That got me to thinking about what motivates people to do what they know is wrong, all the while knowing what they do isn’t good for them. Smoking and overeating come to mind right away. If you use Google apps or own an Android smartphone or tablet are you an accessory to a crime against society?
Products: Buy? Or, Be?
Simply put, Apple makes money the old fashioned way. They make something and sell it to customers. The 12-block-long line in front of the 5th Avenue Apple Store last Friday is testament to Apple’s success making products.
Google is different. Yes, the company makes products, and they sell to customers, but the difference is astounding. So much so, it could be considered a crime against humanity, whereby Google’s products are an accessory to the crime of taking and using personal information.
To Google, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. Even Apple CEO Tim Cook says that. When you use a Google product the company collects information about you and sells it to advertisers; who now know more about you– your habits, what you watch, what you read, what you search for, where you go and when, and even what you write.
The company’s methodology is an indirect transaction, to be sure, but one that is highly profitable for Google, and, in exchange, you get to use a bunch of free applications. Cell phone and tablet makers like it because Google gives them Android OS for free so they, too, can sell an iPhone and iPad-like device.
Google’s money trail is long and deep. If you follow it, you’ll find that the company spends far more to influence lawmakers (to ensure there is no law to prohibit the culling of personal information for profit) than Apple and other tech companies which sell products made of atoms instead of bits.
That’s why we’re not likely to see Google embrace encrypted web searches, encrypted email messages, or encrypted documents because personal privacy, anonymity, and security are anathema to Google’s means of life. Google’s raison d’être, if you will, is to know as much about you as possible, and give you free applications to divert your attention from the seriousness of the crime. If you know that, does that make you an accessory to a crime against yourself?