Our favorite privacy violator has updated Hangouts to include SMS (text) integration. According to a fierce debate, Google opted not to include SMS backups to their cloud in fear of user privacy concerns.
Google is already all over my privacy so uploading my sms’ to their cloud doesn’t bother me. The stuff they got on me through my use of Gmail and Youtube and Chrome and Search and Android and Google Docs and Google Keep and Google Plus and Google Drive does bother me.
I have written a lot today about censorship and politics. But this news story caught my eye. The U.S. ambassador Christopher Stephens was killed in Libya because a guy posted a video on YouTube making fun of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. If you have seen the movie Life of Brian you know the drill: a religious figure is being made fun of on the expense of everyone else. But what struck me here was the reaction. Killing the ambassador, really?
Below is a clip of the movie Life of Brian. The notorious YouTube trailer for the movie Innocence of Muslims follows after.
Below is the Innocence of Muslims trailer. Can you see the connection?
Google’s slogan is do no evil. After reading the latest headlines about Google’s decision to censor The Pirate Bay in its auto-complete results it had me wondering if it’s time to abandon ship. It’s not the first time Google censors things – they have censored many piracy-related search terms over the past to pull their weight in the war against online piracy. But what are the implications?
If you are cataloging the web, should you really tamper with the results? When you grow big and powerful enough things eventually start to change, even if you are do-no-evil-Google. They are no longer a simple cataloger of the web but a massive multinational corporation employing thousands of people in over 30 countries and hundreds of cities around the world. Their catalog has grown so big and influential that they feel inclined to employ a moral compass to guide people in what they believe to be the right direction.
And this is where Google stumbles down the slippery slope of loosing touch with its humble beginnings. Google no longer feels like the online unbiased buddy you could turn to with any question whenever you needed help with finding your way digitally. Maybe DuckDuckGo will serve us better with its privacy and anonymity.