in Geeklife, Opinions

The Internet is becoming The Googlenet

Am I the only one that’s scared? Am I the only one that’s not eating the “Google Blue Pill”?

If you’re not scared it’s my intention to shake you up a little bit. Let’s see what Google has done and what it’s trying to do.

Google controls over %70 of the Web Search Traffic, and over 57% of all advertising on the internet

Google started as a Search company and they’re supposedly great at it (until someone else can show us better) so everyone uses their search and that means Google knows what everyone wants on the internet, therefore giving it one hell of an advantage over everyone else when it comes to decision making of any kind. What technologies to build, What websites are successful (which services should they buy or compete against). They know about all trends of all kinds. From lottery ticket search, to medicine search, to what new website is being searched for.

Their great search capabilities made them hit gold when they started advertising next to search results. They made so much money that they were able to buy lots of ad networks including very powerful ones like DoubleClick ($3 billion, April 13 2007) which together with Adsense control 57% of the market share of Internet advertising.

Just know that pretty much almost every ad printed on the web puts money in Google’s Pockets, the company that controls search. I wonder if their PageRank algorithm also includes the eCPM of the ads shown on the target sites, if not, it’s a direct consequence of being on the top search results that you’ll get more visitors thus making your CPM pay higher… it’s all a little fucked up the amount of control they have.

And let’s not to forget that the little publisher on Adsense Gets Pwned with probably less than 10% of the cost of the click (Google gets $2 a click, you get less than $0.20 for that click), a percentage that is never shown to the publisher, a percentage that Google can adjust to their liking however they want. If you can sell your own ads, do so (and then tell me how).

On top of that, there’s tons of money to make on statistics for all of that search data. You may want to read about a company called , in short they buy a lot of search engine data (probably Google’s included in there) so that they can generate a list of the things people want to know about every day, then they match that data to marketing databases (to see what the highest priced keywords are, data which may come from Google Adsense statistics) and they make a list of about 4,000 video titles, which they shoot and distribute EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Internet Video

YouTube… owned by Google, gets close to 100 million unique visitors every month. They’re the most influential video service on the internet. There are companies that exist and thrive (making millions a year) only because youtube is there (think again if you believe youtube is not making money). Oh and they know what you’re watching.

Privacy Stuff
Let’s forget about Search and Ad Monopoly, that’s their money maker, let’s start thinking about the creepier stuff, power.

GMail alone as of July 2009 had an approximate of 146 million unique users during one month. That’s a lot of conversations being tracked in one way or the other. Can’t imagine all the money they make on Gmail alone, since it’s one of the applications that people keep open most of the day, and that’s a lot of contextual ads right there, plus a lot of tracking on clicks to external sites linked inside the emails you read.

So they did Email great, you gotta give them that, but then they also have Groups, GTalk (instant messaging) and more recently they were talking about redefining email with Google Wave (which has been in my perspective a total failure, nobody is ever logged in or replying to the waves, it needs to integrate with email in order to replace it, maybe that’ll be the key and since they’re smart they should know this but they’re waiting for the right time…)

This year Google has gotten super scary with all the announcements they’ve made, one of the scariest is Google Public DNS, the service that converts a domain name like “”, into an IP address so that your computer can connect to it.

Boasting on their excellence and good performance they’re trying to convince system administrators to switch over to Google Public DNS.
What do we know if already our local ISPs have turned off their own DNS servers and just redirected all requests to (Google’s DNS) to save on costs and to have one less thing to manage?.

This is pretty scary because Google now would know where you go, even if you don’t use

Another really scary thing is having this company also build for you the web browser. Not only they control all the traffic, but they want to control the application that you use to browse the web. They already own Firefox (a nice +$50 million dollar/year tax deduction) whose default search is, you guessed it… Google, and now they even want to make an Operating System that runs only their browser with the purpose of having you log in with your Google Account every time you turn on your computer (currently aimed at Netbooks, please install Ubuntu Netbook Remix and be safe)

If their plans go accordingly, they’d be controlling everything, from every request that comes out of your internet connection (DNS), to the kernel and browser in your computer, to your email, to your documents (Google Apps), to where you go (Google Maps), to where you are (Google Latitude).

And if that’s not enough, they want to give you a phone number (Google Voice) and transcribe your conversations and voice messages… but wait I forgot they’ve also built an operating system for your phone, Android, and next month they will sell their own phone.

Are you scared yet?

