Just Google it. Google’s a verb now. It’s the Oracle at Delphi for the modern day. Search, and you shall find. I suppose, however, Google is a hell of a lot more than a search engine. It’s the cloud: Gmail, Google Maps (with Streetview). They’ve launched a crappy browser and OS (Chrome), and a pretty decent mobile OS (Android); albeit a tad lax on the security. Who cares though? The point is Google is an increasingly essential service in many of our lives, and that’s exactly what makes them one of the most powerful companies in the world.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t say the biggest, or the one with the highest profit or revenue. Cash isn’t king anymore… Anyone in business today knows data is. That gives Google diety-like stature among their counterparts. Google knows. They know what you like; where you are (ie. live, work, travel); who you talk to; the stuff you tend to buy; and the services you tend to consume. When you search for that jerk chicken recipe, they probably have a good idea of what you’re having for supper tonight. I suppose that’s bad, right? I dunno. I mean, in the longrun it could mean that we get nice tailored experiences when we’re online. Just like the post I wrote below, right? Let’s face it, if Google can finding people and things I want to find way easier, and save me time and money doing it, there’s some sort of payoff in the scary prospect of the company knowing so much about us.
The main problem with that is that Google decides. They may claim to be basing their decisions on my past habits or purchases, but it’s still them deciding. They’ll decide what services to expose to you, what products to hi-lite, and news you get to read. Sure, you can spread the wealth. Use Bing to search. Use MSN to get your news. Or Windows Phone 7 on your mobile… Oh yeah… then Microsoft wins. Wait, there’s the iPhone, iTunes, Apple TV… So, you get the point.
The fact is, you’re gonna need to get in bed with one of these megaliths soon enough. You’re not going to just unplug, and go off-grid. I guess the only real question is whether these guys know what they’re doing, and whether they can be trusted.