Monday, November 30, 2015

Google the Behemoth

Founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google has lent its name to a verb: to Google something (or someone) is to search for the thing or person on the Web. Google is also a forward-looking corporation filled with brilliant thinkers and one of the largest companies in the world in terms of market capitalization .
Outside of owning the top-ranked search portal and email services, I want to take some time to explore three news related topics Ethics, Privacy and Security from GOOGLE the behemoth.

Earlier this year, Google was honored by the Ethisphere Institute for their ethical business practices and good corporate citizenship.
Google was the only company in the computer services category to be placed on the list. The influential search and Internet advertising giant has garnered a reputation for being outspoken on a number of social issues.
In February, Google announced it was awarding one of its RISE
Awards to Engineers Without Borders Australia, a nonprofit working on computer science outreach with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal girls. The RISE Awards are grants that Google gives to organizations that promote computer science education and support girls and underrepresented minorities in technology.
Since 2010, more than 200 organizations have received an award, and this year, 37 organizations are receiving a cumulative $1.5 million to keep this vital effort humming along. Honorees not only promote ethical business standards and practices internally, they exceed legal compliance minimums and shape future industry standards by introducing best practices today.
Corporate social responsibility is not only gaining mind share among the general population, it's increasingly viewed as a business-boosting attribute. From stakeholders, employees and customers to executives and investors understand that ethical leadership drives outcomes ranging from operational performance to corporate integrity, transparency and workforce behavior. 

From my viewpoint 

As a consumer I am increasingly becoming interested in the social responsibilities of the companies behind the products and services I use and buy from. This is just one example where Google is truly going beyond just talking about being ethical.
In 2013 Nielsen surveyed 29,000 online respondents and half of all respondents (50%) said they would be willing to reward companies that give back to society by paying more for their goods and services—up from 45 percent in 2011 (Nielsen, 2013).

As of 2014, the global Internet population grew 14.3% from 2011-2013, and now represents 2.4 Billon people.
Can you imagine how much data is shared in one minute? Lets take Facebook for example, 2,460,000 pieces of data is shared every minute in a day! Infographic
Google keeps your personal information private and safe – and put you in control (Google, 2015).

So what data does Google collect?
The main types of data that is collected are based on the actions as consumers take using
Google services such as your basic account details and the things you create.

For example, do a search on Google, get directions on Google Maps, or watch a video on YouTube — they collect information based on the things you do, for better services. When you sign up for a Google Account, they will keep the basic account information you give Google, like your name, email, and password. And they store and protect what you create using their services, so you will always have your emails, photos, videos, and documents when you need them. They also give you tools to control the types of data that is collected and used (Google, 2015).

From my viewpoint 

Should I care about what Google collects from me since I am voluntarily using a mostly free service for things such as:

    Things I search for
    Websites I visit
    Videos I watch
    Ads I click on or tap
    My location
    My device information
    IP address and cookie data
    Account name
    Email address and password
    Emails I send and receive on Gmail
    Contacts I add
    Calendar events
    Photos and videos I upload
    Docs, Sheets, and Slides on Drive

Anyone who cares about maintaining some degree of privacy should pay attention and be aware.
For example, Gmail: prying and spying. In October of 2013, a federal judge refused to dismiss a potential class-action lawsuit brought by Gmail users who objected to its practice of analyzing the content of all the messages on its network and selling byproducts to advertisers. Those suing Google said it violated federal wiretap laws. This issue isn’t new to Google.
In congressional testimony in 2009, Google’s lawyers said its email technology was used for scanning for spam, computer viruses and serving ads within the Gmail user’s experience. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh held that Google never told Gmail users that Google would create personal profiles and target users with ads. Nor did people who are not Gmail users, but who were writing to Gmail addresses, agree to let Google collect and parse their messages.

Google’s security philosophy
As a provider of software and services for many users, advertisers, and publishers on the Internet, Google recognizes how important it is to help protect consumer’s privacy and security. Understanding that securing products are instrumental in maintaining the consumers trust and strives to create innovative products that both serve the needs and operate in the consumer’s best interest (Google, 2015).

From GOOGLE’s viewpoint 

For the people who use Google services, the Internet offers so many opportunities to explore, create and collaborate. And to make the most of the web, it’s important to keep yourself safe and secure. Whether you’re a new Internet user or an expert, the advice and tools given by Google can help you navigate the web safely and securely.

Things to do:
·      Create strong passwords and keep your information safe.
·      Signing into your Google Account is simple and useful—but know when it is important to sign out as well.
·      Know how to control which account you use, and when.
·      If you use Gmail, you can follow simple steps to help make sure your account stays safe.     
·      Be extra careful whenever you go online using a network you don’t know, and learn about setting up your home router and WiFi network securely.
·      Find out some common signs that your device might be infected with malware—malicious software designed to harm your device or network—and how you can protect yourself.
(Google, 2015).

Lastly, Google seems to be in business to make information accessible and useful. It is up to the user to be aware of how information is being tracked and shared every minute of the day. Be proactive and monitor your online footprint but also know that this is the cost of using these services.

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