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GOOGLE is currently the world’s most visited website but is it destroying the gymnasium of our collective minds? 

Essentially, Google has become our collective mental crutch.

Google is a publicly traded company owned by a group of shareholders.

Founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, own most of the shares of the company.

It’s almost impossible to live without interacting with a Google product in today’s world. Google owns an incredible number of companies and, at times, was even buying a company a week!

As of 2015, Google had 75% market share in searches. People use Google to search nearly 13 billion times per month, which averages to 26 searches per person per year.

There are very few products in the world with this ubiquity and dominance.

Using complete data from the 2014 fiscal year, Google raked in revenues exceeding $66 billion.

With $64.4 billion in cash and having spent almost $5 billion on acquisitions in 2014, Google doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to slow down.

This means Google is richer than pretty much everyone, and everyone includes the majority of the world’s nations such as Iceland, the Bahamas, Guatemala, Bulgaria and Sierra Leone.

This figure does not take into account Google’s expenses for 2014, which bring the company’s total net profit down to a measly $14.44 billion. However, since the gross domestic product, or GDP, of a nation does not incorporate its debt, the revenue figure is the most accurate number to use when comparing the income of corporations to the wealth of nations.

In 2015, Google Incorporated is worth $370 billion.

(Google is not even the richest company. In fact, based on revenue alone, Google trails pretty far down the list. Wal-Mart tops the chart with revenues exceeding $485 billion, and other corporate giants such as BP, Apple (AAPL) and Bank of America (BOA) rank somewhere in between.)

Google wield astonishing power in the United States and around the world.

Google Incorporated is the third largest company, in terms of market capitalization, in the United States; Its market cap is $373.79 billion, only being edged out by Microsoft Corporation and Apple Incorporated.

With most businesses being directly or indirectly controlled by a relatively small number of global mega-companies, almost everything a consumer buys or interacts with is connected in some way to companies such as Google.

Google makes money from searches by selling promoted advertising based on search keywords.

The ads are more powerful than traditional advertising because they can be targeted by interest and geography. Advertisers like the program because they can get real-time feedback on the effectiveness and engagement of their ads. This continues to be the backbone of Google’s business and its major source of revenue.

Google Gmail today has over 425 million MONTHLY ACTIVE USERS.
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THE QUESTION IS:

If the Google was a nation and declared sovereignty, issued a currency and joined the United Nations tomorrow, where would it rank on a list of the wealthiest countries?

It turns out Google’s $66 billion revenue plants it squarely at number 70 for the 2014 fiscal year.

Only 69 of the nations of the world outrank the Internet-technology giant.

While economic superpowers such as the United States and China far outstrip Google, for now, the number of countries with GDPs dwarfed by Google’s massive wealth is staggering.

The phrase “to Google” is so popular that the company is actually worried about losing trademark rights if the term becomes generic, like “escalator” and “zipper,” which were once trademarked.

It has changed our brains. Even if we aren’t conscious of it, our brains are primed to think about the Internet as soon as we start trying to recall the answer to a tough trivia question.

It has taken over our cell phones. Since the first Android phone was sold in 2008, Google’s mobile operating system has bulldozed the competition. Today it claims nearly 85% of market share, nearly doubling its hold over the last three years.

It has transformed the way we use e-mail. Gmail was invented a decade ago, before bottomless in boxes were a sine qua non. It’s hard even to remember those dark ages when storage space was sacred—and deleting emails was as tedious-but-necessary as flossing. Today our accounts serve as mausoleums, housing long-forgotten files, links, and even whole relationships. Google itself has touted alternative uses for Gmail, such as setting up a virtual time capsule for your newborn—though in practice accounts can’t be owned by anyone under 13. But even that last point is about to change.

It’s changed how we collaborate. Back in 2006, Google acquired the company behind an online word processor named Writely. With that bet, Google created a world where it’s taken for granted that people can collaborate on virtually any type of document, whether for work, play, or (literally) revolution.

It has allowed us to travel the globe from our desks. Yes, Map Quest was popular first. But Google Maps (and Earth) has become much more than a tool for measuring travel routes and times. Since Google Street View came onto the scene in 2007, it’s been possible to “visit” distant destinations, give friends a virtual tour of your hometown, plan ahead of trips, and waste even more time on the Internet.

Of course, the more popular a tool, the more useful it is to those who’d like to spy on us.

