guns, drugs or illegal immigrants. What makes anybody think they can regulate 1’s and 0’s?

* The Internet is an international, world-wide phenomenon. A web server can be anywhere in the world. Any lawmaker in Washington DC who thinks they can rope this thing in has his head shoved up his ass. (Actually, most lawmakers have their heads shoved up their ass, that’s nothing new. For example, Obama is spending $18 million of “economic stimulus” money to redesign the Recovery.gov website.)

* If people don’t want Google to know what they’re doing they can use Bing. They don’t have to use Google Maps or Google Docs or Google AdWords or Google’s search engine.

* Yes people can use Microsoft Windows and nobody’s forcing them to use Google’s OS. But Windows sucks. I switched to Mac 3 years ago and I would never go back. Windows is 20 million lines of bad code. I’m surprised Microsoft is even holding out as long as they are, because their flagship product stinks. 3/4ths of the people I know HATE Vista. Microsoft has had to discontinue selling XP and “force” people to Vista. NOT a good sign.

* I think it’s interesting that people think they have a “right” to use Google’s free services, AND they think they should be able to go to Congress and outlaw Google getting paid to give them the best technology in the history of the world – maps, scholar, docs, the whole search engine – again for free

* How about people just opt out of using Google? There’s Yahoo, Altavista, Hotmail. Or, God Forbid, having their own POP email account and using software on their own computer….

* Privacy is dead. It’s been dead for years. Heck, it was dead 15 years ago when marketing was about mailing lists. You can’t hide. You can only blend in, if you choose to.

* Honestly I don’t think that, in practical terms, people really care all that much about privacy. They’d rather be able to search their email. That was the tradeoff for me: “I could do normal POP email with a client on my own private computer, or I can have instantly searchable email anywhere in the world…. I’ll take the latter.” Yes, it’s seductive.

But nobody can FORCE you to be seduced. Actually we all love to be seduced and we often let it happen, willingly and without resistance.

* ONLY the marketplace can solve this problem. Government can’t, self-deluded watchdog groups can’t. Only individuals can make their own choices and only innovators and entrepreneurs can build technology platforms that make the web better.

I would LOVE your comments. Post ’em below.

Perry Marshall

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

92 Comments on “Google knows more about you than your WIFE”

  1. I’m facinated with your article… then again it’s a sign of the situation that exists within the ether that is the internet. The internet is a living and breathing organism with thoughts emotions, and feelings put on display for the rest of the world. On the outside managing the ether are the big boys looking to take advantage of the sheep of their gathering. Google no doubt is an intelligent company that saw a big opportunity to capitalize on the internet ether. Google is certainly the brains and brawn behind much of the revenue capitalization and well… I completely understand that. Do I like it? No.

    “Do no Evil”
    In a capitalistic society where profits go above common sense and governing laws around privacy the, “we are good” mantra is a farse.

    Where does it end?
    I like the idea of marketing, I like the idea of getting good insight on things I may possibly consume. Do I want to be bombarded with it? No. With Google do I have a choice in who gets my information? No. This is my problem in the matter.

    You get what you pay for
    I see Google and their attempt at software and hardware as a way to dragnet more information about your life. Free is not free when you are paying for it in giving up more information about you. This is the lie that we are told and like most consumer sheep who are intrigued by that special word “free” really need to realize that nothing in life is truly free except L-O-V-E.

    I’m a PC, I’m a Mac, Google Rocks
    The messages are all there – you are what you use. You have to use that – you need to use that – your opinion is not worthwhile if you do not attach yourself to a product or service. We live in the Logo/Slogan world now days. We do not know when the logo ends and our own personal world begins.

    Google vs. Microsoft
    Microsoft is a confirmed monopoly. Google is an unconfirmed monopoly. I do know that I pay cash out of my pocket to Microsoft for a product and they in exchange give me something… whether it’s broken or works great is not of my point… the fact is we make an exchange and the offering is over. As we move more into a service oriented model I believe we’ll see more and more individuals pursuing the “free” and quickly come to understand that Google/Microsoft or whoever knows more about you than your wife and because they have reached their market saturation they are now charging you for it.

