Rumored Google Social Network May Destroy Privacy
Among tech journalists, one name stands out in regards to the question of who the most powerful corporation in the tech industry is. Google has a strong 85.78% market share on Internet search, making them the primary resource for web surfers looking for information about their topics of choice. This means that if your company drops off Google, it takes a serious hit especially if your business is heavily based on customers obtained and managed through your online presence.
Google’s Gmail system has between 113 and 176 million monthly users, depending on source, making them one of the top three email providers in the world.
According to a report from Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, Google is rumored to be set to launch a social network called “Google Me”. This would put Google in direct competition with Facebook, Myspace and other social networks. Google already collects users search patterns, email, travel, and in some cases private network activity. A social network would allow them to have direct access to their users daily thoughts and interactions. Several high-profile technology journalists have taken the stance that given Facebook’s ongoing privacy concerns, Google’s social network would be a welcome addition to the web.
Leo Laporte, a popular tech pundit, featured the rumored story on his weekly show with Kevin Rose. He stated, “Yes, I’m so Happy! I’m not the only one who is a little bit skittish and fed up about Facebook but I trust Google.” This statement in response to recent privacy issues raised concerning Facebook.
In an article published by CNN, Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore praises the possibility of a social network operated by the Goliath corporation. In his article, he points out that Facebook is poised to be a threat to Google due to its amassing like and dislike interest information from its giant user base. This information is gathered as users point out posts they enjoy or agree with. This allows Facebook to target ads that particular users might be more likely to click on. Google, which attributes 97% of their income to ad sales, may see Facebook as a competitor in the targeted ads market. This means that if Google does indeed have a social network set to launch, it too would be able to add their users interests and opinions to their growing database of information on their user base.
Simply choosing not to use Google or their products in your daily life does not free you from having your information cataloged and cached. Many websites use Google Analytics to find out more about their readers. This includes your IP address, browser, operating system and time spent at the site all because you chose to visit. Social network users often make references to non-users in their posts and discussions. Gmail account holders that receive or send email to you are also potentially adding some of your private information to their growing database. Google was recently caught collecting wireless network data during their Street View laps through cities internationally.
At this point, Google Me is still a rumored release. Privacy concerns about Facebook have driven many of their members to seek out an alternative where one does not currently exist. If Google steps up and grabs that user base, they would be taking a giant step towards closing the gaps that exist between your private life and their database.