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How Steve Killed Apple
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Jun 10, 2013, 07:48 PM
 
How's that for a trollish, link-bait title?

How he did it can be summed up in one word: thermonuclear.

Microsoft is a software company, Apple is a hardware company, Google is an information company.

Which of these models is the most forward-thinking?

Unless you can directly compete with this behemoth in its core competency, how good of an idea is it to nuke the bridge between the hardware your hardware company makes and useful information to go on it?
     
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Jun 10, 2013, 08:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
How's that for a trollish, link-bait title?

How he did it can be summed up in one word: thermonuclear.

Microsoft is a software company, Apple is a hardware company, Google is an information company.

Which of these models is the most forward-thinking?

Unless you can directly compete with this behemoth in its core competency, how good of an idea is it to nuke the bridge between the hardware your hardware company makes and useful information to go on it?
Good points. I have an easier time understanding how you'd risk alienating MS to some degree, but I didn't get why the fallout between Google and Apple was allowed to happen.

Or maybe it's just the damned map.
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Jun 10, 2013, 11:25 PM
 
I also see apple as a software company in a small way. A quick peek at google software and I didnt see anything significant that wasn't made for mac so Im not sure about the bridge thats been burned. I think apple can beat them at the maps thing in short time. Google doesn't set the bar very high when it comes to their maps that send us on wild goose chases. In the end its all business and the bridge can be repaired in a day if it needs to be.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 12:04 AM
 
Google is pushing towards lower and lower friction between you and its data. I think it's going to be less of a question of whether you can get the data and more about how easy it is to get it.

Now, something like a Nexus is always going to have the lowest friction, but Apple is going to have extra friction added from holding a grudge.

I should clarify the "Apple is a hardware company" statement by saying all of its software since Steve returned has been laser focused on selling you (and locking you into) the hardware.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 11:10 AM
 
I think Apple is a consumer electronics company, not a hardware company per se. I dunno where the line is.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 11:32 AM
 
Consumer electronics is generally considered hardware, no?
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 11:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Microsoft is a software company, Apple is a hardware company, Google is an information company.
I don't think Apple is a hardware company, and Apple has also said so on multiple occasions (e. g. by citing Alan Key: »People who love software make their own hardware.«). To me it is more like this:
(1) Apple is a vertically integrated software-hardware company with a strong media business that is moving into cloud services.
(2) Microsoft is a software company with a not very profitable game business* that is moving into more vertical integration, cloud service infrastructure, cloud services and computer hardware.
(3) Google is a cloud services and ad company that tries to increase traffic to its services by releasing interesting/new/sometimes freaky ways to make use of data (e. g. Google Now). (I'm aware that Google makes some hardware, e. g. its Pixel Chromebook, but they do not intend to get into the hardware business as a strong competitor)

* Unprofitable as in unprofitable over the course of its life span. XBox was initially sold at a loss, and debacles like the Red Ring of Death cost the company billions.
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Jun 11, 2013, 11:46 AM
 
I remember a post I made where I said "cats take pleasure in the pain of others, how's about you?"

90% of the thread was about whether cats take pleasure in the pain of others...

Cats were not the point.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 11:59 AM
 
I don't get it.
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Jun 11, 2013, 12:25 PM
 
I think he's trying to make the point that he thinks Apple is making a big mistake by increasingly distancing itself from Google.

Personally, I don't think so.

I think Google is increasingly behaving more and more unethically as time goes on, and their cavalier attitude towards safeguarding personal data is increasingly at odds with Apple's goals of protecting their customers' privacy where possible.

I think people should be given a choice of whether to use Google or not, rather than have it shoved down their throats with deep integration into the OS.

Mobile Safari users already have a choice to set Google, Bing, or Yahoo as default. I think they should add more, like DuckDuckGo, for instance.

They should give Siri users the same choice of search provider for times when Siri has to use one.

But I don't think they should integrate deeply with any one company.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 12:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Consumer electronics is generally considered hardware, no?
I'm not sure where the line goes, but in my mind Apple no longer makes professional computer hardware products but it does sell a lot of music, movies and electronic gadgets, so I have to categorize it into consumer electronics.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 01:20 PM
 
Actually if it boils down to it, which would you prefer:

Free software but all your data are belong to us running on hardware that ranges from adequate down to awful;

or

(mostly) Free software and we don't really care that much about your data anyway so long as you buy our awesome sexy hardware.

