Okay. I’m freaked out. I’m sitting at my desk today writing an article about how Google has agreed to pay a settlement of $7 million to around 38 states because they were illegally taking personal information that is being sent over wireless networks in YOUR homes.This is the breaking and entering of the digital world, and we’re all unarmed. So many questions are pinging through my head right now I feel like a pinball machine on Adderall.
First, WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY TAKING THIS INFORMATION FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Call me paranoid, but Google already has enough info on me to get me indicted about 5 times over. Now they’re going around capturing text messages and emails from me? So screwed. But imagine if they hadn’t of gotten caught, who or what was the information going in to? I could only imagine the third party ad-agencies and product companies foaming at the mouth for more information regarding potential consumers.
Remember that text message you sent to your mom about the new shoes you wanted? Guess what: every time you go to a new website, that EXACT pair of shoes is sitting there. Creepy right? The options Google has at their disposal with this kind of information, which we assumed was completely private, is downright scary. With most forms of text messaging moving to data networks instead of cellular, the door is busted open for more of these kinds of information gathering campaigns.
Second, Are we just permanently stuck in a world of retargeting based marketing?
Google and basically every other website we go to uses retargeting in some way or another. It’s how they’re able to generate a lot of their ad revenue. I personally think advertisement is dying on the internet, simply because my generation doesn’t trust any ad. But with situations like Google logging text messages, we’re moving past them just using search engines and now they have the capability of logging communication with your family and friends.
I understand my house isn’t exactly Fort Knox when it comes to my wireless internet, but the fact that some random guy from Google is driving past my house in a van and is able to take any sort of information of my server really makes me uncomfortable. Part of me is happy that it’s only Google grabbing my info, because imagine all the whack-jobs with a computer that are capable of this stuff, and what THEY would do with the same information. But, that being said, it feels like Google is really pushing their limits as a search engine company. If they’re able to procure this sort of info from me without even asking, what other things can they do with my search history, cookies, email and all the other logs of memory the Internet keeps on us.
Every time you log onto the Internet, you leave a breadcrumb trail everywhere you go. It’s impossible to hide and companies are finding ways to capitalize on the trail to hopefully divert you to a product they know you’re interested in. There’s really no way to shut it off unless you just turn off every form of electronic that sends any signal anywhere.
Ha. Good one.
Finally, how big is Google going to get?
Remember IRobot? That mundane sci-fi flick with Will Smith? The company in that movie seemed like it was more important that the US government itself. With technology companies growing like wildfire, are we facing the same fate? Google has released a plethora of new products and services over the past 5 years and
they’re still moving forward. Google Glass is going to be able to tell you what bar to go into, check your Facebook, record video, and a number of other things. Google has a car, that drives itself (another product in IRobot), and I can almost guarantee their R&D department is working on some stuff we can’t even fathom right now. Where is Google going to stretch their limits in our lives next?