Google is neither good nor evil: Implications of free online

There was quite a lot of buzz today surrounding this article about how Google has “admitted” that Google+ is more about user tracking. I didn’t find this revelation particularly surprising nor shocking. I think in the world of freemium resources and content, it’s easy to forget that companies do what they do to make money, not just to make the world a better place.

I use a lot of free Google products to manage various aspects of my professional and personal life. I realize that when I store information with someone else, they have access to that information. I even use Google+ and find that I get real value out of participating in conversations with people in a smaller group than in the throngs on Facebook or trying to sort through the disjointed stream of multiple conversations on Twitter.

Is it a bit disconcerting to think that the contents of my e-mails, my map searches and my contacts are the coin of the realm for these free tools I use? Sure. But it’s also something of the price I pay to have the tools that work together and make my life easier.

I think the notion of data privacy is both a useful and necessary addition to media literacy instruction, but I think the lack of it is not exactly a surprise. Everyone pays somewhere. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s