After hearing of the talks between Google and Twitter, I thought one of three things would happen: 1) Google makes an offer to buy Twitter; 2)Google buys, or re-develops Twitter Search; or 3) Google and Twitter work together, likely Google using a limitless Twitter API key to include real-time Twitter Search results. Well, I was very wrong. Google, being too big to fail and too powerful to care, decided to pick d) build an "enhanced" Twitter that gets Google even more data and control over the public. First the AdSense "enhanced" user tracking and targeting, then the "enhanced" local search results, and now:
Google Latitude - Twitter for Stalkers?
Google has released a service called Google Latitude that allows you to not only send "status messages" to your friends (sound familiar?) but also adds stalking - er, sorry, location-awareness capabilities:
Why does this bother me? Well, consider the sheer amount of your data that Google has - do you have a Gmail account? There's some. AdSense DoubleClick cookie? There's some more. And now, why not give them your cell phone number, location, picture, and directions to where you sleep? Even mainstream media is willing to admit that stalkers are a serious problem on Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook - how much better can it get when a stalker can use Google Latitude to get Google Maps and even directions to their target on their cell phone?
Also consider that Google's main moneymaker is advertising. They can already make certain types of ads "follow" you around the Internet with the new permanent AdSense cookies; Soon they will be able to change the billboards around you based on the number of people around that like Pepsi vs. Coke. Or worse. Google is clearly driven 100% by profit margin and the need to grow with no concern for privacy, safety, or freedom - just like our economy, our cars, and our egos.
How to UnGoogle Google:
- Stop using Google services - no search, no maps, no AdWords, AdSense, Gmail, everything. Don't click or publish AdSense ads, get the anti-cookie. Whatever you do, avoid Google Latitude like the plague. Switch to competitors - yes, Google still has a few competitors left, and some of them make pretty good products. Start by giving some of these semantic search engines a try.
- Talk and write about anything and everything you find about Google: blog, Tweet, text, email, write letters, call people - expose Google and what they are trying to do, and make people aware of the reasons to UnGoogle! (Hint: you can start by simply clicking the ShareThis button below!)
- Start your own company - compete with Google! Especially in markets where Google is the only player. And this is the important part: Don't let Google buy you out! Google would never have gotten where it is without a lot of willing company builders that wanted a way to get rich and get out.
- Finally - let Google know you are not happy! Tell Google technicians, sales reps, support people, executives, anyone - several people have left Google recently, and the company can only stand so much attrition before they lose power and control over the people.
Be careful out there - happy unGoogling!