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Google: Is it high time to look beyond it?

You must look beyond Google

If the words “Google Alternatives” are new to you, then please continue reading until you realize why this is important for you. There is now a burning debate on the web as which search engine one should use and what are the alternatives to Google.

In recent times there is a realization of the shortcoming or ill effects of using Google. Sometimes, it feels like we are not searching and following Google instead Google searches us and follows us! At times it amazes us as to how Google knows what we were looking for on the web. At times it confuses us as to how the hell Google knew where I went and what I was up to? Did you know that Google knows more about you than anyone else? It knows your academic qualifications. It knows your age and gender. It knows your interests and what you browsed for. It knows almost everything about you!

If I look at enough of your messaging and your location, and use artificial intelligence, we can predict where you are going to go” – Eric Schmidt, CEO Google

Google knows what’s inside your email

Google has every e-mail you ever sent or received on Gmail. It has every search you ever made, the contents of every chat you ever had over Google Talk. It holds a record of every telephone conversation you had using Google Voice; it knows every Google Alert you’ve set up. It has your Google Calendar with all content going back as far as you’ve used it, including everything you’ve done every day since then. It knows your contact list with all the information you may have included about yourself and the people you know. It has your Picasa pictures, your news page configuration, indicating what topics you’re most interested in. And so on.

Google’s monopoly and EU antitrust rulings

The recent decision of EU to fine Google to the tune of record-breaking €2.4bn billion has added whole new dimension to this debate. European regulators said that Google was artificially and illegally promoting its own price comparison service in searches. This was thwarting the rival firms’ ability to compete on a level playing field. This was a sheer case of monopoly.

The data constitute a treasure-trove. Whenever you use Google it stores a lot of your information like searches and location, websites and apps you have used, videos and ads you have seen, and personal information you have given to Google, such as your age range, gender, and topics of interest. These data, in turn, are actually used while bidding for keywords to advertisers. The advertisers, in turn, target you and influence your buying.

Our private information belongs to us

Our private information belongs to us. The Internet never forgets, and, in its robotic zeal to collect and organize every scrap of data about everyone, it is beginning to wreak havoc on personal privacy. For example, some information becomes irrelevant after some time and that needs to be forgotten like old financial matters, or misdeeds committed as a minor. But if Google keeps saving these data, past will keep haunting us. Google tracks and saves your each and every search you do. It records every Google ad you click. All these information can be accessed in Google web history. The right to privacy on Internet should be considered the fundamental right. Good news is that much of European court is pursuing to get this approved.

Ads, Everywhere

The other biggest problem with Google is flooding with the same advertisement all around. Suppose, you are looking to buy a tee-shirt and browsed the web via Google. But later, decided to drop the plan. Now get ready to see the various ads for the same product all around. You would get frustrated to see those ads and would want to run away; still, you would see those ads for some more time. This is not only the Ads, but Google would flood you to answer queries, perform reviews etc. At present these things does not seem a grave problem. But, imagine the time when Google will shield everything from you and would display what advertisers want you to see and buy.

There are alternatives and some are even better

Hence, there is a lot of reasons to switch from Google to other search engines for the sake your privacy. A search engine should be a guide for your queries and not the master of your thought process. A search engine like DuckDuckGo will give a very neat and clean search results without any tracking and Ads. It will also respect your privacy. A search engine like Wolfram Alpha will give you great results regarding computational algorithm mechanisms. Even, better than Google. And, if you have some questions that you need to be answered with human touch and emotion, check Quora once.

There are various ways to search photos, videos, documents, etc. on the web. But, it is up to you what and how you want to access them. There are always better ways of doing things.

References:

  • https://myaccount.google.com/dashboard
  • https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jun/27/google-braces-for-record-breaking-1bn-fine-from-eu
  • https://privacy.google.com/how-ads-work.html
  • https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity
  • https://duckduckgo.com/
  • http://www.wolframalpha.com/

 

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