By Branden Mooney
In recent talk show and magazine interviews, Google CEO Eric Schmidt discussed the future of Google, but lent an eerie tone to the capabilities of the internet that we will soon experience.
As a resource, Google is probably the most helpful internet search engine for news, shopping, images, and just about everything else. It is used globally by millions, most likely billions of people that love its user friendly feel and unique tools. Gmail, Google’s version of email, is accessed daily by approximately 30 million users, rapidly catching up with email giants Yahoo, AOL, and Hotmail. Personally, I use Gmail and Google search multiple times every day due to its convenience and quick results. However, Eric Schmidt is making me shy away from using Google every time he opens his accident-prone mouth. The CEO has recently been quoted in multiple interviews talking about Google’s future capabilities, hinting at the complete assimilation of Google into every aspect of people’s lives.
Sitting down with Atlantic Magazine, Schmidt crossed the so-called “creepy line,” saying “We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking.” However unsettling this may be, there is no doubt that Schmidt’s poor choice of words will not affect how many people make use of Google each day. Perhaps the most disturbing concept that Eric Schmidt has been discussing is his obsession with gaining information. In the last few years, Google has expanded their massive database through Google Talk, Gmail, and Youtube, but the tenacious CEO does not wish to stop there. Ever since Facebook became the number one social networking site on the planet, Schmidt has desired free access into user information that will be valuable for Google. So far, Facebook has denied his requests but his determined response to this has showed that he will not be impeded so easily, saying “The best thing that would happen is for Facebook to open up its data; failing that, there are other ways to get that information.”
To be completely honest, I have only recently boarded the Facebook train, but I have already seen the amount of personal information that people are willing to put out on the website. If Google is allowed to access this, there is no limit to what they will know about your friends and ultimately your life and actions. Eric Schmidt, in my opinion, is a creepy little man with unknown motives to learn everything about everyone, and to have those facts available on the internet.
When he stated that “With your permission, knowing more about who your friends are, we can provide more tailored recommendations. Search quality can get better.” Personally, I am completely satisfied with the search results Google gives me now. I am not sure how knowing what my friends are up to on Saturday night will help them figure out what I’m searching for. It seems like a shaky argument at best, and I am not convinced that Google has told us about their every use of our information. For now, Google is a useful internet tool; hopefully it does not become a “big brother” in our lives that we cannot get away from.