Five stages in dealing with Google's control of your data
There's plenty of serious analysis going on about Google assembling all your data (and using it to improve your experience across devices). This is going to make Google stickier and harder to live without, ramp up the pressures on how they expose controls on data collection and use, and increase the seriousness of possible data breaches.
But most of all, it's raised everyone's consciousness about just how much data Google collects, and made us wonder if we should be worried.
- Denial. Wait a minute, Google. You're customizing search results based on my queries about erectile dysfunction? You read my gmails and are offering me vacations in Tijuana and criminal defense lawyers? My social security number is in some of those emails. You won't use that, will you?
- Anger. How can I stop using these indispensable Google tools? Everybody already knows my gmail address, I'm lost without Google maps on my iPhone, and I gave up my newspaper subscription for Google News. Untangling this will destroy my productivity. I hate you but you're so useful I can't live without you. Dammit, Google, how could you do this to me?
- Bargaining. Let me see your privacy controls. I guess I could turn personalization off on some of those searches I did for untraceable poisons. I'll tell you what, let's just hold onto the last three months data, then I'll feel better. And if you promise you won't boost your Google Plus search results over Twitter, we'll be fine. I guess. Let me try this for a while and see if it bothers me. Just promise me you'll let me opt out and delete everything later. And don't tell my wife. OK?
- Depression. I guess I'm stuck. My choices are to give up Google, spend hours tweaking privacy settings, or just live with you knowing everything about me. I'm just going to curl up and stop clicking and tapping now. I have no friends in real life and my wife already left me since I spend all my time on the smartphone. This has gone far enough. Right this second, I'm googling how to give up your devices. Oops! Damn!
- Acceptance. I admit it. I can't live without you. I love you more than anything else in my life. Just collect everything. I guess I trust you. I can live with this. You're a good friend and helper to me, and all you need is data I don't use much anyway. What the heck. Go with it. I feel so much better now.
Photo "Angel of Grief" by Konrad Summers via Flickr.