Friday, February 13, 2009

Selling My Soul to Google

It seems I'm using Google services more and more as time goes on.

First, several years ago, I started using Google (the search engine) and never looked back at other search engines. Like many others, I use Google search an absurdly ridiculous amount and find myself using Google and its derivatives (Googled, Googling, etc.) as verbs far too often. Then, I started using Google search to perform calculations and conversions (which I still think is a very cool feature). It's so convenient to be able to type "50 aud in usd" into Google search. I keep wishing that Google would allow me to perform quick searches of the Australian White Pages so I don't have to use its annoying interface and deal with its often suboptimal search logic.

Then, I experimented with using Google Calendar. I quite like its features, although it has some serious accessibility problems which make it rather frustrating to use, so I don't use it much now. I probably would if these were fixed, though.

Last year, I got sick of the amount of email spam I was receiving. I could probably have found ways to improve it, but I got sick of maintaining it all myself. I used to love fiddling with all of this stuff, but these days, I just want essential things like email to damned well work. I then discovered the joys of the free Google Apps Standard Edition and subsequently moved email hosting for jantrid.net to that. I still get the nice benefits of having my own email domain like being able to create multiple email accounts if I wish. (I've never really done this, but it's the principle!) I'll also be able to use Google Calendar on this if the accessibility improves.

I've recently started using Google News on a daily basis to keep abreast of the latest news. I was previously somewhat notorious for not watching t.v. or listening to the radio very often and thus being horribly out of touch, so this is great.

As anyone who has followed my previous blog incarnations can attest, I update them for a little while and then can't be bothered anymore. (Time will tell whether this will happen once again. It probably will. :)) However, i started to realise that part of the problem was that it was too much effort to post new entries with my previous blogging platforms. Again, I could have done something to improve this, but in the spirit of laziness that made me switch to Google Apps, I decided to switch to a service which hosted my blog for me and allowed me to use jantrid.net. There were a few candidates, but as you know, I ended up using Blogger, which is yet another Google service.

The scary truth is that all of this really has made my life much easier and I'm not particularly inclined to change it, despite my zest for open platforms and solutions, as well as my general wariness and cynicism of large, world dominating corporations. I don't like being locked into a service running on a proprietary platform which doesn't allow me to export my data, but Google does allow data to be exported in open formats, so this isn't such a problem.

Nevertheless, I have to wonder: what next? How much more of my life will involve Google in some way? What if it fell apart and died? Could I stop using it, even if I found out that it was becoming an awful, anti-competitive, privacy invading, unethical corporation which squashed all in its path to world domination? :) Okay, so that last bit might have been a bit melodramatic, but it does give one pause for thought even so.

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