If the recent NSA controversy becomes a more long term political issue, this could stand in Apple's favour quite nicely.
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Jun 11, 2013, 01:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
If the recent NSA controversy becomes a more long term political issue, this could stand in Apple's favour quite nicely.
I agree.

I think there is a much more deep-seated distrust of data-hoarding in Europe (or at least in Germany) than in the United States.

I believe that how convincingly privacy issues are dealt with is going to be a huge factor in brand success here in the long term.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 05:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I agree.

I think there is a much more deep-seated distrust of data-hoarding in Europe (or at least in Germany) than in the United States.
This is by far Google's biggest hurdle.

They need to convince you you're mistaken.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 05:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Actually if it boils down to it, which would you prefer:

Free software but all your data are belong to us running on hardware that ranges from adequate down to awful;

or

(mostly) Free software and we don't really care that much about your data anyway so long as you buy our awesome sexy hardware.

If the recent NSA controversy becomes a more long term political issue, this could stand in Apple's favour quite nicely.
The first.

The data I can get means more to me than my privacy, or the hardware.

Even though I'm a gearhead.

What are the really bad things Google can do with my data other than handing it over to a government or an insurance underwriter?
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 05:17 PM
 
People still need a way to access the information.

It is still pretty crazy that most of the big tech companies are playing completely different games, so to speak.

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Jun 11, 2013, 05:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I don't get it.
The main question is whether it's bad policy for Apple to be in an open war with Google.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 05:26 PM
 
Probably not, but I think Google did fire the first salvo at apple.

Secretly developing a touch-centric Android behind Apple's back while Eric Schmidt served on the board at Apple is about as big of a corporate backstab as one can imagine.

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Jun 11, 2013, 05:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
People still need a way to access the information.

It is still pretty crazy that most of the big tech companies are playing completely different games, so to speak.
I don't think Google showed their hand until the last Google I/O. Until then Google had a what appeared to be a "throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" model.

Now they have, and that hand is "we have so much data on you and everything else, we can do things for you with it you never even imagined were possible".


The common thought is we left the "machine age" some time last century and entered into the "information age".

I heard someone ask Ray Kurzweil if he thought we were in the "information age". He said "no, we're in what I call the 'networking age' where everything gets connected. We haven't hit the 'information age' yet".

What I've seen with Glass, and at Google I/O? This was when the true "information age" began.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 05:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
Probably not, but I think Google did fire the first salvo at apple.

Secretly developing a touch-centric Android behind Apple's back while Eric Schmidt served on the board at Apple is about as big of a corporate backstab as one can imagine.
No question there.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 06:16 PM
 
I'm surprised more people aren't terrified of Google and their business model.

They drive the price of everything down to free, making it virtually impossible for smaller upstarts to compete, then they sugar coat everything in this touchy-feely open crud all while collecting massive amounts of our personal information to sell to advertisers.

I mean, I'm pretty blasé about most of this stuff, and I use Google's products, so it obviously doesn't bother me that much...

But it still shocks me how much goodwill they seem to have, considering what they are actually doing. People always call Apple "big brother" but look at Apple business model. They make a product and sell it for money. It doesn't get any more straightforward than that. If they stop pleasing the customer, they lose money.

Same goes for google, only we aren't the customers, the advertisers are.

The game google is playing, which is basically attempting to control every aspect of the internet experience, should be shocking to people.

Look at what they are doing now.

They own the top search engine.
They own the top ad delivery system and have their cookies on almost every corner of the web.
They make their own browser to look at the stuff with.
They own their own maps engine to find stuff.
Their own restaurant recommendation, shopping tools, travel apps, etc... if you want to do it online, google is trying to provide it...
They own their own mobile operating system.
They own their own desktop operating system.
They make their own productivity apps.
They now make hardware.
They are making moves to become an ISP.
They are an entertainment delivery company, selling movies, TV, games and music.
They are working on glasses and self driving cars.

And almost all of that stuff is free.

