Thursday, October 25, 2012

In Which I Contemplate Divorcing Google

It's been quite a marriage. 9 years, to be precise.

Back in 2003, I fell for Google the first time, called Google 'God', for its ready answers to everything from 'how to cook a roast chicken'  to 'what is a large hadron collider'.

The same year, I opened my first Gmail account. Then another. Then I got myself a Google Blog, I got on Google Chat, worked with Google docs, owned an Android phone for a bit. Last year I entered Google Plus, and began to watch some of my favorite shows on You Tube.

I've been married to Google and rely on it on a daily basis almost as much (gasp!) as I do on my real-life husband -- and though I joked about how much of my life is lived on my blog and my mails, I did not realize how much of a hold Google had on me till I began to read this: How I divorced Google, of which the following is an excerpt.
When I sit at home, Google (unless I consciously prevent it) knows where I sit, on what machine, and what time of day I'm there. Data is collected not only from the search engine site, but sites that I visit that have Google maps, and so forth. The penetration of Google's ability to sniff a single individual's location and preferences is unprecedented. Google knows more about me than my mother.
Then, as I read about cookies, and super cookies and redirected host files, I hit another realization: I'm not equipped to do this -- I can't go after cookies, eliminate super cookies and then evade going to Google sites forever, not only because Google is everywhere, but also because, like a whole bunch of other people, I'm a tech-dunce.

As a writer, I've had a few 'conspiracy-theory-like' nightmares since, where Google would be able to buy and sell us (it already acquires and uses our info), choose our mates, and decide the fates of our children.

Privacy, once compromised, can lead to any slippery slope, after all.

But for the time being, I've decided to ignore these scenarios. It isn't just Google. All of them do it -- Google is just the biggest Shark. So, I'll go back to my cocoon of the free bounties of Gmails and You tubes and Blogger, and pretend that all is well with me and Google. Isn't that what most marriages are about, anyway?

When this post publishes, Google will know exactly when and where it was put up, and by whom. In a few years from now, they might decide (and be in a position to) to take action. Who knows, they may do it now -- my blog on Blogspot is 5 years old, and I shall be sorry to lose it....!

One thing is sure, they, not me, would have that last laugh. Because, unlike Tom Henderson who managed to divorce Google, I'm both lazy and stupid (besides being a scatterbrained writer).

What is your take on Google? On its Privacy policies? Are you on/ do you use anything Google-related? If, like me, you're married to Google, have you ever contemplated divorce?
This post brought to you by Damyanti from Amlokiblogs


Jolie du Pre said...

When it comes to search engines, Google is king. Until it gets kicked off its throne, as a full-time writer, I can't divorce it.

Jolie du Pre
Precious Monsters

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's 1984 - big brother really is watching.

Ghadeer said...

I just feel like in this age there's no running away from having all your information out in the open. And as much as I don't like the idea of that, I really don't have anything to hide!

JoJo said...

I love and rely on Google. I don't use Google+ although I did open an account on it. It will never take off like facebook so I stick to FB. I didn't know You Tube was part of Google. Blogger, yes. I like it way better than Wordpress or that other one some people are using now...Tumblr I think? I think google and I will be in a codependent relationship forever.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Remember back a decade ago when people were worried about putting too much information online? I think now we've given up the battle. We post photos of our kids and grandkids, we give names, addresses, impossible to hide anything even if we try. And the real thieves are those hacking into our emails and bank accounts, which they'll find regardless of Google.

Unknown said...

Totally depend on it! I couldn't see divorcing what would I do then? :)

Arlee Bird said...

I've certainly thought about all of this, but I'm not overly concerned. If Google doesn't get me, someone else will. I have a driver's license, bank accounts, credit cards, loyalty cards, cell phone, and so on. Everything I do is tracked and if I'm going to live in the framework of society I guess that's just the way it's gonna be. It's scary, but the "network of surveillance" covers us all and there are not many places to hide.

And like you I'm a techno-dunce and the process described in the article seems a bit much for me. I'll keep it in mind though.

Tossing It Out

Andrew Leon said...