  2. If you´re subscribed to Perry’s newsletter, you’ll be surprised how much he knows about you!

    Every time you open one of his emails, he, or better said: his system, knows. Every link you click, the system knows. And based on that, the system decides what email(s) to send you next.

    It’s not a bad thing. You signed up for it so you gave permission. And it’s the reason why you receive the right emails at the time that you´re most interested.

    Very cool actually.

  3. Google’s culture has a lot of room for creativity and innovation, and that’s one reason I believe it can maintain its preeminent position for a very long time.

    Compared to microsoft or for that matter any other company, Its anyday better to pay employees to innovate and create products that matches or exceeds anything that your competition can throw up.
    Its a win Win situation for google and its employees.

    Its called the smart way to make money !

  4. Hey Perry,

    I keep it short and cynical: “Only the stupid ones need regulations.” And being in the “regulation business” is a comfy home for another special breed of folks.

    I don’t want to offend anyone, but getting more common sense into peoples’ heads by — like pimping the education system — would prove to be more useful short term and especially long term than trying to regulate each and every fun out of life.

    Same story in Europe. E.g. discussions in Germany about requiring an opt-in process before any attempt to store a cookie on a surfer’s computer. … etc. etc.

    And you brought the other major point home very nicely, “Everything has to be free of course.”

    Speaking of …, “I think your AdWords course, Perry, is too good, you should have to give it away for free.”

    Yours
    John

  5. Here’s something to scare yourself even more. In the July/August 2008 issue, The Atlantic published an article about Google, in which they reported the following:

    Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the gifted young men who founded Google while pursuing doctoral degrees in computer science at Stanford, speak frequently of their desire to turn their search engine into an artificial intelligence, a HAL-like machine that might be connected directly to our brains.

    “The ultimate search engine is something as smart as people – or smarter,” Page said in a speech a few years back. “For us, working on search is a way to work on artificial intelligence.

    In a 2004 interview with Newsweek, Brin said, “Certainly if you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial brain that was smarter than your brain, you’d be better off.”

    And an eerie and disturbing article entitled “We Are the Web” (WIRED Magazine, Issue 13.08, August 2005) echoes that thought:

    What will most surprise us is how dependent we will be on what the Machine knows – about us and about what we want to know. We already find it easier to Google something a second or third time rather than remember it ourselves.

    The more we teach this megacomputer, the more it will assume responsibility for our knowing. It will become our memory. Then it will become our identity. In 2015 many people, when divorced from the Machine, won’t feel like themselves – as if they’d had a lobotomy.

  6. Google and Mac are built on an open source, decades old (and proven) operating system – Linux. MS is proprietary thus the difference in performance.

    What is the difference between MS/Bing and Goggle/Ops? Do you really think that MS doesn’t know everything on your computer? Not just your email and your surfing habits? Any hacker worth their salt can get into your Outlook folders and wander around on your MS based computer. And of course so can MS.

    As you pointed out so clearly, there are alternatives to every single one of Google’s offers. To expect the government to stop anything is ridiculous – if anything they’re probably trying to get Google to give them the info that can be collected.

    In an internet based society we trade information about ourselves for convenience on a constant basis, either willingly posting it on social sites or allowing it to be collected through cookies and other means. We’ve been doing it for years, so I don’t understand the noise now. It’s not a monopoly, Google doesn’t come pre-installed with every PC. You have other choices, and every single one of those choices tracks your habits, can get at your email and knows about you than you ever believed.

  7. Oh dear.
    Google vs. Microsoft.

    And I’m spending 2 days in a Microsoft Office learning business :)

    Here’s the simple truth.

    Privacy: Worry about it because you cannot actually conceive of all the uses your information can be put to. Nor all the people who might be able to access it. INCLUDING your, or foreign governments.

    Google is doing ??? You don’t know.
    Microsoft is doing ??? You don’t know.

    In fact, Microsoft doesn’t know.
    I learnt 2 interesting things about Microsoft today.

    1. Every year, Microsoft redefines its objectives in the light of the current trends and its previous successes and failures. It can completely change objectives in 12 months.

