Founded in 1998, Google went public in 2004 with an informal motto “don’t be evil” in its IPO prospectus. This motto duly attracted a lot of media attention, raising the eyebrows of many Technophobes and “Google sceptics.” It was only natural that the natural pessimists to be dubious of one of the world’s largest information farmer. It is daunting when I stop to ponder on the amount of information they vacuum up each day, each nanosecond, but as a modestly liberal Gen-Y’r (someone born between 1980 and 2000), I have generally embraced social media and love the fact that today we have one of the most powerful tools (the internet) ever created by man accessible via the smartphone. (No doubt these prized devices will be nothing more than a relic of the past by the year 2050.) Gone are the days when I used my dad’s dial-up connection over AOL to ask Jeeves a relatively simple question only to be disappointed with the lack of relevance in his response that appeared on the cubic screen in front of me.
Although there have been numerous accounts of Google encroaching certain privacy laws, Google have had an army of smart people reading between the legislative lines enabling them to find refuge within the grey; in any case, I do agree that a level of constant “monitoring for the good” is required to ensure indeed that Google is not tempted by the “dark side.” Needless to say, I would be extremely disappointed if my trust was betrayed by the digital big brother.
Nonetheless, Google is now quintessentially a verb, as well as a noun (a “noun-verb”). Day in, day out I catch myself saying “let me just Google it” or “I’m going to Google it later” very often these days. And although the amount of information they have consumed of its 1 billion+ users is unwieldy, I have experienced small incremental improvements in my day-to-day web engagement, thanks to Google’s database of me: my email is easier to navigate, my photos are compiled into albums from time to time, I only need to check the top 1-3 results when I search most keywords before I find my answer, notwithstanding the increased reliability of Google Maps navigating me around the British roads – it seems clear in my, somewhat optimistic, view that Google is for the good… So I say, in Google we trust.
I am currently not a shareholder in the technology conglomerate – recently rolled up into Alphabet Inc. – but I will most certainly endeavour “do the right thing” and take advantage of the next crash knocks on the door! Unless, of course, there becomes an increased risk of Alphabet Inc. becoming highly regulated and a victim of tightening competition law issues, forcing the technology conglomerate to break up (even though I believe that the structural change was partly a way to negate such pressures). The new structure of Alphabet Inc. is expected to provide an increased amount of transparency on the various “moonshot” businesses, which ranges from Google X to Nest (Internet-of-Things business) – more can be found here.