Other Services:
Google Healthcare (They want your medical records too)
Google URL Shortener (They want to track all the clicks inside Twitter and Facebook, they couldn’t let other companies deal with this, FTW!)
Google Finance (They also know what stock quotes a lot of people are looking for)
Google Reader (They know what news and feeds you’re reading)
Google News (They want to control what news are read)
Google Blogger (They know what you write about, and bank on you)
Picassa (They want your pictures)
Google Maps and Driving Directions on Android (They want to know where you’re going)
Google Product Search (They wanna know what you’re shopping for)
Google Checkout (Do they have your credit card number yet?)
GMail (They know your contact list, who you talk to, who you do business with, what you want, what you hate, everything)
and so many other scary things… they must be so pissed they don’t own Facebook. Way to go Mark.
Google Buzz (They want to know conversational trends and what people are linking to amongst themselves, They couldn’t let Twitter take that piece of the cake)

The scariest part however is that everyone is just looking at how convenient all this free services are, praising Google but not thinking if there’s a hidden agenda, it’s like nobody could ever suspect the real intentions. At least with Microsoft you knew what to expect. Doesn’t it all sound like an internet monopoly? It’s becoming impossible to compete with such a big monster… however like a friend said “History repeats, all Giants fall eventually”

Google wants every byte coming in and out of you, they own every major piece of the action, it’s all becoming like big media and newspapers, like the food industry which is controlled by only a handful of corporations and we really have no choice in what we eat because everything is so cheap and convenient.

Google at this pace will own the internet, or should we call it The Googlenet.

Suggested Reads

Google Hypocritical on the Importance of Privacy (Superb read)

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  1. well written article, very enjoyable read. You make a lot of good points, especially about Google’s thirst for data.

    What also makes me very nervous who they are providing access to those data points. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the government had some direct lines crunching their data.

  2. I for one, welcome our Google overlords. You people and your privacy, I don’t get it. You’ll give out highly personal information to strangers on the internet via MySpace, Facebook, etc etc etc. Google knows you probably better than yourself. I’m completely ok with this because Google has never judged me for my internet searches. To Google, I am just another number. Google does not want these numbers to bend to their will.

    I don’t mind what people know about me, so long as they don’t use that information against me. Why do you need privacy? Is there something you do that no other person in the world does that’s so embarrassing, you’d drop dead on the spot right there if someone caught you? No. However, there are plenty of things you could do that a ton of people already do that will get you arrested if the wrong people know about it.

    I don’t feel like Google will ever arrest me for what they know about me. The government on the other hand, well, they already abuse the power that you’re afraid to give Google.

  3. Why are you scared? Of course they know what you’re searching for, they’re a search engine. You don’t have to use the products they come out with so how exactly are they controlling anything? Just because someone has come across a genius way to make billions of dollars doesn’t make them evil. Just another bogus conspiracy theory, let us know when they finally land on the moon.

  4. Well, I never gave it much thought before reading this. It is an eye opening article. Thanks for adding to my worries about loss of freedom and privacy. Now I have to see if I can get a job with Google ( or the government).

  5. Scared? … Oh hell yeah. The problem is not so much that Google is doing all the things you write about … that is just Capitalism or more correctly Facism in full flight. The problem I’m sorry to say is that the American people allowed it to happen. Like it or not the Internet is an American thing and nothing happens on the Internet without the blessing of the American people. This then of course impacts on all the citiizens of the world. Here in Australia we are getting Internet censorship administerd by the Government … it is being delivered to us by stealth under the guise of protecting our children from the nasties. In reality they are simply putting in place the infrastucture, with the people’s blessing, that will allow them to block any website that doesn’t aid their cause. The American people should have been far more discerning when they choose which religion they wanted to be ruled by. As one of your countymen often quotes in his daily newsletters that I read … “People don’t always get what they want but they always get what they deserve”.

  6. “Why do you need privacy? Is there something you do that no other person in the world does that’s so embarrassing”

    There’s shitload of information that needs to be kept secret in the personal lives of a lot of people. You don’t need privacy just to hide all your kinky shit or embarassing shit.

    Let’s say you are a guard at a prison or a cop who managed to catch someone very dangerous, I bet whoever hates you in that prison will love to get a hold of where you live, where you go, who are your family in case they wanted to hurt you.

    How about business ideas, invention?s… would your really do all your communication over google’s email servers or gtalk if you had a business idea that could compete against them?

    What if you’re HIV positive, would you publish it everywhere?

    Would you publish your account numbers and how much money you make? If you don’t make a dime probably no big deal, but there’s people that need to watch their backs. Think for example people living in mexico city, it’s effing scary having a little bit of money in countries like those, if that kind of information falls in the wrong hands you’re immediately put on a list to be kidnapped, in most cases you can’t even trust your own bank in places like those, it’s pretty easy for criminals to bribe a bank employee into giving them bank statements of high net-worth individuals.. Luckily in the US kidnapping people is not in fashion, but sites like facebook can make the criminal’s homework a lot easier. Fuck I want my privacy.

