MonthFebruary 2011

Can You Trust Google? Why Take a Chance?

Google is the dominant search engine in the world right now, as everyone on the Internet surely knows. Their offerings go well beyond search engines though. You could live your entire digital life using only google products, and basically suffer no loss of productivity. They have Gmail, Google Docs, Google Reader, Google Goggles on Android (great app), and many more wonderful services/applications that I love to use. And their search engine results are typically very good. So good in fact that Bing copies Google’s search results.

I was not an early adopter of Google. In my early Internet days, I used Infoseek, because that’s the only search engine I was aware of, thanks to my dad telling me about it. Then during middle school I became aware of Yahoo, which most of my friends were using. I liked it, and stuck with Yahoo through my first year in college, even to the point of getting a Yahoo email address. I heard of Google in high school, but I didn’t start using it until later because if it ain’t broke, you don’t have to go fix it.

But Yahoo was sort of bloated. I liked Google’s clean interface. You go to Google.com, and you get an all-business search engine. Gradually over the years I’ve become Google-dependent. I used Gmail for all of my email correspondence until very recently. I’ve used Google Docs at school to work collaboratively with others. I use an Android phone, the great HTC Evo 4G. I love a lot of what Google does.

However, there are things I don’t love about Google. They’re very good at profiling you and targeting ads to you. Based on the contents of your Google searches and the contents of your emails, you receive targeted advertisements. I don’t like anyone knowing my habits and interests that well. I’m not saying someone is sitting around at Google reading through my Gmail, but it is obvious that they are matching key words or something.

Another thing to be aware of about Google: They have political opinions and objectives. This isn’t wrong, almost all corporations are influenced by or are influencers of government policies. I’m not going to get into what Google is all about politically, but they do have positions and take actions based on those positions.

Do you want a better, more secure, more private search engine? Give Duckduckgo a try. I’ve been using it almost exclusively for several months now. It’s great.  Also, their !Bang feature is awesome and extremely useful.

Click this link for a detailed explanation of why Duckduckgo is more private than Google.

Duckduckgo also has an official iPhone and iPad application and an official Android app is in the works. Until the official Android application arrives, there is an unofficial one that is pretty good.

I don’t think Google is evil or conspiratorial. I just don’t feel like being tracked that closely. I’m moving away from Gmail, and I use the superior (for my needs) Duckduckgo for my search engine. You should too.

Are you concerned about what Google knows about you? Well, they only know the information you give them. Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Let me know below.

January Site Statistics

What do you do when it’s 2 degrees outside and the roads are impassable due to yesterday’s blizzard?  Drink some Earl Grey and post your blog stats.  This is my second post on site statistics, this time for the period between 1/1/2011 and 1/31/2011.  During this period I had 1,523 visits from 80 countries and territories.  I’m averaging about 30 visits per day now on days that I haven’t posted articles about Linux.

Once again, the post that received the most attention was one about Linux, this time my review of Saline Linux, which accounts for 1,029 of my visits this month.

Linux users account for 56.8% of my visitors, whereas Windows users account for 34.14% this month.  Firefox and Chrome are still dominant browser wise at 696 and 447 visitors respectively, with Internet Explorer limpint in at 118, and my favorite browser Opera in fourth place with 95 users.

I met my goal of beating the previous month’s visitor totals, although not by a wide margin.  Here is a table summarizing my site statistics for the last two months.

Site Statistics

So it looks like I need to keep writing about Linux.  And fortunately, I’ve got an idea about to come down the pike in another week or so which should draw some readership.  Still don’t have Google Adwords/Adsense/Adwhatever setup, but I’m not hugely worried about it.

Apparently social media is almost a non-factor in drawing people to my site.  I think on Facebook this is because I only have 4 fans on my fanpage.  It’s even worse on Twitter, where I can’t even average one click per day.  I’m going to have to work on this.

Fan me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

Have a good one.

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