Google-- Privacy issues are always going to be a hot topic for the foreseeable future as online technology takes a more predominant role in everything we do in our lives. Whether you see this as a bad thing or rather the complete opposite is more of an individual matter however. The question of Google collecting your data and using it to improve your experience is a hot topic in Europe right now and has it’s place in debates here in the states as well.
This is almost like a catch-22 though, since the more data you relinquish the better experience you should have theoretically, and the less you give up the more “bland” that same experience would become. Now of course your data is being used across not only Google, but also with every technology based company that offers a service in which you use online in one form or another.
When a user decides to put their life online, even under a fake profile they are agreeing to join a new type of society. Just as it is in the real world, though it is a bit harder to stay off the grid as their is less land real estate in comparison to what the Internet offers in a digital kind of real estate. However, as it stands today a human isn't forced to be online at any given moment, this is a choice and a privilege. We can choose to live our lives off the World Wide Web, but is it worth giving up the social structure that has become the norm, or the amount of obtainable information and other services in doing so? That is a personal question and a teaching we really should include in the standard education.
In the future this may not be a viable option as systems like CCTV and other surveillance type programs become apart of everyday life. This transition can kind of be compared to when society started putting people in phone books or keeping records of you in the DMV system. Only this time we have a platform to discuss the matter to which it makes it a bigger topic rather than if we were limited to talking to those in our local neighborhoods via the bowling alley or other such venues. Also the information is there “forever” in a sense and not just a “well he/she said” kind of thing or something along those lines.
Now if you are someone with something to hide then you will have two options, either stay offline or learn how the internet works. Remember, search engines like Google, Bing or any of them for that matter are only indexing a small fraction of what the Internet is capable of, what we call the World Wide Web.
The Internet is the connection of every network, whereas the Web(WWW) is an infostructure on top of it. Terms like the Deep Web, Invisible Web or Hidden Web are used to define the content that is indexed to make up the World Wide Web. Then there are terms like the Dark Internet, Lost Internet, Grey Net and others which depict the network hosts that are not even available for the World Wide Web to access. The Deep Web is where hackers tend to reside, the Dark Internet is “mainly” where obsolete databases are left as the Internet/Web is constantly evolving.
So why would I mention both the Deep Web and/or the Dark Internet? Well it is to explain why a user shouldn't think companies like Google are “taking over” the internet. Options will always be available, but it will come at a cost and you will need to do a ton of learning in order to navigate your way around it. Google posted an index in 2014 that it has 200TB of data, where a single Terabyte is 1024 Gigabytes to put that in perspective. Sounds like a lot huh, well it isn’t when you compare it to the size of the internet which is so big that Google manages to only index a tiny 0.004% of the entirety of the Internet.
So next time you think Google is taking over the world or just the internet remember this, you have a ton of space to make your own. However you will need to educate yourself beyond what the average person may comprehend, o and a bit of money and infostructure too.
If you are interested in seeing a simple but effective infographic of this, click the link below and scroll down a little.
Google’s Index Vs The Entire Internet