Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Google’s Increasingly Creepy Suggestions

Brad Frost:

But ultimately, Facebook is a place you go to. You can decide whether you want to visit the restaurant, or just continue throwing their flyers in the recycling bin alongside the coupon-stuffed weekly circulars and junk mail.

Google is equally needy, but feels a lot more insidious than Facebook. Unlike Facebook, Google isn’t just a place you go. It’s built into the infrastructure of your life. It’s your house. It’s the roads and sidewalks you travel on. Google is a lot more infrastructural than Facebook, which is why breeches of trust feel a lot weirder and scarier.

Turns out that if you buy a smartphone that runs an operating system made by an advertising company that loves to scoop up as much user data as it can, it’s going to endlessly nag you to provide more information to that company. That’s not to say that anyone who buys an Android phone is an idiot for expecting otherwise; on the contrary, users’ expectations should guide Google’s actions.

Also, always remember that someone actually built this stuff. There are, of course, employees in every industry who hang their souls up when they walk into their office, but very few have the kind of power and responsibility of a global tech giant.

See Also:Death to Bullshit”, also by Frost.