Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Fans Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.
You may have heard: I have a Droid Maxx. The hardware is from Motorola, and the software is from Google. I get apps from the Google Play store, I sign in to Google Chrome, I use gmail. Everything I do goes through Google. The fact that I can go on my phone and find a web page I was looking at on my desktop computer that day means that information is being saved somewhere.
A lot of people are uneasy with the idea of a company like Google knowing about all of your browsing habits and handling your emails and all that jazz. I'm not, and I don't really think anyone should be.
The last thing I'm going to do on this blog is get political, so we're just going to skirt around whether or not Google is ethical and just focus on what the result is for the end user.
That end result, for most people, is that you can conveniently access your same personal data from multiple devices, and advertisements are more likely to be for something you actually want. That's pretty much it. Yes, Google is storing a lot of your personal data somewhere. If we're just accepting that this is happening, then it might as well be in the hands of perhaps the most powerful information entity on the internet.
I noticed just how far-reaching this can be while I was with my family over the holidays. My Droid popped up a notification while I was at my parents' house, just letting me know how far away I was from home, and long it would take me to get back in current traffic. That's Jetsons-level ambition from a phone, which is cool, but the other side of that is that my phone knows where my house is, and is regulary comparing that location to its current coordinates.
Is Google logging that sort of data? Maybe. I'm not sure what they would use it for, but it's possible that it's being kept somewhere. And I'm fine with that, because I'm not really going to get freaked out if an incredibly powerful information company knows thata I went to Primanti's for dinner the other night.
I would say I don't really care about being watched because I'm not doing anything worth hiding, but I understand that's a bullet point on one side of some political issue, and talking about politics on the internet is maybe the least fun thing humanity has ever done, and we had the Great Depression once. Instead I'll just say that yinz take things too seriously sometimes.
There are two sides to every coin, and while the police can track your location via the GPS in your cell phone, so can ambulences and stuff. Most technology helps people more than it hurts them, and I'm in the group that really just appreciates how convenient everything is because of it. So rather than panic because my phone knows where I am, I prefer to react with something like, "Hey, that's helpful. Thanks, phone!" (which is a real thing I have said to my phone more than once).
It's just about 2014. We have technology bordering on magic. Let's enjoy it.