Is Google going to make Microsoft look good?

Why do we like Google?  Is it because they are the “do no evil” company?  Is it because they are not Microsoft?  Is it because they make our lives easier through their search, email, and other services?  The fact of the matter is that a lot of people from users, to developers, to workers, and to investors like Google.  Heck, even I like google!  (Look at the ads.)

But I am wondering if we are creating the very thing that we feared in Microsoft, that is the fear of world domination.  Microsoft has a very aggressive business and so far successful business.  Microsoft has managed to make the majority of desktops and laptops run Windows.  Their Office product has taken over.  People are beginning to look in.  Microsoft raises prices and what can you do but buy their product?  (You could use Linux, which I am currently using to write this post, but that is not really practical considering the number of people and companies that use and support Windows.)  So, we are feeling a little trapped and make Microsoft out to be some kind of enemy.  We begin to wonder if the NSA has or will put a back door into all of our computers.

However, it is possible to secure our computers.  It is possible to firewall them and prevent unauthorized communication with the outside world.

So, we can escape Microsoft.  But in Google, we are giving them something that we can not escape, information.  We use their search engine to find out things.  Controlling what people find or don’t find is a very powerful tool, one that China understands and has forced Google to change their practices.  The otherside is that understanding what people are searching for tells you a lot about those people.  Something that the US government wanted to know but that Google refused to give in.

But more than search, Google has access to our emails.  They are able through their analytics and AdSense products to track people as they move across the web.  How tempting of a target will this be for business managers attempting to maximize profits by steering you in a particular direction?  How tempting will this information be to the law enforcement official that is tracking criminals or a government that is looking to squash threats to its power?

Google may be the “do no evil” company, but they will continue to do be so only as long as we watch them.

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