Google’s world domination
Today everything came together as I haven’t managed to put into words some of my feelings with the latest products from Google, a company that somehow is morphing from search to something terrifyingly different, a data mining company and the level of the event is such I couldn’t really comprehend the impact.
For those of you that like conspiracy theories here is mine, sure enough I could be very wrong so please forgive me for the exercise in imagination but sure enough on the way you may also benefit from those products from Google, after all, they must be good for so many of use using them continuously.
As search becomes closer to a yellow pages advertising cluttered with thousands of useless links, half baked information or even wrong information all mixed with a hefty dosage of porn I started to look for signals of what Google is doing with their business, specially interesting was their jump onto the mapping business and later on the impressive street view technology. What really triggered my imagination and big questions was when Google bough SketchUp, a revolutionary piece of technology to design architecture and explore spaces.
Being my background architecture this made sense only if there was a bigger picture than selling software so if we put into the mix all of it; Google maps, Google SketchUp, Google Earth, Street View… well, little by little I realised the scale of the master plan, which is to not only map the world but also create all the buildings in it and for this Google seems to be resorting to crowd sourcing without actually calling like that.
Have a look at the technology that has been given away for free Sketch Up to the new Building maker which basically is the first stage of volume reconstruction, not supervised and unrestricted where you model for the fun of it a few buildings and fill Google’s databases with basic data. You will imagine this is useless data, well it is not, but a bit more later.
Also you may realise they have put a lot of effort on such tools like Sketch Up for free, but you will soon discover you can only use it to learn the software and of course fill Google Earth with more buildings, buildings that can make it to the 3D warehouse where they collect all of them.
So basically they are giving away a few tools so all the aficionados in the world build a big portion of it for free, as a pat in the back they also let you download models from the warehouse, which makes it extremely useful for an individual or company but the scale of the trade is very different, you are getting buildings in return for giving away a lot more than just a few polygons given that is the big numbers that bring the real value to it.
So we are in a very interesting crossroads where Google provides tools for free, a huge database of models that you can use for your very simple projects and life while at the same time they collect everything about you, from your search patters, network data, your street images and router information and now also you model your buildings for them.
Funny enough they are actually censoring quite a lot of information, may be military, may be not but they have all the data and we don’t
The deal seems uneven to me as the key is that if 20 million people do create a building and they have all the rest of the data it is pretty simple to cross reference that data and extract a real gold mine of information and a little example from top of my head could be of some help, please bear with me this is my imagination…
Provided Google has my whole search history, my photo thanks to blogger, information of some of my transactions and my contacts thanks to Google Mail, provided they may be able to find a profile I may match pretty well now they know where I live, the data from my router thanks to an accidental data collection when the Google Street car passed by my front door and even my mistakes when I type which are useful to further enhance and detail my profile now they can further evaluate my surroundings, rail services, underground services, real state data with GIS information from the city to really find out who am I from many angles, from the socio-economic to religious to my political views that are somehow scattered over the internet after years of using it.
Google is amassing all the data they can to become the information oracle of the modern world which is the panacea for the next era of advertising, now mix all these with mobile advertising and their “free” android platform and the scale of the whole project is such that is truly terrifying.
Why? well, the scenario is a potential big brother on steroids where one single company can sell your data to anyone with enough money to pay for it, for example insurance companies who would change their charges based on these, they may be valid, they may not but there is one clear thing crowd patterns emerge and a whole new world will appear in front of us.
For example, your lifestyle says in today’s understanding of medicine that you will have cancer in 5 years, do you think you will get a mortgage? what if the data is based on the general pattern of all the people that are similar to you but actually you are not prone to cancer? you still be found as prone to and therefore very unjust situation.
I wonder if it is just my imagination or truly Google will become the evil they have said they are not, so far looks like we will be regretting it very very soon.
In the meantime let’s have fun understanding all of this better thanks to GoogleTalks
If you think it may be worst than I fear you probably are right but I just failed to imagine it.
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