I like both Google and Facebook and feel that the competition between them is actually slowing things down. Let’s be honest here; they both collect information and both have the potential to expose your personal information unwittingly. Unfortunately, that is what happens when you put your information out there. We had the same gripe about AOL and CompuServe back in the 1990’s, but of course we were also paying for the privilege.
It comes down to what one is willing to pay and tolerate. Both Google and Facebook offer services that are free; these are paid for by advertisements. A fair chunk of these ads are targeted, and guess what? The only way that can happen is if they know a little about you. Since I’ve had to tolerate worse shenanigans since earlier days on the Internet, I just shrug these things off and think, “things could always be worse, and once, it was.”
If you don’t want to have to deal with issues like these yet still want to be involved with the social Internet, you have options, but one set relies upon beefing up your computer skills, the other paying for these services. For instance, you could always learn how to use open source alternatives and work with Telnet and some of the alternative services that you can find in shell accounts. While once fairly mainstream for die hard computer enthusiasts, this is pretty much beyond the scope of what the regular user might want, or even be capable of. While it’s true that this method allows you to use older, system restricted systems, the experience is far different than what the Internet normally offers.
Or, you could always sign up for services such as The Well. I’m a fan of The Well, and really admire the work they do, but I do not have an account with them at this time.
The problem with both of these options is that they have the potential to shield you from the greater Internet, and this goes both ways. Of course, that seems to be happening anyway.
The bickering between the two giants, though, has got to stop.