For the past two decades there has been a battle to collect as much information about you as possible. Data centres are filled full of so much of your data that they could make a pretty accurate copy of your inner workings. This has been so blatant and marketed so well that many people think it has to be done to get the most out of technology – and feel powerless to do anything else.
There is a level of acceptance for personal privacy that is written off as the price of entry to the internet. With a general consensus that you must give over your data to get the most out of tools, and reap the benefits of what the World Wide Web has to offer. Google joins the dots between your browsing, email and search history and ties this all back to your personal account. All in the name of serving you better ads.
“We really want to combat people’s learned helplessness in privacy. Everyone’s concerned, but a large percentage of people just think there’s nothing you can really do about it. We want to prove that you can do something.” – Gabriel Weinberg, CEO DuckDuckGo
It is completely up to you if you value the data you exchange for goods and services that internet companies provide you. Google and Facebook are two of the worst but certainly not the only ones. Google in exchange for your data gives you a suite of free tools and apps that many find impossible to live without. Google search for instance, is so dominant because it knows so much information about you and tailors results to those that you want to see, rolling this into Google assistant, maps and all of its other services just for good measure.
Sounds like a great trade to many, because it depends on how much value you put on companies knowing all about you. Pichai can side step all the questions in the world by insisting that “most of the data we collect is to help users and provide personalised experiences back” but the reality is that the more data they get about you, the more money they make.
A personal data exhange should not be viewed as the price to get better tools, there are many other options out there for users, but they just don’t know about them. In many cases Google controls the services you use, the websites you see and even the browser you use. You’re not using the open internet, you are using a limited Google web that pushes their services on you.
Giving away your data only helps one thing and that is the companies bottom line.