Can I trust Google?

and, as you say yourself, that’s not what’s being sold.

Their tax filing from 2019 claims that 90% of their revenue came from contributions. I think they’ll be fine.

As long as corporations expect libraries to be free (which they expect because volunteers and donations drive free software projects so they are free to use) there is a fundamental tension between the corporations and the communities which make said tools and libraries.

See what I did there? :wink: Yes, there absolutely is tension, but things, by and large, work. The entirety of the web and the vast majority of the Internet is built on open standards and free (as in beer and as in freedom) implementations of said standards, which for-profits then, well, profit from. If this can be done for standards and toolchains, why not apps? And it indeed can be, see Signal. I think you’re just being a tad bit too cynical about how well things that should by all laws of logic crumble sooner or later can actually work. :slightly_smiling_face:

Sorry, I don’t understand, what you are trying to express.

standards and toolchains don’t cost money on a day to day basis to operate. Infrastructure does.

– edit –

btw, contributions from whom?

someone further up said that they were being sold by google. I really don’t like this emotive use of word which downplays the plight of people who really are being sold all over the world.

So i replied with what google actually is selling and it’s not people.

Not sold by, but to google. As I said, it’s not only, that 10.000 people watched a video, but much much more information about you and me. And of course, you can always find something worse in the world, but you can’t use that to excuse every abuse.

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It’s all cost of labour, both require continuous development. The .11 standard is constant flux since it’s been introduced, and the people developing them full-time need to eat too. Security vulnerabilities in tools, especially widely deployed security ones like OpenSSL/SSH, need to be fixed yesterday, not when someone gets around to it, so they often do have full-time developers.

Not listed, unfortunately, most likely from users like you and I. Take the the developers of Ardour, a considerably smaller project: they make well over $100k/yr just from people donations. Their business model and target audience is somewhat different, yes, but I’m using it as an example of people willing to donate for things that are “free”. The contributions could be from corporations looking to do backhanded deals and gain influence within the foundation, I concede that, internal politics are always at play everywhere. Keep in mind that having a paid service or software doesn’t magically make internal politics and greed go away.


A lot of the development on standards and toolchains is financed by big companies.

To build and maintain critical infrastructure is a task of the state. To pay independent companies to audit critical software is a task of the state.
IT Systems and corresponding software components are critical infrastructure. We pay trillions of taxes world wide for military equipment to “make us safe”.
This is a simple problem which could be simply solved. But it would require a change and thinking in new ways and letting go of the past.

I fail to see how this is an issue: a company needs $THING, sees that a project is already working on said $THING and calculates that paying them to do so and having random contributors help them with it for free with the downside of having their competitor access to $THING is still cheaper than hiring people to make $THING in-house. It’s a win for everybody. Are you concerned about corporate influence? If so, I’d be more worried about lobbying (which I personally am) than something so much smaller and much less significant.

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Tell that to the countries who willingly let private companies take over critical telecom infrastructure and their (supposedly) regulatory bodies turn a blind eye to the pluropolies (for a lack of a better word), cabals and under-the-table deals to generate as much profit at the expense of their customers between the companies forming. :sweat_smile:

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“Can I trust Google?” → Yes, you can. I don’t.


I personaly don’t care and it does not make a difference, if these information leave google or if they have a system to abuse them, without giving them out. They make profit of the data they collect, and like I clearly stated, this data is abused, actively and with the knowledge of google and the other companies in the business.

And it is a little surprising, that your only response to my statement is, to suggest that I said, that google sells these information (which would be stupid) or just uses them, to sell a advertising space. In the end, women get told, that their body has flaws and they need to buy a product to help with that.

I explained with what amoun meant by “being sold”. This is quite a common phrase meaning, that somebody gets an advantage of abusing somebody else by “selling” them.


I like your argument about beauty ideals. I must admit i don’t know what Google’s ad policies are about beauty products.

Btw. i’ve never heard “being sold” used in the manner you describe. Maybe this is your dialect?

I think this is a variation of “if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product” that is often used to describe the downside of social media. And from my perspective it’s true albeit a slight over-dramatisation, your attention and time is being sold to the highest bidder. The highest bidder tends to hope to earn that money back somehow by getting you to buy their product.

