Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Google and Digg






So I was browsing Digg today and came across a story from the Tech Crunch 50, which said that Google was close to finalising a deal to purchase Digg for somewhere in the region of $200m. And I've gotta say, I've got mixed feelings about this.

First off don't get me wrong, I love the fact that Google is kicking ass, they have a great business, and everything they seem to do is awesome. I love that they're shitting all over Microsoft, and getting into bed with Apple, that in my opinion is a recipe for greatness. Also I love Kevin Rose, and this deal would make him filthy rich, he's a clever guy and deserves it.

However I am a little concerned. My brother was telling me the other day that a while ago, Viacom requested Google to hand over YouTube user data, because of their concern that people were viewing material on YouTube that infringed on their copyright. So Google gave them the user data. Now, I guess YouTube user data isn't as revealing as other data, like name, address, phone number, national insurance number, but the fact that they gave away people's personal data is quite worrying. If they did it in this instance, then there is good reason to believe they may do it again, or that they have done it previously.

Google has a lot of info on me, and I'm only just realising how much. First off they've got this blog, who knows they may be sending their multi-coloured Google Assassins after me right now for saying this stuff. They know everything I've ever searched for online (well post-yahoo-love that is). They know all the news I read, and what celebrities I like. They know what I like to have as my background when I'm searching online. They have all my mail, and at the flick of a switch can expose me to millions of advertisements telling me I have a small cock and am impotent. I expect they know what I had for dinner and even what my HDL is compared to my LDL, not even I know that! Now they're gonna know what I Digg.

As such, me and my brother are trying to decrease our usage of Google, as much as I love their stuff, and as hard as that is to do. We've already stopped using Google Reader, and employed a lovely RSS aggregator called Vienna, which I recommend, especially if you have a mac. As for the rest well it will take time, and pain but we'll get there. I don't mind them knowing what I search really, and this blog is for all to see anyway so no harm there. So I'm sorry Google, and I hope you are too.

Any comments or questions are welcomed

1 comment:

Tom said...

You joke about Google knowing your HDL and LDL, but have you heard of Google Health? This is a google service that will store all of your personal health data; so soon they may well know those details!

Generally, if you are worried about search engine privacy I would recommend ixquick.com, which is a metasearch that deletes your IP address from its records after 48 hours. And try to spread your searches out over a few different engines, that way no single company has all your search data.

And try to construct a good tinfoil helmet; that way the NSA won't be able to read your thoughts. ;-)