A lot has been written over the last few months about the amount of data that Google could collect from you. This has has led to extended conversation about Google’s motives and questions asked about whether Big G are really living by their no evil philosophy.
Rand published an article back in November about the amount of data Google could collect from users of their tools. When you look at it this way, it’s pretty frightening what Google could know about you. I highlight the word could because the official Google line is that they’re not using it for ulterior motives.
Of course they are. They’re building an empire over at the Googleplex and they’re capturing every movement you make in order to add another product to their toolset and, therefore, another zero to the end of their share price.
A lot of webmasters and SEO’s are kicking up about this. A good example of the discussion can be seen over at Threadwatch where Graywolf looks at how to “undo the Google FUD and brainwashing”. Valid points are made by a number of contributors including the salient fact that Big G are not a charity case – they answer to share holders.
Now we could all cancel our AdSense accounts, remove our sites from Webmaster Central, pull the plug on our Analytics account and uninstall the toolbar but what would it achieve? Nothing. Would Google feel the pain? Nope. Would we as webmasters? Uh huh. And here’s the reason why.
I was speaking with a couple of folks over the weekend. I wouldn’t call them particularly web savvy but they’re not idiots either. They are, effectively, typical of your web customers. Well neither of them knew about Live Search. Both of them knew about Yahoo! but never used them for searching and neither of them were aware that Ask Jeeves had rebranded despite the current ad campaign in the UK.
Google own search. Fact.
Do I like it? Nope.
Can I do anything about it? Nope.
Will I continue to use Googles tools and build sites to their specifications? Hell, yeah!
For the forseeable future, there is no viable alternative. The vast majority of web users perform searches using Google and until that changes I’m going to take advantage. If that means that they collect a shed load of data from me, so be it. Whether I think it’s right what they’re doing – data mining, as pointed out on the Threadwatch article – is irrelevant. Whilst they’re at the top of the tree, I’ll bow and scrape and play by their rules and will continue to do so until the new kid pushes them off.
I’m not holding by breath.