Google boss Eric Schmidt has announced a warning against the use of social media, and the consequences of society having so much data online. Now I don’t mean to be cynical but does anyone else smell irony in the air? The man who is behind the phenomenally large search giant is urging society to think about the consequences of having so much data online. Is this not coming from the man whose business thrives on the fact that there is this mass of online data? The more there is online surely the more for his crawlers to search out? Or could it be something to do with the fact that Google seems unable to break in to the social media market? A sense of bitterness perhaps Mr Schmidt...
Google has recently acquired Slide and Jambool, two firms that specialise in providing services for social networks. What could they possibly want with them? Oh that’s right there are rumours that the search giant is getting ready to launch another social network. Some commentators have already nicknamed it ‘Google.me’ which seems to suggest there may be some sort of personal information appearing on the website, non? Google already owns Google Buzz and Orkut, however neither have proved to be particularly popular so Google is evidently getting ready to step up its game plan against Facebook and Twitter.
The comment from Schmidt seems all the more ironic given the way Buzz functions. Buzz became controversial after it linked up people’s Gmail accounts to the site without asking their consent. It meant that all their Gmail contacts were publicly visible, not exactly helping keep data safe. Mr Schmidt said that Google will more than likely store personal information about its users in the future. He said that at the moment ‘we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are’, which doesn’t exactly make me feel warm and fuzzy. However, social media consultant Suw Charman Anderson said that the ‘idea that everything is stored online is not true’ as Google cache is selective and cannot hold everything.
It seems Schmidt’s concerns are just, but his reasoning behind voicing them seems slightly strange. His concerns about the future have been called ‘overstated’, but is his a warning for what could happen to Google after he goes? If such a mass of information were to get into the wrong hands the results could be devastating but as long as internet users are careful private information should remain just that.