Google_worldA few weeks ago, we published a blog about some of Google’s newest applications; a few days ago, we published a blog on Google’s Personalized and Real Time Searches. Now, as optimizers, we often pay more attention to things that effect how we do SEO instead of what else is going on. However, we came across a video link that was a little amusing and a lot shocking.

Google World Domination is based around a prediction that Google will run the world by 2014. There’s even a countdown to “doomsday”. When you read the page and watch the video, it seems like a conspiracy theory. We wanted to see where it was going and started clicking links.

An article in Computer World, What Google Knows About You, gives amazing insight into just how much Google might be picking up from our Internet habits. A must read for anyone concerned with privacy, the first four paragraphs alone cover six commonly-used Google applications (Gmail, YouTube and Google Voice are just a few) that help in collecting personal information.

Just how much does Google own now? Search “Google products and applications”…

Now, Wikipedia isn’t known to be a perfect resource, but if the list of Google products is even half-right, they’ve been extremely busy. While we’ve been gleefully downloading new, free applications from Google that make our lives easier, we’ve been signing away our private information. Depending on the number of Google apps you have, you may be giving away the bank, your doctor, your schedule and your friends.

In the video on Google Domination, it talks about the degeneration of true news sources; thanks to the Internet, everyone can be a reporter – anyone, with any views. The news is left without such things as journalism ethics, truth, etc…

“The face of journalism is not just changing; it has changed…Now we have digital voice recorders, video cameras, and cell phones. We can research stories in seconds, thanks to Google and online archives.” Curator Magazine (Feb 2009)

“Twenty years ago CNN’s coverage of Tienanmen Square made its reputation. If in twenty more years it has become consensus that real-time, online, crowdsourced media is the best place to keep up with current events, this incident could be an important part of that history unfolding.” The New York Times (June 2009)

“Remember: that’s not what Twitter’s purpose is, to be a journalistic mainstay. It’s for information sharing, not confirmation; we need to recognize the bridge between the two.” – Could Twitter Save Real Journalism? (July 2009)

“Twitter is now emerging as the fastest place to get breaking news alerts. Even Facebook status updates are faster than print media. There’s simply no place for reporting in newspapers and magazines anymore. By the time they report on “news” it is already stale.”High Talk (December 2009)

“Mangudadatu was warned that if he filed his certificate of candidacy, he would be killed. So he sent his wife and two sisters, along with female lawyers and 30 journalists. He believed his rival would not attack women. He believed journalists would be safe. He was wrong.

As we journalists were confirming exactly what happened that dreadful Monday, a citizen journalist – whom we call a patroller – emailed us three times, first at 3:47 pm, again at 3:58 pm and finally at 8:48 pm.” @amanpourcnn The Future of Journalism (December 2009)

Maria A. Ressa, head of ABS CBN news and Current Affairs

This blending of real news and opinionated commentary is supposed to happen in 2014; if you visit Google Labs, where they talk about (all?) their current experiments, it’s easy to see that Google doesn’t care about any countdown. They’re starting four years early.

Welcome to Living Stories – the beginning of EPIC (watch the video!), where news is taken from news sites (by computers), edited for readability (by computers), and sent to your desktop for personalized news the way you want it. Yes, it’s a blending of Google, New York Times and the Washington Post, but the comparison between the video and Living Stories is eerie.

We aren’t the first to see something more than an “exciting” new way to read the news:

“So, put the ideas behind Wave and the ideas behind The Living Story together, and you get a glimpse of where we might be going. News as a continuous rolling event, incorporating many aspects and points of view, serving as a site for a moderated collaboration with sources and audiences.” The Content Makers.

So, is Google World Domination really possible? Are we really headed that way? Well, there’s this thing – it’s called monopolization. It might help – it gave Microsoft and Bill Gates pause. Although we aren’t pushing conspiracy theories, the facts do point to a growing company with more pots to dip in than fingers. They also point out the need to pay attention to what you’re really getting when you download free applications; it may be more than you’re willing to give away. What are your thoughts?