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May 13, 2011

Google Introduces New Computer-Like Object, Where Everything Happens On the Web

Cloud computing -- it all happens elsewhere. Computations are made in some server farm, then the results are beamed to your computer. You save everything somewhere else.

Downside? Well, it's Google, so that means Google gets to see all of your stuff.

I tell you this is a weird situation that people don't really appreciate the full weirdness of. And by "people," I include myself, because I keep being surprised to learn, for example, that the feds can look at your web-based email without warrant so long as it's more than six months old.

Google is voracious as far as personal information. I don't think I'm overstating it by too much when I call Google the largest private espionage organization in history. And if they're not engaged in actual espionage frequently, that's only because they lack the will and it doesn't fit the business model, not that they lack the capability.

The next step is to not merely trust your email to this company but all of your documents, pictures, downloads, songs, and viewing history too.

Benefit? It's a neat idea.

Drawback? Do you feel lucky?

Another drawback, underscored by AllahPundit: you'd think that since you're not getting real computer here, just a monitor, a video display chip, and a web connection, you should only be paying a small amount of money for it.

In fact, you're paying less than you would for a real computer, but not really all that much less.

There's an odd thing happening. Something that David Cronenberg should be making a movie about. We are, weirdly, becoming unconcerned with privacy and more tolerant of exposure.

The former head of Google even said if you don't want to be embarrassed by invasions of privacy, just don't do anything embarrassing.

Insidiously -- without many noticing or taking stock of the situation, because it just happens step by step and it's so convenient to just go with it -- the Machine is adapting our psychology so we can better interface with it. Sure, the Machine is adapting too, but the Machine is supposed to adapt to us.

But it's adapting us just as much.

The Machine likes central processing and everything in the world being recorded in binary code and doesn't like secrets; the Machine is conditioning us step-by-step to accept its preferred paradigm of the world.

For some reason, whenever I read this kind of story, I think about the so-so meh movie Sneakers, all about a super-ultra-codebreaking chip that will instantly render all encryption useless.

"Too Many Secrets," the chip's inventor leaves behind as a code/suicide note (at 1:30).

Well, maybe "Too Many Secrets," but who is Google to judge?

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posted by Ace at 06:53 PM

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