Is Google trying to take over the World?

Google is ubiquitous. Its name has become a verb and, for some, a destination. Starting out as a search engine, Google has conquered much more Internet territory in the years since it launched. Need an email address, Gmail has you covered; need help scheduling yourself, others or the universe, just check out Google Calendar; don’t want to shell out money for a word processing program, just head over to Google docs and everything you could need is there including online storage if you are so inclined.

Before I go any further, I have a confession to make. I love Google. I use Google as my search engine, my email provider, my calendar and my RSS feed. I lusted after a Google Wave invitation and I was sad when it ultimately failed.  I have been a Google evangelist – spreading the word to the uninformed about the beauty have having all your mail in one place. I was one of those people who every time someone complained about their email, I told them Gmail’s fix for whatever was vexing them at the time. After years of my mother complaining about not having all of her email on each of her computers in different geographical locations, I finally got her to switch to Gmail. She loves it.

Certainly many people, some might say conspiracy theorists, have argued that Google has nefarious intentions. Until this last week, I actually just thought they were a great company offering a lot of great products for free. In hindsight, I suspect I was naïve. Now I think Google was keeping its plans to take over the world under wraps. That is until NOW!

Google has once again taken a foray into social networking. This is not something Google has succeeded at in the past. Does Google ‘Buzz’ ring a bell anyone? Almost every one I know turned off Buzz as soon as Google gave us the option. I am surprised that Buzz survived after they breached so many people’s privacy.

Now Google has made a huge foray into the social networking field again. Except this time they don’t just have Facebook in their sites but Twitter too.[1] Launching Google+ with the ability to both keep posts private or within certain ‘circles’ and the ability to broadcast publicly. But it does not end there.

Yesterday a post went out from the Gmail blog[2] about convincing people you know to switch to Gmail. The poster relays a story about how just one friend was not on Gmail and how he wore him down over time to get him to switch. I going to resist the urge to talk about how the inherent creepiness in this kind of behaviour because it gets worse! Yes, not only are we all supposed to track down all of our friends who do not worship at the altar of Google, we are supposed to stage interventions for our recalcitrant friends.

It is starting to look like Google wants inroads into every aspect of our lives. I am not really concerned about the data they have as it is simply too much to be of any use to them.  What does concern me is the cutthroat behaviour Google is using to convince more people to drink at the Fountain of Google.

I am not really sure what all this means. I think if Google continues its proselytizing[3] they will alienate people – even people who love Google may begin to question their use of Google’s services. I really don’t want to think that Google is plotting how it is going to take over the world but their behaviour is certainly indicating that indeed that is their plan.

[1] Thanks to Veronique for the observation about Twitter in a Google+ post.

[2] Which of course I follow on Google Reader

[3] They are behaving as though they are a religion and they need more soldiers to spread the word.

Google Chrome for the Mac

I was very excited when I heard that Google Chrome with extensions had become available for the Mac. I had used Google Chrome on the PC for a very long time and I had loved it. I really missed it when I switched over to the Mac. There are several things I really like about it:

  • The bookmark bar is clearer and it is easier to see what is there and it includes the little logos that some sites have.
  • It seems less cluttered than Firfox.
  • It loads faster.
  • The extensions installed very easily.
  • There is a large selection of extensions.

There are several things I am not liking about it at as well. Mostly it is around stability:

  • If you play around with bookmarks and try to move them around on the bookmark bar once you are done you get the little colour wheel that goes around and around forever. I have had to force-quit a couple of times.
  • Chrome will not play nice with WordPress. As soon as I try and blog in WordPress I get the ‘snap’ screen and when I re-load my text is gone.
  • It displays Google Wave in an odd way. The first 2 columns are pushed to the left hand side. You would think it would display wave properly given that they are both google products!

I think I will stick with Chrome and try to figure out what the problem is with WordPress. Chrome’s asthetic appeal is far superior to Firefox.

    Google Chrome!!!

    Oh Google Chrome how I have missed you! Since September 2009 when we switched to Macs I have been using Firefox. There is nothing wrong with Firefox except that it is not Chrome*. I have been using Google Chrome almost since it came out for the pc. I had found that Firefox had become quite slow and clunky in comparison to Chrome on a pc. Once Chrome was released for Mac it did not have the extensions – little applications that make browsers better. I have 3 computers and I like to keep bookmarks synced between them all, at all times. Xmarks, an extension in Firefox does this for the user. There were others that I used like the download status bar and a pdf viewer. I was not willing to go without these things so I stayed with Firefox – until today.

