No, I’m not going to use the new Google Photos (1) app. Why? Because it’s creepy. With every step it takes, Google gets a hold on more and more bits of our lives. For a long time they were the pioneers, the visionaries, a company I looked up to. Thing is, they still do cool stuff, I just don’t trust them anymore.
The “Don’t be evil” mantra
This used to be Google’s core belief. Google is a publicly traded business, that ultimately must create sustainable value for its stakeholders. Simply put, Google’s main purpose is to make money.
Right now “Don’t be evil” has become a footnote. They have effectively redefined what “evil” means. Evil it is whatever Google thinks it means.
The famous Google mantra of ‘Don’t be evil’ is not entirely what it seems.
– Eric Schmidt in How Google Works
Information is power
Google is in the business of selling information, and they’ve become very good at getting it. They have access to everything. Your mail, documents, search history, musical tastes, photos, friends, location and credit cards.
I just enumerated the Google Services you’re might be already using:
- Google Drive
- Google Music
- Google Photos (1)
- Android Pay (2)
- Now on Tap (3)
With Now on Tap (3), Google will have access to the data of every app you use on your phone or tablet.
I don’t know if you still remember it, but in 2012 Google has changed it’s EULA. This allows Google to track you across all its services. They are building a complete profile with everything you do online and they get to keep that data for a very long time.
Yes, they anonymize the data after 9 months. This is good right? Umm… no. This means you cannot request that data to be deleted after 9 months, because they can’t link it back to you.
The anonymized data will persist indefinitely and yes, it can still be linked back to you.
We’re fighting the US Government for its massive surveillance program, but at the same time, we’re allowing a private company this unbelievable intrusion in our personal life. This is baffling to me.
You don’t trust Facebook with your Credit Card, why would you trust Google?
All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
– John Dalberg-Acton
People are naïve if they think that Google would not abuse its power. They are already doing it.
What to do?
I don’t know, everybody has a choice. My choice is to migrate away from Google as much as I can:
- I’m on the lookout for another email provider, since I don’t use the Gmail web interface anyway.
- For my searching purposes recently switched to Duck Duck Go, I’m still experimenting.
- For video, Vimeo is cool and it looks like it’s designed for humans.
- My photos are on Flickr and in the iCloud Photo Library.
- My music is on iTunes Match and SoundCloud. There are other options available.
- Dropbox is the place for my documents in the Cloud.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not telling you to stop using Google services. I’m telling you to become more aware of your personal information and whom you’re sharing it with.
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