Google Drive: Now Google wants to spy on your files

Brian Turner

April 24, 2012
Google Logo

Today’s announcement that Google are going to provide cloud storage services has been widely covered, with media reports generally comparing Google Drive with Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Dropbox.

However, the major difference between the services is that Google have made it plain they reserve the right to search through your data in order to support their advertising services.

Google have already announced that they are employing image recognition software to scan photos you upload to Google Drive.

Additionally, Google will also use optical character recognition (OCR) technology to scan through documents you save where the text cannot normally be easily accessed.

Media outlets glibly repeat Google’s claims that it will “draw on its search expertise to help differentiate the service” and that “users will be able search by keyword and filter by file type, owner or activity”.

However, what none of them are stating is that all stored media on Google Drive will be subject to the same privacy policy as used with other services - which gives the right for Google to not simply collect information on data you provide, but also to sort through it and share the results through its other commercial services.

When Apple offered iCloud, it was simply to support the media-rich experience of its users. When Microsoft announced SkyDrive would be integrated with Windows 8, it would be to support the data-heavy experience of its users.

When Google offered Google Drive, it was simply yet another cynical ploy for Google to data mine users for its own commercial gain, a point that few journalists dare mention.

Google Drive is just another surveillance service along with Google’s other recent “innovotions”, all of which are intended to provide as much data from users as possible.

Gmail, Chrome, and Android, have nothing to do with trying to create a rich user experience, as much as support Google’s continuing dominance of the online advertising market through a huge integrated data collection network.

While Microsoft and Apple can rightly be called technology companies, Google has long been an advertising agency that just happens to use technology in an extraordinarily clever and comprehensive manner.

This is a key distinction that many journalists fail to notice, because it’s easier to simply repeat what Google says than dare question the intentions of a £200 billion-dollar multinational advertising company.

In the meantime, many internet users will continue to voice concerns about government surveillance projects, not least the recent internet monitoring bill from David Cameron’s party, which is being shouted down from many corners of the web because of the threat to user privacy.

And yet many of these same users willingly and openly provide Google with as much data as Google can collect on themselves, their interests, and habits, because these users are either completely ignorant, or simply “trust” Google as a brand.

Well I’m sorry to be contrary, but I would rather trust a government that insists on providing free healthcare for all its population to collect any of my data, than an advertising megacorp that simply wants to make itself richer through the most detailed surveillance operation on the planet.


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