and it seems as though more than a few of us are becoming wary of the Google. Googling for the phrase "I hate Google" turns up quite a few rather interesting links. And they aren't all from frustrated bloggers who just can't get a decent page ranking either.
Some people are concerned about privacy, others about security, and still others are just pissed at being kicked out of googles ad program.
Since Google currently generates something like 75% of all page referrals, I suspect that the number of nay sayers will only continue to grow.
The Privacy Fanatic
Some of the first concerns Google generated were due to their cookies. Cookies are little text files that help the webserver track information it might need about you or your visit. These files are relatively short lived, and when the CIA tied to implement one with a 10 lifespan, they were beaten silly in the court of public opinion.
Google's have an expiration date of 2038.
Okay, I know, my pc didn't survive longer than 2 months without having it's system replaced or the drive reformatted. But my mother has been running the same machine with the same system for almost 5 years. It's a good thing she is on AOL and couldn't find Google if her life depended on it.
Anyway, the problem with this cookie is that it sets a unique identifier on your system. Google can use this to track your searches. Do you really want people to know you have been doing searches for David Hasselhoff Chest Hair Implants?
The Paranoid Freak
Now this is more familiar territory. The Tin Hat crowd is a bit woried about Google's tie to the U.S. Government and the NSA. Some of them are particularly put off by the fact that an ex NSA dude is working for them. Of course the employment ad looking for people with top level security clearance has them a bit worried too.
And then there are the ones who find Google's new investors to be the real problem. Some feel a little uncomfortable with the fact that members of the board of directors of googles Venture Capitalists have direct ties to the White House, Donald Rumsfeld, and other defense contractors.
Considering the curent presidents goal of having an electronic identity card containing biometric information and rfid tags implemented in the US, I think I can share their fears.
Then there are just the people who wonder just what google is up to. Google has now moved into your desktop with their desktop search and the Picasa photoorganizer. They can tell you what name belongs to a telephone number, and can show you a map to the address it belongs to. Or, if you are a subscriber to their Keyhole service, you can have access to high resolution 3d digital sattelite imagery of the neighboorhood that number is in.
And in the meantime, that cookie is still sitting there. Sharing it's info with all of googles services.
So what should I do?
Well, don't panic. Google does seem to be better than most companies, and they haven't really done anything terribly nasty yet. Unless you count that little episode with china anyway. The company motto is "Do no Evil" which is a tad better than most politicians can claim, and their product is still better than most.
Be aware of the issues.
Check out Google-Watch, they can show you how to google without the cookie.