It has influenced the news we read. Ranking high in Google search results is serious business and can have a profound effect on the success of companies, media outlets, and even politicians. When I just Googled “how SEO affects journalism,” this link was at the top of my search results. How is that significant? Well, for one, that story itself has been so successfully search engine optimized that it still tops the list despite being four years old.

It has turned users into commodities. We all love free stuff, but it’s easy to forget that services offered by companies like Google and Facebook aren’t truly “free,” as data expert Bruce Schneier has pointed out. Remember that all of your data (across ALL of the services you use, and that includes Calendar, Maps, and so on) is a valuable good that Google is packaging and selling to its real customers—advertisers.

It’s changed how everyone else sees YOU. Unlike your Facebook profile, the links that turn up when potential employers (or love interests) Google you can be near-impossible to erase. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Google uses the fear of embarrassing search results to encourage people to manage their image through Google+ profiles.

Next stop:  

Self-driving cars along with a Google computer that is so artificially intelligent that it could program on its own transmitting, too Google glasses which will surely Googlefie their owners.  

Leaving little room if any for self conscious or search engines? Aren’t they all dead? —

Recent research has confirmed suspicions that 24/7 access to (near) limitless information is not only bad for human discourse— it’s also making us worse at remembering things, regardless of whether we try.

Thanks to Google we now have for lack of a better word the “wisdom of the crowd” or “social proof” (which you can “buy”) which sums up how superficial and shallow our society has really become.

Social Proofing is a phrase that applies particularly well to the large social environment created on the internet and the power of a group to come together and make a decision collectively.

(i.e. other items customers buy after viewing this item’ display or review summaries Booking.com Recommendation engines in shopping sites like Amazon.com rely on other people’s feedback to help drive sales and refer people to products they will like based on the buying behaviours of people like them.)

It doesn’t necessarily always lead to the “wisest” decision, because it can be a blind choice, made because other people made it, not necessarily based on sound rationalisation looking at the facts.

Social proof is everywhere.

Comments are indicators that enough people are paying attention to what you are writing to reply. The same can be said for things like Facebook “like” and Twitter “tweet” buttons.

We are pack animals, no matter how independent we think we are, unless you live in a cave, you are conditioned by other people around you.

Today the very nature of the Internet, being such a social environment, has resulted in social proof becoming by far the greatest force when it comes to buying decisions.

Google has recently reorganized itself into multiple companies, separating its core Internet business from several of its most ambitious projects while continuing to run all of these operations under a new umbrella company called Alphabet.

With the European Union recently beginning an investigation for monopolistic business practices, diversification might be in Google’s best interest.

Using Google to navigate the web remains the preferred method by which most people find information online. However, Google is far from a monopoly in terms of the entire gamut of Internet services. The perception of Google being a monopoly is derived from the fact it happens to have dominance in the most lucrative area of the Internet.

On the other hand.

When Google was just a start-up business in Palo Alto, Calif., it did not have enough money to pay its employees the high wages of today’s Google, so they offered them stock in place of a massive salary. Those original employees, including the head of the culinary staff, now either still own a good chunk of shares or have cashed in and enjoy a life of extreme wealth and prosperity because of Google’s explosive growth.

Google Incorporated now offers some of the best employee benefits and even death benefits. If a Google employee dies, the deceased’s spouse or partner receives half of the deceased employee’s salary for 10 years. Children of the deceased employee also receive $1,000 per month until age 19, or 23 if the children are full-time students.

It has contributed quite a bit of its income to various charities. In 2012, Google reported charitable donations exceeding $144.6 million. In addition, it gave away approximately $1 billion in free products.

Why have any concerns?

Google launched its Google Print division, now known as Google Books, which scans books into its application and website. Google intends to scan all existing books before 2020. To date, Google has scanned over 20 million books.

They are not doing this for the love of books or reading.

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Project Loon proposes to provide internet connectivity from balloons floating at a height of 20 km above the earth’s surface on a pilot basis. The idea is to connect remote areas of the country using LTE or 4G technology through the balloons, which can transmit as far as 40 km from their diameter.

If you believe that this is all they want to achieve with their Balloons you can pull my other leg.

Should we ban the wearing of Google glasses in public places.

