When I explain a little about Google, and compare the company’s practices with Apple, my friends, family members, and co-workers are aghast to the point of nausea. Almost all of them ask for alternatives to Google apps. Why? What’s the difference?
The Product Line
Both Apple and Google make computers– notebooks, smartphones, tablets. For most popular devices, Apple and Google make great software– maps, browsers, email, and more.
One difference between the two that is cited by friends, family, and co-workers is that Google makes apps for all major platforms– OS X, Windows, iOS, Android.
That’s a difference, yes, but it’s not the difference that matters. Here’s the difference.
Apple makes products to delight themselves and the company’s hundreds of millions of customers. We love the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and appreciate finely tuned applications that improve our day-to-day lives, right?
How is Google different than that? They, too, have hundreds of millions of users. Customers? Not so many.
Notice that I italicized Apple’s customers and Google’s users. Therein lies the difference. To Apple, you’re the customer and the company works hard to please their customers with products– hardware and software– that delights.
To Google, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. Google gives you free apps to use and extracts personal data from your usage which is then used to stuff advertising in your face; data which is sold to the highest bidder to Google’s real customers– advertisers.
To me, that’s a huge difference. Apple protects user privacy. Google wants information about you, your habits, your purchases, your shopping interests, your location, and anything else that can be turned into data that can be sold or influenced.
To Apple, you’re a customer. To Google, you’re the product. That makes Google’s free applications and free storage somewhat parasitic in nature, right? Parasitic?
parasite |ˈparəˌsīt| noun
an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense.
• derogatory a person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return.
That sounds more like Google than it does Apple.