The way the online world works today is far different than a decade ago, certainly much different than it was back at the turn of the century. Today’s internet is flooded with free services. Free? Just remember the old adage; there is no free lunch. Someone pays.
The way online access works these days is rather simple. Let’s use Google as one example, but there are others. Google has a colorful, playful 1) name, 2) logo. That evokes a pleasant persona. Google gives users free applications to use. Free.
- Google Search – the largest search engine is available on all major platforms
- Gmail – the world’s largest email system comes with many user features
- Google Apps – Docs and Sheets and Google Drive are excellent online services
- Google Maps – who doesn’t like a free map service which gets you anywhere?
I checked a friend’s iPhone this morning to help get my point across. The iPhone was packed with Google apps– Gmail, Tasks, Calendar, YouTube, Waze, Maps, Chrome, Assistant, Voice, Slides, Sheets, Docs, Drive, Street View, Google Earth, Translate, News, Google, Google Home, YouTube Music, YouTube TV, Google Trips, Google Keep, and one I didn’t know about, Google Fit.
Free apps! What’s not to like? Hey, wait a minute. Free? What’s the business model of free? Somebody must pay something to keep the lights on, right?
Google’s playful logo and free applications and services hide what’s really going on in the background. Google gives users free applications in exchange for the privilege of culling user information, stuffing it all into an online
dossier database which then is used by Google and advertisers to push more products and services onto those same users– often manipulating their behavior and thinking.
Google’s business model is advertising. About 90-percent of all Google revenue from all the projects and beta services it has running will come from advertising. Advertising is designed to persuade. Put another way, advertising manipulates those being advertised to. Yes, advertising greases the wheels of online commerce these days, but Google, Facebook, and others have taken it to a different level where people do not fully understand what is going on, and definitely do not appreciate how serious the issue can be for them.
Free is good. But if there is no free lunch, payment must be made somewhere. I stopped using Google because I do not want such a pervasive online entity to work so hard to persuade me and manipulate my thinking.