Can I trust Google?

  1. But don’t you see the danger in collecting that data? Even if nobody at Google does personally know everything about you at the moment, the data collection does happen and makes misuse possible.
  2. The algorithms lead to advertising that can be dangerous. For example people that use search terms (or write e-mails) that show signs of an eating disorder get ads for diet products.

An interesting art project about this topic is Made to Measure


I’ll bring evidence as soon as I can but it will take a little time to make sure I’m not infringing other people’s privacy :wink:

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This is also an example of the exact anti-google gut response that annoys me.

And maybe there is the possibility that from the perspective of some people who disagree with you, your exact pro-google gut response annoys them.

No one seems to be talking about the elephant in the room: without gmail the open web would not exist in its current form.

And maybe, again we have the possibility, that from the perspective of the people who don’t agree with you this is just an:

Otherwise I’ll just put this claim where i put all the negative claims about Google and HRC - in a pile marked “uncharitably interpreted and outright lies”

You always state, that you know, that without google, the world would be in a much worse place than it is today. But you can’t prove this. And the opposite can also not be proven.
But what clearly is shown, companies like google, meta and so on are quasi monopolist that abuse their position. Again you can argue, that they did more good then bad with that. I think they harm the world more then they aid it. But what I hate most about it, they reduce the variety in the world. They limit the choice and they force this limitation.
I don’t have the choice, to browse the web without being tracked (google analytics, like buttons,…). I actively have to defend against it (ublock, umatrix, noscript) and nobody respects my choice of Do not track. Or google does not respect my choice, that I don’t want it to scan all the apps on my phone. If I open the play store, I always see one third of the screen with a long red text, that I should activate play protect. But I can’t even deactivate, that play store apps are not scanned.
If I make a mistake, I am being tracked.
Having a google free android is also a pain in the ass to achieve in general.

Living in a world were everything is tracked and collected and potentially used against me, is easy. And the big techs support this world, they make it easy to live in this world.
The opposite is hard to achieve and is purposely made hard to achieve.

I acknowledge the fact, that companies are on this planet to make money. I think to exclude them from social responsibilities and make it a free choice for them, to be social, is a big flaw. They throw bread crumbs and poisoned gifts in the world in comparison to the money the make and the harm they do. Unfortunately, from my perspective, to many people take these bread crumbs and say “thank you” and “how great this company is, and we have to be thankful” instead of critically asking, if this is just a distraction, to make them look good.

I see a much better world, that we could live in, then the one we currently have.


Let’s think about how a lot of the web works:

Google’s big addomatic-5000 says that it displays an ad about kittens to 10000 people who addomatic-5000 thinks are interested in pets. The company that produces that ad gives google 100 Currency-Units.
Google takes 30 of these to pay for infrastructure, R&D, employees and a golden toilet seat
The content producers (YouTube, websites etc) get 70 Currency-Units to pay their costs and buy a smaller golden thing.

If you stop Google Analytics the whole things comes crashing down. It’s your choice. However i would say that the small ma-n-pa web-page (to take an emotive example) that has Google Analytics running would be happy to get their share of the 70 Currency-Units. I’m not saying that what you’re doing is theft, but I don’t think it would hurt to be aware of the repercussions of what you’re doing.

You’re talking about what could possibly one day happen.

As i said: there’s no need to concentrate on what could possibly happen. There are reasons to dislike big tech without concentrating on what could possibly happen. And i think concentrating on what could possibly happen makes it more difficult to get the message across about what actually is happening.

Again you are implicitly stating, that the world without google would be worse by talking about “anecdotal examples”. Again I have to say to you, there is no proof what the world would be worse without it. Just because you can not imagine a world without user tracking against their will, it does not been it is not possible to function as good or even better, then the one we have.

I understand from your reply, and the fact that you choose not to respond, to a lot of the things I wrote that:

  • you are okay with the world as it is
  • and rather taking the risk improving it, stay where we are, because you fear, things would be worse, if it would be different

I think it is clear that I disagree with this mind set and I think it is clear, that I would like to live in a world where I have the choice, and not be forced to live in a world I don’t like, because to many people are to comfortable with what they have and to fearful of what could go wrong if we allow a (fair*) choice.

*unfortunately I have to add the word here, because dark patterns and such are used by these companys to not have a fair choice. Instead exploiting human weaknesses.

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Yeah, i have a lineageOS phone which (as far as I know) does not connect to the Google services.

However i would also like to have Evernote (for example) on it. Evernote uses Google Services for push notifications. They could move to polling, with the subsequent increase in battery drain.

It would be nice if somebody came up with a push notification infrastructure for Android that a/ every carrier in the world would support and
b/ every app writer in the world would support.
This would however cost a few hundred million a year in network costs to operate. In other words, it ain’t gonna happen.

Another example is video codecs. Google spent 500 million dollars a while back on the vp8 video codec and then open-sourced it. Google then worked with chip manufacturers all over the world to get this algorithm supported in hardware. Google has a patent promise on the codecs that anybody who uses them will be protected by Google from being sued. This allows us for the first time to use top-quality video codecs without either paying for a license or doing something illegal. Top quality video codecs lessen greatly the carbon footprint of video There’s no way anything other than a large tech company could have pulled this off.

No, i’m not happy with the world the way it is.

However, i think that free access to information is a good thing for the world and that free access to information costs a lot of money to provide.

