Friday, 12 February 2010

#369 - Slave To The Google?

I've been a fan of the (mostly) useful stuff that Google shares with nerds around the world for quite some time now. Most malt maniacs have a Gmail account these days, we use a Google Calendar on the Malt Maniacs site, we share YouTube links, I've started this new 'Blogger' blog (which is owned by Google), I use Google's 'AdSense' programme to show some ads, etc.

However, oddly enough I've somehow managed to avoid their iGoogle personalised homepage until now. I like to wallow in paranoia every once in a while, so the thought of the almighty Google knowing absolutely everything about me didn't really appeal to me. Somehow the thought of not using every single service that Google offers gave me a false sense of security and privacy. I've recently realised that Google already knows so much about me that the addition on one extra service would probably not make a very big difference. What's more, because I've worked in advertising I've learned to ignore most of it and 'read between the lines' of the remaining advertisements. I'd like to think that I've built up quite some resistance against the thousands of glossy lies that are fired in my general direction on a daily basis.

So, after switching to this Google 'Blogger' blog a few weeks ago I decided to jump into the Google pool with both feet forward. Not all the 'services' they offer are equally brilliant from the start. For example, the malt maniacs experimented with a Google discussion board before we moved to the Malt Maniacs & Friends group on Facebook to facilitate some interaction with our readers. At the time, the Facebook interface was more intuitive than Google's, but that has changed dramatically over time. While Google keeps perfecting and fine-tuning their services, the usability of Facebook has deteriorated because they lack Google's vision for the future. Sure, Google presents me with modest amounts of advertising, but at least the advertising is RELEVANT to me. By contrast, virtually all advertising I've seen on Facebook so far has been misleading. The type of advertising they show on Facebook suggests that, unlike Google, they don't care very much about the interests of the end user... In other words; Google understands that serving the needs of the end users helps them achieve their own goals while Facebook still follows 2nd millennium corporate logic. If that doesn't change, Facebook will probably go the way of Altavista, Geocities and thousands of other companies that didn't think far enough ahead.

Anyway; thoughts along these lines made me decide to give iGoogle a shot yesterday after Serge suggested I should check out NetVibes to help me keep track of RSS feeds. That seemed like a cool solution, but since I already use stuff like Gmail and Google Calendar to manage my on-line life, I felt it would probably be easier to stay within the Google cloud. I'm happy to report that it was, especially after the news about Google Buzz dropped in my mailbox yesterday. I'm not entirely sure how that works yet, but I'll make sure to give Google Buzz a thorough test drive to see how I can use it in my virtual life.

These were some thoughts that have nothing to so with single malt whisky, but I felt like sharing them nonetheless. I'll get back to whisky in my next entry...

Sweet drams,