Anyone else getting scared of Google?

Dashboard_1257436183946The other day a fellow student at the fine institute that is Birkbeck, was heard to complain about the content of their  Saturday class. Unfortunately I don’t know exactly what the class was meant to be on, but apparently the lecturer spent the entire six hour session spouting conspiracy theories. Such as the government uses your Oyster card to track your movements. Which to be frank is almost complete bollocks, almost complete because if you a person of interest to them, then I’m sure that they do use this info. However for the average Joe Blow in the street? It just doesn’t have enough resources or indeed the technical capabilities at this point in time. This is the reason why ID cards are going to take a long time to happen, it’s pretty much impossible for one Govt dept to share its information with another due to legacy IT issues.

So stop worrying about the Government, instead I think you should worry about Google.

Like many of you, Google is my home page, I have gmail address, and not one of those Johnnie Comelately googlemail ones, I have a YouTube account, I used to use Blogger, I’m increasingly using Google docs. And I search a lot, and I mean a lot. For many of my friends and family, the G in GUI, stands for Gaffney not graphic, and really who can blame them as my google-fu is about 4th dan level*.

I digress, but you get the picture, strip Google out of my life and I’d have a gaping void, Admittedly one that could easily be filled by a variety of other providers but that’s the beauty of Google, it does almost everything and it does it well. I need only remember one password, one email address and I can access all my online treasure houses without resorting to a system of post-it notes. Just exactly how much I rely up it and just how much it knows about me I didn’t quite realise until TechCrunch told me about Google Dashboard which shows you in one handy place everything that you have told Google about  yourself.

In short it keeps track of:

Account & profile
Web-history
Gmail
Docs
Calendar
YouTube
Blogger
iGoogle
Latitude
Reader
Talk
Health
Orkut
Picasa
Shopping List
Voice
Contacts
Alerts
Finance
Friend Connect
Tasks
Custom search engines
Mobile Sync

Which is a fair bit of info, and on checking my own dashboard I discovered things that I’d long forgotten, like old abandoned blogs, that my last book search was obviously a vanity one.

Of course all this information is private, well private to me and Google, and I have no idea what it plans to do with that information, well apart from use it for increasingly accurate advertising (natch) and that is what scares me.

*5th Dan means I can google with a walking stick, sweet

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