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
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?
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.
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.
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