There has been more than enough reason to get a bit down recently about the internet and the way Governments have been taken over by corporations. Whether or not this is actually any different to years gone by would be open to discussion as, at least in the UK, deals were done behind closed doors for centuries that benefited the elite at the expense of the poor.
I have traveled quite a lot in my life and people, poor people, the world over know that the businessmen and politicians have their hands in each others pockets… there is generally a sort of resignation that this is how the world is.
Google+ has brought it’s blessings over the last few weeks and months in the form of a sort of awareness, almost a growth period, as people have woken up to the fact that putting all your eggs in the one ‘free’ basket is probably building a future problem, or at least an insecurity as people who ‘give’ us stuff will also take …and can just stop giving from one day to the next. Today’s ‘free’ service is tomorrows despot with dictatorial ambitions.
The great difference between, say, 100 years ago and now is Information. Information is power, and the more we are deprived of it, the less able we are to make informed decisions. Today, after weeks of plugging away at the whole Google+ Nymwars, the truth, or part of it has been made public. I refer to this quote from Botgirl’s post by Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman …
“G+ was build primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they’re going to build future products that leverage that information . . . G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it. It’s obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn’t use G+ . . . The internet would be better if we knew you were a real person rather than a dog or a fake person. Some people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward. ”
That is, if you miss the point, Google+ is simply a way of getting your info so they can leverage it, i.e. make money…. and Botgirl, as usual, managed to convey that so clearly, more than 3 weeks ago….
But, as bad as this is, especially if you are one of the frogs, there is hope.
I was musing about how all the smaller internet players were getting a boost by Google evil behaviour. Ixquick and DuckDuckGo are both on my homepage as search engines, GMX mail, a green electricity, encrypted and free mail service, Icelandic server 1984Hosting, NewsBlur (a reader) and a non-Google Translating service ImTranslator are all viable alternatives to the huge mega corps of Google, Yahoo and Facebook. All are worthy of our support.
..and, the worse the big boys behave, the more they will be sending people to these smaller sites.
The internet was developed and given away, free, to us by a few brilliant and idealistic people. The greedy may try and steal it away but there will always be service providers and coders who do care about privacy and altruism. I thought that maybe this point of view was a little idealistic and optimistic, maybe not worthy of a post until today when by complete ‘coincidence’ Botgirl retweeted this…
“Somewhere, there are two kids in a garage building a company whose motto will be “Don’t be Google“. (/via Digwuren the Gray) #nymwars”
I realised I am not the only optimist …. those large dinosaurs didn’t survive, mice and men did.