Organizing The World’s Information

Of all the big tech companies, it’s somehow Google that creeps me out the most.

Google’s not like the other companies. Where Twitter is just dumb, Amazon just wants to rule the world, Facebook just feels like a cartoon villain and Apple just wants to sell expensive trinkets, Google feels harder to understand. It doesn’t seem to have any clear purpose.

Luckily for us, Google has a public mission statement; the company’s purpose is to "organize the world's information". And actually, they do a pretty darn good job at it.

Remember back when encountering a new word meant that you’d need to open a dictionary and painstakingly look the word up? Now you just type it into Google. And the same happens for new concepts; instead of cracking open Encyclopedia Britannica, you’ll use Google to search through Wikipedia. Hell, for programmers, our job basically involves using Google to find code on Stack Overflow and GitHub, then copying and and pasting that code and getting paid for it.

So unquestionably, Google does a great job at organizing the world’s information – and at “making it universally accessible and useful” – the second part of its mission statement.

But wait a minute… what information is Google making universally accessible and useful? That’s hard to know. But it stands to reason that Google can only make information accessible that it has access to. And well, since you asked…

Do you or your contacts have a gmail account? Then Google reads your email.

Do you or your friends have an Android phone? Then Google sees your photos and listens to your calls.

Do you ever google things that you’d rather keep to yourself? Google never forgets.

Do you have a Google Home?

Is that Google Home near the bedroom?

Well to be fair, even if it is, it’s probably not the only microphone in your bedroom. There’s a good chance that Apple or Amazon are listening in too. But somehow, Google still creeps me out more.

After all, Apple and Amazon just want to sell you more stuff. But despite Google’s mission statement, or maybe because of it, I still don’t know what Google wants.

All I know is that I can’t live without it.