Google, once simply a web search engine underdog that won the sympathy of the people by being simple, straightforward and honest, seem now to the striving for [digital] world domination. Their vision to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" sounds very positive and exciting at first. But, think a little about it again - one company organizing the world’s information. Is that really something good? A vision that might be born out of good intentions, might just turn out to be downright evil.
Please misunderstand me in the right way. I love Google, or at least their services (not their elitist and academic corporate culture). I use several of their services in addition to the search services, such as Blogger and Gmail. Like most of the Google services they are both free to use at no cost and, usually, very usable. I like.
But, I am afraid of Google at the same time. I happen to believe that no commercial company, especially a company that is traded on a major stock exchange and owned by powerful investors seeking the highest return on their investments, gives away things for free, with no strings attached. They expect me to give them something back. And so does Google.
What Google expects to get from me is my content - content that might tell them about me as a person, what I like and don't like, and so on. Google can simply analyze what I write here on this blog, or what I write in mails sent via Gmail. And get information that tells them different things about me – and the ones I communicate with.
Obviously, content is the hard currency in the content economy. Content is king. The ones that have access to content that can contain important information about us as potential customers will also be the one that can guide others to me and you. And take a fee for doing so. Google is of course already doing that with ads and sponsored links today. But I am sure they are trying to invent new and more powerful business models to make loads of money on me (and you and everybody else) in this very moment.
So, imagine Google achieving their vision of organizing all the information in the world. Then Google will be able to rule the content economy. I cannot see that it will benefit me as a user, customer and individual. What if Google was a state, would you like that scenario? It is not far fetched, since Google already has given in to the US government and supplied them with information.
So Google guys, I think you should rethink your vision, because it won’t make the world a better place to live in. It might just be downright evil.
By the way, while writing this post I searched Google for "down right evil" and found this nice blog post http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2007-01-11-n61.html. It is funny and scary at the same time. But mostly scary.