And what have we opened?
So where are we? We have an 800 pound gorilla named Google that dominates Internet search. They process over 92.4% of Internet searches and they have a huge pile of servers and storage for all the data they are collecting. Now what?
Well they already know what everyone is searching for but they do not know what they are emailing each other or what they are storing on their computers. Why not buy some more servers and a bunch of hard drives and offer them to Internet users for free?
To this point, email was connected to a program on your computer. Who remembers Eudora? Or maybe your ISP (example:XYZ@aol.com)? Email is still considered to be a killer app but Google made it way better because they made it portable.
When Google introduced GMail they made email accessible to everyone. I no longer had to login to my email from my computer, I could do it from any computer, and it was free! I was lucky enough to get an invite to the early release of Gmail that included 1GB of online storage in Google’s cloud for free!
Wow! I was living in a world where ISPs charged me by the minute to access the Internet and all the applications I used were on my huge state of the art tower computer at home with a 60GB hard drive. Google was offering email and 1 Gb of storage accessible from any Internet connected computer, for free!
Surely there must be a catch?
Turns out there was one, a big one that opened up Pandora’s box. All I needed to do to get all this free stuff was click a button that said “I agree”. If I had known that every search, email, document & file I have made since I clicked that button back in 2005 was going to end up in the possession of Google I might have stuck it out with my huge tower computer.
Isn’t possession nine-tenths of the law? So who owns me now? Google? Ironically I bet if I had a lawyer go over the Google terms of service I agreed to all those years ago, I bet it is true, Google really does own me, or at least the digital version of me.
Now it’s me that is wishing I had Marty McFly’s DeLorean time machine so I could go back and stop myself from clicking that button all those years ago.