    2. Microsoft is not a business, Microsoft is a market.

    The top levels of Microsoft define their objectives.
    The next level use those to produce their KPIs

    Everyone else? Is basically a vendor. They are run by “program managers”. The 2nd level management pick programs to meet their KPIs.

    More picks = more funds.
    No picks = goodbye.

    The guy running the course worked for Microsoft for 6 years before he could figure that out. He’s a vendor. Training is not core business. Only core business has permanent staff. If you’re not permanent staff, you don’t find out much of anything.

    Now, if a guy specialising in organisational training can work thre for 6 years and not understand what’s going on. How the hell can any of us assume that we know from the outside.

    The same applies to Google.

  8. Perry – I’m impressed =) I actually do think my wife knows me better than Big-G does – ofcourse I’ve seen adwords commercials pop up, when I least suspected it – not embarrassingly so yet either =) I think matters would be worse (much) if suddenly the security cams of UK or microphones at every junction along with the cams and all hooked up to big-G, then it would really be 84′ all over.
    Only thing missing then is big-G becoming self aware =)
    The future seems challenging…
    Best, PeterPC

  9. The next Google is out there being born by some very smart undergrads. Don’t believe me who would have thunk Google would replace Yahoo and bring MSN to its knees forcing them to change their search engine name.

    Gates and Ballmer are no longer entrepenuers, Microsoft is just another lethargic and lazy Fortune 500 company.

    So far Google keeps learning and bringing better experiences to the table for the end user (us).

    When they don’t as you have said in the past, someone else will eat their lunch.

    Great post!

  10. Even my 7 year old daughter believes Google is the all knowing. It came as a total shock to me.

    We were driving home from the lake and she asked me the same question I asked my mom and dad at her age. “Dad, if God made us, then who made him?”

    She was obviously unsatisfied with my answer that God has always existed and even though we can’t understand it, he is the Ultimate Creator and did not have to be created by anyone or anything.

    After a few minutes of silence she said, “Dad, that don’t sound right. I’m going to ask Google and see if they know.”

    Needless to say, I was shocked by her response! But when we got home I helped her Google “who made God for kids” and she was able to find the information she wanted in terms that she could understand.

    Google is amazing!

  11. Perry,

    I’m less concerned with Google knowing all that information than with the other people who might want access. A few million quid to the right insider could get the scoop on an executive at a large company or someone else in a position of power that could be controlled. And the insider wouldn’t even know (or care?) that he was providing blackmail or corporate takeover or stock manipulation information to Bin Laden or Madoff or some other sleazy character.

  12. First reaction to this thread . . .

    Boy, I wish I was working on a “privacy/security” product right now.

    . . . Amazing grist for the copywriting mill here.

    :D

  13. @ Gerry,

    Well, actually, *I* thought GM would struggle. Along with most of the U.S. auto industry. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the world-wide auto industry take a HUGE hit.

    Why?

    1. The price of cars relative to the amount of income has skyrocketed. 2. For the privilege of taking more and more of your hard-earned money, most of the auto industry pushes product that their customers don’t want. Sure, there’s a few seductive gems out there. A few gotta-haves. But take a good look at most of the inventory that the auto makers push. It’s crap. The auto industry knows it. And they’ve been living in some alternate reality thinking they could profit from it for years.

    That ship has been sinking for a VERY long time.

  14. I recently came across a marketing intrusion I did not like.

    I signed up for a very well known marketer’s product… went through their butterfly OTO sequence… and at the point, the sequence goes to “refer friends” email contacts, but rather than asking, their software apparently searched my mail inbox to automatically display my highest Alexa ranked email contacts.

    I think such intrusion should be illegal.

    Cheers!
    Jim

  15. We’ve been operating without “data privacy” for decades. We opt in (agreeing to let our data be captured) whenever we buy—online and off. Many of us ask our own customers to do the same, to our benefit.

    We will exchange personal data for the Privilege of access, because we recognize the awesome power housed in Google’s servers. The “alternatives” don’t even bear thinking about.

    Perry, you are so right. And as usual, seeing both sides clearly. Rock On.

