re: Are we Developers helping Google to build an unstoppable monopoly? VIEW POST

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Does Google make your life easy?

  • You can have a full analytics of your website in 1 minute (Google Analytics).
  • You can deliver fonts to your website visitors via a free CDN, oh and it also optimizes it for the visitor via User-Agent. (Google Font)
  • You can show off the location of your business in 3 clicks (Google Maps)
  • You can have a full server running in 1 minute (Google Cloud) (paid)
  • You can store unlimited photos (Google Photos)
  • You can store 10GB data (Google Drive) etc...

Oh and all of these are in sync between my phone and desktop. And I can sync easily via Google Chrome.

We can't shutdown Google and Facebook. They definitely make our life easier. And yes, they collect a lot of information about us. Thanks to GDPR we can have control over this now, but here is the question:

Would you pay for all of these different services if they would offer full privacy and zero data collection?

I bet you wouldn't because you love free services.

Do you know how much all of these would cost for you? (And don't say there is Dropbox and other free alternatives, because they also collect every freakin bit about you)

 

Google nowadays having notification alerts examples (rate this restaurant, have you visit this restaurant and so on)

So if click on any notification or do some comments or submit any rating we are sending all nearby locations details, which Google don't have, because of protocols or something.

So my question is, is Google trying to break protocols without any knowledge just to the extent his data sets?

 

This excites me for when there will be a time where everything is decentralized, blazing fast and perfect. Complete data privacy with a usable economy system. Kind of like the decentralized internet concept in Silicon Valley.

 

Yeah the truth is we would 100% pay for alternatives to these services if they ran at the same cost that Google runs its services, minus billions in profit.

Example to use the maps service it'd cost cents.

If there were efficient micropayment systems, then paying cents for maps would make sense.

Imagine a system that combined all these services and charged my account monthly. I'd pay maybe $2 per month. Same for a facebook-like service.

What if I was in control of my data, and of who gets it, and they'd have to pay me, not Google?

That's what the Unification token's vision is. It seems far fetched but it's actually entirely doable with an efficient blockchain implementation - they're using EOS now but any super high performance blockchain would work. Friends of mine are working on this, and I am mentioning it here because I think it's cool - I have no other affiliation to it. Also it's definitely not the only way to create such a system. It's an example that it would work.

 

Google providing many useful services does not mean we can't criticize Google's policies.

 

Would you pay for all of these different services if they would offer full privacy and zero data collection?

I think about this often. And the answer is yes. I think about this often because the reality is, the big guys (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.) do a LOT of work. They have LOTS of talented employees making all this stuff. You have to pay those employees somehow. Google HAS to make money. I've been realizing for a long time now, that we either go back to the old way (70's, 80's, early 90's) of PAYING for the software you use up front with cash, or paying in some other way later to use amazing free stuff. Google isn't evil, they do a lot of amazing things. But they are becoming (maybe have already) an enormous, world impacting, super-monopoly thingy... Either people decide they wanna pay for cool stuff with cash or pay to be advertised to. (or maybe somewhere in between). Look at what happened with TV. It used to be pretty much just shows and news, and of course some advertising to help stations afford to produce. Then there was premium cable. Few if no ads. Eventually a lot of that stuff gets ads too, because money. Advertising is super prevalent in our culture because stuff has to get paid for somehow...

I don't necessarily think the way things are now is awful. But I personally would like to see a change back towards paid for services. Either way, large businesses come and go, establish themselves as monopolies, die off, get replaced. Amazon, Facebook and (probably) Google will die one day. The work these companies do is amazing though, their employees need to get paid somehow.

 

I would say Google can be evil and do amazing stuff at the same time, it happens very often in giant companies with many divisions and monopolistic tendencies

 

I would definitely pay for those services in exchange for my privacy

 

I personally do try to pay for standalone services if they're high quality and secure. You mention other services knowing things about you, and that's absolutely true, but there's a difference between them being the product and you being the product. Dropbox charges and makes money off of you, they're not exchanging your personal data to stay afloat.

 

Drug-dealers also make the life of junkies easier. But shorter.

