Monday, July 14, 2008

Google - What does the big "G" really want to accomplish?

Google, or better known as G-this and G-that... I mean honestly, who doesn't know Google and its astounding market share (NASDAQ: GOOG) and creating billionaires out of anyone standing near or around Stanford University.

They've given us wonderful tools like (in no particular order):
  • G-Mail - the first web based e-mail system to break the 2GB barrier
  • Google - the world's "best" search engine
  • Google Maps - a great mapping tool that can show you who's car is parked in your driveway or with street view, who is in your window
  • Google Medical Records - Keep and store your records "safely" online - wow!!!
  • Google AdWords - Pay per click advertising with a ton of tools and ease of use features to help drive traffic to your website
  • Google AdSense - Ad revenue that you can place on your website and get PAID for your web traffic visitors clicking on ads
  • Google Apps - Trying to bust up Microsoft's monopoly on share/collaboration tools for document editing (Similar to Word), presentation (Similar to PowerPoint), spreadsheets (Similar to Excel), etc.
  • Google Toolbar - Appends itself to your Internet Explorer or Firefox browser window to "make searching easier"

No doubt Google has pioneered many advances that make our on-line lives more connected, integrated, and simpler to get where and what we want.

Now, here is where Google begins to scare me:

  • Postini - Google has bought Postini, the world's largest e-mail filtering service for junk mail and viruses. Many small, medium and large (i.e. Fortune 500) companies use Postini. It allows junk and virus laden e-mail to be filtered at Postini's server farm before it gets delivered to the company's mail servers - which for those non-techie types is a HUGE lifesaver!
  • Grand Central - Google has bought Grand Central which is (currently an invite only) a service that gives you a phone number "for life". With this phone number, you get some new and amazing call handling capabilities. It allows you to give an individual profile to your friends and family, giving them a unique ring tone, greeting, and a behind-the-scenes way to reach you anywhere at anytime. If you want Grandma to be able to reach you at home, the office, the cell phone or the hotel in Taipei where you are staying she only has to call one number, your Grand Central number, and it will find you. You can even record a special greeting just for Grandma - "Hi Grandma, I am running around at work in Taipei, if I don't answer just leave me a message and I will call you right back". You can also send those telemarketers off to the virtual cyber trash can by blocking their number - sending to voicemail or playing the "disconnected number" tone/message.
  • G-Drive - Not yet announced at the time of this writing, but supposedly in the works. Google wants to offer an on-line storage/backup service (similar to X-drive, Carbonite, Mozy, etc.) that will allow you to backup your computer and files on their servers - keeping it safe from theft or computer crashes.
  • Android (G-Phone) - Google announced a development platform for a new cell phone (whether the phone or the software) called Android.

Why does this scare me? Simply put, Google has its hands in so much of what we do on-line - and will do. And is slowly creeping into the non-traditional tech (telephone) that used to be quite secure from prying eyes/ears.

With the above, Google will be able to:

  • See 100% of what we search for - Using Google Search Engine and Google Toolbar
  • See 100% of what people who visit our website are looking for - Using Google AdSense
  • See 100% of what we want to sell on-line - Using Google AdWords
  • See 100% of our ailments, medical records, births, deaths, etc - Using Google Medical Records
  • See 100% of who calls us, and what messages they leave us - Using Grand Central & Android (G-Phone)
  • See 100% of who e-mails us, its content, how often, etc - Using Postini
  • See 100% of what files we have stored on our computer - Using G-drive

Now, whether Google will actually use or harvest this information and create individual profiles on each citizen of the world - who knows. Save that for the conspiracy theorists... My gut reaction is that Google is spreading itself into so many small niches of my life. I feel anxious that every Saturday some guy up in Google HQ decides to pull up my harvested profile and have some buddies over for a good chuckle - reviewing the entire week of phone calls, e-mails, web searches and files that I have created. Wouldn't it be nice to be so important that it actually occurred? Maybe it does.

With the Department of Homeland security wanting more information from more citizens, maybe they should just embed themselves in the corporate culture of Google. With so much access to so much information, Google seems to be the best place to get information. Maybe the big "G" stands for Government? Careful now, Big Brother is watching!

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