    Seeing as I was off work I decided to take the time to switch browsers. For someone like me this can be a daunting task as I have to do it across three computers. It is not just the downloading and installation either. I need to set up all my start pages, download and install all the extensions I want, set up the bookmark sync and finally set up the bank account information. I have noticed that there are many more extensions for Chrome than what I was using in Firefox. Right now I have installed the following Chrome extensions:

    • bookmark sync
    • 1-ClickWeather for Chrome – weather gadget (cause we all know I am a weather freak!)
    • Chromed bird – which allows you to quickly access twitter
    • Downloads shortcut
    • Facebook widget
    • Google calendar notifier
    • Google dictionary
    • Google preview – lets you see at thumbnail of your search items before you go there
    • IE Tab Classic – because you must have an explorer window for downloading from microsoft
    • One Number – a notifier from google that takes care of calendar, gmail and reader.
    • Send from gmail – a widget that makes gmail your default mail program
    • Wikipedia Chromium

    I think I have download some additional ones already on my MacBook Pro. Apparently there are 22,000 extensions for Google Chrome!

    Now, I am off to figure out why my blog is crashing in Chrome. Must be some incompatibility with wordpress.

    *And clearly they have not worked out all the bugs yet because this is the third time I am typing the opening of this blog…it crashed twice in Chrome.

    One more reason to love Gmail!

    I have been madly looking for a file on my computer. It was one I did at home but I thought for sure it had been saved on the memory stick. Well, alas, it did not make it to the stick. So, after off and on searching for 2 days, it came to me that I had emailed it to someone because I needed their contribution. I searched Gmail for this person and sure enough, there was my file saving me hours of re-creating it.

    Probably if I had not had a critical incident today I would have focused and not found it until after I went looking for the information I had needed in the first place. Then I would have been *head*desk*head*desk*.

    Have I said it lately that I love Gmail?

    However I have noticed a glitch in google chrome – it does not display html tools in WordPress. I wonder if they know…

    Tech Stuff

    I am constantly amazed at how my life is enhanced by computer addiction. I love my computer – we are one. Think of the borg and you will get it. So, I thought I would share what things, tech-wise, I am really digging these days:

    1. Facebook – I am not a big fan of the remake of facebook yet again. However, I love how much more interactive it has become. Commenting on friends’ status updates and having long conversations going has become the highlight of my day. I am spending way more time on facebook then I ever did before. I especially like seeing the little red notifications number in the double-digits. I know, I have no life.
    2. Google Chrome – after reading several articles on Mashable about Google Chrome I decided to make the switch. Mostly I was getting annoyed at how slow Firefox seemed to have become. I am opening up the same number of tabs in Chrome yet it loads in about a quarter of the time. There are other features I really like as well. You can re-order the tabs1/. When you open and close tabs in Chrome, it automatically re-sizes them to take up about the same amount of space. I like that the bookmarks menu is right under the new tab icon – very good design feature. When you open a new tab, thumbnails of sites you have been to recently are there and you can select them. Oh, and I love that you can search in the address bar. I had become so tired of opening another tab to get to search. I am not one to embrace change when it comes to computer programs2. In fact, the only reason I switched to Firefox was because I did not want to leave myself open to viruses.
    3. Gmail – I continue to love Gmail. I have even converted my mother to Gmail because she has 2 houses and she could never figure out where her emails were. She wanted one email in Radium and the other in Calgary. She was making me crazy. I kept explaining what the problem was and she finally got it. Now, the big test will be whether she will figure out how to access her Gmail in Tuscany! I love the labs feature in Gmail and enjoy trying new things out.
    4. Google Calendar – I love google calendar. I have now managed to sync my 2 google calendars (home and work) with my blackberry seamlessly. I make a change now and it propagates through the system in about an hour. I also love the ‘desktop’ calendar that you can use on the Windows or Google sidebar.
    5. Google Reader – still in love with Google Reader. What more is there to say?
    6. Yet another google product – Picasa. I love how all the photos in my computer are organized and easily viewable. I came across some photos yesterday that I had not seen in a while. Picasa saves you the hassle of going through all the folders. Plus you can tag and caption them. I am sure there are more features and I intend to explore them.
    7. iTunes DJ – I have been using this feature a lot lately. Basically what it does is cue up music for you to listen to in a random fashion. I am horrible for buying music, only listening to a couple of songs and ignoring the rest. Sometimes I am just not in a mood to appreciate new music. This feature allows me to discover ‘new’ songs I had missed.

    1Which in my OCD world is very important. I like to have everything in the same order all the time. There were times I would actually shut down Firefox only to re-open it so the tabs were in the correct order. Now, with Google Chrome, if I accidentally close a tab I can re-open it and put it where I want it.
    2I am still highly annoyed about MS Office 2007 and it has been out for 2 years. Way too much change there!