- Why do you get a service “for free” while the service provider invests huge amounts of money to maintain that service?
- Google does good in some aspects, but at the same time its power makes it dangerous.
- Data is knowledge, knowledge is power and power will always be used - usually for the worse.
You may for instance use StartPage. It’s more or less a proxy which simply forwards your queries to Google and returns you the result. Since Google receives the queries from a StartPage server (and not your PC), the results could slightly differ since Google can’t plant cookies in your browser and track your behavior.
There are two aspects which should not be mixed together:
Google creates benefits
Google has power
Way more than 90% of all search queries are done through Google. Google is a monopolist. Not because they are the only one, but because the alternatives have no influence on the monopolist. When in the history of mankind has a monopoly played out well in the long run?
Since almost everyone uses Google Search, Google can easily manipulate “everyone” into thinking what they want them to think, by simply filtering the search results in a certain way. Be it a company, a government or a secret service - anything with such a monopoly on the people’s access to information is dangerous.
And who says that only because something is forbidden, it won’t be done? Like trading data on the black market? I am almost certain that data krakens like Google illegally trade data, because there are lots of companies (banks, ensurence companies etc.) that will pay well for data which helps them evaluate the “risk” of certain customers or customer groups.
Google has an incredible infrastructure which they mostly keep their secret so nobody really knows what capabilities they really have. They process an utterly vast amount of data with some of the most intelligent algorithms in the world. They even build their own power plants to ensure they always have full control over their server infrastructure.
People who don’t understand how valuable user data really is, are probably the same people who don’t believe that advertisement has an influence on them, whether they like it or not.
Just ask yourself why a company should spend millions of dollars/euros on seemingly useless efforts like advertisement or processing user data? Ask yourself why you can use so many services seemingly for free (even without ads, as you mentioned yourself), while the service provider invests millions and billions to maintain them? Where does the money come from if not from usage fees?
Data is knowledge and knowledge is power and power is what it’s all about. If you ever had even a small amout of power and were foced to share it, how willingly did you do so? And if history taught us something about power, then that it will always be used - and usually for the worse.