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It’s a Google World and that’s fine by me

I will admit that I am on the higher end of the social media user scale with regard to age. If you are that curious, I am 47 years old and have been working in the Internet space in some form or another since 1998. I am not a truly technical person but I can make my way around a little. I am not some social media or tech super user but I would suspect my involvement is on the high end in my age group (considering how most of my lifelong friends use it). I have never lived in or had any desire to live in Silicon Valley and (at great risk of sounding uncool in the Internet space) I live in a tech friendly area which is not considered a real hub.

So, all in all, I just painted a rather ordinary picture of who I am–which is a pretty ordinary person who relies on technology more than most. So why am I not like many others and jumping up and down about Google’s supposed domination of the online space? Well, that is a very easy answer, for me at least. There are just a few reasons why I am more than cool with Google’s position in the marketplace:

  • It works (most of the time)
  • Most services are free
  • It’s relatively unobtrusive by Internet standards
  • I am glad someone is doing what Google does, and I could care less if it was Google, Schmoogle, Schmoggle, Woggle, or anyone else providing the service

Let’s look at each of these real quickly:

It works most of the time: Considering the vast array of Google tools I use on a daily basis (Google Apps email, Google Docs, search, maps, Google+, Android phone, etc.), it is rather remarkable that I experience very few performance hiccups. It’s gotten to the point that I probably sound like one of those Facebook whiners who cry bloody murder when there is a change in the service. You see, I use Google products with so few interruptions that when there is one (like mail being slow or something along those lines) I throw up my hands like a crybaby soccer player acting as if there has been a crime against humanity committed. In other words, the services work so well for being free that I have developed an entitlement attitude that I am owed performance. Pathetic, yes, but it is a modern day measure of success in the tech world. When I slow down long enough to realize that I haven’t paid a plug nickel for any of this, I get thankful and wonder why I am acting like such a wuss.

Most services are free: Look, in these austere times I am never again looking down the barrel of buying another Microsoft Office product or update no matter what platform I am on. Why would I when I can get Google Docs for free? Why would I pay someone money for hosting my domain name e-mail when I can do it for free with Google? Free rocks especially when free works. Google’s got this one nailed.

It’s relatively unobtrusive by Internet standards: OK, before you start barking that I don’t know what I am saying with regard to this matter, let me explain. I know that Google is collecting data on me all the time. Who isn’t these days? Here’s the thing, though. Other than ads being served in some of my free services, I really don’t feel the impact. My search results get personalized, but it’s not like Google is  trying to take every activity I every do and turn it into an “event” like Facebook is attempting to do. I can live with giving up some of my habits as the price of free. One of the main reasons that I could care less is that at this point in my life I am not harboring any online skeletons. Maybe I am boring to many, but a clean conscience can go a long way to just how comfortable one is with sharing these days.

If it wasn’t Google..: Now, I have not researched this almost at all (mainly because I don’t have the time or the desire), but I am not interested in other providers for these services. I know there is Thunderbird for e-mail and Open Office for docs, but why do I need to introduce new logins, etc., just to use other services since Google keeps everything under one rather large umbrella and does it pretty well? Now, if anyone from Google is reading, don’t get a swelled head here. I am not staying because you are Google. I am staying because you have made it easy. If Walmart or some guy came up with a better mousetrap, I would take a look and consider my options. It’s not so much brand loyalty that has been created with me, but rather a service loyalty.

So, in the end I have bought into a contract of sorts with Google. But it has been a negotiation and a very successful one. The old adage is that a successful negotiation leaves both sides feeling like they got gypped a little. It means that a true win/win was met because both gave up something. In this case, I realize I have given up some data and information, and ultimately some freedom, by using Google like I do. It’s not all a big win for Google though. Why? Because I have options and can walk away (albeit not that easily, but it could be done). I don’t have to give Google a dime (and I don’t because I rarely, if ever, click on an Adwords or Adsense ad), and I can complain about Google and trash their good name to everyone if they ever cross the line of good conduct we have established at this point.

Is it completely fair? Not really, but in this world you have to take victories where they happen and to what degree they are allowed to happen. I feel like I win with Google. Enough said.

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