Why we fear Google

Rene Ritchie wrote a great article on Google, and all large companies for that matter. I agree with everything he said, until this:

I value my privacy. I’m deeply concerned about who collects my data and how they use it. But I’m no more concerned about Google owning Nest than I am Nest existing in the first place.

The problem that I have is that Nest sold a product—we bought that product, used it and we’re satisfied with that transaction. With Google, the transaction is Google mining my data looking for information so they can show me the best advertisement.

With Google, I am the product.



  • Joseph Blake

    Except that wasn’t “the” transaction with Nest, or wouldn’t have been in the future. If you think Nest would be some kind of corporation that turns away money when it’s sitting on the table, you’re fooling yourself. Just look at where TiVo started and where they are now–they have ads on their interface and some of their biggest businesses now is selling analytics data of it’s customers. And this is a service that you pay for, not an ad supported company like Google.

    All corporations are out for one thing and that is to extract as much money from you and any other customer they can. Never assume that a company you deal with has your best interests in mind, because they don’t. They have theirs in mind.

    • matthewmaurice

      Of course, the important thing to remember is that users are NOT Google’s customers, advertisers are. To extract that money from their true customers they need to leverage their users. That whole dynamic incentivizes Google to acquire as much data about their users as they can. It’s beyond a “slippery slope.” it’s a 30% grade covered in ice and coated with silicone.

  • Mike Cooper

    Amen, Jim.

  • willo

    Google is evil.

  • dr.dont

    No one is talking about Nest and their promise of learning thermostat and whether it delivered on that promise except that you have an app and you can remotely control the thermostat.

    What are the fuel savings. Is it worth $250 for it.

  • stefnagel

    Rene says, “Companies are predators, like wolves or wildcats or snakes…” True enough. But even predators kill to eat; they cannot afford to kill for fun.

    Google is owned and run by two guys who are unbeholden and unaccountable to its board or its business. And even less so to users, who are not even customers. It’s run on whims. Whims are a deeply flawed approach to manage or govern. Or avoid evil.

    Even if you like these guys, the guys that follow them might not be so nice. Whimsy ain’t a legacy; it’s a threat. The next guys might kill just for fun.

    We need to find a way to disperse and distribute our personal information, just as we diversify stocks. There is no hope or safety in trusting our personal info to one company. And certainly not to Google as it is constituted today.

  • ESatie

    Why do we fear Google? Because of their track record. “Privacy activists can sue Google in UK over Safari tracking, court decides” “Google Remarketing Ads Found To Violate Canadian Privacy Law” Just in the last few days…

  • tyr

    Nest had opportunity to abuse the data they have, but Google has the motive. It’s the latter that creeps people out, not the former.

  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    No you’re not.

    Your data is mined by every online service you use. It doesn’t equal improper data use.

  • ESatie

    Have you noticed that since the G+ integration was forced into YouTube, you can’t use the YouTube channel on Apple TV unless you have created a channel in YouTube. It’s not enough to be logged in with an account that is used in YT (and Google and G+, etc, etc) you have to create a “channel” ready to upload your videos to. You don’t (yet) have to actually upload anything, but it has to be there or you get an error saying “This account cannot be used with Apple TV” when said account works perfectly well on the YT website.

    Why do they insist on this? Time Warner doesn’t insist you make a program before you watch their channels. Even your local public access station lets you just watch without contributing. I don’t know what extra data they gain by you having an empty channel over just being logged in, but there must be some reason they do it. It’s feature creep like that which is the biggest fear for Nest. Sure, nothing changes now. Nothing will change for months, but changes will come and it will be to Google’s benefit, not the user’s.

  • invinciblegod

    I have been thinking for a long time why I don’t like the phrase “With Google, I am the product.” I think I realize now. It is because it sounds like anyone who uses Google stuff sounds like they are prostituting themselves or victims of human trafficking (though in your case, that may not be so bad since you are usually pretty honest about what you think, even when it is inflammatory).