Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.


Dr. Drang:

Why was Apple’s mapping data inferior? Part of it, certainly, was because they got a late start. But the main reason Google’s maps are better is that Google spent a lot of time and money on its maps, and it did that because it knew that spending would pay off in the collection and selling of your information. In effect, the creepiness of Google is what makes Google Maps so good.

Great article. Compare and contrast this with “Saving Private”, a seminar paper I wrote earlier this year:

But while Google is by no means the only company with a concerning attitude towards individual user privacy, it is one of the most engrained in consumers’ Internet usage. The search engine itself represents 67.5% marketshare according to ComScore, while YouTube receives nearly three times the viewers as its nearest competitor. The ostensibly simple response to these privacy concerns is to stop using Google services, but that’s extremely difficult. Given that the products are reliable and are offered at the unbeatable price point of “free”, it becomes both expensive and risky to migrate to other services. The alternatives to Google’s services tend to be of either dubious reliability or poorer quality, and most are not free. This places Google in a special position of power, and therefore, responsibility.

My paper is nearly 3,000 words long, not including citations. Much of that is necessitated by explaining background information that can be taken for granted on a weblog of this nature. But Dr. Drang’s post is just a few hundred words, and it says as much as my giant paper. It’s a great piece of writing.