Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th May 2011 21:50 UTC, submitted by sawboss
Legal Ding ding ding ding - I think we have a record here. Launched yesterday, Google Wallet has already attracted a lawsuit. While patent lawsuits are teh shizzle these days, this lawsuit is a little different, so sadly I can't trot out my usual 'software patents bad' lines (aww). PayPal has sued Google over its Wallet service, claiming that one key former PayPal executive who accepted a job at Google took trade secrets with him.
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No tinfoil hat here. Just a healthy consideration of what information I hand over and when the benefits do not outweigh the service provided.

Sure, they provide the mighty dashboard but what's the data retention policy on what information you de-list (ie. "delete"). And you really think Google is not selling analysis to other marketing companies also?

For me, the benefits far outweigh the "cost". In fact, I don't see the cost at all. I have yet to suffer any consequences for using google's various services, and I do use quite a few: picasa, android, gmail, calendar, blogspot. So far they have done nothing to warrant my suspicion. Where I live, actually yahoo is the more popular company. I created an account there, but every time I log in (once a month perhaps) I cringe at the ad infested interface. Like it or not, adwords made the internet a better place for almost all of us. It does rely of automated scans of email contents to deliver targeted ads. But they are as non-intrusive as you can get - a few lines of text. No check yahoo mail to get some notion of how the internet looked like 10 years ago (only it was far worse).

The wifi indiscretion and the Buzz issue. How about Android; how much effort does it take to make use of the OS without feeding your information back up into Google's servers?

They gave me the tools to see exactly how much information I provide to Google. I can remove them if I wish so. I don't. They have some location info - and it is done the right way (ie it's opt in in the case of Latitude for instance - I have to explicitely authorize people one by one to allow them to see where I am). The apps installed on my phone is also stored on google - but that's how they provide another service: if I change my handset, they get automatically reinstalled and I don't have to do it manually. This is valuable for me.

And this still does not address the primary questions:

- Why should one trust a corporation who's primary function is to manufacture profit? Exploitation of your information is just a CEO or market change away.

Well, why should anyone trust any corporation - all are after profite, aren't they? Yet to simply exist, we need to use the services of dozens of corporation every day (unless we go and live in a cave or sth).

Why should I rely on the Google provided services which I can easily provide through my own servers? Why involve a third party between me and my data?

I see your point, but I don't have my own servers. I could (geek here after all) - but I no longer have the time to set it up, and again, so far Google had done nothing that caused any kind of inconvenience. The other thing is that in the summer months, we suffer blackouts once or twice every week, than can last from an hour to as much as 12 hours. When that happens, I still have access to my mail, calendar, whatever through my phone (or even laptop using portable hotspot on my N1 and 3G). With running my own servers, this would not be the case. Not to mention the cost running my own. The price I pay right now is simply the few lines of text ads that I barely notice (and more often than not, they are even somewhat relevant).

Don't get me wrong; credit where due. Speaking out against Internet censorship is fantastic even if it is a tactic intended to benefit Google's commercial strategies.

Google is the only company that stood up against censorship in China. They had hoped that other companies would follow, but none did. Yahoo is actually praised by the local government (in Vietnam) for its cooperation with local agencies and following local laws. You know what that means, right? Google is not, but they are at least not blocked here (the Viet government is far less paranoid than the Chinese).

I'm just saying that the default when dealing with companies this big should be skepticisms in general and minimal use of services when one must use them.

Now this is something I can agree with. I have local off-line backup of all important documents I create - be it articles I post on blogspot, pictures I choose to share on picasa, etc. Almost all stuff I have online through various Google services is already sth I chose to make public. The only "sensitive" information I have no choice but to trust Google about is my email. But I would rather trust google with my mail than Microsoft, Apple, or Yahoo, or small companies that can easily bought out or driven out of business.

Google right now is under intensive scrutiny from dozens of government agencies in a number of countries. That's a good thing (a positive collateral from the wifi SNAFU). I don't think they would risk their profitable business by shady deals with third parties. IE their legit business is already quite profitable, so they actually don't need to go into deals like Facebook does (Zynga comes to mind). So yeah, I trust them for the time being, and despite some mistakes they made, I don't see the smoking gun that would make me loose my trust. I agree that vigilance is prudent when it comes to companies handling your information - and believe me, I know exactly what I got to lose. Email would suck, but other than that, it's not much. Yeah, and I would never solely rely on the cloud for documents or other forms of media I create, unless they are not important.

Edited 2011-05-30 03:33 UTC

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