25 votes

In contrast to Facebook, Google seems to be leaning into the message that they have all your data, and emphasizing how that allows them to make your life easier

18 comments

  1. [2]
    Deimos Link
    This is an interesting post that explains how Google's messaging strategy seems to be going in a very different direction than Facebook's. Google definitely still brings up privacy often, but...

    This is an interesting post that explains how Google's messaging strategy seems to be going in a very different direction than Facebook's. Google definitely still brings up privacy often, but they're also clearly trying to justify why letting them have access to so much of your data is useful for you.

    "Helpful" seems to be their new key word that they're trying to work in as much as possible. Even the announcement post for the new Pixel phones was titled "Pixel 3a: the helpful (and more affordable) phone by Google".

    15 votes
    1. cfabbro Link Parent
      Funny you should point that out since I remember reading a similar "helpful" line in another recent Google announcement too and thinking it incredibly oddly worded, as if they were really trying...

      Funny you should point that out since I remember reading a similar "helpful" line in another recent Google announcement too and thinking it incredibly oddly worded, as if they were really trying hard to emphasize it.

      What’s happening at Nest?

      Since Nest joined Google’s hardware team last year, we’ve been working to make the smart home less complicated, and well, more helpful. A home where products are easy to set up, simple to manage and work seamlessly together. Today, we’re committing to that goal by bringing together all Nest and Home products under the Nest brand. Introducing Google Nest.

      5 votes
  2. [8]
    vord Link
    They're not wrong...I'm thoroughly sucked into Google's ecosystem as an end user, and it by far provides the most features for the privacy loss. Facebook gave you what....a mediocre MySpace...

    They're not wrong...I'm thoroughly sucked into Google's ecosystem as an end user, and it by far provides the most features for the privacy loss. Facebook gave you what....a mediocre MySpace replacement? Google provides hundreds if not thousands of decent to excellent services that integrate fairly well on average. Google even had an excellent Facebook replacement in the now defunct Google+ that suffered from poor naming, timing, and marketing.

    Once you've adapted to Google's convenience almost everything else seems like it's 5 years or more behind.

    That said, the whole lot of the mega-corps need to be broken up....otherwise we'll be in a world where Amazon or Google owns everything and everyone.

    13 votes
    1. mundane_and_naive Link Parent
      This guy goes into the topic of breaking up tech corporation in quite details. The bottom line is: it's complicated.

      This guy goes into the topic of breaking up tech corporation in quite details. The bottom line is: it's complicated.

      4 votes
    2. [6]
      Wes Link Parent
      I hear the argument that they should be broken up fairly often. I'm still not sure if that would actually benefit their customers or not though. You say that: And I agree with that. My question...

      I hear the argument that they should be broken up fairly often. I'm still not sure if that would actually benefit their customers or not though.

      You say that:

      Google provides hundreds if not thousands of decent to excellent services that integrate fairly well on average.

      And I agree with that. My question is, would Google be able to operate these useful services if they were broken up? Could they ever be as well-integrated as they are now?

      Ads is the money maker, and is likely what allows them to operate so many other projects free of charge. If every service Google provided needed its own business model, I have to wonder how many of them would crumble overnight.

      3 votes
      1. vord Link Parent
        I wouldn't go as far as saying each individual service needs to be independent, but rather focus on splitting them such that they need to make all their internal secret APIs public (possibly...

        If every service Google provided needed its own business model, I have to wonder how many of them would crumble overnight.

        I wouldn't go as far as saying each individual service needs to be independent, but rather focus on splitting them such that they need to make all their internal secret APIs public (possibly charging for access).

        For example, if all the home hardware (nest, Google home, Chromecast) was separate, it would force open the media, ai, and other APIs for competition to use, on both ends. This allows better competition in both the hardware and services, and means someone could create a competing service or hardware without fully taking on Google.

        This is ironically why I prefer Android phones...it allowed for competition in the hardware which led to a wide variety of phones for different markets and use cases.

        5 votes
      2. [4]
        nothis Link Parent
        You're thinking too small. As a customer, privacy is not really a concern. It's a political, long-term concern that ties into basic human rights. Think a government siphoning off every user's...

        I'm still not sure if that would actually benefit their customers or not though.

        You're thinking too small. As a customer, privacy is not really a concern. It's a political, long-term concern that ties into basic human rights.

