This second entry in my "Google is not Great" blog thread discusses what might become of the sleeping Internet giant.  Google is everywhere, and it knows everything on the Internet.  It tracks your interests and bombards you with obnoxious Flash ads.  It stores data about you, limits what you see based on that data, and sells the information to other companies and, possibly, rogue government entities. 

Google is not a good Internet God.  In fact, it may be something far more devious and destructive.  The most effective spies, deviants, and demons always work like a virus.  They mimic societal benefactors.  Then, when defenses are down, they attack.  What happens when one company named Google owns our data, our websites, and the means to them? 

Competition ceases and a totalitarian money machine ensues.  However, the totalitarian Google would have no physical borders or lands, against which a rebellion might fight.  Google would own electronic and radio communications as well as the technologies which enable them in every corner of the world.  Even satellites and deep space probes might contain Google Apps.  Google would store and purvey documents, pictures, videos and all other evidence of our history.

In the rush to take advantage of Google's "free" services, users may not have read the company's Terms of Service before clicking the "I Agree" button.  Or maybe they just didn't understand the implications of doing so.  Then again, it may not have mattered anyway.  When Google owns everyone's thoughts and histories and the means to that content, no single group or government will be able to stand against them.  The second sign of Google's coup is their viral marketing technique.

I don't have to deal with Google's relentless marketing at home.  The Firefox web browser allows me to add on open source programs, which prevent unwanted Scripts, Flash ads, and Super Cookies from uploading to and invading my computer.  They also prevent web giants like Google from "mining" my Internet activity data and selling my information to third parties. 

I protect my computer with No Script, Flashblock, and Better Privacy.  In addition--to both prevent Google from hiding relevant results from me, and to stop third parties from tracking my location--I use PhProxy to route my computer's signal around the world and make my electronic signature anonymous.  However, I'm still vulnerable to viral advertising at work.

Google Analytics and other marketing statistical software has discovered that I like content about health and fitness.  So, every time I to search for some obscure book on Amazon or some other book-lover's website for a library patron, I have to look at Flash ads featuring half naked fat guys who shape up before my eyes.  Otherwise, Jillian Michaels appears, skimpily clad, in some unwanted pop-up.

When I'm trying to help a patron, half-naked bellies dancing on my screen destroys any semblance of professionalism.  I've spoken to my employer about getting Firefox add-ons to prevent viral marketing software from overrunning our computers, but they haven't responded yet.  However, they should respond to these and other Google threats very soon.  Libraries are our last bastion of equal and open access to all information..

Only libraries can give users accurate and time-tested information from a wide variety of perspectives.  I may never need a book about Woodworking or an essay about Sudanese politics, but my library has them just in case.  An entire generation of kids is growing up using Google as a synonymous verb for "research" on school projects. 

Yeah, Google is convenient.  However, it limits perspective and it doesn't discern expertise from fact-less opinion.  Google just wants to force your eyes on as many ads as it can--and it will skew search results to do so.  These days, we continually mistake commercial content for useful information. 

We must teach our kids to sift through the growing Internet garbage mounds to find useful information, but many of us don't know how to do that ourselves.  Maybe laziness, complacency, and convenience have gotten a hold of us.  I know I use Google more than I should.  Thankfully, I'm surrounded by Crap Detectives--aka Librarians--every day. 

I'll end this blog entry on a positive note.  When I signed in on Google-owned Twitter today
, a tweeter called charlesyeo had posted a blog link, which reported on Google's recent move to end its Big Brother relationship with the Chinese government.  You'll find that blog here.  Maybe there's hope for Google yet.  Then again, see the paragraphs above about mimicking.