Last year we got gmail from Google. Wonderful concept of never being able to delete any of your email, ever. And the space keeps on increasing.
This year, of course, we got the Instant Messenger, Google Talk. No clumsy graphics, neat interface, ability to talk with anyone on the list by push of a button.
Google’s release of “Talk” was not expected by many. At least, not expected this early. So, in that sense, Google not only surprised the net community but also it’s competition.
It does not take much to see where this is all going. Google has unvealed it’s aggressive stance and they aim to take over the internet (and also the desktop) in more aspects than one.
Google’s strength, apart from this fact that they deliver software products that are easier to use by a typical PC user, lies in this fact that it is probably one of the most respected organizations in the market and certainly, the most respected software company, worldwide. All in all, People trust Google. I trust Google and odds are, that you too, do that.
But as I am habituated to take a skeptical stance on things like these, I can’t help but wonder how much does Google know about me.
Probably, a lot.
Besides the search engine, Gmail, Orkut, Blogspot, Talk and Desktop are all brands of Google. Gmail is the email service in which you never need to delete any email, Orkut is where you find people and communities, you can make like-minded friends, Blogspot is where you maintain your weblog, so you write about things that interest you (and do not interest you, for that matter), with “Talk” you can talk, literally, with your friends or message them the plain-old way and “Desktop” is the application you can use to speed up your searches on your PC. And that does not need an internet connection to work.
Add all this up, and Google knows what you talk about in your email (Gmail), your interests, your marital status, your age, the kind of people you like to be with (Orkut), your stands on issues, what you write (and what you read) while you blog (Blogspot), your friends you speak to on the messenger (Talk) and even the contents of the files on the Hard disk(s) of your computer (Desktop). And of course, your Google searches shall reveal if you are going to travel soon or not. By analysing the “googling” habits of people like me, it shall also reveal what computer language(s) do I work with.
What I wish to further focus on is the new Google project, called Google Web Accelerator. What does this do? Once you install this application on your desktop, It loads web pages faster than before, saving your time.
How does it do it? It stores copies of “frequently accessed pages” on it’s servers. Whenever you request a website on your browser (and you have Google Web Accelerator running), your request is sent to one of the Google’s servers which provides your browser with the latest copy of the website page that you wish to access. So in reality, your browser never actually accesses the website you requested. Only in the case when the website you requested is not there with Google’s server, will your browser actually retrieve the page from the intended website.
In essence, since all the web page requests coming from your browser go through Google Servers, Google shall not only know about all the websites you are accessing from your computer, you also run the risk of letting Google have the information that you fill in those forms over the internet, as in Google’s words, some sites “may” send the (form) information through Google. More of this, in Google’s own words, here. Remember, the forms that you fill on the internet usually carry personal information.
This concerns me.
This is alarming because never before has any internet based company offered so many services through a single account to the internet user. MSN and Yahoo!, the two companies who spiced up the internet wars in the late 90s and a good part of the post Y2k scenario until Google came are now reduced to mere followers. Clearly, Google has taken the lead.
Google’s biggest asset is the trust and goodwill it has with the internet community. I hope they never mess up that. And the “Google Show” is still on.
Meanwhile, think about what I said.