  16. I doubt Google has a book, or even a page, on my individual search behavior, rather they group the billions of searches into patterns that they use to strengthen the search experience for us all. Because of that I am not really concerned about the “big brother” issue.
    I do agree with you though Perry that the politicians have their head up their asses. Heck they could have saved the 18 million they spent on the “what we did with the stimulus money” website and put a picture on the web of a toilet. Maybe with a virtual flush.

  17. perry-
    OMG. i just checked out hypergeometricaluniverse.com
    that is hard core science stuff!
    I couldn’t read more than 3 sentences without getting a headache.
    adam

  18. It is mind boggling how much information we all willingly post on myspace, twitter, facebook. Every “fun” facebook survey I take can show one more aspect of my personality. What Google collects on each of us isn’t nearly as interesting as what we volunteer on facebook! Data collection, data collection. In the hands of a totalitarian regime… well scary stuff indeed.

  19. There is a lot of talk about google knowing too much. But what about your cellphone carrier?

    Your cellphone carrier knows:
    * where you are
    * who you talked to
    * content of voicemail
    * all web-traffic from your phone
    * content of text messages
    * your name, address, and phone number
    * and, they retain these records forever.

    Google, by contrast, knows nothing personal about you unless you “login”. If you don’t want them to know anything, don’t login. And, Google has a data retention policy of only 9 months.

    Why are we worried about Google and not AT&T?

  20. It’s interesting to notice that Google’s services are considered “free” while the government’s services aren’t considered “free”. But everybody is using many more services provided by the government than services provided by Google.

    Also the government services are considered “crappy” usually, while that in countries like the usa is not true.

    And yes we can choose to use Google, but don’t we choose governments too?

    You can even choose not to use government services. Just go live in the middle of nowhere where there is no civilization.

  21. Best analogy ever. What’s worse: that people want to know what you’re doing or that they don’t give a damn?

    But it does go back to choices as Perry points out. We don’t HAVE to use Google. We just feel betrayed because we thought we’d get to use all their free stuff forever.

  22. I don’t really see what the big deal is anyway. If anyone is motivated enough to find out anything about you or your boring day to day life they’ll can do it without Google. Most people put enough stuff on their Myspace or Facebook for the whole world to see through their whole life. I don’t even want to mention Twitter. How’s that for the ultimate tracking device?

  23. In terms of privacy, I’d trust Google with my data over our (UK) government who seem to leave it lying around in skips, on trains and in randomly lost briefcases.

    I can also see why Google wants all the data – to make money – whereas I can’t see why the government needs a lot of the data it either gathers already or intends to gather in the future.

    Knowing Google just want my data to make money off me is strangely reassuring.

    Another difference with Google is that you have a choice: if you don’t like Google tracking everything, don’t use them. If enough people do that they’ll get the message and change, otherwise they can only assume people are happy with things.

    Governments often don’t give us a choice or an opt-out and, furthermore, the power endowed to governments makes them far more dangerous if they were to misuse our data.

    We must remember that the stable Western democracies we currently have won’t last forever – if there’s one thing history teaches us it’s that governments change, wars happen, superpowers rise and fall and the world’s political spectrum changes.

    Imagine an evil, repressive, despotic and possibly racist government with CCTV on every street corner, satellites that can recognize faces from space, constant snooping and tracking, explicit data on everyone and DNA samples to reveal who knows what about people.

    It’s governments I worry about, not Google.

  24. Nick Neilson wondered what the next revolutionary ‘thing’ may be? I believe it is another up and coming launch by Google (again open source).

    It is called Google Wave and has the potential of heavily changing how people currently communicate and interact. Email/Chat/Blogs/Forums/Etc – it is a game changer in my opinion.

    Here is the video, well worth investing the 80 minutes to watch it in my opinion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_UyVmITiYQ

  25. Perry, you put together a real nice piece.

    Network computing can and likely will get real “Big Brother.” Creating services that can cloak members from this invasion of privacy will be huge. Maybe even the next Google like “thing” to take the web by storm.