Openstreetmap is better than GMap for nearly 5 years already.
DuckDuckGo is much better than GSearch for circa 8 years already.
There is nobody in a need for unlimited storage, and any cloud provides literally terabytes for cents.
OK, I could understand Facebook for somebody who has no real life.

All the above sounds extremely childish if not insane to me. I also value comfort, but that does not make me to pay for drugs.

 
 

I think you're overestimating how much money these companies make off of user data. Facebook makes an average of $11 per user. I'd pay $1 a month for a social media site that respects my privacy. The problem is that the average user doesn't understand this transaction is taking place. This lack of understanding has allowed Facebook to gain critical mass and makes it difficult to convince people to pay the $1 a month. It's funny that you should bring up Google maps as a free service, because while it might be free to end users, businesses have recently been complaining that Google has hiked prices. The dig at Dropbox was also pretty off base. Dropbox makes its money off of people paying for better plans, not selling information to third parties or targeting you with ads. Their privacy policy is pretty easy to read, and it seems like they just collect information relevant to themselves (how often you use your profile), and don't sell it.

 

I think you missed the point here. The question was not a purely financial one. It's not about whether we love free services and them making our lives easier.

The question is: Are we living up to our responsibility by always taking the route that is easiest for us, neglecting user needs on the way?

 
 

I pay for my email at tutanota.com. I pay for my storage at Microsoft Office 365. I use duckduckgo.com for search. I use FireFox as my primary browser.

And I find all these alternatives to be even better than the Google services.

 
 

All these services is the issue..

I use google... for all the above... they gain from it, do I lose from it? thats the question and I do not have the answer.

 

Question is not about whether they are making our life easy or not.
It's more about, should we let them establish a monopoly or not. Remember how Google first gave maps API for free just to kill competition and now when they own most of the market, It's not Completely FREE anymore. Many small companies are complaining.

We developers have the knowledge to create alternative products and creative ways to reduce the cost too.

 
 

There are many alternatives, so you are free to move away from Google. Yes, we developers have that knowledge. But do you have the time to develop "free" services? Or even make it paid and do marketing? I am pretty sure you go bankrupt pretty fast.

Yes, Google and Facebook kinda owns the world. There are cons and pros to that.

I ain't got money and time to develop my own services AND keep them running. Google Maps and Google Analytics is a very complex service and most of the Google stuff are very complex behind the scenes. Even if Google collects all that data and is monopoly, I can just type in "wedding" into Google Photos and see all the wedding photos we uploaded.

It's free? Yes. It collects data? Yes. It's a monopoly, definitely.
My life is easier? WAY EASIER. Am I saving money? YEP

There are pros and cons, it's your choice. People love comfort and Google provides comfort.

You obviously value your convenience a lot, David. And that's fine with me. But understand that not all of us do. This whole debate comes down to privacy vs. convenience in the end. Some people pick privacy while others pick convenience. The problem is that with each passing day, we are losing that choice. And as devs, it is our responsibility to think long-term and really ponder whether the convenience really is worth this price.

Sure, most of it is free/super cheap right now. But it might not be 10 years down the line. And we might be powerless to challenge it at that point.

Yes, people love comfort. And Google provides that as you've so eloquently written. But we all could benefit from getting out of our comfort zones every once in a while. Saying "Google and Facebook own the world" is easy but ultimately unhelpful. I think we can do better than that. :)

I definitely value my convenience. I am a full time freelancer - working 8 hours a day + spending 1-2 hours on invoices/business/emails etc + spending a few hours developing my own products.

I don't have the time and money to invest in "wanna-be-like-Google services". Yes, Google might charge for their services later but 10 years is far away and A LOT will change by then.

Unfortunately, I can't live without money, I have to pay bills and I have to eat. If something is valuing your privacy then it costs money. Paying for each kind of service $10 or $20 every month quickly adds up. And I only talked about $10 when some service costs hundreds.

I understand the problem and I agree with you. But for example if I want to launch my own product then there are laws. Like you need to have a ToS, Privacy Policy, GDPR, Cookie policy and all the other crap. You need a business etc. In my country we pay thousands of dollars to get all this running.

