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March 7, 2010

The Beast File: Google

Hungry Beast, a news program that airs on ABC1 Australia, had a segment about Google a few days ago. The TV show defines Google as an advertising giant whose main goal is to track users and deliver targeted ads.

Many of the numbers that are supposed to show Google's power are outdated. For example, the number of Google servers was estimated to 450,000 in 2006. comScore estimated that Google attracted more than 2 billion searches a day in July 2009.

Hungry Beast claims that Google "wants to own your phone, your email, your computer and your entire digital life". Using the verb "own" is inappropriate, since Google simply hosts your email and offers software for your phone and your computer. Projects like Data Liberation show that Google's doesn't want to trap your data.

Another claim is that "Google wants to own the cables that deliver the Internet and the electricity to power them", when Google's goal is to "help make Internet access better and faster for everyone" by showing that it's possible to "deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access". Like Gmail, which offered for the first time 1 GB of storage for free, or Google's bid in the FCC spectrum auction, which helped consumers because Google convinced FCC to add some new rules: the winner of the auction has to "give its customers the right to download any application they want on their mobile device, and the right to use any device they want on the network".

The video concludes that Google's ultimate goal is to gather data about everyone in the world and to show great targeted ads. Actually, Google's mission is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". Google's disrupting business model pushes the boundaries of technology by democratizing knowledge. Ads are only the fuel that helps Google accomplish its mission.

"We aspire to make Google an institution that makes the world a better place. (...) With our products, Google connects people and information all around the world for free. (...) By releasing services, such as Gmail, for free, we hope to help bridge the digital divide. AdWords connects users and advertisers efficiently, helping both. AdSense helps fund a huge variety of online web sites and enables authors who could not otherwise publish." (Google's IPO Letter, 2004)

{ via Harvey Sanchez }

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