Thursday, March 21, 2013

My relationship with Google

I often joke that Google controls my life, but it's only half a joke. This blog is on Google; I have two gmail accounts, one personal and one for work (my employer just moved to a gmail system); I just moved my home page off the work server to a Google site to save myself the trouble of dealing with Dreamweaver; I keep a Google calendar and put pictures on Picasa.

I don't really trust Google, but I rely on them, which may be a mistake. Ezra Klein, following up on a post by James Fallows, wonders whether adoption of tempting new Google apps is a good idea. Like others, I have been a steady user of Google Reader, the news and blog feed, which the G-people recently announced will be gone as of July. Another product I use constantly that Google is phasing out is iGoogle, which basically was a simple way to customize a start-up page, with gadgets for (alas) Reader and other sites and utilities. Soon to be gone.

We all know that Google is collecting massive amounts of data from us, and is eagerly trying to make money from it. I'm not entirely comfortable with that, but on the other hand I find it somewhat reassuring to know that their motive is not pure evil, but simply filthy lucre. Nothing new or unusual there. I can deal with the tradeoff between exploiting their technology and being exploited by it. But as Fallows and Klein point out, the tradeoff becomes a lot less attractive if Google fails to keep up their end of the bargain.

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