If Googles plans come to fruition, their ideal consumer will wake up, put on his google glasses, fire up his google laptop, logon to the internet that google pumps into his house to browse on it with google browser and googles OS, get a restaurant recommendation from google, leave the house with his google phone with a google OS on it and get driven to his destination in an automatic google powered car...

Google will essentially own every aspect of our lives, and all of it will be free and monetized by watching us and selling us things.

And no one really stops to put all this together and think about where it's headed. I'll tell you what's creepy. What I just described above.

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Jun 11, 2013, 06:24 PM
 
Creepy, for lack of a better term, is good. Creepy works.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 06:29 PM
 
My more serious answer is I've noticed it, and while I'd prefer Apple and Microsoft would go toe-to-toe with Google on this, they're too late out of the gate.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 08:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I don't think Google showed their hand until the last Google I/O. Until then Google had a what appeared to be a "throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" model.

Now they have, and that hand is "we have so much data on you and everything else, we can do things for you with it you never even imagined were possible".


The common thought is we left the "machine age" some time last century and entered into the "information age".

I heard someone ask Ray Kurzweil if he thought we were in the "information age". He said "no, we're in what I call the 'networking age' where everything gets connected. We haven't hit the 'information age' yet".

What I've seen with Glass, and at Google I/O? This was when the true "information age" began.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
My more serious answer is I've noticed it, and while I'd prefer Apple and Microsoft would go toe-to-toe with Google on this, they're too late out of the gate.

To expand on this, I had been under the assumption what other companies needed to do was provide similar services to the ones Google provides.

Microsoft says "Google does search, we're huge, we can do it too... bing!"
Apple says "Google has maps, we're huge, we can do maps too... Apple Maps!"

Now, even if you ignore the fact Apple's and Microsoft's offers suck a giant bag of dicks, they're still just discrete components.

So, basically, no only do either of them have as coherent a plan, even if they did, they still have to unsuck the entire bag just to get to Google square one circa 2005.
     
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Jun 11, 2013, 09:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The main question is whether it's bad policy for Apple to be in an open war with Google.
I don't think Apple is in an open war with Google. Apple is in an open war with Samsung. Apple and Google are clearly fighting a cold war where Google uses its market position and proxies (e. g. Motorola).

Apple's and Microsoft's strategic partnership is very curious: Apple relies on Azure for significant parts of iCloud and has integrated Bing into Siri now. If Bing were just competitive with Google search, Apple would drop it in a heart beat (at least as a default).
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Jun 11, 2013, 09:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Microsoft says "Google does search, we're huge, we can do it too... bing!"
Apple says "Google has maps, we're huge, we can do maps too... Apple Maps!"
I think you're right about Microsoft's motivation, but wrong about Apple's. Apple didn't make maps, because it set out to become a services company, it released its own maps because Maps were an important bargaining chip used by Google to obtain access to more iOS user data.

If Android hadn't happened, I'm sure Apple and Google would have had a marriage made in byte heaven. Well, Google would still be the creepy husband, but still
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Jun 12, 2013, 07:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
I'm surprised more people aren't terrified of Google and their business model.

They drive the price of everything down to free, (…)
Speaking of which…

Google Web Designer. To help advertisers and publishers more seamlessly unlock the potential of cross-device programs, we are investing in a new HTML5 creative development tool – Google Web Designer. Available in the coming months, Google Web Designer will empower creative professionals to create cutting-edge advertising as well as engaging web content like sites and applications – for free. Google Web Designer will be seamlessly integrated with DoubleClick Studio and AdMob, greatly simplifying the process of building HTML5 creative that can be served through Google platforms.

I guess a free rival to Adobe’s Creative Cloud is in the making.
     
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Jun 12, 2013, 11:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
I'm surprised more people aren't terrified of Google and their business model.

They drive the price of everything down to free, making it virtually impossible for smaller upstarts to compete, then they sugar coat everything in this touchy-feely open crud all while collecting massive amounts of our personal information to sell to advertisers.

I mean, I'm pretty blasé about most of this stuff, and I use Google's products, so it obviously doesn't bother me that much...

But it still shocks me how much goodwill they seem to have, considering what they are actually doing. People always call Apple "big brother" but look at Apple business model. They make a product and sell it for money. It doesn't get any more straightforward than that. If they stop pleasing the customer, they lose money.

