Here Comes the Rest of the Camel

GoogleHandcuffsI have mentioned in prior posts that I am not comfortable with my Google overlords.  Unfortunately, the camel’s nose got into the tent quite a while back, and the rest of the camel is proving to be really hard to keep out. As of November 1st, Google’s latest policy change explicitly allows the company to use pretty much anything you post to any Google-owned service, including photos, reviews, and comments. So what services does Google own? It’s easier to enumerate the services that Google doesn’t own.

Google also changed up the Gmail interface last week, to make G+ much more “in your face.”  The place where you used to go to click on the multiple accounts link now takes you directly to G+. It took a bit of searching to discover that if you click on your uploaded photo in the far upper right, you can still do the multiple account login. This is further confirmation of my suspicions about the sudden termination of Reader.

Remember that whenever you use a Google service, you are not a Google customer. You are a Google product. It won’t be long before Google owns everything you produce. You can still opt out of the latest invasion of your privacy, but I have two predictions regarding that:

  1. Most people won’t opt out (note that you get a “warning” when you try to opt out), and
  2. You will soon find yourself having to almost continuously “opt out,” and that in itself will become so intrusive that you will eventually give up.

The model Google is trying to implement resembles the “sharecropper” system. Or maybe the serf system of the Middle Ages. They want to own everything, and just rent pieces of it to you. Believe it or not, I don’t really have a problem with that — as long as there are at least a dozen major players in that game who all have roughly equal footing. The problem is that Google is the dominant player.

Despite my ambivalence towards Microsoft, I have made Bing my default search engine, at least until something better comes along. I’m also looking into using a new service called, created by some ex-Google employees,  which denies Google the ability to track what keywords you use for searches (among other things).

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