To Google, most of us are the product, not the customer. The more I thought about that the more it began to bother me so I wondered how difficult it would be to live a digital life without Google.
As it turned out, downright easy. After a week of not logging into anything Google, not using Google to search, not using Google Maps, I can report that I feel a bit more secure already.
Yes, Google still has plenty of information about me and my whereabouts and habits; probably locked up in data centers scattered all over the world. But in time, with persistence on my part, Google is likely to forget all about me. And I’ll begin to forget about Google.
Because Google has forgotten about me. Google has no clue who I am. I’m a number. An anonymous number. Google wants me but can live without me. Google wants me because, as a member of their collective of numbers, Google makes money by learning about me, but Google doesn’t know anything about me. It’s just numbers.
Google, then, differs wildly from Apple. If I have a problem with an Apple product I can take it to an Apple employee and get it fixed. Apple even takes the time to teach me how to use their products, whether hardware or software.
What does Google do? Nothing. Where’s the Google store? Where’s the 800-number to get Google help? Where’s the website help page?
Google gives me access to an array of somewhat useful applications– Gmail, Maps, Google Search, Google+ and the like– and in exchange, collects information about me which helps Google remain crazy profitable.
Yet, from I can read of Google’s policies and terms of service, the search giant can dump me in an instant for no reason whatsoever. So can I. You see, Google offers absolutely nothing that I need. Email is available everywhere. Apple’s Maps are pretty good these days. Microsoft’s Bing search results are good, DuckDuckGo is more secure, and the thought of Google not being able to wander through my digital laundry makes me feel a little more secure.
This was so easy I’m surprised it took me this long. Goodbye, Google. We’ll talk again when you’ve got something to say.