Don't Be Evil

I have been a Yahoo! user since the very first time I use the internet, which is coming to 10 years now. I am still a Yahoo! user now and except for my company e-mail, I use the Yahoo! e-mail exclusively. Some time back, I have been invited and have subsequently signed on to Google’s Gmail but the idea that they can go through my mails deterred me from using the service. However, just yesterday, a friend waxed lyrical on the chat function that comes within the Gmail service.

This came about when this friend asked for an Instant Messaging session to discuss about our plans today but the fact that our company blocks IMs made that impossible, and thus he suggested the above. It worked perfectly well.

Reflecting on this Google business, it becomes really intriguing the genius behind this bunch of people. Google’s mission is very simple, being:

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Who would have thought this will be so powerful. And while in Gmail, it got me thinking for a while. Why would Google require a system of recommendation for application of new Gmails accounts? Maybe the Six Degrees of Separation thing really works. Yeah, it really may work.

Imagine that you are a Googler (i.e. those hip and chic that uses all of the services that Google offers), Google would have gone through all your e-mails, have indexed and gone through your personal computer via Google Desktop, knows what you are searching for on the web and also your computer, knows what you write in your blogs via Blogger, knows the online communities that you join, knows who your friends are, knows what you buy, knows what kind of photos you post, where you have been recently, where on earth are you looking at, knows what you chat about with your friends, knows what kind of books you are reading, knows what financial information that you are interested in, etc. etc. Imagine the amount and the kind of personal information that Google is collecting and before long, Google will know more about you now than your mom.

Here’s a list of services that Google offers: http://www.google.com.my/options/index.html

And here’s the link to the very attractive Google Pack: http://pack.google.com/

So, by collecting all the above information plus knowing who your friends are and all the above mentioned information about your friend, then multiply all that using the Six Degrees of Separation principle mentioned above, whoa!!!!

But as a netizen, would I want to let Google have that kind of information about me? Afterall, once we step into this cyberspace thing, we cease to be come private. I run my name by Google search and all my public activities on the internet comes up top in the search results. Imagine if someone wants to check me out, e.g. a potential new employer or a sweet new potential friend, and runs a search of my name and I surely would not want them to know things about me that I don’t want them to know. But in this cyberspace, one cannot really delete our past, unless this whole cyberspace thingy collapses, an unlikely thing to happen.

So, if you are already freaking out by the time you read this, then think twice before you sign up for any of those “free” services and watch what you say on the web. Afterall, signing up is really easy, just a click away, and the reward is so tempting.

Participating too much can be dangerous, but not participating at all can also be dangerous. Why? Because if someone runs a search about you and finds zero search results, then you are not really that happening and interesting a person. No?


The New Monolith

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