    Application Service Providers are going to also be the next big wave on the web. This is not even in infancy, more like the gestation period right now. Fortune 500 companies spend millions of dollars on internal webapps for scheduling, ERP, CRM, AP/AR, Training Management, HR, you name it. They have their own IT staffs and can better leverage these assets for competetive advantage over small and midsize companies. The proliferation of ASP’s on the web is going to be a gamechanger.

    Mobile computing is in its infancy. We have yet to really tap into this market. Today there is but a small blur between our business lives and out personal lives. This will gone completely within the next few years. Most mobile apps are proprietary even though there is good open source technologies that can be used to deliver to this space. This is an exciting marketplace to contemplate!

    These are mostly exciting and sometimes frightening times we live in. There is enormous market potential in the three areas I mention.

    PS – I disagree with you that Windows sucks. And, windows has far more high quality free software available than the Mac. Just go to snapfiles.com. But, an OS like Windows, Linux, or OS is nothing more than a means to an end and elongated debates about which is better seldom bear fruit. It is the carpenter that is more important than the saw. An operating system is nothing more than a saw.

  26. It’s interesting how Google has all this power while at the same time depends completely on just 1 thing: Their Search Engine.

    All that has to happen is for Google to lose search market share and they´ll go broke.

    People don’t use Google search because of all their great services like Gmail, Maps, Docs, etc. They use Google search because it’s the most attractive and rewarding way to search the internet.

    As soon something comes along that’s a more attractive and rewarding way to search the internet, they´re going to lose search market share. (And that’s where they make their money.)

    Search is not like an operating system that people get so used to that they don’t want to change. It’s just a website where you can do a search.

    It amazes me how some (smart even) people don’t want to change to Google Chrome browser. Chrome starts up instantly (even on slow pc’s) while I.E. takes 10’s of seconds before you´re even allowed to click somewhere. Yet they stick to what they know.

    A search engine does not have this behavioral need so strongly.

    Even Linux tries to look like Windows as much as possible and it still has a small market share. And Linux is for FREE!

    All the opensource software in the world can’t beat Microsoft. And Google knows this.

    However, Larry Page said recently: “I wanted the operating system to kind of be out of the way”. In other words, he doesn’t want people to be aware of who’s running their computers.

    If they can manage that they will reduce the financial power behind Microsoft, but that still doesn’t reduce Google’s risk of losing search market share.

    Google will, sooner or later, be hit by competition and when that happens, we will see how free Google services really are.

  27. WOW Perry,

    Reading your comments and all the comments on
    your comments is the most fun I’ve had in a long
    time. I think your all right. How long has it taken for all “that” to come about?

    AND What’s next? When I was in high school There
    were no hand-held calculators. Now look what you
    can hold in your hand, seems like G-D is not the
    only ONE with “the whole world’.

    Keep it up. What an education gratis.

  28. I agree with Dr Howell on that point too. Google is financing a bunch of B.S. projects with PPC money and being billed as “visionary” by people who don’t really understand where the cash is coming from and why.

    1. Dr. Howell and Greg,

      I partly agree with you. If you’re ruthlessly pragmatic, a lot of these projects will get canned. You are not the first person to suggest that Google is making their shareholders pay for a lot of trivial things.

      However… Google’s culture has a lot of room for creativity and from what I understand, 20% of employee time is supposed to be spent on serendipitous projects.

      It only takes one successful project in 10,000 to launch a super-successful idea like Google News.

      And not every aspect of the business inherently needs to be profitable. I think that owning Youtube is a good idea despite the fact that Youtube itself is not monetizing directly very well.

      I’m sure Google could cut their head count by 80% and still deliver the core services but the creativity of all these different projects is bound to pay off in some places.

      Perry

  29. Frankly I think Google is trying to bite-off more than it can chew.

    The ramifications of this could screw-up the entire internet. Because if Google fails who is there to pick-up the slack? Bing?

    What is the internet without Google’s search engine? The wild, wild, west. An incomprehensible heap of webpages.

    Google should focus on what they do best. Which is PPC. And stop trying to re-invent the wheel.

    PPC is footing the bill for all of these megalomaniac ideas coming out of God knows where.

