Science fiction promised us that the wars of the future would involve giant totalitarian super-nations, armies of killer robots, or both at the same time. Not even the most acid-friendly writer could have predicted that, the way things are looking, the 21st century will be disputed between the social network you use to stalk your classmates and the website where you find your porn.
If you don't believe us, just take a look at the ways Facebook and Google are competing on levels usually reserved for supervillains.
#5. They're Both Developing Terrifying Technology
You know how supervillains have underground labs full of mad scientists? Well, Google has the Google X facility, where people who would have felt right at home in the Manhattan Project develop impossible (so far) ideas like hoverboards, space elevators, and freaking teleportation. Not impossible: Google's own robot army. Between solar-powered drones that can "fly for years" and robo-beasts that run at 29 miles an hour, it's starting to look like the only thing Terminator got wrong is that the T-800s didn't mock your weird porn history before crushing your skull.
You hit enter and this crashes through your window: "Did you mean 'Japanese Hen Tie'?"
Facebook, meanwhile, has a facial recognition program with the ominous name of DeepFace, which can label faces in photos as accurately as humans. Yes, the company you've given dozens and dozens of your party photos could potentially use them to identify you, Minority Report-style. May God have mercy on your soul if they catch you reactivating your Myspace.
#4. They're Finding New and Exciting Ways to Invade Your Privacy
Facebook already knows who your friends are, what products you like, and what distant high school contacts you masturbate to pictures of while quietly crying ... but did you know they can also track every last mouse movement and the stuff you type and don't post? Let's face it: If they ever try to blackmail us with that, Mark Zuckerberg is our new lord and master.
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"Someone make me a Lord Zedd staff."
Not to be left behind, Google gave its Street View cars this little secondary task called "steal as much unencrypted personal information from Wi-Fi networks as you can get your grubby little hands on." But don't worry; for this act of supposedly accidental privacy invasion, Google was forced to pay the government $7 million ... which is almost as much as they make in an hour. That'll learn 'em to collect data probably worth far, far more!
#3. They're Buying Everything
As we mentioned, Google has been on a little robot technology spending spree, which most recently included snatching up drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace from under Facebook's nose for $60 million. Think about that for a second: The "Don't be evil" and the "We just want to connect the world" companies are competing over who gets to buy drones.
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Meanwhile, Yahoo bought a whole bunch of these babies on eBay.
Anyway, Facebook had to content itself with buying rival companies like Instagram and WhatsApp, a chat program that sounds more like the name of a bored housewife's tech blog. While owning the latest incarnation of whatever teens are using to send genital pics to each other may seem tame compared to control over the nation's skies, Facebook paid $19 billion for it. It's one thing to eliminate the competition -- it's another to literally bury them in money.