This makes the situation rather complicated and, in my mind, more nuanced than “google tracks us”.

Again, you are talking about bread crumbs these companies throw into the world.
Again you are stating that things would not happen without them. Again you have no proof for this. Just because you lack the imagination, for the same things to happen in a different way, then they happened, that is your problem. But that doesn’t mean you have to defend a bad status quo.

For example, the jabber/xmpp world designed a system for mobile services similar to push ( XEP-0357). It is not as perfect, it is not central. You can say, you are happy with the one central system you have. I would be happy with a federated system, even if it means, a little bit more battery consumption.
But all the tracking activity that google does on my phone, is also consuming battery.

Patents of software are a law constructs. Nobody forces us, to keep stupid laws in place. Nobody forces us to hold on to a damaging business model (patents). It worked a 100 years ago, but maybe it is time to move on and find something better? I think there are a lot of ideas out there, but of cause implementing one, is a risk. Of cause, with change some people always loose. Unfortunately, the obstacles to change, are normally the ones which already have enough money.
And the people who get feared into submission by making them afraid of change because they lack imagination.

Edit: Even lineageOS still has some google things like the location service(?), or some in android relatively hard coded settings. I can’t find it, but with respect to the FP2 and lineageOS something like his was discussed in this forum.

I think we’ve both pretty much made our positions clear, so i’m not sure there’s much point continuing this discussion. However, i would like to say:

Interesting that you mention software patents. Google has spent a lot of time and money lobbying against software patents and has (to the best of my knowledge) never sued anybody for infringement.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the technical quality of location services can be greatly improved by throwing infrastructure at the problem. I’m not sure lineageOS uses any Googly stuff here: certainly my lineageOS phone takes ages to get a lock compared with my phone with Googly stuff.

That the algorithm isn’t human is irrelevant, it’s designed by a business to make profit from the user interaction. It may not be a great impact on me personal as the data is collected but, as put previously, I am now the product and being sold to the devil knows whom.

Do I care as a moral issue, clearly it is not, but I do not care. I just do somethings to reduce the exploitation of my activities, including using google as well as buying into the fair trade market.

How are you being sold? What is being “sold” is the information that 1000 people with a probable interest in cats were shown an advert about kittens.

– edit –

you know, slavery does exist in the modern world. that’s when people actually are sold. some computer recording that you’ve been shown an advert about kittens is not the same thing. It’s not even close to being the same thing.

The whole of me doesn’t have to be sold, they won’t get my soul, just a little bit of control.

An open-source project that can’t compete with WhatsApp? You mean like the app Signal, developed and run by the non-profit Signal Technology Foundation, formerly Open Whisper Systems? The very foundation that built the Signal, formerly TextSecure, protocol that WhatsApp operates on? Not a good example to pick for your analogy. :wink:

We don’t know what information google has. We don’t know what algorithm they use and how they work. Nothing is transparent. All we know from other documented examples (cambridge analytica) that these companys have such a detailed knowledge about every single person, that it is possible to manipulate them on a near individual basis.

There is enough research, that for example pregnant women are more easily to manipulate, hence advertising to them is more expensive. Women in general are more easily to be manipulated via advertisement. Just take a long look on beauty products and how advertisement to women works. Every aspect of a woman body is turned into a problem, to sell them a solution.

These weaknesses are actively exploited and google as one of the biggest advertising company aids this exploitation by even collecting and providing the simple information of the gender status of a person.

And I think this one of the aspects of what amoun means by being sold.
(And I am also a little bit surprised that this choice of words in general is a problem for you, when it is okay to say “they can’t do it” when you mean “they can but I have not heard that they did.”


Just to be a bit clearer about my take.

  • I use WhatsApp to keep in touch with primarily my children.
  • I have Signal for a few more discerning friends
  • I bought Threema, but I don’t know anyone who uses it :frowning:
    I don’t want to support Google, Amazon, Ebay, Facebook etc, so don’t use them, but I’m not anti any of them. I have smaller and bigger fish not to fry.

Signal is a perfect example. It costs real money to operate and it gets that money from various (corporate) sources. As it becomes more popular it needs more money to operate. Where will this come from?

As long as we expect services like an instant messenger to be free (which we expect because large companies finance instant messengers so they are free to use) there is a fundamental tension between the users and the company which makes the instant messenger.

What happens if 100 million people sign up for Signal and Signal can’t handle the load. Then a large company (let’s call it Foogle) comes along and says “we’ll give you lots of money if you just …” What does Signal do?

My advice on instant messaging: get a system that costs money (Threema for example, although that’s only an initial outlay) or sign up to a public XMPP instance and send the operator every now and then a couple of bucks.

Speaking of documented examples and Cambridge Analytica (which was a FB-now-Meta-related affair, not Google): Signal tried to bring attention to how accurately advertisers can target their campaigns by running their own ads on Instagram. It didn’t go over so well.

That’s not all, what is analyzed and stored. It’s that you watched the kitten video on a rainy Sunday afternoon, in your home, with your smartphone, which is running for six hours since the last full charge of the battery and with this and this and another app installed on it. You might have been in bad mood, because you searched for some pain killers a moment before.


no, google does not provide the information of the gender of a person.

none of the information google has ever leaves google. google does not sell information about you and it provides no way for anybody to find out the information it has about you apart from you yourself.