As a slight twist on the discussion point of ads: I feel that ad-based services are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, as you said, it allows content creators to earn money without the reader paying for it from their bank account. You could say that Google just facilitates that at an unprecedented scale, and it earns quite a few content creators the bread they deserve and need to keep doing that. From that perspective there’s little harm done.
On the other hand, we need to take into account the goals of those paying for the ads. As I said, they want to earn that money back by selling you their stuff. And judging by the price of ads and the fact that businesses are willing to pay that, ads are an effective tool at making that happen. Maybe not on an individual level (“I never click on ads”), but on a global scale they affect behaviour. Thing is, the stuff they sell is all stuff that I intrinsically wouldn’t’ve thought of buying… otherwise I wouldn’t need an advertisement to get me to do that. So these sellers are either selling different brands of products that I already buy, or they are trying to sell me something I didn’t really need. As such, advertisements contribute to more consumption in the world, which is good for “the economy” but bad from a sustainability perspective.
This of course is tangental to whether we need and need to tolerate tracking to make these ads even more efficient (or not?), but it’s why I can see some justification for ad-blocking; from a sustainability perspective one can oppose to the ad-based business model and want it to be as ineffective as possible.


In English speaking movies it is quite a common phrase to explain a betrayal with the phrase “you have sold me out”. For non native speakers I think it has been simplified to just “to sell” without the “out”. In German for example you can say it like this “You sold me to the cops” while in English you would say “You sold me out to the cops”. But with huge parts of the world speaking English these phrase morph and get used translated word by word from the corresponding phrasing in the mother tongue.

This is something why communication is so difficult. We all think, we speak the same language, but in reality we don’t and that results in frustration because of misunderstandings.


Yes being sold, being used, not what I want so I keep my distance from such incorporated consumers.

It’s more the idea that they feed on my data that I don’t want to support, not that my data is more valuable than most others.

But ‘stealing’ eating a little from a lot makes the big fish even bigger, and I think it’s big enough so don’t want to feed it any more.

De googling may not make much of a difference to them but it does to me. Me not buying from China makes little difference to them but it does to me, and then I buy a phone (FP3) made in China.

I do what I can to maintain some independence and hence some integrity, Google doesn’t help in that.


I understand and respect your aversion to buying from China. Its human-rights and environmental record are really quite alarming. (btw, this is also why Google refuses to operate in China: it refuses to share information with the state)

I also share your feelings about the difficulty of navigating modern life to try to do the least harm possible but still take part.

I wouldn’t use the word “stealing” here. The trade is clear. The content producer says “you can look at my website or watch my video, but if you do, I will tell Google that you did so. In exchange for this, Google will give me money, and I need money to carry on producing the content you want”.

The more i think about this the more clear it seems to me that the root of this problem is the “everything is free” mindset. It makes me tend towards companies that offer paid products much more. For example, if I want a password manager then I either pay X EUR a month or I install something on my own server.


That may well be the case but like most ‘conditions’ I doubt a) they are read b) they are understood and c) where they are read and seemingly understood the user has little or no knowledge of the consequences.

It’s like taking candy from a baby or mugging an old person, it’s very unpalatable ethics. There are an increasing amount of laws to draw attention to the ‘abuse’ of power.

The more power, the more use, the more abuse etc. Don’t want to feed the big fish. There’s hardly any little one left, maybe a few gay and LGBT etc. but not many freaks and queers can survive this conglomeration of data formation.

Still it won’t be long before we are all a bit of google or other conglomerate.

Intelligence of nanochips, with emotions, no awareness of anything other that the programme, small enough to be embedded on a solar cell as light and small as a leaf, floating in an acid atmosphere that provide enough power for 4.5 Billion years.

What could possibly go wrong? Absolutely nothing as there is no right way to do things.

It just what do you choose consume in your 3 score plus 10 plus some years of anything that cannot compete with your strength?

I really worry about the data protection issue. Are you sure, there is no backdoor for the NSA (or others)? If you search for a particular person you might find him or her easily with the data from Google’s servers.
If you like this, you can buy this sticker. :smiley:

About 10 years ago I had a Google account. Some years after deletion of this account I got mails from Google about some issues. Then I wanted to use my rights to know what they have stored from me and to delete these data (according to GDPR).
They only tell me, I could see almost all the stored data in my account (where I have no access to anymore) and I could delete it from inside the account. I still tell them this again and again and they come back with the same information. That is a little Kafkaesque.

After telling this our regional data protection administration: Nothing happened, they do simply nothing. No response.
So, what to learn from this? You can’t trust anybody and you should be very careful about your data. Since the vast majority doesn’t care, we will have a big problem, sooner or later. Regarding the spreading of authoritarian countries this is not a relaxing outlook.

The main question remains: When we will get this big problem, not whether.


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