Same goes for google, only we aren't the customers, the advertisers are.

The game google is playing, which is basically attempting to control every aspect of the internet experience, should be shocking to people.

Look at what they are doing now.

They own the top search engine.
They own the top ad delivery system and have their cookies on almost every corner of the web.
They make their own browser to look at the stuff with.
They own their own maps engine to find stuff.
Their own restaurant recommendation, shopping tools, travel apps, etc... if you want to do it online, google is trying to provide it...
They own their own mobile operating system.
They own their own desktop operating system.
They make their own productivity apps.
They now make hardware.
They are making moves to become an ISP.
They are an entertainment delivery company, selling movies, TV, games and music.
They are working on glasses and self driving cars.

And almost all of that stuff is free.

If Googles plans come to fruition, their ideal consumer will wake up, put on his google glasses, fire up his google laptop, logon to the internet that google pumps into his house to browse on it with google browser and googles OS, get a restaurant recommendation from google, leave the house with his google phone with a google OS on it and get driven to his destination in an automatic google powered car...

Google will essentially own every aspect of our lives, and all of it will be free and monetized by watching us and selling us things.

And no one really stops to put all this together and think about where it's headed. I'll tell you what's creepy. What I just described above.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Creepy, for lack of a better term, is good. Creepy works.
Creepy may work, but this scares the living daylights out of me. Some of us DON'T WANT our every move tracked and recorded. And with Google glasses that can (and will) happen. Give us a way to control what information about ourselves gets shared and how it gets used, if at all. And give us a way to demand that anything saved about us gets deleted, IMMEDIATELY AND COMPLETELY, UPON REQUEST.

Convenience DOES NOT trump privacy, in my view.
     
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Jun 12, 2013, 01:10 PM
 
Got a Google account? Have a tendency to leave it logged in? Take a look at https://history.google.com/history/
and see how far back it goes. I was blown away the first time I looked at that page. They have 3 years of my browsing history right now.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jun 12, 2013, 01:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Got a Google account? Have a tendency to leave it logged in? Take a look at https://history.google.com/history/
and see how far back it goes. I was blown away the first time I looked at that page. They have 3 years of my browsing history right now.
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Jun 12, 2013, 02:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Person Man View Post
Creepy may work, but this scares the living daylights out of me. Some of us DON'T WANT our every move tracked and recorded. And with Google glasses that can (and will) happen. Give us a way to control what information about ourselves gets shared and how it gets used, if at all. And give us a way to demand that anything saved about us gets deleted, IMMEDIATELY AND COMPLETELY, UPON REQUEST.

Convenience DOES NOT trump privacy, in my view.
Shit... don't log in, yo.

No one is going to force you to buy consumer electronics and wear them.

I'm not trying to be flip. What service do you need? We can make that happen without the Goog crawling up your ass.
     
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Jun 12, 2013, 03:50 PM
 
Is it really that obvious that if I have a YouTube account, and leave that logged in via a cookie because I regularly upload/comment on videos, Google has a near-complete overview of my entire web usage through Google Trackers?

I turned off my Google History a long time ago, but the fact that they do this by default, and I had to find out by pure coincidence, gives me the willies.
     
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Jun 12, 2013, 04:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
How's that for a trollish, link-bait title?

How he did it can be summed up in one word: thermonuclear.

Microsoft is a software company, Apple is a hardware company, Google is an information company.

Which of these models is the most forward-thinking?

Unless you can directly compete with this behemoth in its core competency, how good of an idea is it to nuke the bridge between the hardware your hardware company makes and useful information to go on it?
The problem is this is OVERSIMPLIFYING it. As simple as that. Google is MORE than an innformation company. All 3 companies own an OS. All 3 companies own hardware (although MS minimally). MS could also be called an information company, since it has Bing and XBL.

So they are all direct competitors who occassionally have some business dealing with their competition.
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Jun 12, 2013, 04:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Shit... don't log in, yo.

No one is going to force you to buy consumer electronics and wear them.

I'm not trying to be flip. What service do you need? We can make that happen without the Goog crawling up your ass.
That's not what bothers me. I already use Google as little as possible, and I will never buy Google Glass. What worries me is what might happen when others wear their Google Glasses and they see me. Google could potentially use facial recognition and then could potentially digitize my speech and add that to its database. Don't think it could happen? It very well could.

