Friday, May 18, 2007

Is Google the Next Evil Empire?


Recently I've seen a few interesting articles about Google. First, this Mashable post describes Why Google Is Making Us Dumber. I rely on Google extensively for work and I'm not sure how I was able to program before that (MSDN used to be a heck of a lot better than it is nowadays). And I certainly go by the slogan that Bart is typing above, "I will use Google before asking dumb questions." But I don't agree that Google is making us dumber. Like a commenter mentioned, it is a tool, like a calculator, which frees our mind for other computing tasks. You certainly can abuse it but it's not about to decrease your mental capacity. It may level the playing field a bit for those on the lower end, but there is still an art to crafting the perfect search. And Google will not help stupid programming mistakes like typing "Common" instead of "Common Files" in my stand-alone Installshield build which I banged my head on for hours (and wasted lots of Google searches on).

Then Father Roderick went into a long rant about how Google is taking over the world and there is nothing we can do to stop it in this podcast. He says that if we disagree with practices of a company with consumer products, we can simply boycott their products. But Google has become so prevalent on the internet that you'd be hard pressed to boycott them. The fact is that their services are simply superior to others. Having used Yahoo and Hotmail for years, I am much happier with Gmail. There are a few UI quirks that I don't like, otherwise it is very intuitive and understands your intentions (like the "Not Spam" button which not only puts a msg into the inbox but will remember for next time, not like the 100 clicks you have to go through in Hotmail). Some people are a bit wary of the fact that their bots are scanning your mail and putting up relevant ads, but it sure beats all those single scantily clad women always showing up in Hotmail. Don't they know that I'm not a young single lesbian?

I've mentioned concern before over Google's infringement on personal privacy here and here. I believe that information is power and Google is a key to that information. I guess time will tell if they will overstep their bounds with all the information they have on us. It's hard to put the works Google and Evil Empire together because I love Google so much. I can say however, that I DON'T love Microsoft and they ARE an evil empire, even though my livelihood depends on them. Let's hope that Google won't go down the same path.

3 comments :

Amanda said...

I personally cant stand google, they have taken over everything and they have this reign down upon you additude for exmaple if you google too many times one term they will ban you from their search engine :|

Bigqueue said...

I like Google, and I suppose they will become a real problem for me when they manage to take over an industry and then essentially stop innovation there.

I see Microsoft as having done that in so many places.....look at the great advancements in word processors when there were people Wordperfect and others in the mix....now that Word is IT, the "paperclip guy" is the greatest advancement in the last 5 years. (automatic spell check and correct is OK too...but hardly a huge advance in the last 6 years or so)

Ditto for spreadsheets....and even the OS itself!

I am worried about the "big brother" aspect of Google....or any large company. I love Google products, but I would find other ways if I had to.

I still use www.dogpile.com from time to time....I still like their meta search results.

BTW: I am just getting to DB 304....probably tonight on the way home....so I have not yet heard Fr Roderick's Google rant.

I suppose he is just a Catholic Priest after all.....just as I am a lowly Electrical Engineer.....all small gogs in a huge system.

The other saying that comes to mind is this" "Opinions are like rear ends, everyone has one....and a lot of them stink."

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I think that yeah, they're creating an empire. Is it evil? Well, time will tell, but a bit of caution isn't ever a bad thing.

I am a fan simply because they seem to have rendered Microsoft ... well, impotent.

I guess when one evil empire falls, another rises up to supplant it.

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