Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Google We Trust, Part 2

Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series.

An update. is dead. The Federal Government of the United States did not even need SOPA/PIPA. It killed the file sharing site in one fell swoop, and brought down similar sites with it. The chilling effect is in full force and effect. I feel stifled...and I miss watching my favorite television series. Sigh...

Anyway, as I was saying, I am not suprised content producers reacted the way they did when SOPA/PIPA died. To repeat, I bet what irks them the most is the fact that tech firms are beating them at their own game, a veritable old rich versus new rich situation. The former despises the latter for taking its privileged status away from it. In this fight, I count myself as being on the side of Google and company. It is more representative of the sentiments of my generation. But then, a thought came to mind. Is my decision to side with Google et al. a product of blind faith? Perhaps I have been on the wrong side all this time? Is my disdain for old corporate America preventing me from seeing that Google and the others are nothing but "old corporate America 2.0"?

These questions were brought about, ironically, by content from Murdock and gang, specifically, by a Simpsons episode entitled "Holidays of Future Passed." Here, we find grown-up Lisa looking for her daughter Zia in the "ultranet." As she was exploring the virtual landscape, the thought of using Google to find Zia occurred to her. She then proceeded to Google's domain. Upon coming, literally, face-to-face, with the search engine, she exclaimed: "Google, you have enslaved half the world, but you are still a damn fine search engine!"

Note: The image above does not belong to me. No copyright infringement intended. All rights revert back to the owner. Image sourced from

Seemingly innocuous words, but what it really is is a social commentary on our over-reliance on Google and the latter's creeping entry into every facet of our lives. For instance, online we use Google products like Google Search, Gmail (with Google Contacts), Google Calendar, Gtasks, Google Docs, Google Maps and Navigation, Google+, YouTube, and Picasa. Google even has its own browser (which is what I'm using right now!) called Chrome. (Note: Chrome has become so popular as a browser that computer manufacturers decided to create netbooks built around it called "Chromebooks." No kidding.) Google's success in cyberspace emboldened it to expand outside of it. We can now bring it with us through our mobile devices thanks to Google's mobile operating system called "Android." Android has gone through several iterations, with the latest one being Android Ice Cream Sandwich. It's foray into mobile computing did not end with producing Android. In the past, Google partnered with HTC to produce the first Google phone called "G1." Today, we have the Samsung Nexus, Google's flagship Android phone, preloaded with, you guessed it, Android Ice Cream Sandwich. With Google's recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility, the air has been thick with rumors (and anticipation) that a Google tablet is just around the corner. And as if that is not enough, Google has been dabbling with NFC (near-field communication) technology, which will enable us to use our mobile devices to pay for goods and services. (Note: Of course with the help of another Google app, Google Wallet, which is, as its name suggests, a digital wallet. You can have a digital version of your credit card stored in your mobile device for the purpose of making payments.) But wait, there is more... Google has been trying to get into our living rooms as well. Have you guys heard of Google TV? Yes, it exists. Before, it was only available through television digital boxes like the Logitech Revue, but some television manufacturers like Sony are now producing models with Google TV already installed. With cyberspace, mobile devices, our finances and living rooms under its belt, what is next for Google? Google Fiber! Ultra high-speed broadband made possible by fiber optics. The project's test city is Kansas in Texas, United States. In other words, from individuals to families and businesses, Google is now focusing on full-blown communities.

Note 1: The video above does not belong to me. No copyright infringement intended. All rights revert back to the owner. Video sourced from

Note 2: The smart phone featured above is the Motorola Droid Razr. Although it runs Android, it is not Google's phone. The current manufacturer of the Google phone is Samsung, and the phone is called "Samsung Nexus."

Should we be afraid?

Google's competitors, both direct and indirect, seem to be; hence Murdock et al.'s disdain for the tech firm. In the European Union, Google is facing anti-trust raps initiated by Microsoft. According to the Windows maker, Google has been abusing its dominant position in the market for web search services, to the detriment of fair competition. Put simply, whenever one searches for a product or service using Google's very popular search engine, it is alleged that the same always places on top of the search results Google's products and services, and this, according to Microsoft, is unfair business practice. Albeit indirectly, Apple has joined what seems to be a growing anti-Google bandwagon. It has been on a war path, suing manufacturers that carry the Android platform for patent infringement. Samsung has been receiving the brunt of Apple's attention. Samsung was sued by Apple in Germany for patent infringement, and for a while Samsung was disallowed from marketing and selling their Android tablets there. Only recently was the injunction lifted. Lately, Google has been drawing flack for its updated privacy policies, reminiscent of the commotion the company created when it first introduced Google Maps with Street View.

Note: The video above does not belong to me. No copyright infringement intended. All rights revert back to the owner. Video sourced from

How about us consumers? Should we be afraid? Of Google? Honestly, I do not know the answer to that. All I know is that there is no substitute for vigilance. Google's ubiquity and the convenience that it introduced into our lives should not lull us into believing that Google is not a corporation for profit with economic interests to promote and to protect. The moment we let ourselves believe otherwise is the moment we come one step closer to Lisa Simpson's future and Sen. Amidala's senate-related nightmare.

Note: The video above does not belong to me. No copyright infringement intended. All rights revert back to the owner. Video sourced from

--Jan Nicklaus S. Bunag, Entry No. 6

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