Thursday, May 16, 2013

The "leaked" scroogled commercial and why Microsoft can shove it. [Editorial]

Okay, so here's the deal. It seems that either yesterday or a few days ago a new "Scroogled" commercial was "leaked" by Microsoft and is making its way around the interwebs. If you haven't seen it yet, waste 61 seconds of your life right here:

If you read my blog, odds are you're already a techie but with the off chance that you're not, here's why this commercial is complete garbage and Microsoft needs to go somewhere and feel ashamed of themselves and anyone that believes the things shown in this commercial are legitimate arguments should immediately surrender their Google account and stop using all Google services.

Google provides all of their services for free, there are almost none of their services that they ask for a monetary exchange for their service. There are products that you have to pay for, particularly in the Play Store but 90% of the reason for that is that they have to appease the content providers and don't want to subsidize everything. Generally speaking, their services and even a lot of the things that they sell are sold at cost or lower. So why in the living hell would you feel like they're robbing you when they ask to put ads on things and collect your search data? I'm not sure if you realize this but Google is a massive company employing a lot of very intelligent people and intelligent people are very expensive. They can't pay those people in hope or will power, it's all about the cash money. Lets just take a moment to go over some of the services and products that they provide for free and are used every day and are very expensive to maintain, by the way.

  • Google's Search Engine: Any time you search for something on Google, they are providing you a service by narrowing the internet down from billions of places to look for the information you need to a couple hundred at most. This is generally where they make their money. They put ads in the margins and they collect data about your searching habits to make your ads better targeted.
  • YouTube: Many people don't realize it but Google has owned YouTube for about 5 years. They host all of your cat videos on their servers and all they ask for in return is your searching habits and occasionally putting an advertisement up before the video. (are you starting to see a pattern?)
  • Google Chrome: Google created the most powerful and clean internet browser in the world as well as syncing all of the information useful to you such as bookmarks, search history, and open tabs between devices. All they ask for in return is your search habits. 
  • Gmail: Um, Hello? It's a free email service available to everyone and I'm willing to wager that at least 70% of the people reading this have at least one Gmail account. And you know what else? They actually respect your privacy when it comes to your emails. You can give them permission to scan your emails for information regarding package information and flight tickets to give you information in Google Now but for the most part they just put ads in your view on Gmail.

  • Google Now: Google Now is actually the realization of the information collected by Google being repackaged to benefit you as the user. They take the information that they've been collecting about you all of these years and give you information that they think you would be interested in. If you search for Lakers scores then Google Now will show you Lakers scores without you having to search for them. If you search for Joe Flacco, Google Now will show you articles regarding him being signed on the largest contract in NFL history. This is a fairly simple product but it actually is the complete reason you should let Google have your information, they're using it to help you without you even realizing it.
  • Google+/Hangouts: This one is a bit niche because I realize a lot of people don't use Google+ and might not even know what Hangouts is. They provide an entire social network (awesome social network) and Hangouts is a video chat service which can be integrated with YouTube to live stream the video chat to make it into an interactive podcast. All they ask for is your posting habits.
  • Google Maps: If it isn't official, it will be soon that Google Maps is the most complex and amazing online maps application of all time. Their newest update is going to merge with Google Earth and allow users to see real time images of the earth in orbit. It's actually quite miraculous. All they ask for in return is logging the places you search for.
  • Google Play Music: In case you didn't know, Google Play Music is actually a really impressive service that I'm willing to bet a lot of people don't take full advantage of or don't even know exists. Google Play Music allows you to store up to 20,000 songs of your own music on their servers to be streamed to any of your devices (android or otherwise) at the touch of your finger. Since they sell music in the Play Store they save space in their servers by matching any of the music that you upload with their versions and allow you to stream them at the highest available bit rate for free. Apple charges for this exact service under the name "Music Match." While it isn't free, Google has recently added a subscription service to allow users to stream any song in their selection any time and even save some songs locally for $7.99 per month ($2.00 less than Spotify charges for the same service, plus they let you listen to your own music still, as well). All they care about is your music listening habits.
  • Google Wallet: This service is a bit niche also. For most people it's just the way they pay for apps on their android devices but it's much more than that. They made deals with credit card companies to act as a middle man for all of your transactions so you can use your phone as your credit card. I literally go to CVS and swipe my phone across the pay terminal on a regular basis and blow the clerk's mind hole every time. Additionally, they are a paypal type service to act as a trusted payment method on websites that you would rather not give your payment information to. All Google cares about is the places that you shop.
  • Google Voice: Another fairly niche service but it's extremely helpful when you're in a tight spot with no cell service and only WiFi connection. Google voice supply you with a local phone number and let you send and receive text messages as well as make phone calls with it over WiFi. They will also save and transcribe any voice messages you get via Google Voice and if you care to implement it, they can even do the same thing for your cell carrier's voice mailbox. I'm not really sure what information they gain from this service, maybe the people you contact the most?

At the end of the day, you're taking advantage of at least one of these services regularly and you more than likely have never paid Google a single dime. The least you can do is respect the fact that they are providing these services to you with no cost to you as the user and let them just have your searching data. I've come to realize while writing this article the vast amount of information that I provide Google with and how my privacy may occasionally be invaded upon but then I remember how Google doesn't really care about my information as an individual and more as another piece of data and I'm more comforted. The take away here is that Microsoft is completely off base by trying to get users scared and angry at Google because they monetize your searching data... they're just mad that they can't do it as well as Google does.