        Think a government siphoning off every user's search history to decide you've said something "wreckless" against the state and them putting you into a gulag for it. That technology shouldn't even exist in a free state. And yea, I just compared them to China, where it's basically already happening, it's not an abstract concept.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          Wes Link Parent
          I keep seeing "what if" arguments around a company having this sort of data. Call it naive, but I don't think it's fair to judge Google (or any other company) for something that they're not doing,...

          I keep seeing "what if" arguments around a company having this sort of data. Call it naive, but I don't think it's fair to judge Google (or any other company) for something that they're not doing, but that they could do in some hypothetical future.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            nothis Link Parent
            I guess I don't really blame Google. This is not something that's solved by a company, it's a government decision. It's always "what if" until something happens. Overall I agree that the real risk...

            I guess I don't really blame Google. This is not something that's solved by a company, it's a government decision. It's always "what if" until something happens. Overall I agree that the real risk is low (even though you can always spin it further, like, what if a hacker gains access, what's the maximum amount of data he can steal?) but it's basically a question of how many steps to a functioning dictatorship you want your laws to be. 10 steps? 3 steps? IMO letting people communicate without a central hub collecting every bit of data is an important step to protect, even if it's just symbolical.

            5 votes
            1. Wes Link Parent
              Fair argument and well spoken. Thanks for your response.

              Fair argument and well spoken. Thanks for your response.

  3. annadane Link
    It's hard to have a conversation about Facebook because people are always either being too lenient or too aggressive but, yeah... I understand their need to make money and perhaps even to please...

    It's hard to have a conversation about Facebook because people are always either being too lenient or too aggressive but, yeah... I understand their need to make money and perhaps even to please the shareholders but I'm not sure they really understand what privacy means sometimes, they're an odd case. Facebook just "feels" creepy beyond the fact that they're social media. If you don't sign on for a while they send you reminder emails. There's "people you may know". Etc. Like, stop doing that! Design with the human in mind.

    7 votes
  4. [7]
    j3n Link
    Maybe I'm just a Luddite (wouldn't that be weird though, considering I'm a software engineer in Silicon Valley?), but I just don't get it. I honestly struggle to find anything useful in technology...

    Maybe I'm just a Luddite (wouldn't that be weird though, considering I'm a software engineer in Silicon Valley?), but I just don't get it. I honestly struggle to find anything useful in technology developed in the last decade. Having a computer in my pocket that almost always has access to Wikipedia and other informational websites is incredibly useful. Beyond that? What has the 21st century done to make my life better in any way? I don't need the cloud to save me the trouble of a few steps to flip a light switch or adjust my thermostat.

    To me, everything Google offers is at best a infinitesimal improvement in convenience in exchange for a massive increase in complexity and reliance on the nebulous and ephemeral "cloud". I don't even care that much about privacy, I just don't want to have to worry about my thermostat becoming unsupported a year or two after I bought it.

    7 votes
    1. Micycle_the_Bichael Link Parent
      This sentence in text always sounds super aggressive/attacking so I want to preface this by saying this is not an attack, this is not meant to make you feel bad, this is just something I think...

      This sentence in text always sounds super aggressive/attacking so I want to preface this by saying this is not an attack, this is not meant to make you feel bad, this is just something I think people don't think about.

      Did you ever think you're not the ideal user for use cases (at least not yet)? I can think of buckets of things Google home does that makes life for under-appreciated markets a ton better. In my mind its really similar to infomercials: everyone loves to shit on the snuggie because it seems stupid, but to people with motor coordination issues or partial paralysis (he'll even just old people who can't stand easily) the snuggie was a HUGE thing! Lot's of products that you see on infomercials are specially designed to improve the lives of people with various medical issues. However, since those markets are small and production costs are a thing, they have to be marketed to the everyman. Infomercials exist to (1) Market a niche product to the masses to keep the cost low so not to further burden people who already (typically) face medical costs, employment difficulties, and difficult day to day lives and (2) Normalize the products so people don't look at you weird for needing them because its not "Wow you have the product designed for people with crippling arthritis" its "Wow you have the product that makes deshelling an egg super easy". There are lots of things the google home allows people to do without moving, and when you're a person who can't move, or moving is difficult/painful, these services are LIFESAVERS.

