15 August 2010

Google On the Future. Will It All Be Good In the Googlesphere?

The nice people of Rupert's world sat down with Google head man - Eric Schmidt. The Wall Street Journal team peppered Eric with lots of interesting questions. Some of his answers would make the usual PRHHM (Public Relations hacks handlers and minders) squirm.

In the Googlesphere it has become clear that all information should be held sacred as long as Google has a copy and is in charge of what gets shown and not shown. As Schmidt noted in the Techonomy conference on August 4, 2010 , all information should be subject to "much greater transparency and no anonymity." ... because he assumes that (Google) technology is ultimately good (as opposed to evil). I think that makes me very nervous. And thank you, I vote for my Government which I think is called a democracy.

Going back to the WSJ article, Schmidt continues - "Most people..... They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

In general I believe that personalization is part of the mix. My view is that 'context' is better term than 'personalization'. I don't think that everything needs to be/should be uniquely or personalized. That is not how we are in our work and personal lives. To assume that this is the case is blatantly arrogant in my view. What happens if you get this wrong? And yes people who should know better do get these sort of things wrong - frequently. Just look at credit reports. But Google doesn't seem to want to think about that because.... Mr. Schmidt is a believer in targeted advertising because, simply, he's a believer in targeted everything: "The power of individual targeting—the technology will be so good it will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them." ....This is a direct quote from the WSJ. Too bad that Big Brother Google will be the arbiter or this and thence directly or indirectly control and influence our tastes.

This reminds me of the way the legacy GDSs have acted up till now. You can have your content anyway you like as long as they are the gatekeepers to the content and can charge you a toll, and that they control the form of the content.

So when these worlds collide, as they will if Google completes its purchase of ITA, then we will have an interesting battle of epic proportions.

And yes - I want to be around to watch it. But I am not waiting. In my world we have developed independent solutions which we are deploying to make our world independent and user controlled. I believe that there should be free and independent markets. I do not want to be curtailed by censorship or by any form of Big Brother deciding what content I can consume. No matter who you are.

I now firmly believe that Google has crossed the line from universally doing no evil. As we have seen and I have commented before. Evil does not have to come from an overt act. It can just as easily come from an inadvertent act of carelessness or laziness. If I don't drink the CoolAid and can see that Google's commercial direction does conflict with my freedom then I am prepared to join the rebel battalion.

And what do you think?

Are you nervous yet? Bring back Andy Grove so we can ALL be paranoid.


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