The continued debate about Google, their recent aquisitions and their long term goal not just to organise the worlds information, but organise your whole life(!?), is clearly a concern for many.
Google want to create a better search experience for us all. That’s understandable (and often needed!). Personalisation is the way to go Google believe. However, to do this requires information on our past searches, the websites we visit, the time we spend on them and so on, hence the release of many data collection vehicles (cleverly disguised as free tools) and their strategic aquisitions. All of this makes people nervous. However, it was a comedian (funnily enough – sorry!) just the other evening who opened my eyes to the fact that there are dozens of organisations who know just as much, if not more, than Google are seeking at this stage. The example, the comedian gave was Tesco. Have you got a clubcard? Well if so, this massive organisation know everything you have ever bought at Tesco, the time, the place, etc. Not bothered? Well what about your bank, credit card company, mobile provider, ISP, insurance company and so on. Combined, these organisations know more about you than, well, probably you know about yourself. So before we all jump on the Liberty bandwagon, sit back a minute and consider just how much information is already known about you by organisations who want to do a lot more than simply improve your search experience.
I agree that there does appear to be more to this. Google want to do a lot more than simply improve your search experience but for now little is known about their longer term aspirations. I have no doubt they have big plans to become an even more integral part of our lives. But lets cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, I dont see a major issue in the type of data they want IF it improves the search experience. Unfortunately, I also happen to doubt that it will – for various reasons that I will explore in greater detail another time.