Marcel at Monday Evening today has written possibly one of the most important posts that I have read for some time.
Google grew and profited because it was useful. It made finding stuff on the web easier, it made email easier, and it made a good rss feed reader. Then Google became a threat to privacy, or people like me who should have known finally saw the threat they had always been. So using Google became a tradeoff, but I was usually willing to accept it because Google made things easier.
Their search results page is increasingly crufty, and I have to watch that they aren’t “customizing” the results just for me. I use DuckDuckGo whenever I can, then Bing, and then Google search if I must. …
I was not even aware of DuckDuckGo, but I tried it out this evening and the results were no worse than Google’s, and probably a bit better. And at least they aren’t fiddling with the results to show me what some wretched algorithm imagines I wanted to see last time I searched, as Google is.
The privacy concerns are real, and I worry about them more.
And yes, Google is getting very careless.
I don’t like the new Google Mail interface, so I am using the old one, and putting up with the nagging. I don’t like the new Google Groups interface — the first version, indeed, was buggy and didn’t even allow you to search! — and have stuck with the old one and, of course, the nagging. I don’t really like Google Reader’s interface, although I can live with it.
I don’t like the way that I can’t even find some things any more in the main search engine. I don’t like the way that they broke the Google groups search, and barely bother to fix it. It’s often broken, and slothfully repaired. I hate the Google Books searches, which are so bad that it is often better to find books through Archive.org.
You know, Marcel has a point.
I’m not anti-Google. I remember loathing directed at IBM, when it was dominant. When IBM’s star waned, and that of Microsoft rose, somehow Big Blue became cuddly, while Micro$oft became the Great Satan. Now it’s Google’s turn. Such opposition is not meaningful.
But Google are getting lazy and sloppy. And … now they don’t subscribe to their old motto, “Don’t be evil” … how far can we trust them with all our data?