  • As a practical act which creates areas free of surveillance or highly intrusive surveillance.
  • As a symbolic act showing concern for privacy.
  • As a way of exerting social pressure to establish norms around usage.
  • As a way of exerting market pressure to discourage people from buying and companies developing these systems.
  • Questions over machine monitored surveillance have existed for decades,

Fears over AI overlords may be groundless, but the use of machine learning to mine personal information is a worrying development, artificial intelligence experts have warned.

There is a broad consensus that technology has the potential to improve education and make it more personalized, but it is never going to come to pass if we don’t set higher standards for student and data security.”

A digital textbook is a textbook that lives on a desktop, laptop or mobile devices and is easily editable to provide educational content that is as timely and relevant as possible.

It wont challenge them to think about the knowledge, skills and abilities they’ll need to solve that problem.

But when does personalized learning get too personal?

Google researchers claim they’re working on a supercomputer that harnesses the power of quantum physics to calculate in one second problems that would take a regular machine 10,000 years to solve.

The change unlocks more computing power, allowing quantum computers to consider untold variables compared to conventional machines.

If they’re right — some people have raised questions about their claims — then the world could be at the dawn of a new age of über-powerful computers.

High-frequency trading helped cause the so-called “flash crash” of 2010, To the extent they can be speeded up even by a microsecond, it will make the problem that much worse.

On February 26th, 2015 Google’s Webmaster Central Blog announced a mobile algorithm update for April 21st, 2015. This is the first time Google has ever given an exact date for an algorithm update, so the digital world was expecting big things, dubbing the event ‘Mobilegeddon’.

Google is in such a dominant market position on mobile, that their decision to ban legitimate apps from Android amounts to Internet censorship.

The message from Google is clear, if your website is not optimised for mobile, it’s likely that your search ranking will suffer. Google cares most of all that people keep coming back to use their search engine.

The choices Google makes about what apps are banned and allowed appear in many cases to be dangerously anti-user.

The update will effectively penalise websites which Google does not deem to be mobile friendly and the impact is expected to be widespread.Google is not one to joke around so it is a definite ‘watch this space’ as the full impact of this algorithm is yet to seen…

Ethics concerns in conjunction with porn viewing and the internet cloud are presently in the news.

THINK WITH GOOGLE. 

New and expecting parents are 2.7x more likely than non-parents to use a smart phone as their primary device. So it’s not surprising  that Mobile searches related to babies and parenting have grown 25% since 2013

Searches about baby development were 72% mobile in Q1 of this year

In fact, views of parenting videos on YouTube were up 329% on mobile this year.

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Thoughts and actions feel scripted, as if they’re following the steps of an algorithm.

We come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.

If we fill our BRAINS  up with “content,” we will sacrifice something important not only in our selves but in our culture.

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FALLING OUT OF LOVE WITH GOOGLE.

Understand what they’re doing, taking away time we could be using to shape our content in interesting ways.

Google’s increasingly invasive technology WILL BE IT’S DOWNFALL.

Apple’s policy is to collect no personal data, (this is of course apart from your iTunes account details allowing you to make purchases) a surprise from a huge company who aren’t exactly squeaky clean in other areas, like the working conditions for overseas workers for example.And they don’t do search – or do they? Installed on all almost 1 billion Apple devices worldwide,

Search with no ads and no data collection. So those of us with Apple devices can sidestep the issues with Google and still not have to add them to the To Sort Out list!

The fast changing pace of tech companies shows no sign of letting up and can both drive change and perhaps cause their downfall as consumers move with the tides as well.

Who would foresee Google tumbling from their great height? But perhaps this is what we are witnessing as this world of rapid changes throws up other surprises.

We are using these devices every day so we care and influence the battles outcomes.

So what we can do to get Google to re-commit to their mission of doing no evil.

We are letting the opportunity of a lifetime—of our lifetime and theirs—pass us by.

DuckDuckGo who offer search with no data collection.

They are an Open Source company who decided early in their life to offer Search with no personal tracking, no collection or sharing of your personal information. They’re a built-in search page option in Safari and Firefox, but not of course in Google Chrome!

Does any of this matter?

I suppose in the long run nothing will matter, but in the mean time Google which lives off our daily lives has a responsibility away beyond it Billions.

As humanity we will no doubt be reduced to a chip in a AI robot if we are to have any chance of escaping the planet before its demise.  ( Providing we last that long which looking at the current state of affairs it is highly unlikely.)

So perhaps it is for the best that we are all becoming Googlefied.

Google it and see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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