      Example: My grandfather is a very hard-headed independent type. The classic man's man born in the 30's. He also got his foot ran over when he was young and has a hard time walking. After he fell trying to turn on his bedroom lights we wired his whole house with amazon echos. Now when it gets dark he doesn't have to stumble in low-light to turn on more lamps, he asks Alexa to turn on the lamps. He doesn't have to get up to find out who is at the door because he has a smart doorbell, he doesn't have to walk to the other side of the house to turn up/down the heat. To him, all these things have been a huge quality of life improvements, and allowed him to keep a lot of his independence that he otherwise wouldn't have been able to keep. And all this is just one old guy with relatively few health issues, and one grandson who hasn't had time to really dig too deep into all the things I could make his smart home do other than the obvious surface-level ones. There are companies working on using smart devices to alert diabetics when their blood sugar gets out of whack (I know, I tried really really hard to work for them), and based on that I know there is research going into making life for people with medical issues safer and easier.

      I don't say this as an attack, or to say that Google and all smart-device developers are purely developing with these people in mind. What I am saying is that just because you don't see how these advances improve your life in this current moment, doesn't mean they don't improve the quality of life for others and that you won't find them helpful later on in life.

      11 votes
    2. [3]
      nothis Link Parent
      Devil's advocate, but I find myself using some of the crazier features here and there. The other day, I was looking for a photo I had taken years ago. I knew there was a lilac bush in the...

      Devil's advocate, but I find myself using some of the crazier features here and there. The other day, I was looking for a photo I had taken years ago. I knew there was a lilac bush in the background. So I typed "flower" in search and goddammit, it found the photograph. Never tagged it or anything, iPhones now run some image recognition algorithm by default (which I don't think you can turn off, which is creepy).

      I think a lot of "don't even need that" concerns come from looking at prototypes that don't work right yet and concluding that it's too much of a hassle, anyway. Well, those prototypes will turn into fully fleshed out apps, eventually. If Google has its way, you'll be using Google thermostats for the next 50 years with their perfect, unified Google frameworks. All the inconveniences are short-term, you better think about them in a future form where they work perfectly. That's way more relevant – and scarier.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        ShadowMoses Link Parent
        Regarding image recognition with the iPhone: On the iPhone (and other iOS devices) image recognition is done on device only (along with other convenience features like this one). It never leaves...

        Regarding image recognition with the iPhone: On the iPhone (and other iOS devices) image recognition is done on device only (along with other convenience features like this one). It never leaves your phone. I like having this kind of features as long as they’re implemented like this. If to have this feature I must upload my whole photo library to “””the cloud””” for it to be analyzed, then no way I’m using it.

        This is with the stock photos app, if you’re using google photos, then all bets are off.

        You can read more about this on the iOS security white paper.

        2 votes
        1. nothis Link Parent
          Yea, I think there's a huge difference there and that's why I don't really mind. Still the indexing and whatnot seems overzealous.

          Yea, I think there's a huge difference there and that's why I don't really mind. Still the indexing and whatnot seems overzealous.

          1 vote
    3. TheJorro Link Parent
      I don't think Google Maps' effect can be overstated enough. Having a high quality accurate GPS system in your pocket that can give you accurate directions and enivornmental information is a...

      I don't think Google Maps' effect can be overstated enough. Having a high quality accurate GPS system in your pocket that can give you accurate directions and enivornmental information is a godsend. And all for free too.

      4 votes
    4. swaying_branches Link Parent
      I've always suspected tech companies like Google and Apple and Microsoft and the like add these tiny, unnecessary improvements because they depend on investment and the stock market more than...

      I've always suspected tech companies like Google and Apple and Microsoft and the like add these tiny, unnecessary improvements because they depend on investment and the stock market more than profit, and they get investment money by appearing constantly innovative in everything. If they only put things out when they had massive breakthroughs, they'd maybe make something new every few years -- a breakneck pace a couple decades ago, but slow as molasses today, and all that money would dry up within a couple months. Things like facial/fingerprint recognition or controlling your home from your phone aren't necessary by any means for us, but absolutely are for them; if those companies stopped doing little things like that, their constant upward trend would slow down, and investors would look for something new.

      I don't know, that might be a bit conspiratory :P

      3 votes