Recently a news article showed up in my Google Feed titled "Google still tracks your location even when you turn off Location History", and without hesitation I clicked on it. I like reading these articles for two main reasons.
1: I'll learn something new and stay up to date with the latest information in the tech world.
2: I LOVE reading the comments of "Google tracks people" posts.
People always seem to get upset when they find out that Google is trying to store their information, even if they don't really agree to it. And of course, I understand that people might like to keep their information to themselves and not some big corporation. But at some point I think these people should stop for a minute, think about what they're saying, and perhaps evaluate if they should be complaining SO much about a company who's services they use SO much.
Google does a LOT of things for free
Over the years Google has released and deprecated a lot of software and services. You can watch practically infinite free video's on Youtube, send all your friends and family free emails using Gmail or Inbox, take notes in Google Keep, write infinite documents in Google Docs, design infinite presentations in Google Slides and the list goes on. Besides Youtube Red, extra storage space on Google Drive or Google Play Music (Soon(ish) to be Youtube Music) you don't have to pay for ANY of it.
A lot of people, myself included, have attached themselves very heavily to the Google ecosystem. And for good reasons too. They make lots of services that most of the time work really well, often work great with other Google services (And even non Google services. Looking at you Apple, Forcing Apple Maps and iTunes on Apple Watches isn't cool!) and most of them are entirely free! No purchase cost, premium plans or monthly payments to be seen.
Yes, some decisions they make are rather odd (Removing perfectly fine features from Inbox?), sometimes their services really don't work together very well (Selecting stuff from Google Drive/Docs in Inbox is really odd) and they release and destroy entire apps like it's nothing (We don't need this many messaging apps). But they're giving it to you for free.
Why you not paying them doesn't mean they don't make money
Even though you're not paying Google for the services you use, they still make money, a lot of it actually. The reason for this is because they're basically an advertisement company. The data they gather from all the people that use their services is used to serve appropriate advertisements to those users.
So if you don't like that they collect your data, consider moving to a paid service that doesn't collect (as much) data
Why targeted advertising is good
Everyone hates advertisements. You'd rather not see them if you have the option. But if you HAVE to see them, what would you rather see, random advertisements that really don't make any sense, or advertisements that are tailored to you, based on your interests and current activities? I pick the latter, and I think many people would.
What did they do wrong?
In all the years that I have been using Google services, there hasn't been an issue with the data that they gathered from me that hurt me in any way. My data hasn't been leaked, my account hasn't been deleted, my location history has never been made public and they never did anything the didn't tell me about.
If Google had a bad reputation of hacked and leaked databases, I would agree with most of these people, but Google doesn't have this reputation. It handles your data very carefully because they know very well that if something goes wrong with all the data they gather, people will stop using their services and that means their advertisement business will drop significantly.
People use Google services like it's the most normal thing in the world, and expect to be able to use them without paying anything. When they find out Google collects some data in order to show you advertisements that are relevant to you they freak out and think they're being spied on. The truth is, Google has a good reputation in handling data, and the data they collect allows them to keep all their free services that we are all so heavily invested operational so we can all keep watching cat video's on the internet.
So the next time you start complaining about Google, please stop and think about you deserve to complain about it.
Some off topic stuff
Hey there everyone, this is my first ever article on dev.to, and I really enjoyed writing it. I'd love to get better at writing articles, so if you have any useful feedback don't feel afraid to leave it in the comments. Thanks! I hope you enjoyed reading it :)