Google. Uh huh. That Google. The Facebook of search engines and online advertisers. The same search engine advertising company that pays Apple to give its customers less privacy and security. Google wants to help Apple’s customers with privacy.
Free For All
Just between you and me and the fencepost, all this back and forth sniping– Apple CEO Tim Cook snipes at Google for privacy violations, while Google CEO Sundar Pichai snipes at Apple for being a premium product maker, therefore, not giving privacy to all. Only Google does that. Or, so Pichai’s story goes.
What’s going on? Public sniping from two giants; one a giant and profitable hardware company, the other a giant and profitable advertising company. The former makes privacy and security easier in each product, while the latter takes privacy away and makes a profit from it. Let me examine the arguments to see if either one holds water:
Google products are designed to be helpful. They take the friction out of daily life (for example, by showing you the fastest route home at the end of a long day) and give you back time to spend on things you actually want to do. We feel privileged that billions of people trust products like Search, Chrome, Maps and Android to help them every day.
Translation: “We found an indirect method to make obscene profits by giving you free software.”
Our mission is to make the best products in the world in those areas which we choose to participate that enrich people’s lives. And so, if we can’t make the best product, we don’t go in. If we can make a great product but it doesn’t help anybody, it doesn’t enrich their life, then we’re not going to go into that either. And so that’s a pretty narrow funnel then because you’re working on a few things. And we know in order to do them at the quality level we want to do them, we can only do a few.
Translation: “We only sell products where we can make a boatload of money on each one.”
Hmmm. I see some similarities. Let’s go on:
Privacy is personal, which makes it even more vital for companies to give people clear, individual choices around how their data is used. Over the past 20 years, billions of people have trusted Google with questions they wouldn’t have asked their closest friends
Yet, Google takes information it gleans from my searches and turns it into advertising which is then used to manipulate my thinking.
I don’t see Google as my online friend, do you?
We don’t want to use you as our product. And we just have a fundamental issue with doing that. And we’ve always thought that the building of a detailed profile about your life could result in tragic things. Whether it’s a breach of your own privacy or something where the data itself could be used in a nefarious way. And so, we’ve never thought it was right to do it, and we’ve always thought that you owned it.
Yet, Cook and Apple have no trouble taking billions of dollars a year from Google to make the search engine giant the default search on Safari, thereby opening up cracks in the customer’s privacy.
We don’t traffic in your data. We very much are on your side.
If so, then why get huge sums of profit from Google so they can traffic in our data? Is that not being complicit?
OK. Now I get it. Google wants to help Apple’s customers by treating them the same way Google treats its own users of free software. Apple wants to treat customer data as a bargaining chip for profits.
I’m glad I could clear that up.