Google’s Evil Algorithm For Everything

Google scares me. They have for a long time, but not nearly as much as they do as 2013 wraps up. Lots of SEO like to whine and moan about Google, mostly because they think their sites deserve to rank higher. I’m guilty of doing that myself sometimes.

But while the Google-created Internet marketing industry puts food on my table, I’m more scared of Google as a citizen and consumer than I am as a professional SEO.

Spending 9-10 hours every day analyzing search results seems like it would make you very aware of how dangerous and powerful Google has gotten but I think it actually has the opposite effect. Over Thanksgiving as I spent less time entrenched in the SERPs, I started to think more about the larger impact of Google and what that means for the future of our world.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information – company mission statement

Google As A Public Utility

Let’s face it…Google has become a public utility as essential to modern society as rivers, sidewalks or power lines. Imagine a day without Google. Their reach has gone far beyond search. They serve as ISPs, phone providers, website hosts, email hosts, calendar keepers and more.

But unlike most public utilities, Google’s sole purpose isn’t to provide a public utility. Their sole purpose is to advertise. A power company is a public utility but one who’s money is made by providing reliable power services. Google’s a public utility company who makes money by gathering as much information as possible and using that information to serve targeted advertisements.

That is what scares me about Google and I probably don’t worry about it nearly enough.

Algorithms…for everything

Cory Doctor wrote an awesome story about how Google could be integrated with the NSA in the future. While Google has butted heads with the government recently, I don’t think a scenario where the two are intertwined is that farfetched.

With the massive amounts of personal data they have, Google is likely already just as efficient as the government at using personal data to identify criminals, potential criminals and other shady happenings. Google’s two biggest strengths are their ability to gather personal data and use algorithms to analyze it on a large scale level. I bet Google could perform more effective background checks based on search history (Google), email history (Gmail), browsing history (Google Accounts) and location history (Android) than the TSA can right now.

While Google masquerades as an advertising agency, they are really a company that can build an algorithm for everything.

If Target can identify pregant teens before their parents find out, just imagine what Google can infer via their algorithms about each of us.

Given data that they already have, does anybody think it would be a challenge for Google to determine which of their users:

  • Sells drugs
  • Evades income tax
  • Cheats on their spouse
  • Gambles
  • Contemplates suicide

These may seem like minor things but having an accurate algorithm that can determine all of our deepest and darkest secrets could be one of the most powerful tools in the history of the world — and it’s owned by an advertising company.

Do you trust an advertising company with that much power? I don’t.

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