If a tree falls and no one…

Google evil

I’ve noticed lately that many times, right after paying for online purchases, Google offers to protect the goods I just got. And they want to do it for free.

I don’t like free, and I don’t like free coming from Google because one way or another, you pay for anything you get from the search behemoth (it really sucks that they have the best search engine by far over the best of their competitors, because I’m stuck with them). Of course, the price you pay is a bit of your privacy, which makes the uproar over the NSA’s scandal quite ironic.

Today, as I had a few minutes after purchasing a few things for a client, I decided to click on the “learn more” link at the now ubiquitous offer from Google and the only new thing I learned is that the protection doesn’t go beyond 60 days after the date of purchase and it only covers $1000 worth of lifetime claims, not to mention that the coverage itself is rather lame (google “google your purchase protection” and see for yourself).

The exercise was more to satisfy my curiosity and confirm my suspicions than anything else, and confirmed they were:

” If you opt in, the merchant will share your
order information and email address with us.”

It’s really ironic how the leak about the NSA’s practices elicited quite an uproar for rather basic information being collected on us while someone collecting (and aggregating) information as detailed and intimate as what we buy, how much we pay for it, and how, results in collective non-reaction.

I expect more than handful of souls to cry that our government was doing it without our knowledge, while Google’s Purchase Protection is 100% voluntary and overt. The latter is, technically 100% true, but in this day and age, to be aware of the ability of a government organization that’s powerful enough to be cloaked in the utmost secrecy and expect that it will only gather information outside our borders and only on foreign individuals and entities is the epitome of burying one’s head in the sand. And yes, Google’s program is voluntary, but how voluntary is something when it is a given that most people offered it will accept? I’m willing to bet that the opt-in rates are well over 90%. After all, you’d have to be an idiot not to accept something that’s free, and most people can’t be idiots. Right?

So, going back to the title, if Google does something evil and no one notices or cares, is it still evil?


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