Do You Google?

I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with the political/tech news lately (an obscure category, to be sure), but do you know what all Google’s been up to?  Take a look at this list:

* Google employees are among the advisors to President Obama.  Now, normally, this wouldn’t be too upsetting, but these are not normal times.
* Google has stated on several occasions that they “know where you are and what you’re doing”.  Their software “harvests” your on-line activities and is used for a variety of reasons.  In the past this has been troublesome because of their use by marketing companies, but now that information could be of use by forces you might not like even as much as telemarketers.
* Google has an ongoing relationship with the National Security Agency (used to be known as “No Such Agency” because of their secretive work in espionage).
* Google is one of the few Internet companies that supported the so-called “net neutrality” which allows the FCC to control the content of Internet traffic.
* The Google management, as a group and individually, are highly liberal in their beliefs and actions, to the point of physical activism (see the first bulleted point above).

Now.  Google has some incredible technology, and if you’re in a business with an on-line presence, utilizing their resources makes good business sense.  However, their technology allows them to manipulate the order in which searched-for items appear when you do a search.  Imagine you’re researching a particular issue, and mostly left-leaning articles appear first when you execute the search, regardless of their actual popularity or relevance?  Does that happen?  I don’t think so, but I don’t know.  Do we really want someone to have this much power?

The next time you’re on a site, particularly if you’re using Firefox, take a note of all the URLs that are accessed while your page is loading (it’s in the lower-left hand corner of the Firefox browser), and note how many times Google’s name comes up (in particular, google-analytics).  That’s a scary amount of information they’re accumulating.

So, what am I saying?  I’m just making observations of things that just don’t seem headed in a great direction.  Personally, I’ve switched search engines to Bing (yeah, that’s Microsoft, and they’ve been Nazi-like in the past as well – just ask Netscape.  Oh right, they’re no longer in business…).  There’s also Yahoo, which has been struggling lately – maybe they could use some help.  Want to stay with Google – fine.  At least you’ve made a conscious decision.

Personally, this all looks a little too conspiratorial for me.  Wait – is that helicopter I hear black?

 

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