Thursday, August 19, 2010

Google CEO: People want Google to tell them what to do

Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO sat down with a bunch of Wall Street Journal Editors recently. Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. took the interview and turned it into an article, "Google and the Search for the Future." After reading the article I wish I could afford Google stock. Mr. Schmidt appears to have far reaching vision, and enough of it to keep Google at the forefront of our online life for a good while. But at the same time, I cringe to think of what his vision means for our privacy.

Why does it make me cringe? Two quotes from the article, one a direct quote of Mr. Schmidt, seem to put Google on the path to becoming Big Brother, although a much kinder, gentler big brother than imagined by George Orwell:

"I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions," he elaborates. "They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

Let's say you're walking down the street. Because of the info Google has collected about you, "we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are."

We all know that Google knows a great deal about us. And I'm pretty sure that it has better than a rough idea who a lot of people's friends are. What's a little scary is the CEO of Google thinks that most of us want Google to tell us what to do. What's scarier is that he my be right.

 

George Orwell 1984 Signet Classic