I have no doubt that the people at Google are better businesspeople than I
am. They, after all, made a fortune by basically giving something away, and
it's hard to argue with what's apparently a very successful strategy. They let
me use their tools, and in return I give them ... access to information about
me. This definitely suggests that there must be a great deal of worth in having
that information, but for some reason I can't seem to figure just why they might
want it. So they know where I am, what sort of computer(s) and operating systems
I use, which browser I use, and what I search for on the web. They know whom
I correspond with in my gmail account, what I've listed in my calendar, what
sort of documents I write in Google docs, and what I upload (and perhaps don't
upload) to my Picasaweb account. I don't recall ever having searched for information
on coughing, sneezing or head colds, though I can understand that if I had, Google
would have been able to use this as part
of their vast database that supposedly might predict outbreaks of the flu.
But what they're going to do with (or perhaps more to the point, how they're
going to turn a profit from) the information that I've (perhaps inadvertently)
provided them remains a mystery to me.
But this continually brings me back to step one - I know that I'm supposed to feel paranoid, but ... so what?! For some reason I don't feel compromised by the continual accumulation of all this information about me.