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.