Google is on a roll. Not only is Google Assistant running well ahead of Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and even Amazon’s Alexa, the company is blazing ahead with incredibly useful– and free– software for mere mortals.
Artificial intelligent earbuds that translate conversation from one language to another in near real time is a perfect example. Machine learning that detects people, animals, and locations in your photos for easier search is another example. Gmail is the best at figuring out which incoming email messages are spam or phishing attempts.
Strength In Numbers
What’s going on? Well, Google has enough customers that supply enough data on a daily basis that the company’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities are growing more rapidly than competitors. Google is learning about its users.
Sidebar: remember, to Google, you’re not a customer. You’re a user. That makes you part of Google’s product– advertising. By turning over so much private information to Google you help the company improve its products which are paid for by advertisers. It is likely that no technology company knows more about you than Google and the company profits from that growing database of information.
What’s going on?
Google is learning everything there is to know about you by knowing what content you read online (you don’t have to use Google Chrome browser for that to happen), which websites you visit, what products you search for and buy, what you write to others and what they write to you in email, and thanks to new Google home speakers and Assistant, the company can listen to your conversations, and quite possibly know the size of your home, what kind of furniture you own and where it is placed inside, and who is in the living room while it listens for commands.
Far fetched? Not that far.
Looking ahead, at what point in the future should we become afraid of Google? After all, no company on planet earth already knows more about you than Google, but as machine learning and applied artificial intelligence grows– thanks to a long list of free applications Google makes available to everyone on most devices– when do we reach a point where Google moves from passive listener and watcher or a more active or assertive entity which engages in conversation with users and begins directing what we do each day?
Look at how much has changed with technology devices since the iPhone was introduced in 2007. At first, we were happy merely to have a half-way smart phone which we could navigate and use without learning details in a thick manual. iPhone was and remains intuitive, but look how far it has advanced. The camera alone is better than broadcast quality. Audio can be recorded at professional levels. Face-to-face video conversations are done with ease. We store our lives on those devices and Apple and others have responded with ever more secure methods to make them convenient but secure.
Google is different. It knows about us. Machine learning makes for improved knowledge and thanks to artificial intelligence, Google’s apps help us where it can, guide and direct us elsewhere, and are on the verge of being a daily assistant with conversational capabilities.
That sounds intriguing, useful, and dangerous. When do we become afraid of Google?