Originally published on April 8 2007 on no defunct, adwords-articles.com. Republishing with minor tweaks and edits to links and some text.
Ever Consider Google as your Big Brother? Well think again, what you will read here may surprise you. Google as your Big Brother? Remember the Novel 1984 by George Orwell ? This book describes a society where everybody is under complete surveillance by the authorities, mainly by telescreens. The people are constantly reminded of this by the phrase “Big Brother is watching you”, which is the core “truth” of the propaganda system in this state.
How about the Mac Commercial that was shown during the Superbowl in 1984? My understanding is that the commercial was directed by Ridley Scott (Director of Alien, 1979, and Blade Runner, 1982) for the Apple Corporation. Announcing the arrival of the mac computer.
My interpretation of Big Brother has always been the Federal or State Governments, and or extensions of these organizations and their ability to track and monitor the daily activities of my life. Things like red light cameras that keep logs of my location, time, and the speed I was traveling after snapping photos of my license plate. The traffic cameras that monitor traffic jams, and catch crimes from time to time. Credit reports that display every loan or charge I’ve made.
So where is all this information kept and who has access to it, after it serves its primary purpose? I’ve heard of many other ideas that people associate with Big Brother over the years. Some very outlandish and some that are very interesting. So what does this have to do with Google and the relationship to Big Brother?
Let us look at the correlation. Google is the world’s largest most widely used search engine. In July of 2006, there were 5.6 billion searches made on the Internet by US searchers. About 50% or 2.8 billion of those were made by people using the Google search engine. All of these searches are recorded with details such as what your searching for, the time the search was made, the day the search was made, which results you clicked, and how long you stayed on the results page after you found it.
Now, with a search volume of 2.8 million searches per month, over let us say one year’s time, the company in possession of this data could identify several things about you. What your topics of interest are, how much time you spend on these topics, how often you search about these topics, the approximate geographic location your searching from which is likely your place of work or home.
Google can use this data to identify year over year trends, such as the most commonly searched topic based on the time of year, based on world events that take place such as War, and Holidays like Christmas and entertainment news. The possibilities are endless. Suppose that you don’t use Google”s search engine to conduct your searches. Well, Google’s technology actually powers some search engines that may or may not display the Google name, like AOL.
Well, you don’t really conduct any searches, so Google’s search engine does not impact you. Well, read on. Sometime around April 2004, Google launched an email product named “GMail”. This product was another step outside of the box for Google. This email product was free and offered 2GB of email storage. Dwarfing the competitors such as Yahoo and MSN’s Hotmail, who were also offering free email with much less storage.
Did you know that Gmail’s email is scanned by its systems so that it may display Advertisements alongside the emails that are related to the content of the emails? Some would probably say, well I don’t use a Gmail account for my email. Well, do you send emails to friends or family that have Gmail accounts? Do they ever forward or send emails to people that have Gmail accounts?
Ever get one of those emails with 50 different email addresses in the “CC” field? Hard to know, isn’t it? I think Google is one of the most innovative companies of our time and is far from reaching its true impact to society. I believe this company feels that new innovative, constructive ideas will grow to stand on their own and that generating revenue does not have to be the first bullet of the business case.
This company aggressively works toward the improvement of existing technologies (search and email were well established by other companies, so they thought, before Google) as well the creation of new ideas for users and promotes creativity amongst its staff. They have proven year after year to be a solid company focused philosophy.
*Search Engine Data by Nielsen NetRatings
Note: The content of this article is solely based on the authors opinion and factual data.