Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Google's Terms and Conditions

The T&C of Google Adsense Section 5, subsection xi states:
"You shall not, and shall not authorize or encourage any third party to...(xi) engage in any action or practice that reflects poorly on Google or otherwise disparages or devalues Google’s reputation or goodwill." 
Indeed. We wholeheartedly agree. Who would dare disparage or devalue all that Google give us? But just what does Google give us? 

In the Atlantic in 2008, Nicholas Carr writes that, 
"Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes. A few Google searches, some quick clicks on hyperlinks, and I’ve got the telltale fact or pithy quote I was after. "
That's pretty valuable. But we asked, "What does Google give us?"

Again from Nicholas Carr, referring to the internet and its high church - Google:  
It’s becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and TV...The company has declared that its mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” It seeks to develop “the perfect search engine,” which it defines as something that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.” "
Nothing sinister about that. Most of adult life is the administration of paper work and information and your bills and whatnot why wouldn't you want super powerful computers and super smart  Taylorists managing our brains? 

According to Hans Reimer of Market Vantage Google oversees: 
    • Who I am and where I live
    • All of my email addresses and passwords
    • My Facebook and Twitter usernames and passwords and, by extension, what’s on my Facebook page, who my friends are, what I’m tweeting and about and who I am following
    • The name, address, employer, phone numbers, and email addresses of everyone I have even a tenuous relationship with, because I have over 2,000 contacts
    • Pictures of my family, friends, and places I have visited
    • My shopping list plus what movies I want to see and what books I want to read  because I keep these in Notes that I sync with my Android phone
    • What I will be doing for the foreseeable future and what I have done in the past – it’s all in my Google Calendar
    • Where I am right at this moment to within a couple of meters, what direction I am moving in and how fast I am going
    • What I am discussing with people via email
    • What I search for on Google
    • What websites I visit, assuming I use Chrome as my browser
    • What is on my to-do list
    • Any content in my Google documents

Sounds helpful. That is quite a lot of information about me readily available and vulnerable. So of course I wouldn't want to disparage or devalue such a powerful entity. It's less terms and conditions and more a statement of self-interest. 

Carr even admits that he's a reactionary Luddite and points to many instances of supporters of the status quo bemoaning the coming of a new technological age as the greatest evil. They were all proved wrong for they only saw the end of what they knew. They were blind to what was to be. 

So three chairs for Google! 

3 chairs for Google

As a post script, this article would not have been possible were it not for the kindness that Providence Google gives us all.

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