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Should We Be Afraid of Google? – Weekly #5

March 24, 2010

Google Domination: Should We Be Afraid of Google?

“The perfect search engine,” says co-founder Larry Page, “would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want.” When Google began, you would have been pleasantly surprised to enter a search query and immediately find the right answer. Google became successful precisely because we were better and faster at finding the right answer than other search engines at the time.

However, with being the best, and the biggest, comes a lot of strings.

Google collects a ton of information. However, it also does a lot to protect user privacy. For me, the question is not so much should I be afraid of Google, more aptly, does it make sense to be afraid of Google.

And that is more easily answered: No.

Even if Google is The Evil Empire, there is not a whole lot I can do about it.

Therefore, it does not make much sense to fear them because it is out of my control. Besides, I don’t make it a point to go around being afraid of everything.

Right now, what does make sense is to benefit from Google’s innovations and be sensible about what information I put online. I use Google for a variety of things, mainly gmail and as a search engine.

It is unreasonable to think that something sent in an email is private: It is not.

When emailing, it is good to think “What if this were forwarded to everyone I know?”

If that idea scares me, I generally do not send the email.

As far as Search goes, Google randomizes search results to protect the user, so I feel fairly protected there. Should they change their policy, I don’t know that I would much care – I am not searching things that are so insidious I would be afraid of a corporation knowing about them.

The one thing about Google that does give me pause is its size and its dominance. I am a fan of checks and balances. There does not seem to be too much out there that can “check” Google’s activities.

One would hope that as their corporate motto revolves around doing “No Evil” the employees themselves would be safeguard.

Here’s to hope.

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