Give us a way to opt out. Or better yet, laws could be passed to properly protect our privacy. Something that probably won't happen anytime soon because A) Congress doesn't understand enough about it to take appropriate action, and B) Corporations like Google will see to it that they don't.

Just being realistic. It's not like I'm afraid to step outside.
     
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Jun 12, 2013, 05:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Person Man View Post
That's not what bothers me. I already use Google as little as possible, and I will never buy Google Glass. What worries me is what might happen when others wear their Google Glasses and they see me. Google could potentially use facial recognition and then could potentially digitize my speech and add that to its database. Don't think it could happen? It very well could.
Facebook tried something similar (automatic face-tagging in photos) a little while back, and they got SO shot down by European courts and had to drop the functionality.
     
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Jun 13, 2013, 07:05 AM
 
But I think 99 percent of people object on principle but really have nothing to worry about.

So long as your internet usage is licit you are not a spy/terrorist who cares if there is data on you accumulating in some database that no one looks at?
     
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Jun 13, 2013, 07:28 AM
 
"You'll be fine as long as you have nothing to hide." Yeah, right.

Originally Posted by Martin Niemoeller
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.
     
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Jun 13, 2013, 10:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
What service do you need? We can make that happen without the Goog crawling up your ass.
Does Google make a bluetooth enabled suppository that tells them what you like to eat yet? Quick! Patent that sucker before they have Samsung add it as a feature for the S5....
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jun 13, 2013, 10:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by Tiresias View Post
But I think 99 percent of people object on principle but really have nothing to worry about.

So long as your internet usage is licit you are not a spy/terrorist who cares if there is data on you accumulating in some database that no one looks at?
You should watch Caprica. We're all this close to becoming Cylons....
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Jun 13, 2013, 02:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post
The problem is this is OVERSIMPLIFYING it. As simple as that. Google is MORE than an innformation company. All 3 companies own an OS. All 3 companies own hardware (although MS minimally). MS could also be called an information company, since it has Bing and XBL.

So they are all direct competitors who occassionally have some business dealing with their competition.
So, do you honestly think bing! (fries are done!) and XBL put MS on even remotely the same plane as Google when it comes to information services?
     
subego  (op)
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Jun 13, 2013, 03:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Person Man View Post
Don't think it could happen? It very well could.
Not only do I think this can happen, I think it's a race to see who can do it first.

The only part where you're wrong is Google needing Glass to do it. You've spilled all the goods on your own.

I'm pretty sure I know your:

Gender
Occupation
Ethnic background
What you look like
What kind of women you're into

Google knows everything I know about you squared.


Of course, your ISP knows more about you than Google, but likely lacks the analysis ability.
     
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Jun 13, 2013, 05:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Tiresias View Post
But I think 99 percent of people object on principle but really have nothing to worry about.

So long as your internet usage is licit you are not a spy/terrorist who cares if there is data on you accumulating in some database that no one looks at?
If it exists, somebody, someday WILL look at it, and chances are extremely good that it won't be to my advantage, if not outright nefarious.

People may even mean well, but honestly, if you read some of the things Zuck and Eric Schmidt have said in public, you can't help but wonder what the **** is wrong with them. They're not even naïve. Just...creepy. Alien.
     
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Jun 14, 2013, 12:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
If it exists, somebody, someday WILL look at it, and chances are extremely good that it won't be to my advantage, if not outright nefarious.

People may even mean well, but honestly, if you read some of the things Zuck and Eric Schmidt have said in public, you can't help but wonder what the **** is wrong with them. They're not even naïve. Just...creepy. Alien.
Ok. I'm open-minded about this (prepared and willing to have my opinion changed) but I can't imagine how that would play out.

Can anyone give a practical example of how the phone and internet records of an average, law-abiding citizen could later be used to screw them over?

Suppose one day I make an enemy with access to that information. Fine. That is possible. But what can he or she do with it?

"The records prove that in 2013 you phoned your mother the day after her birthday. What a terrible son you are!"

"It appears that on June 4, 2013 under a YouTube video entitled "Worst Anthem Ever" you wrote the comment, 'It doesn't matter who's singing the American Anthem it sounds like shit because like every anthem on earth it's jingoistic schmaltz." This is very unAmerican."

