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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My mom said google has too much power. However, as a minimum, google hasn't done anything terrible (that I know of). Furthermore, they claim to strive for just the opposite, hence their motto.

So my questions are: is power only an issue when it's abused? Or is it inherently bad even if it is not yet being abused? Obviously power holds a risk for abuse, but is it worth worrying about power becoming an issue, or, as long as there is nothing bad happening like monopolies or bad practices, should we just not worry about it?
 

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Your mom is intelligent, most people blindly give every available bit of information about themselves to Google, Facebook without a second thought. Your mother is perceptive enough to realize this isn't a good thing.

You really fell for that "do no evil" marketing shit?

Even though evil is a silly term, trusting a company based on their marketing is ridiculous.

Gmail was planned from the start as a massive surveillance system, to make psychological profiles not only of Gmail users but of everyone who sends mail to Gmail users. [1]

Personally I dislike Google because it attracts so many intelligent nerds with it's gimmicks like free buffet, games, fancy decorated offices, etc. Which is all fluff. It does this because it wants talent, it wants talent and it wants to hold them in a "comfortable cage" so that it doesn't have to worry about innovation from these folks. Which makes me sick. All that talent is doing... what exactly for the world?

I dislike Google because it doesn't produce value, it is aggregating others hard work and it's entire business model is based around making money off of other peoples contributions. They got lucky with their being first on a market and capitalized on users flocking to them. They did nothing spectacular and had big help from the government to become the powerhouse of data mining they are today [2].

[1] The Psychological Dark Side of Gmail | Alternet
[2] https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e

Anyway, I wrote a poem about Google the other day in a creative writing exercise...

thank you google
now i dont have to think
whats the point of learning anything these days
if i need to know something i just ask you
oh the crazy things that i can ask
and you always have an answer
i tell you so much about myself
i bet you know me more than my family does
i feel so comfortable with you, google
you wouldnt hurt me would you
i think you should have control of all the worlds nuclear missiles
and one day you will
who's going to stop you
you know everything about everyone
you watch us sleep
i trust you google
even though i don't know much about you
you'll run the world someday
i might aswell embrace it, right
keep me safe
show me the answers that you like
i wont go agaisnt you, im afraid to
keep me safe, google
 

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You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power - he's free again.

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
 

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"Inherently"? I don't know what that means in this context.

But Google has a lot of data. I work in the same industry, and once worked on a project similar to Google Now, except that we couldn't make it nearly as good because of lack of user data. You will be surprised by knowing how much Google knows about you. :)
 

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I'd like to take this opportunity to confess I've been using Google to search the term 'Kardashian' several times a day under various aliases for years now. It's all in good fun and nobody has gotten hurt because of it, right? Right?
 

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So my questions are: is power only an issue when it's abused? Or is it inherently bad even if it is not yet being abused? Obviously power holds a risk for abuse, but is it worth worrying about power becoming an issue, or, as long as there is nothing bad happening like monopolies or bad practices, should we just not worry about it?
Judging from how the world has turned out it is an issue, but I think your question is slightly "off". The problem is not so much companies that have power, but the societal structures and ignorance that enable this.
 

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I dislike Google because it doesn't produce value, it is aggregating others hard work and it's entire business model is based around making money off of other peoples contributions. They got lucky with their being first on a market and capitalized on users flocking to them. They did nothing spectacular and had big help from the government to become the powerhouse of data mining they are today [2].

[1] The Psychological Dark Side of Gmail | Alternet
So after reading that article, here's the impression I get from it: We're essentially trading our privacy for free services. If it wasn't Google, it'd be some other company.

Seems to me that without the data mining and targeted ads, we wouldn't have things like massive free storage space - we'd be paying for it.

Are the free services worth the price of personal information?

I don't know. There's a danger to it, sure enough, but I don't think the internet would be what it is today without it. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is debatable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
"Inherently"?

I mean is power itself a bad thing by definition, or is it only bad if it is being abused? If there was an infinitely powerful but infinitely good being, would the amount of power itself be bad? What if enormous power is given to someone like google, who, for the most part isn't doing anything terrible and who, for the most part, is giving society great things. Where do you draw the line and say they have too much power? Is it only when they start doing bad things? How do you define bad? Where's the line? Who decides? How do you restrict it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Judging from how the world has turned out it is an issue, but I think your question is slightly "off". The problem is not so much companies that have power, but the societal structures and ignorance that enable this.
Yes but I'm asking by what standard they are defined as having too much power? And where is the line between having to much and not having too much? How much power should be permissible in exchange for the good provided? The world isn't perfect - we can't expect a company to be perfect. How much power do we allow (regardless of the idea of monopolies).
 

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Yes.

In Finland, we have one liquor store chain owned by the state which has a monopoly over everything that contains over 4,7% ethanol I think. Being an alcoholic nation, it controls the whole country.
 
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