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Beefs with Google

Here’s a partial list of reasons I’d like to stop using Google.

They’re huge

Any single tech company controlling so much of our internet experience would be a bad thing. Even if they’ve got the kindest, wisest leadership executing the most honorable mission, they’re just a change in leadership (or mission) away from wielding a ton of power in a disturbing way.

And speaking of that mission …

They’re evil-curious

Google’s famous “Don’t be evil” mantra is no longer in place.

They don’t protect your data

The data Google holds is extremely personal and precious—contacts, calendar, messages, searches, and location history. How do they take care of it?

Well, here’s a disturbing article about how Google continues to track trips to abortion clinics after explicitly saying they’d delete such data.

For over a decade they scanned your email for ad targeting purposes.

They shared data with the NSA, without admitting it.

And now that they’re building large language models to compete with ChatGPT, will they use some of your data for training? Maybe not! But what’s to stop them? After all …

They fire people who do good work

Not just Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell. People I known personally have also gotten fired for challenging leadership, or questioning the ethics or utility of a project.

Have you noticed? Searches that used to turn up useful results now give a page full of ads, shitty SEO-optimized blog posts that don’t answer your question, and links to products you don’t want.

The search algorithm, and the experience on the search results page, are under Google’s direct control. But even the profusion of shitty website content is their fault, since it was created to game their algorithm.

They encourage grift

In fact they rely on it to survive. Google Ads are of questionable value, but that doesn’t stop thousands of partner agencies from bilking hundreds of billions of dollars a year from businesses. (For a quick explainer on how ads can look profitable, but not actually be profitable, watch this 2 minute video on the Parable of the Pizzeria.)

They kill products people love

All the time. This is probably the most common beef with Google. For a full list, check out killedbygoogle.com.

They make shitty products

Looking at you, GA4. I use this on a daily basis with clients and it is junk. Buggy, laggy, crashes, lacks important features.

See also: AMP.

They’re so very hard to remove from your life

To a certain type of self-punishing nerd (me), this is a reason in itself. What happens when you decide to stop using Google services? Lots of people have struggled. But that won’t stop me from trying.

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    © 2023 Brian David Hall