    It’s just really annoying that they have such an advantage when it comes to trend spotting and communications logging and parsing. It’s both a monopoly and privacy issue that I have with this company. Don’t be evil my ass.

  7. I, for one, happen to love the array of services Google offers. That said, I’m also a card-carrying conspiracy theorist. One of the things my research has taught me is that trust of an impersonal entity is most inappropriate. Corporations exist for the purpose of ensuring their own continued existence. The track record of such entities is hideous in terms of abuse and neglect of the people and the planet to which they owe that tenuous existence. There are, of course, responsible corporations–so called because they’re run by responsible individuals. Google has a known motto: “don’t be evil”, which is all well and good during boom times but to what will they resort when their corporate lives are on the line? There’s no way of knowing–except this way: One must ask the question: “What prevents…?” Indeed, if the answer is “nothing”, evil will eventually take wing.

  8. SCROOGLE it! Google searches, with your personal info, search preferences, and advertising demographics, all scraped off.

    Too simple? htp://

  9. Well, that all sounds a little too paranoid for me. I definitely think that the author has a valid point concerning Google ‘data-thirst’ but also taking it a little too far with throwing in Android and Google Chromium. First of all like Watson correctly pointed out….they not ‘forcing’ you too use any of their applications and on top of it Android and Google Chrome are ‘open sourced’. That means it’s controlled by you and me (or anyone with the knowledge or winning to learn about it).
    I’m happy that Google exits and will support them UNTIL they turn fascist.

  10. I don’t trust Google because they’re incompetent; they’re riding on an indescribably massive wave of popularity, but every service I’ve used, of theirs, is steadily decreasing in usability: Google Maps, for example, has become a dozen times harder to use since I first started playing with it on

    The amount of data they have and hold is not all that disturbing — marketing companies have been doing the same thing with everything you buy and everywhere you go, for many years now… and our society could use a little forced honesty.

    It’s my opinion that if people were unable to hide they’d be a lot more honest… sealed-off nasty holes always end up festering, and it’s a lot easier to judge other people when you yourself are not on display.

    Either way, I don’t worry about it, because there’s nothing I could do even if I tried — so I use Gmail for things that don’t matter, and other services for things which do; I use their search until someone else comes up with a better approach… and like everyone else, I hide in the noise produced by more data than anyone will ever have the time to look at.

    As more and more people are added to this clustering aggregation of analytics and demographical statistics, the degree of eccentricity required to stand out sufficiently for anyone to notice will only decrease, and the true eccentrics, the ones who matter, at any rate, are usually good enough at hiding themselves not to be noticed in the first place.

  11. this is not a propblum if they tell us what they are doing
    i don’t care if they know where i have been on the internet i have nothing to hide any more. to the best of may knowleged i have done nothing illegal so i am safe.

  12. Well the sky is always falling for someone. Being skeptical and critical are admirable qualities. it’s unfortunate you’re just paranoid.

  13. Great overview. I recently read 1984 again. What rings true today was in the book it was not possible until the time the story took place to constantly track what people where doing (and even thinking) 24 hours a day. Then you move onto remaking of history, by rewriting history. This could only be done by total control.

    I’m not into conspiracies but I like to think ahead for not only fun but as a business exercise. What is outlined above is a way to track a good percentage of the population. Track relationships, sentiments, habits, and speech. How hard is it to imagine that this information can be used to target dissent. I’m not saying google would do this but flash forward with all the technology. Human history has proven time and time again that control and power is the ultimate aim. With all this data it becomes quite a bit easier to control and target dissent.

    If you start with the “Don’t be evil”, I ask should I worry that you might have the power to be evil? It’s not so much the information but the gateway to information. The web is still the wild west in ways but as it matures it’s going to become more rigid and the barrier to entry larger. Those that control the gateway control the information and the history. As what we describe as the internet becomes more like TV and we turn it on and it works this problem becomes amplified.

    Iran is the latest version of this. Sure they are on the cliff in ways but these changes happen over generations. When the next generation in Iran can no longer remember a free web with Twitter or a non government owned email system, the game suddenly starts changing.

    My main point really is we are at this point right now that if someone wanted too it is technically possible to track how, what, when, and where you are 24 hours a day. Who’s going to decide the WHY you are allowed to do all that?

  14. Google is the right company to do this. They embrace open source and it’s in the very core of their company. Everyone wants one thing and I’d rather it be Google than Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook or any other company on the net.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Nonetheless, keeping a close eye on them is necessary too 😀