The question itself is broad and hard to answer, mainly because Google can leverage the power of information. However, Google provides value with that power as well. Before we get into that, I would like to put my experience with Google in context. Before starting my Master program in Madrid, I really wanted to work for Google, although I did not know much about the firm. After countless mentions of Google in lectures, I slowly lost interest. I was distraught simply because we did not delve deeper into Google’s plumbing. Now, at the specialization period of the program, Google is being mentioned even more. Currently, however, the situation has drastically changed from shallow discussions to informed conjectures. I have learnt much about the different services that Google provides and that yes, the information we get is extremely valuable. On the other hand, it is Google that is getting the most valuable information of all. Who I really am. It concerns me because we, the users, have empowered Google with our search queries, making the methods to help us even more useful. I can only weigh the pros and cons of this situation to adequately answer whether Google is evil or not.
Whether I am working on an assignment or asking a question, Google is present. The Chrome browser makes it so easy for me to just type what I need, and I have access to Google’s brain. That is a luxury we take for granted nowadays. It’s no surprise that I only used my university library once during my undergrad. Even going once probably meant I was quite desperate. In terms of the abundance of relevant and useful information Google provides, I would always prefer to have it there than not. Being part of Generation Y, I knew a life before Google, but I do not know how Generation Z could even dream of such a situation. The next best thing for me after search is Google Maps. I haven’t been using it much back when I was living in the Emirates, mainly because I never explored. I use it extensively in Madrid and during my travels. YouTube has also been a big part of my experience with Google. I have been using YouTube to learn how to cook, or to search about how to repair things. Access to information on the fly has become an integral part of our lives, generated by Google’s claim of around 2% of the entire world’s servers. Enter advertisements. We have discussed much about the inner workings of how we get targeted ads. Although much of it is still unclear to me due to the technical and algorithmic complexity. One thing is for sure; its scary when I open my G mail and find ads about hotels in Porto; especially when I had just searched for some for my trip this weekend. There are many other intrusive practices that Google seems to engage in. The scanning of emails, photographs, and chat conversations are just other ways that Google is perceived to know “everything”. The Glasses and Google Car accelerate Google’s acquisition of the world’s information “so that it is easily accessible to everyone”. Yes we are more informed about the world around us, but then again, information about people’s lives shouldn’t be so open. Google has been facing many privacy and anti-trust issues, and face spats with regulators, which could play as to why Google might be considered evil. In conclusion, I imagine that my life would be much harder without the important services I use from Google. The price we pay to have access to that information may be our personal identity, and with that, it really differs from person to person. Life has become faster, and the speed at which we learn and acquire information is never going to slow down. I do not think I can give up that privilege just yet.