Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dont Be Evil!

It just so happened, one weekend my grad school roommates just dropped by my place to say ‘Hi’. Like usual Sunday evenings, I was just chilling at home with one of my buddies. As all of us knew each other (coz we all went to the same school for our masters), so we decided to go out and grab some dinner together. As it has been happening over the centuries, and will last till the hell freezes over ,whenever we men come together in some sorta shindig we have to end up talking about either sports or work. This is one of those ‘talks-turned-into-an-argument’ which I regret being a part of, like BIG TIME!

We went to a Continental India restaurant (apparently there are a plethora of these in South bay, California). We placed our orders and started chattering about each others work life while we waited for our orders to arrive. After we were done poking each other for some work gossip, our talk shifted to the Silicon valley news( read blues). These talks sometimes are more like an obligation than personal interest. All thanks to the information overload on social medias like FaceBook, Twitter and other technology news sites. And there are these few names, the big boys, who always make it to the front page when it comes to ‘technology news’ (coz they have quite a share in making California the world's eighth largest economy). Eventually our talk started revolving around these Silicon valley giants like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Intel etc. When the talks are about these multimillion businesses, its like a God-given right to every Engineer to decide the future course of these companies. On top of it, we are awfully obtuse about expressing our views. We don't wanna think twice before prophesying about them, we’ve earned the wisdom with our years and years of technical brain feeding. So we ended up talking about ‘How Microsoft is not gonna survive the OS battle’,’How Apple products are not the greatest invention since sliced bread’, ‘Why people are so crazy about i(pod,pad,phone and what not)’ ,‘How the mucus colored R2D2 rip-off is better than the munched-apple’ and other such random stuff. I personally think Apple products are just fabulous and Android has a lot to accomplish if they wanna cope with Apple products.

After a while into the discussion, our talks soon took a slanderous turn. It was when one of my friends blurted, ‘Google is not at all safe you know. They can read everything that is out there, every private bit of information in our mailbox’. I was like ‘whoa whoa whaoOO dude! where did you get THAT idea from??” (crazy, right?). The instance I said this all the eyes were on me, and that is when I knew I was gonna repent this conversation later. It was like they all were shouting out loud just with their eyes gaping ‘Oh chmon, we are sure you knew that!!’. What I knew was that this argument was pretty much gonna be me against all my friends. But being the stubborn jackass I am, I did not budge. I folded my hands to express my absolute disapproval, waiting for them to prove their point. So my friend started making all these absurd arguments like, ‘Google stores all of information’, ‘They read our mails’, ‘The ads around them are related to those mails’, ‘They can use our passwords’, ‘Google gave my number to random companies for making money’ (like my manager would have said with disgust, ‘Geez, such haters!’). While he made these unsubstantial argument, the other two were either nodding or giving in more rubbish examples to prove what a huge money-minting/money-looting machine Google is. My conscience was totally rolling its eyes at how stupid this talk was.
I was really infuriated by all these accusations. Albeit I am not a huge Google fan-boy trying to save their reputation, I knew how silly all those accusations were. I mean duh! Google does store all your information, but for ‘Freedom of Information’s sake’! don’t accuse them of stealing it. Google is a search/advertisement platform and that information is like their daily bread and butter. This is what is keeping them in business and many others who are piggybacking on their technologies and contributing to the economy. And who said people can read the content of your mails? These are computer programs who look for keywords in your mail, and (to be more specific) harmless keywords required for advertisement (On this, my friend said ‘But those programs are written by humans’ *facepalm*). I don't get it, you don't wanna pay for the service, but you also do not want them to make money off you. How nonsensical and unreasonable is that? And saying ‘Google will sell your information’ is like saying, ‘Visa has my credit card information and they might steal my money’. Can you hear yourself how insanely stupid you sound? I mean ‘GOOGLE’ gave you that space to store your information, like Visa gave you those credit cards. Do you really believe a multimillion dollar business is gonna use your credit card info (whose limit may not even exceed a trifling five grands) and make frivolous purchases on it? Seriously! What is so important in those daily emails and chats you have, that would interest Google ? All I was saying was, if you could trust random shopping sites with your credit card numbers, why cant you trust Google, when its not even asking you for any of your valuable information. And if you think, your information is so ‘classified’, you might as well upgrade to a better service and pay through the nose!
But none of them seemed convinced. So I asked them to show me at least one report on Google, where they were accused of stealing someones personal information. And neither I nor they could find anything of that sort  (win! I guess they just Google-d it, those suckers!). And if you wonder whats the title of this post is all about, then It would be my pleasure to tell you, that its the informal motto of ‘Google’ [check it out!]. If you already knew about this, I’m sure you were nodding your way down the second last paragraph.

‘Don't be evil’ - how ironic does that sound after all the mud-slinging. I guess that the price you pay for being that huge and omnipresent.