Dear James Gleick,
After reading your article, “How Google Dominates Us,” I know that I am guilty of using the Internet without consciously realizing that I am selling my information for free. Companies like Google have created policies that allow them to gather information about their users and advantage of that new knowledge. “Google—monitoring its users’ behavior so systematically—had instant knowledge of which ads were succeeding and which were not” (How Google Dominates Us). With this information Google is able to create data to send to advertising companies, which ultimately helps them create better advertisements. Google is making a large profit off of their users and most of them are unaware of this matter. Yes, it’s true that if we don’t want to be tracked we can opt out, but many users don’t know how to do this. This technique that Google chooses to use with their consumers reminded me of an intelligence agent. “The intelligence agent in the broadest sense of the word is concerned with gathering and analyzing information for the immediate or near-term benefit of others” (Koehler, Lester). Google’s practices are almost the exact same characteristics this type of profession yet they allow a database instead of a person, to conduct their research.
One downside of sharing personal information on Facebook, or other social networking sites is the fact that what you say on the Internet will be stored forever. “The Library of Congress is archiving all tweets, presumably for eternity, a fact that should enter the awareness of teenagers, if not members of Congress” (How Google Dominates Us). I think it’s very crucial, especially for our generation to understand that what we put on the Internet can truly affect our future. Often times we don’t think that posting an offensive word or bad-mouthing a certain person will affect us in the future. Yet, today it is very common for employers and colleges to look into your social networking sites and read things that you’ve previously posted.
James Gleick (2011). “How Google Dominates Us.” The New York Review of Books.