The Google syndrome

The search engine is here to stay and encroach on every aspect of our lives as its competitors are lacking viable alternatives.

Published: 26th May 2013 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th May 2013 12:10 PM   |  A+A-


In our day-to-day tech lives we come into contact with many technology companies. While most of these companies don’t evoke any emotions in us, some of the major players elicit some strong reactions from the users. I absolutely love Apple, Amazon and Dropbox. I absolutely loathe some companies though in the interest of propriety I won’t name them. For both this love and hate I have strong reasons. When it comes to Google though, I was really conflicted about my relationship with the company. As I watched last week’s keynote presentation at the beginning of Google I/O, the company’s developer conference, I realised that I loved the search giant. I love Google the same way the kidnapped love their kidnapper. My love for Google is the tech equivalent of Stockholm syndrome.

To understand this, you need to find your way to the full video of the keynote presentation on YouTube. At three-and-a-half hours, it is one of the biggest keynotes that you would have seen from any technology company in a while. And those three-odd hours are not spent on cheap broadway productions like Samsung’s at the Galaxy S4 launch. All those hours are used to either launch new products or to upgrade existing products. So we saw the introduction of a music service called Google Play Music All Access, a cross platform messaging application called Hangouts, an app store for kids called Google Play for Education, a new game service for Android, an upgraded search engine with voice input, an upgrade to Google Now, a completely revamped Google Maps, a revamp of the social network Google Plus and many other features. While this vast range of products brings to mind vintage Microsoft, the new Google is much more than Microsoft ever was. If you look at all the products that have been talked about, and all those it did not talk about like Google Glass and about the products that are coming in the future like automated cars, you will understand the true scope of Google’s ambition.

If information is power, just imagine the kind of power that Google has with the amount of information it collects from all these products. Just imagine what kind of information the company collects every day from billions of searches, 900 million-odd Android phones, map searches, billions of emails being sent on Gmail, all the photos being uploaded to Google Plus, all the files being uploaded to Google Drive, all the messages sent on Hangouts and the list keeps going on. The worst part of this Google’s rise as a technological empire is that we don’t have viable alternatives for many of those products. For search, for email, for maps, and for many other Google products, there is no competitor that is worth talking about, and so no choice for us consumers.

As the next billion people get on the smartphone bandwagon, they will be introduced to the charms of the Internet through Google and its services. A whole new generation will grow up whose idea of Internet will only be Google. The key impression that I took away from the keynote is that Google is here to stay. Not just stay but to encroach on every aspect of our technological lives. While its competitors are struggling to make viable alternatives, it will become more difficult to compete as Google gets more and more entrenched. In the end in a world dominated by Google we will all love Google. Because we will have no other choice.

 The writer is a tech geek.


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