And so on...

I mean really, I don't see how this stuff could be used to harm anyone. But maybe you can enlighten me.

And I understand get that—regardless of the threat—the principle of the thing may still upset people. But my reply would be PRISM is about using metadata (numbers, call durations) to look for terrorists and no one is listening to your phone calls and ya'll just need to calm down.

The NSA is trying to protect you!
     
subego  (op)
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Jun 14, 2013, 12:24 AM
 
PRISM snarfs the data from the Internet. It doesn't have anything to do with phone calls unless you're using VoIP.

/pedant
     
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Jun 14, 2013, 01:03 AM
 
^ Objection sustained.

Proceed.
     
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Jun 14, 2013, 01:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
So, do you honestly think bing! (fries are done!) and XBL put MS on even remotely the same plane as Google when it comes to information services?
No, but Azure (which has become a big business for Microsoft) has gained a lot of traction supporting cloud services. Unlike Amazon and Microsoft, Google has chosen not to rent out its expertise in cloud computing in the same way these two companies have (which could provide major revenue in addition/instead of advertising).

I agree with Leonard that you've oversimplified the whole situation and mischaracterized all three players. This just leads to the wrong kind of arguments from the start.
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subego  (op)
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Jun 14, 2013, 01:41 AM
 
Okay. Let's take each one.

Not counting Xbox, calling Microsoft a software company is a mischaracterization?
     
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Jun 14, 2013, 03:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Okay. Let's take each one.

Not counting Xbox, calling Microsoft a software company is a mischaracterization?
Not counting XBox or Microsoft's online services division is a mischaracterization. Those are billion dollar businesses for Microsoft, e. g. its Bing division is profitable for the first time. Microsoft has been in the free mail business before Google and Hotmail (now Outlook.com, I believe) has 360 million users.

Microsoft has started out as a software company, yes, but it's been in the internet service industry since at least 1996 (with Hotmail). It has its own search engine since ~1999 (started out as MSN search), although it has taken years to get appreciable market share. Bing has a market share of ~25 % in the US. And it has been in the entertainment business with XBox since 2001.

Although Microsoft's track record is in many cases mixed, they are persistent. It took them over 10 years to get appreciable market share in search. And not all divisions have always been profitable, but cross-financing in big companies is nothing new. Who cares if the Windows and Office divisions pay for long-term investments into new markets, Google is using its ad revenue to pay for its services after all (I doubt GMail sans ad revenue is a sustainable business). But it's hard to deny they have become important players in the market.

I suspect the reason why you're calling Microsoft a software and Apple a hardware company is because they derive the majority of their revenue from the sale of software licenses and shiny objects mostly made of aluminum and glass. Am I correct on that? But by that reasoning, Google would not be an internet services company, it would be an advertisement company (> 90 % of Google's revenue comes from its ad business).
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Jun 14, 2013, 05:28 AM
 
Microsoft also made the Zune and the Kin and the Surface.

Apple makes its MONEY from hardware, but the hardware would be worthless if Apple wasn't primarily a software company.
     
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Jun 14, 2013, 05:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Microsoft also made the Zune and the Kin and the Surface.
Yes, exactly. I believe they're really serious about improving their integration.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Apple makes its MONEY from hardware, but the hardware would be worthless if Apple wasn't primarily a software company.
Yup. They're also offering services (very big services) which have only recently begun to be a leg on Apple's revenue and profit stool: the iTunes Music Store makes a lot of money now, but AFAIK the App Store (another very big service Apple operates) still only makes a marginal amount of money.

The New Economy (1995 wants their buzzword back!) operates under different rules where product a product does not have to be a mean to the end of making money, but where you offset the costs of developing and operating the service/product by another source of income. So I don't think the »making money on a product« argument is as important as it is in the Old Economy. But even there, making money does not necessarily change the nature of the beast: even though for years, GM was losing money hand over fist making cars, it was still widely considered a car company. Google makes >90 % of its revenue selling and placing ads, and its services are mostly meant to just drive traffic to its sites. This characterization, for instance, is crucial when one wants to understand the relationship between Google and »traditional media« (whose ad revenue has gone down significantly).
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