“What happens when you take a reasonable time span of search data—say 20 years, associate it with the education, leisure, pleasure and work search queries of individuals, and pool it with a collective/legal entity such as a company? How about your company?” That’s what search engines like Google are doing right now: assembling a mounting corpus of data on all individuals and companies. And of course, by the same token, individuals within those companies.
The original reasons are to provide better services to the user and better targeting to advertisers but, in general, little thought is given to what kind of advantage this can or could turn into. “[W]hat happens when Google knows more about Apple employees than Apple knows about them? And given that Apple knows this, how does one force Apple to change its creative process?”
What happens when this omniscient warden of digital information (and the all-too-human people behind it) is ‘present’ at the inception of Nobel prize winning research? Or the structuring of a class action suit? Or a product recall? When a person searches for insurance-policy-altering illnesses?
“With apologies to Alan Kay: the best way to predict the future may be to invent it, but the easiest way to predict the future is, simply to predict it, and keep tabs on those who are inventing it.
Right now Google’s keeping tabs on itself.”