Why I am afraid of Google?

I use and love google products. From google search, which almost feels like a personal assistant, to the latest android powered smartphone, I am surrounded by google products all day. As I use more of these product, they are getting better at serving my needs, understanding what I want and sometimes even presenting the options to me before I even ask for it. I love it, but I am also a spooked by it.

A few days ago, Google flashed a message on my phone that I should leave home at 8:15 am next morning, if I want to reach the PTM for my son, who is in kindergarten, in time. The flash on Google Now also included a suggested route for me.
There is no form that google had asked me to fill out about the meeting and neither had I saved it on google calendar. So how did it know about the PTM. Then I realized that google is reading my emails and a few days back I had received an email from the school on my Gmail account. This freaked me out. This did not end here. On the way to school, google messaged me that I was going to late because the conveyance mode I had selected would not help me reach my son’s school in time.

I am okay with google suggesting relevant ads when I search for information, or display ads even on the email. But the fact that google is starting to connect the dots and making suggestions on its own is really getting my goat. Recently saw the movie ‘Focus’ where Will Smith’s, who portrays a conman in the movie, gets his target to make a bet he knows he is going to make in a certain way, as he had primed him with the information all day long. You can read more about priming here.
Would the company that once had a motto do not evil use its genius to influence us all.  Now, I am not accusing google of doing this, but the fact that it can influence my daily choices and therefore my life by sending me innocuous looking messages all day long is crazy and I can’t put my head around it. I am therefore afraid of Google.

Aren’t you too?


By: Kapil

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