The Unbridled Pragmatist
smart enough to know how dumb we are

Ride the Horse that Brought You

“Google her” I told my buddy when he asked me what I thought about a romantic prospect he was pursuing.  What may have sounded stalker-ish a few years ago is very commonplace now; even UP readers can admit to some googling of potential mates.  This particular google search did not unearth anything juicy, but the act of googling someone to mine information is enough to get me thinking.

Google has become the Internets monolith; the Standard Oil of the new millennium.  Not everyone is comfortable with this, especially as the prospect of centralized search records and personalized advertising possibilities come further into reality.  My personal take is somewhere in the middle (hence the pragmatist in the title).  The options afforded by Google are too useful pass up.  Conversely, I certainly do not want every search I perform to end up on some mammoth server that could one day be subpoenaed by a government agency.  In The Search by John Battele he argues that intent drives search; I must say occasionally I have intentions I do not need the rest of the world, or any watchful eyes of Big Brother, knowing about.  Everyone does, it is simply human nature.  Do you think Suzie Housewife wants her husband to know she has been googling “Pleasantville Divorce Attorneys“?

My recourse?  I will continue to use Google services of search, maps, news, etc however I will combat the potential invasions of privacy using the only power I have; refusing to use there more personalized services.  When I give out my email address and folks see it ends in yahoo.com I often receive a look that borders between condescension and disgust.  Obviously Yahoo is another Internet giant, although not the behemoth its Silicon Valley neighbor Google has become.  Further Yahoo is not my search engine of choice; creating a discrepancy between personalized services with Yahoo (email, personal information, shoe size) and search functions I perform on Google (concerts, news, gossip) that will hopefully keep my digital preferences away from the prying eyes of advertisers and whoever else may exist in Al Gore’s internet.

There is an old saying that you ride the horse that brought you.  Yahoo has been good to me for more than 5 years and I will remain loyal in my personal services.  So keep giving me dirty looks when I give my email address; I appreciate them.

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One Response to “Ride the Horse that Brought You”

  1. Seeing how you’re on pins and needles, waiting for my reply 😉 (no seriously, you can’t sleep at night )…

    I’m curious about what you mean by this:

    “In The Search by John Battele he argues that intent drives search; I must say occasionally I have intentions I do not need the rest of the world, or any watchful eyes of Big Brother, knowing about.”

    Okay, come clean, JP. You were included in that Marilyn Monroe nude pic search Professor Graff mentioned last night, weren’t ya? Just admit it. It’s fine really. You are redblooded and male afterall.

    But actually, as I read your post, I thought about my own (grammatical redundancy I know. Did I learn nothing from that workshop) occasionally ify search habits. I think mood drives intent. When I’m happy I google topics that feed that feeling; the same goes for when I’m feeling angry, hurt, amorous, etc. So yeah, I wouldn’t want big or little brother watching. If you are as impulsive as I am, you sort of mindlessly act on emotion. That can be either a dangerous or just plain embrassing thing. Anyway, what happened after your friend googled his date? Anything colorful–like images of her in sequined chaps and a pink feather boa? Come on man, don’t leave us hangin’. I wanna know.
    Seriously, thanks again for the brain food.

    PS And whatever (that workshop lady is really coming after me now). Ignore those player haters. Yahoo! rules. Google drools. Okay, off to do something meaningful before Count Cheese no-more zaps me with his ultra-violet rays.


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