5 Evil Ways Google and Facebook Are Using Their Insane Power
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.
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.
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.
"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!
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.
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.
They're Both Frighteningly Rich
Facebook's purchase of WhatsApp is the main reason we estimate their purchases over the last two years to be worth around $22.25 billion, while Google's are a paltry $18.8 billion. What this means, of course, is that Google and Facebook each now has more spending money than the full combined wealth of Lex Luthor and Mr. Burns.
So, we know where most of Facebook's money went, but what has Google been doing with theirs? Oh, you know, just regular website stuff, like spending $18.2 million on lobbying in 2012. That's more than freaking Lockheed Martin, which is weird considering that most of Google's products aren't designed to murder people across vast distances (we hope).
Although the Glass did get condemned by the Geneva Conventions.
We don't want to know what Google needs that kind of political influence for, but at least Facebook's mere $1.4 million in lobbying will only be enough to buy off a couple senators from Idaho who think FarmVille is an agricultural subsidy.
They Have Insane, Comic Book-Worthy Headquarters
There's one last thing that truly separates the Dr. Ozes from the Dr. Dooms -- headquarters. Facebook's cross between Disneyland and an upscale Jonestown is definitely unsettling, especially with all the They Live-style propaganda everywhere:
"I said 'CONSUME'! Goddamn contractors."
But while that's creepy and all, it's hard to compete with Google's foursome of mysterious floating barges. Yep, that's real:
When has a secret tech barge ever been used for anything other than Bond villainy?
Google has been building floating bases so they can avoid the usual hassle of "filing permits" and "revealing what your mysterious, dystopian structures are for," which isn't something Pinterest worries about, for instance. The official word is that they're "an interactive space where people can learn about new technology." That sounds like a purposely vague statement designed to lure in the rich and famous, who will then be vaporized by Google's death lasers as a warning to the rest of huma- wait, we just got bought by Google. Everything is cool!
You can read more from Mark at his website.