Google CEO Larry Page, in a blog post, described Google’s key focus for 2012: creating a better, more intuitive experience. Which means getting to know you better.
Google CEO Larry Page posted a 2012
on the companys Investor Relations page, talking up the decisions
hes made over the last year, what Google is and isnt doing, and the
excitement that he says underscores the work Googlers do. Google, he suggested,
is a big company with the soul of a startup.
Since becoming CEO again, Page wrote, Ive pushed hard
to increase our velocity, improve our execution, and focus on the big bets that
will make a difference in the world.
Making a difference in the world is a major driver for
Page, and making a simpler, more intuitive, more naturally integrated
experience is a major goal for Google. Accomplishing both of these increasingly
requires understanding identity and relationships, which is an area thats
responsible for both Googles growing success and the increasing discomfort
some feel about it.
Imagine how much better search would be if we added ¦
you, wrote Page. Say youve been studying computer science for awhile like me,
then the information you need wont be that helpful to a relative novice and
vice versa. If youre searching for a particular person, you want the results
for that personnot everyone else with the same name. These are hard problems
to solve without knowing your identity, your interests, or the people you care
Privacyor the adding of you to such searchesis a
growing area of contention
. U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., in a speech to
the American Bar Association last week, described Google and Facebook as
essentially large advertising companies that disregard users privacy.
Google and Facebook are, essentially, tremendously
innovative and profitable advertising companies. Google, for instance, took in
$37.9 billion in revenue last year$36.5 billion of which was in advertising.
These companies profitability depends in large part on their ability to target
ads to you, which in turn depends in large part on what they know about you,
Franken said in his speech, according to the Search
He later added, Accumulating data about you isnt just a
strange hobby for these corporations. Its their whole business model. And you
are not their client. You are their product.
In an April 2 letter to the assistant secretary of the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration regarding the
Multistakeholder Process to Develop Consumer Data Privacy Codes of Conduct,
Franken described steps he believes should be taken to protect consumers
fundamental right to privacy.
[Privacy] has never been more important than it is
today, Franken wrote. He continued:
The Internet is an incredible creation and more
incredibly still, many of the best and most innovative sites and services on
the Web are available to users free of charge. Unfortunately, our privacy laws
have not kept up with these changes and consumers are frequently and
unknowingly paying for those innovations with their personal information and,
inevitably, their privacy.
Page addressed the privacy issue lightly, writing that
Google strives to be a responsible steward of the informationin emails and
documents, for examplethat users store in its systems.
changes we made to our privacy policies
generated a lot of interest. But
they will enable us to create a much better, more intuitive experience across
Googleour key focus for the year, wrote Page, followed by a sentiment that
speaks to the companys mantra.
We have always believed, wrote Page, that its
possible to make money without being evil.