    Google has the goose that laid the golden eggs I just hope they don’t kill it too.

  30. Perry,

    Despite what Dan said for years in his Magnetic Marketing speech and what you just said now, privacy in America is NOT dead… it’s just “difficult” and “inconvenient”

    It’s also a pretty loyal market too. My new website deals a lot with the real meat of privacy issues as well as a ton of other “legal” type of topics. And I sell a couple products that help with this too. Damn good ones, I might add :)

    So no, people DO care about privacy… maybe just not our circle of marketing buddies. We’re used to having our info spread all around because that’s how people find us to do business and how we track customers for marketing. But “out there”, there are wealthy people and backwoods types alike who want to hide and for good reason.

  31. There has been little privacy for sometime now. Even 40 years ago, a satellite could read a cars license plate. Now there are so many surveillance cameras to catch everyone from card counters to shoplifters to speeders that you cannot help but be traceable no matter where you go. (Even IF you decided not to use your cell phone.)

    Now that Google has Hadoop, they are pretty much invincible. They know what you want, when you want it, how you like it, where you want it and who you like sharing it with. (They may even know WHY you like it!)

    Nostradamus anyone? He calls the third ‘anti-Christ’ ‘Ali’ using the rules of anagram (change add or remove one letter). Most of the ‘conspiracy theory’ guys claim that means he will be Middle Eastern. (Nostradamus does say ‘he’ will be born in the ‘land of the eagle in a city a mile above the Earth’ (Denver?). Anyway, remove one letter, the ‘l’ and you are left with AI or Artificial Intelligence. Who really knows whose in charge at Google. Ever since Hadoop went on line, the ‘boss’ might not be human. Lol.

    The Chrome OP SYS is based off of an Ubantu OS. My understanding is that it makes use of Hadoop computing. (Also known as ‘cloud computing’.)

    In any case, eventually the technology would get good enough that someone would know every little detail in our lives; I’m just glad it turned out to be Google. It could have been someone far worse. (Assuming of course that when they turned Hadoop on, ‘it’ did not become self-aware.;))

  32. I’m using more and more Google tools and less and less Microsoft tools. I switched to Mac two years ago for most of my computing-while maintaining an XP PC.

    I don’t believe unconditionally in a free market finding its own way to nirvana (i.e. the $55 Trillion worth of bets that have scrambled this economy) but the government is so far behind the technology curve… Let them go at it and we can hope we as consumers win as well. Gosh know that the monopoly system for cable TV and phone companies have done nothing to enhance the consumer. Now the kid in Iran can send video to the world on his cell phone easier than I can in the US.

    I don’t care if they know everything there is to know about me and my use of computing… as long as Bert the Burglar and Ian the ID stealer don’t know. Develop tools that help me and I’ll use them.

  33. Bugger; no point me complaining about privacy violations.

    I can’t even remember that I don’t have to fill in EVERY field on the comment form.

    I blame the marketers.

  34. I agree with Nick Neilson’s mom… nobody gives a shit, and the government can’t even stop the biggest con man in the history of the world who took investors’ money and never made a single trade, even after they were handed warnings with evidence multiple times. Sure, there’s danger in aggregating information – but since the Internet and Google, I see the free flow of information as more dangerous to tyrants than to freedom loving people. Google will run into the same problems Microsoft had with anti-trust lawsuits and competition from new companies and new technologies. But overall, they have added tremendous value so far, and so did Microsoft.

  35. Thanks you, Perry, for vital information. You jor somebody told me about google tracking two years ago and I have put up with yahoo search ever since. google is far better–and its there if I need it. If they get jonly SOME of my searches, then they don’t know as much about me as they’d like to.
    I want to try Linux and OpenOffice on one of those little netbooks, and see if I can get away from Microsoft as well. Gates just worships spying and BigGuv and gives them everything he can, so if I can escape from him I will.
    The “market” is based on what people know. Nobody would put up with google’s competitors if they didn’t know about the privacy violations, so you do a major service every time you warn us.
    Thank you, everybody who switches. You jgive financial strength to competitors, imporving their chances.

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