This interesting blog post about the life post Google by my fellow blogger Elisa, forced me to think about things I’ve consistently been avoiding. The topic is personal integrity. Why are provide great services such as Google Sites, Google Docs, Google Mail free of charge?
Does free lunch exist after all?
As a business student, that’s one of the first things one get to learn – that nothing is for free. Ever. Everything has a price. In this case about Google, we are giving away a huge amount of information in exchange to their service, to a price not equivalent to what we give away.
Will companies like Google and Facebook, which benefit from our use of their functions prosper and continue to grow? I’m slowly beginning to see how a change is coming. There are however lots of good reasons why their influence will increase though. Let us have a look at Facebook. People tend have a wider circle of friends and want to stay in touch. People also want to share with others what they are doing. Psychologists like Ph Dr David Russell state that, ” One theme emerging from several studies is that direct actions with Facebook friends appear to increase individual feelings of connectedness and self-esteem.”
In short it seems that we enjoy when we verify ourselves through social media. Also through these channels of communication crucial pieces of information have been shared which have led to radical changes, the best example today is probably how the democratic movements in north Africa.
Lots of reasons why people should stay connected. On the other hand, as we are getting connected to each other we also discuss the phenomenas more and realize the risks of using them. We get aware. As a long-term result, people will get more cautious about what information they are giving away about themselves, especially as Facebook goes public, as Pia reported,
We are using all different functions such as Google+, Gmail and of course the search engine. While doing that the company is able to cover different aspects of our personal preferences. From one source they get information about who we know, from another they get information about our interests and from a third they manage to get into our most personal sphere. How? Have a look at this video. It explains the dominance of Google. People already know this, but when the first people shut down the accounts, others will follow. I think this will discourage people from using all of their services in the long run.
Future and proving examples
I believe that when people realize and begin to read whether the pages they are using are
powered by google (here you can see a chart on how some of companies are associated with Google) or not, they will find other ways to keep in touch with friends and find information they need. The future lies probably in the hands of companies which without restrictions respect personal integrity and create value through Corporate Social Responsibility.
In the future, there will be a swift back to using Encyclopedias, where people can not go in and make changes in the material. Source reliability will become more important. I also believe that we will use search engines in different ways, maybe for different purposes. The other day, I met a person working on wegreen.de, which is a search engine helping its users to find correct information about products, to show whether they are ecologically produced or not. I think we will get to know many other alternative search engines and sites in the coming years.
When people start to abandon Facebook, there will be a quick change. The aware users will soon switch, and I believe Facebook is going to be like MySpace – “Something everyone once knew, but no one uses anymore”. Exception being the “wrong clientel”. Facebook, like most business, has an interest in not only that enough people want the product, but more importantly: that the clientel is right.
An important part of the clientel is the one setting new trends and caring about the personal integrity, which time after time is being left behind since it alone (obviously) is not making profit. I e Facebook and Google want to be a perfect everlasting wave which the users are surfing on forever, not being another one of them waves, which only makes the average surfer head down to the beach. But without protecting personal integrity the users will not keep using the services from the companies just being mentioned.