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Google: The Father of All Pointless Hysteria

November 19, 2012

Published here on September 18, 2012

Last week, after the “Innocence of Muslims” went viral, the government officials in D.C. strongly requested that Google remove the video from YouTube. Google refused, saying that the video—because it didn’t specifically call for violence against Muslims—did not violate the terms of service that YouTube users agree to.

Bloggers began the same round of questions that occur every time Google does, well, anything. They changed the search algorithm. They created a social media platform. They began to monitor searches to more accurately place ads. I’m sure that by now, the Google execs expect the questions that ensue after these changes. Is Google too powerful? Can a company like this ever have good intentions? It’s all very conspiracy theory-esque. After an internet search—made way, of course, by Google—I was left with hundreds of blog posts all titled “Is Google Too Powerful?”

Admittedly, Google has ballooned since its creation. One of those hundreds of bloggers called Google the “classical textbook break-through company.” Its 30,000 employees are a far cry from the few dozen who helped start the company 12 years ago. It is continually ranked number one for the best places to work and has a phenomenally successful internet browser, search engine, email and virtual hard drive. Aside from Google+, it seems as if everything Google touches ends up a success. Or, in the case of YouTube, they just buy the company instead of trying to create their own version.

So does this explain the hysteria we have with Google and its awesome power? Does success mandate that we call the company evil? I think it’s more complicated than just that. Google is not just successful. It’s wildly successful. Stop and think about how much of a presence Google has in your life. If you are a student at N.C. State, you use Google for email. W3schools.com statistics show that over 43 percent of you use Chrome as your pathway to the internet. That’s more than Safari and Internet Explorer combined. For entertainment, you use YouTube. If you’re like me and read a lot of blogs, you most likely use Google Reader because all the other ones are, well, junk. The map app on your iPhone is based on Google Maps. And, of course, if you want to find out more about that topic you’re writing your paper on, you turn to just plain old Google.

This seems to be the key to Google’s crazy success: everything they produce is just better. Their workplace, their mapping (remember how you used to sit in front of your computer and find your house on Google Earth?), their design (don’t you just love how clean it looks?), and their usefulness (has anyone else used Google Translate to do their Spanish homework in a pinch?) are of stellar quality. I know that “better” is subjective, but according to a AYTM, a marketing firm, over 74 percent of the people surveyed use Google as their primary search engine, 60 percent use Google for email, and 61 percent use YouTube as entertainment. The numbers speak for themselves. A majority is a majority.

Other than just showering you with facts about Google, this tech giant is truly a giant of all giants, but that this giant has earned his stature. Google knows what consumers want and is more than happy to give it to them. I personally love Google for it. As for all this doomsday speak about Google knowing everything about you, yes, they log your search terms. But grocery stores keep a record of your purchases, schools have a record of your grades, the IRS has a record of your employment history, and Facebook and Twitter have records of everything else in between. Singling out Google seems pointless.

As the joke goes, Google can do whatever it wants. But in all honesty, is it doing anything wrong?

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