3Google is Big Because They're Smart (And Too Big To Continue to Be Smart)
Google as a company has managed to do one pretty incredible thing: accrue a scary amount of power without being corrupted by it. If we had the money and influence Google enjoys, you can bet we'd flaunt the shit out of it.
You don't hear about Google sweatshop employees or suicides in their Chinese factories or attempts to flood their customers with spyware. If we're going to have a monopoly, it might as well be Google.
Everything we've covered so far, the spying, the advertising networks, have been the result of Google's algorithm working on autopilot. You'll probably be comforted to know that there's not some guy sitting on Google's campus, analyzing what ad to serve based on your uniquely weird taste in music and pornography. All the dirt they've got on you are all just ones and zeroes in a complex equation that works incredibly well.
But things get a lot clumsier when something in the algorithm isn't working, and the humans behind the scenes have to make a decision. Unfortunately, when you control how most of the world interacts with the Internet, there's no such thing as a fair decision.
Which will all change when the Internet overlords come to power.
In February, 2010, DMCA claimed Google deleted a bunch of blogs from their Blogger service even though many of the bloggers didn't do anything. Some of them had deals with record labels and bands. Many of the stricken bloggers received no warning whatsoever, which is in direct violation of Google's own policy.
And it isn't the first (or the only) time Google's done something like this. Remember that preposterous brouhaha between Anonymous and the religion with all the space Nazis and nuclear volcanoes? Google took a side.
They deleted the Anonymous AdSense account and burned the YouTube account of a journalist about to release an expose on the Church. The expose contained no copyrighted material, but Google killed it anyway. They also locked an anti-Scientology website called Xenu.net away from the rest of the Internet.
To be fair; when the Church of Scientology published the names of several members of Anonymous, Google took the right action and banned their YouTube account. Then they re-opened it, right around the same time AdSense was gorged with thousands upon thousands of ads for the Church.
We're not saying Google has become the brainwashed pawn of an evil new-age religion. The CoS has money to spend on advertising and Google is too enormous to make reasonable decision in every corner of its sprawling empire. Of course, we don't have to ask you to imagine if Google actually decided to screw their users. Remember earlier this year when ...
2Google Will Protect Your Data (Until They Feel Threatened)
Of course, we've yet to give you any real reason to not use their product. The reason people got fed up with Microsoft is that it sucked. Well, nobody's fed up with Google yet because Google has refused to suck. As long as they continue putting out a superior product, we'll keep using them. And as long as we keep trusting them, they have no reason to do anything shady with all that dirt they've got on us. Everyone wins.
That's all correct, so far. But it's easy to be the good guy when you're making so much money that the U.S. government feels the need to step in and essentially say, "No fair!" However, last spring with the launch of Buzz, Google showed us how they might react in the face of a little healthy competition, and it was a panicky pants shitting mess.
Like the rest of us, the folks at Google had been reading that sites like Facebook are starting to usurp Google's place as the "hub" for most people's online lives. Buzz was their attempt to drink Facebook's milkshake. Competition is the life-blood of capitalism, and capitalism is what gives us access to cocaine, the mighty KFC Double Down and advanced heart-valve replacement techniques. If Google had wanted to release their own standalone service or social networking website and try to do Facebook one better, that would have been fine.
Instead, Buzz automatically published the contact information for everyone you communicate with on your profile page. "Harriet Jacobs," a blogger with an abusive ex-husband and a history of death threats from Internet crazies, found her entire private life made public to a legion of potential stalkers. The decision to link a service designed for public broadcasting of information to people's private email accounts isn't just a minor brain fart. It's a sign of a major issue with their corporate philosophy. Google was so eager to enter the social media game that no one at Google ever wondered if maybe, just maybe, there were some things people didn't want to share with everyone they'd ever emailed.
Best case scenario, they panicked in the face of competition. Worst case scenario, they knew exactly what they were doing, and just didn't care because they didn't have to care. What are you going to do about it?
"We could do that, but who would photoshop your face onto to every gay porn screen cap on Image Search?"