Google, You Creepy Sonofabitch

I recently wrote a post about Facebook being a needy sonofabitch. They desperately try to get you there, and once they have you they do all they can to keep you there. It’s like a restaurant that bombards your doorstep with flyers until you finally pay it a visit. Once you go there, they lock the doors from the outside and begin force-feeding you from the buffet.

But ultimately, Facebook is a place you go to. You can decide whether you want to visit the restaurant, or just continue throwing their flyers in the recycling bin alongside the coupon-stuffed weekly circulars and junk mail.

Google is equally needy, but feels a lot more insidious than Facebook. Unlike Facebook, Google isn’t just a place you go. It’s built into the infrastructure of your life. It’s your house. It’s the roads and sidewalks you travel on. Google is a lot more infrastructural than Facebook, which is why breaches of trust feel a lot weirder and scarier.

It’s creepy as shit to sit down at a local restaurant and immediately see this:

Google notification: Noodlehead reviews and photos

And then as soon as you depart, see this:

Google notification: Rate your visit, help others visiting Noodlehead know what to expect.

Take a photo, and immediately see this:

Google notification: inspire other travels, add your photos to Google Maps.

This behavior makes me want to take my phone and throw it in a river. I’m not alone in this. A few friends made earnest efforts to switch over to Android, only to quickly return their devices after being totally creeped out.

I’m not a crazy, paranoid, security nerd kind of person. Although I probably should be. I guess I’m just saying that people shouldn’t feel like their every movement is being tracked by the company that makes the phone’s software. Actually, let me rephrase that: I guess I’m just saying that people shouldn’t have their every movement tracked by the company that makes the phone’s software. That seems like a reasonable request.

And holy smokes, Google, if you’re going to keep doing this, maybe try not to sound like complete robots:

Google notification: answer quick questions about Feng Japanese Steak House, we need some human help

Jesus Christ. What’s a better way to aleviate people’s concerns about the forthcoming robot takeover than to say “We need some human help” with some stupid emoji in a feeble attempt to soften the blow.