The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry)

Daniel Soar writes:

Since Google still makes more than 95 per cent of its money through selling advertising – that’s \$30 billion a year, or about twice the annual global revenue of the entire recorded music industry – the fear is that all the information about us it has hoovered up is used to create scarily exact user profiles which it then offers to advertisers, as the most complete picture of billions of individuals it’s currently possible to build. The fear seems be based on the assumption that if Google is gathering all this information then it must be doing so in order to sell it: it is a profit-making company, after all. ‘We are not Google’s customers,’ Siva Vaidhyanathan writes in The Googlisation of Everything. ‘We are its product. We – our fancies, fetishes, predilections and preferences – are what Google sells to advertisers.’

(LRB 6 October 2011)