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Monday, October 25, 2010

What does your Google say about you?



When people use to talk about Big Brother watching you, I assumed they were talking about mine. He likes people watching, as do most artists. They're looking for inspiration and a Xanadu moment courtesy of a passing stranger's steel-toed boots, an older woman's vanilla perfume, or the teenager's gum whose flavor just lasts and lasts. There's no telling what might take an artist on a journey, a series of Alice experiences where they wake up in unfamiliar rabbit holes.

Later in life, about the time I understood that I understood nothing, I understood the Big Brother reference. I'm still unsure, however, why we insist on referring to the cold, institutional, impersonal federal government in familia terms: Big Brother, Uncle Sam, Mother...forget that one.

Private eyes (clap, clap) are watching you. Or me. Catchy song. Government eyes, however, are not cool. But there's a more unseemly character on the playground these days. Their toilet paper roll/duct taped binoculars are trained on you and your everything, from the questions floating around in the alphabet soup of your brain to whether or not you're watering your rhododendrons.

It's Google. Grandpa Google, to you.

They not only want to know where you live, where you work, what football game scores you're most interested in, but how to be that fatherly shoulder when you can't remember the name of that place with that song about that movie that one time.

Google it.

Also, they think they can read your mind.
"We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”
That's Eric Schmidt, Google CEO. You can call him Cuz. He's gotten a bit lost in the strings of power wrapped around his fingers. They have affected his tongue, and maybe a little bit of his frontal lobe.

That isn't all he thinks, according to Wall Street Journal's Digital Daily columnist John Paczkowski, whose name I spelled accurately on the first try. Schmidt might actually have a God complex. A "creepy" one.
In the past year alone he has:

- Addressed criticisms of Google’s stance on privacy by saying, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.
Every morsel of food, every libation, every slice of pie entering Schmidt's mouth should be known to the world. Or he shouldn't be eating.
- Claimed people want Google to “tell them what they should be doing next.”
And thus, should equally share in the consequences of those actions.
- Said this: "One day we had a conversation where we figured we could just try to predict the stock market. And then we decided it was illegal. So we stopped doing that."
That forbidden fruit term you're searching for is 'Black Friday.' Ask the ghost of Jay Gould and James Fist to explain it to you.
- Suggested name changes to protect adults from the Web's record of their youthful indiscretions.
You were named after your great, great grandfather. Big deal. Try 'Herbert' on for size.
- Said this: "What we're really doing is building an augmented version of humanity, building computers to help humans do the thing they don't do well better."
Then an orb of electric pulses crackled on the pavement and a naked Arnold Schwartzenegger appeared.

Since Schmidt enjoys talking far past the filter mileage on his brain, he told the viewer(s?) of CNN's "Parker Spitzer" show last week that people not overjoyed about having their homes photographed and uploaded onto an international database "can just move."

Wise words, Grandpa. Wise. Words.

I like Google as much as the next gal. Well, their products, anyway. But Schmidt. Ego much?

I wondered what my Google searches said about me. So I took a look. Here are a few key word searches in the last 48 hours: mess hall, John Bonham, humpty dumpty, Boca Raton, Tropic of Capricorn, lead products, Peruvian people, bullet speeds, The Great Escape movie.

There Schmidt. Read my mind.

If you have any trouble, try Binging it.

2 comments:

newspeak13 said...

reminds me a lot of the wikileaks founder (Assange) who thinks everyone should know anything the U.S. military is up to--Damn the consequences. When CNN asked him about a personal legal battle he stormed off the set; I guess he is off-limits.

Tara Lynn Thompson said...

He stormed off? We should know where he went, what he was up to, why he was doing it, what the outcome could me, and informed the moment that action is completed.