Leaving Google is going to be a lot of work…and compromise. But it’ll be worth it since they just turned full heel on us all.
My soon-to-be Podcasting Co-host1 dropped a bomb on Twitter. He is leaving Google in light of some of their recent, questionable decisions. He is slowly but surely going to unravel as much of his life as possible from their services. And from my understanding, his life is rather raveled in them.
Between recent privacy changes (which I agree with Ben Brooks on, it isn’t a problem for me) and Search Plus Your World (which I agree with MG Siegler on, it’s a relevancy problem for Google as well as a ethical issue for me), many of us can’t help but question Google. So much of this just feels like the strong-arm tactics we saw from Microsoft in the ’90s.
Showing themselves this kind of favoritism not only weakens their core service, it’s an indication that Google is willing to go far beyond leveraging their power in search. They are willing to mortgage it.
So much of my life is spent in Google. It’s spent there because I trust them with my data. My life is deeply entwined in their services; they are at the core of how I manage my communication, my scheduling and my network. They are my foundation. Sure, they are reading my emails, my search results and probably have a camera hidden somewhere in my house, but I knew that was the deal when I signed up. They serve me up ads, I get amazing services at low to no cost. Good for the goose…
But if Google is willing to risk what they’ve built in search, you have to stop for a second and ask: what’s sacred to them? We’re all big kids here, and we understand that they’re a business and not our buddy pals, but it certainly shows what kind of company they plan to become and worse yet betrays who they’ve always been. And that, I’m not sure I can continue to trust… but to be completely honest, I’m not sure I’m willing to unravel from it either. I’ve spent a lot of time getting my act together, building up a foundation for getting things done and Google plays several key roles in that structure. That may not seem like a big deal to others, but to when it’s something you’ve lacked for most of your life, you don’t give it up all that easily.
I’m not proud to admit it, but Google has me exactly where they want me… so deeply entwined in their services that I’ll just turn a blind eye whatever nonsense they try to pull. Just as Google is willing to leverage everything for dominance in social media, I can’t help but wonder if my own desire for their services will drive me to ignore their actions. Sure, in theory I can use all of Google’s services except search, where they make their money, but that seems like a pathetic and hypocritical attempt at “taking a stand.” And while I seriously admire Mike’s stance, I can’t help but remember Quit Facebook Day and question the futility of leaving either (then again, I’m probably just rationalizing staying). Hopefully the FTC does something, hopefully enough people with Google speak out and they back off a bit, but to be honest, I doubt it.
So at the end of the day, here’s the question… is Mike Vardy a man of morals? overreacting? Or just one of the first of many?
- oh, yeah, I’m going to be doing a podcast with Mike Vardy… SURPRISE! [↩]