We can definitely do better than that, I wish I had the time and money to do so.

No worries bro, We(Conscious Developers) will create some cheaper and transparent alternatives for you. Hold on 😊

A few things have been said that I feel the need to comment on

I definitely value my convenience

And if you were selling your own privacy, this would be a valid argument. But you're selling your website visitor's privacy instead, so this is not a choice you are allowed to make.
( Legally, you might not even be considered capable of making that decision for yourself. )

But for example if I want to launch my own product then there are laws.

Those laws are still valid if you use Google's services. Using third party software does not magically shift legal responsibility from you to that third party.
( Mostly, the laws also come down to "don't be a sneaky arsehole", which should be easy enough to comply with. )


So in short: yes, you are responsible, both morally and by law.

As a side-note: a lot of websites are currently not compliant with GDPR and other regulations, the hammer just has not come down on them yet.


We [..] will create some [..] alternatives for you

No we will not. The effort required to create some of these services (maps, serverless, advanced AI, ...) is monumental and not something that can be achieved by individuals or a p2p network.

You need larger structures to do these kind of things. Besides multinationals, governments or multi-government organizations (think CERN) fit this criteria. But many people feel uncomfortable with governments' technological projects.

Hey, I just wonder, what's the difference between 2008 and 2018. You say @Utkarsh Talwar, that in 10 years we won't have a choice. I'm a bit shocked, that we have the choice right now. Youtube was acquired by G in 2005. If they would spare a couple of dollars (109 $), they could gain much control even then. After 9 11 all of the privacy programs were shut off and I think for next 3 years, there was no change in the US law/programs.

My point is, what changed?

We have the tendency to decentralize our networks, but that won't solve the issue of the free services. We would still use Google maps etc.

The thing, what would change everything right now would be ... if G would turn evil. If they shifted from shady to evil. They won't do it. But that would change the state of minds of many people and the market would change. New services marketing themselves as privacy friendly (DuckDuckGo) will come up.

The point is, we act as the market. We demand, they supply. It's about people and what they want. So far everybody enjoys free services and if it increases the value of their life, not much can be done on the privacy part. sadly.

I'm honestly scared of the future.

 

You completely take this discussion in the wrong way man. Even if they did make our life easier that doesn't mean they didn't steal our data. And you mentioned "GDPR", what do you think it is?

When you sign up on Google, you agree that Google can use your data wherever they want. And if you don't agree with them you can't use Google services. After you agree on the Terms and Conditions then GDPR can't do shit about it.

That's what big companies do. They know how to manipulate laws and use them in their favor. We know that we can't stop using them overnight. But if we start using open-source projects or any other resources where we have full knowledge about our privacy then someday it'll be a reality.

 

I might have taken it a bit off the way, but my comment still applies.

Google have been fined multiple times for billions because of GDPR. So I guess their law manipulating didn't work?

If you don't like Google, you don't need to use their services, it's that simple. Move on to Apple or something... Oh wait... They are worse.

Open source projects are awesome, but where we would be without Google's contributions to open source? Think about that.

You mentioned multiple times, but so far I think it only charged Google and Facebook $9.3B when new GDPR laws popped up online and Once Google accused of using GDPR to impose unfair terms but no more.
And I highly doubt that a near to trillion dollar valuation company gives a fuck about that charge. They change their terms according to GDPR ASAP.

 

When you sign up on Google, you agree that Google can use your data wherever they want. And if you don't agree with them you can't use Google services. After you agree on the Terms and Conditions then GDPR can't do shit about it.

The law stands above any terms and conditions you may have agreed to. The greater the difference between signing parties, the less likely an agreement is to hold in court.

GDPR doesn't do much for you if you're not European though.

 

If the product is free, you are the product.
It means (to me at least) that if you agree to use a free service, expect you data to be "stole" and used.

GDPR cover a lot on how online service can use your data. Especially, you should be able to delete everything about you. I don't think Terms and Conditions can break GDPR, not sure I'm a not a lawyer.

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