All Google-Watchers Now

When I first started my blog, certain people weren't afraid to point out to me that I seemed obsessed with Google. I was, of course. What can I say? I was ahead of the posse! ;)

These days, everyone seems to be speculating about Google; the Google IPO; what its next moves might be; whether it is a force for good or evil; whether it is going to challenge Microsoft; whether we can trust it with our privacy; whether we should love it or hate it; etc.

In this entry, I wanted to give you a flavour of some of that speculation.

David Weinberger considers what Google means when it says that it wants "to organize the world's information, and make it accessible":

What might [the Google application of the future] be like?

It would find pages on the Web, of course, but it'd also find the ones on my desktop (Google desktop). It would know about my email (Gmail). It would know that my own photos are categorically different from all the other jpgs on the planet (Picasa). It would let me browse the physical earth (Keyhole) and show on a map the documents that talk about any particular place (Keyhole + Google Local).

And it wouldn't be just a browser. It would let me work with the information I've found: Manage my photos (Picasa), manage my desktop files, translate documents (Google Languages), shop...

Hublog, meanwhile, lists everything that Google "knows" about you:

- Everything you search for using Google
- Every web page you visit that has Google Adsense ads on it
- Which country you're in
- Every Blogger page you visit, and the referring page
If you have an Adsense account
- Your full name, address and bank account details
- The IP address of everyone who visits your pages with Adsense ads on them
- The number of visitors to each of your pages with Adsense ads on them
If you use a GMail account
- Who you send emails to
- Who sends emails to you
- The contents of those emails
- The contents of all emails received from any mailing lists of which you are a member, even if they are private mailing lists.
Even if you don't use a GMail account
- The contents of any emails you send to anyone who does use a GMail account
- The contents of any emails you send to any mailing lists of which any one member uses a GMail account
If you're a member of Orkut
- Your online social network, interests and groups

It's hard to believe a technology so new has become so important, so quickly. The same might be said of the internet as a whole. But having just celebrated its birthday, I'm glad to say that the internet is not that new -- in fact it's (just about) older than me!

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Mediajunk was Michael Heraghty's blog from 2002 to 2010, with articles on usability, UX, SEO, web design, online marketing, etc. More »

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