It’s been quite a marriage. 9 years, to be precise.
Back in 2003, I fell for Google the first time, called Google ‘God’, for its ready answers to everything from ‘how to cook a roast chicken’ to ‘what is a large hadron collider’.
The same year, I opened my first Gmail account. Then another. Then I got myself a Google Blog, I got in to Google Chat, worked with Google docs, owned an Android phone for a bit. Last year I got on Google Plus, and began to watch some of my favorite shows on Youtube.
I’ve been married to Google and rely on it on a daily basis almost as much (gasp!) as I do on my real-life husband– and though I joked about how much of my life is lived on my blog and my mails, I did not realize how much of a hold Google had on me till I began to read this: How I divorced Google , of which the following is an excerpt.
When I sit at home, Google (unless I consciously prevent it) knows where I sit, on what machine, and what time of day I’m there. Data is collected not only from the search engine site, but sites that I visit that have Google maps, and so forth. The penetration of Google’s ability to sniff a single individual’s location and preferences is unprecedented. Google knows more about me than my mother.
Then, as I read about cookies, and super cookies and redirected host files, I hit another realization: I’m not equipped to do this—I can’t go after cookies, eliminate super cookies and then evade going to Google sites forever, not only because Google is everywhere, but also because, like a whole bunch of other people, I’m a tech-dunce.
As a writer, I’ve had a few ‘conspiracy-theory-like’ nightmares since, where Google would be able to buy and sell us (it already acquires and uses our info), choose our mates, and decide the fates of our children.
Privacy, once compromised, can lead to any slippery slope, after all.
But for the time being, I’ve decided to ignore these scenarios. It isn’t just Google. All of them do it—Google is just the biggest Shark. So, I’ll go back to my cocoon of the free bounties of Gmails and You tubes and Blogger, and pretend that all is well with me and Google. Isn’t that what most marriages are about, anyway?
When this post publishes, Google will know exactly when and where it was put up, and by whom. In a few years from now, they might decide (and be in a position to) to take action.
One thing is sure, they, not me, would have that last laugh. Because, unlike Tom Henderson who managed to divorce Google, I’m both lazy and stupid (besides being a scatterbrained writer).
What is your take on Google? On its Privacy policies? Are you on/ do you use anything Google-related? If, like me, you’re married to Google, have you ever contemplated divorce?
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Even though they are more user friendly than they once were I am still getting the hang of how blogs run so my lack of knowledge about Google is greater than yours is. But I like your article very much and your site. If I can make a suggestion, don’t let your husband read your thoughts on marriage. 🙂
I just started courting Google–don’t know Google that well. Thanks for the heads up.
I successfully divorced Google. see: http://www.duckduckgo.com
Well, there is always Death! They can’t follow us after that…can they? No, can’t wait for that. Time to start writing the Sci Fi novel about how free women and free man disconnect form the great Interconnect. And turn the fiction into fact.
I know there are people who worry too much about these things, but apparently I haven’t been thinking about them enough. So thank you for writing this.
P.S. You’re not lazy or stupid. And scatterbrained is just another word for creative.
I hadn’t considered divorce, but after reading your post hon, I might NOW!
My fervent hope is that the sheer volume of data will overwhelm the requestors. So we of the observed class will be able to hide in plain sight.
There are times I wish I could go back to the days before the Internet. Google and Facebook have become multibillion-dollar advertising firms that thrive on knowing every last thing about us, and it’s seriously creeping me out. And the thing is, Bing, Yahoo! and all of the other search engines are getting just as bad. I don’t know a way around Google, but Facebook is one change away from having me cancel my account.
There is this neat little app called Collusion in which you can see how interconnect each site is to another. It was funny and interesting at first, and now it’s just scary. Have a look if you get a chance, quite interesting to see all the marketing sites that are connected to almost every website you visit.
Google isn’t the only problem. Right now I have problems with Facebook, because even if I’ve set all my settings to ensure that my information gets distributed only with my friends, I’ve noticed that Facebook is not respecting this. Most of the pictures that I share on Facebook are those of my children, and they are shared with friends aka family. Facebook keeps setting my posts to public, which means that anyone ends up posting on my photos. Worse, “Friends of Friends” post on my photos. When we moved back to the US I felt like Facebook was the best way to offer my in laws in France a way of keeping up with pictures of the children, right now, I’m not so sure. Especially when still today, Facebook hasn’t offered an “opt out” button when someone forces you to join a group by adding you. Why do companies continue to take away our choices in regards to our own privacy is beyond me.
It would be difficult to avoid it.
Ya know, I don’t even know what the privacy policies are, so I’m even worse off than you are. I suppose we have to pay for convenience somehow.
I don’t think it’s really possible to be without Google if you are anywhere on the internet. We may not always be aware of how it reaches us. Interesting.