I have nothing to add to what Lee said. The only way to get out from under the constant eye of society is to move a cabin in the middle of nowhere with no power or anything.

Rob Z Tobor said...

I like Google and am happy with it. I am not sure they know that much about me because my life is a strange one of smoke and mirrors, and I seldom know what I am doing or where I am going anyway.

D.G. Hudson said...

When I get asked if Google can track my location I always say NO. I wonder if it logs it anyway.
I see no reason to divulge it.

I'm the cautious type. I don't use Google mail because it wouldn't block a harassing person. That's not flexibility. Why can't we block undesired mail?

I don't like having my work somewhere on Google, so I don't use Google Docs either. They already have access to my blogposts. Paranoid? Possibly, but also very wise in the ways of corporations. I also wonder if Google will become like SKYNET? (Terminator reference)

Livia Peterson said...

Hehe, I never thought about those scenarios before until I read your experience.

I've only been married to Google for ten months (with having Gmail and Blogger account). Otherwise, I use Google to search almost everything.

But I'm not getting a divoce from Google anytime soon, I love Google too much. I just have to be more aware of what the heck they're trying to sell me...

MunirGhiasuddin said...

I am not married to Google, thank God. I still think that Google is a good tool.

Cally Jackson said...

This seriously gives me the creep. I'd never thought of it like this before. But surely Google would never turn on us like that, it's so helpful. I even ask it questions I'm too embarrassed to ask others - it knows way too much!!

klahanie said...

Hey Damyanti,

Yes, it's me, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star, recently upgraded to superstar status!

I like Google and right now I'm using Google Chrome because my human likes to use a browser that is nice and simple. And if you Google "Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star....", you will see page after page of me, yes me! Arf! Arf! No divorce from Google from this modest dog!

Tina said...

I gave up on the illusion long ago that I had any internet privacy. I just pretty much assume that despite my firewall and my settings and all that anything I put out there can and will be found. But you can be found walking to school too and chopped into little pieces without ever going near Google. Sorry. We had a gruesome kidnap/murder thing here very recently and I'm still reeling...
Tina @ Life is Good

Nicole said...

In an ideal world, divorcing Google while still being able to navigate all of the sites and apps and be social with ease would be a possibility, but for now, I think that it's just a fantasy because Google has monopolized the internet to a point where they pretty much have a hover over whatever users do and their online activity.

I agree with Lee and Tina and now that I just finished watching 'Scandal' on ABC, you know I'm skeptical of surveillance and such, for sure! LOL

It's all around us, yes indeed.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I don't really care if Google watches me. I'd feel flattered. I'm of such miniscule importance in the eyes of the world. I look at it this way: at least with Google someone knows where I am because real ppl honestly could care less.

Empty Nest Insider said...

For years my friends and family would call me to answer movie and TV trivia questions. Now that my memory is fading, I love that I can rely on Google for both silly and important info. Yes there are repercussions, but the pros far outweigh the cons for me. Julie

Unknown said...

LOL, Great Post! I used to think I had someone stalking me, and then I found out about google spiders. Yep, google is everywhere.

Kims4Him said...

Google=big brother!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Damyanti - I've known about Google knowing everything about us - there are so many of us .. but I really am not happy it's sort of aware of what we're doing regardless of whether they're that interested ..

Good post and comments - cheers Hilary

Denise said...

The minute you put anything out into the public domain someone, somewhere knows all about you. Google is by no means the only company with access to all your information and the only way to avoid this is to stay away from the internet

The information isn't used for sinister purposes - not yet anyway :-) It's analysed so that companies, like Google, can create better experiences for people using their services and the internet in general. If you've never used Google Analytics you should give it a try. It's amazing what you can glean from it. I love it!

Google is great and I think the internet would be an emptier place without it.

Excellent, thought-provoking post though!

Lynn Proctor said...

i know what you mean--i have google ads on my blog--which i keep thinking i will remove them, since i haven't made a cent on them----at first they put ads according to what my blog may be about--lately i have noticed they are placing ads according to things i have been googling--not liking that!