Sunday, February 13, 2011

The cloud: Good Evil

6.You can make money without doing evil.
Google is a business. The revenue we generate is derived from offering search technology to companies and from the sale of advertising displayed on our site and on other sites across the web. Hundreds of thousands of advertisers worldwide use AdWords to promote their products; hundreds of thousands of publishers take advantage of our AdSense program to deliver ads relevant to their site content. To ensure that we’re ultimately serving all our users (whether they are advertisers or not), we have a set of guiding principles for our advertising programs and practices:(more)
One of my few readers has questioned the wisdom of turning so much information over to a large corporation.  I have to admit he has a point.  We worry about Facebook because they have shown a willingness to make money off of everything we give them.  Facebook only knows what we tell them.  Don't post anything personal, don't hit like and Facebook knows very little - you can even game it "status: spent whole weekend working on project," now let see if your boss is checking up on you.  Google on the other hand knows each word of a document, what you search on (Google knows that I 'm bad at spelling and grammar, see previous sentence for an example).  Google knows what your doing.

The advantage of cloud computing is that when bad things happen and you have to start fresh it is very easy.  To paraphrase Backaroo Banzia " remember, no matter where you go, there you are."  Last year I migrated my company's engineering data from a local server to a web-server.  During the snow storms I had the same data at home as I did at work.  My wife the college student is using this computer during the day to write papers but she can just grab a computer at school or use her computer and write with out transferring files or editing an old version of a paper.  There is a real advantage of being able to log in and work.

The problem of evaluating the cloud is we have our noses two inches from a wall.  We can only see a few bricks,  we lack the perspective to see the mural on the wall and we are too close to see the shape of the wall.   Not knowing what information will be harvested, who will use that information or how suggests that we should be cautious now.  I'd hate for my boss to learn that I'm such an awful speller, so if he asks I was working all weekend on my new project.

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking this morning, before I read your post, that technology appears to exist to make us all passive, lazy sheep. Obviously, this is not always the case but it seems that the most often-used devices are those which reduce our effort. Who needs to walk up to the TV and hit the power button? Why walk three blocks to the store when you can drive there?

    However, more recent devices are about information: how to get it, how to send it and how to store it. Phone -> cell phone -> smartphone (trackable) ... Film -> VHS -> DVD -> Netflix (trackable)... LPs -> tape -> CD -> mp3 (with DRM - trackable) and TV -> VHS -> DVR (trackable).

    Working in an audit department, I've learned that it's easy for someone to intentionally or unintentionally hit the wrong button and release private information or shift funds or do something which is against the mission of the bank (won't even delve into rules, guidelines, laws and regulations). The cloud is convenient and it reduces work. It's also a potential weapon for rogue activity. Therefore, despite my appreciation for Chrome, Google, and Picasa, I trust no organization to be entirely non-evil.

    This was more cogent in my head before I started typing. Sorry if I rambled. How's your new project going? I heard you've been working on it all weekend!