Google tried to do everything. It proved itself the deepest and fastest of the search engines. It stomped the competition in email. It made a decent showing in image hosting, and a good one in chat. It stumbled on social, but utterly owned maps. It swallowed libraries whole and sent tremors across the copyright laws. It knows where you are right now, and what you’re doing, and what you’ll probably do next. It added an indelible, funny, loose-limbed and exact verb into the vocabulary: to google. No one bings or yahoos anything. And it finishes your sen…
All of a sudden, one day, a few years ago, there was Google Image Search. Words typed into the search box could deliver pages of images. I remember the first time I saw this, and what I felt: fear. I knew then that the monster had taken over. I confessed it, too. “I’m afraid of Google,” I said recently to an employee of the company. “I’m not afraid of Google,” he replied. “Google has a committee that meets over privacy issues before we release any product. I’m afraid of Facebook, of what Facebook can do with what Google has found. We are in a new age of cyber-bullying.” I agreed with him about Facebook, but it was cold comfort. The Google privacy committee had given the thumbs up to predictive text of all kinds, to data mining, and to the collection of location information. It had a conciliatory relationship with bad governments at home and abroad, governments who might demand strategic pieces of stored information, or the heads of dissidents.
vicwomg: “…hop in a cab at the airport and ask the driver to take you to the best place for deep-fried chicken, and you are guaranteed to end up at the Prince…” an assertion few have tested. (at The Prince)
(Editor’s note: My favorite bar in Los Angeles. The sister bar is Dimples in San Francisco.)