Given the paranoia about so many other intrusions such as government surveillance, snooping bosses, predators, whatever, it's amazing what Google has gotten away with. We've taken the candy, and in return we've given up significant levels of privacy to some huge corporate entity that we inexplicably trust not to betray us.
Maybe we trust Google because it has been benevolent in the past -- in not "monetizing" when it could have, in promoting open source here and there, and in providing whimsical perks to its employees. Sure, now and again we've sucked air and said, "Oops, that was kinda evil." But strictly speaking, the company hasn't screwed over enough people to dent its public image. The idea that Microsoft -- or even Apple -- could ever make that same claim is almost comical.
Google also has the benefit of being constantly available. Can you even recall the last time that Google Search was unavailable or down? Some apps have had snafus in the past -- notably Gmail -- but the Google main page has always been ready for service, fast as you please. And that impeccable reliability may have more to do with why folks trust Google with their details, documents, pictures, videos, and so on than anything else.
Me, I don't trust the cloud. I don't know that I ever will. Yet I have a Gmail account and I use Google Maps and a variety of other Google tools all the time. At this point in the evolution of the Internet, it's impossible not to. Let's just hope that those in control of our information can truly be trusted to do the right thing. Hope, in the end, is all we can do.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.