Google Goes to Washington With Own Brand of Lobbying
In a conference room overlooking the Washington Monument, about 150 young Democratic operatives-in-training recently munched on animal crackers as Google Inc. executives pitched the Internet company’s offerings.
Google’s newly hired team leader for political sales, Peter Greenberger, explained how attendees could use online ads and other services from Google to help their candidates win. One Google product could provide details about people who visited a campaign’s Web site, such as the approximate area where they lived, Mr. Greenberger explained. “Tremendously valuable info,” he said, adding, “It’s free. Did I mention it’s free? It’s free.”
Looking at the graph and the quote above, Google’s forays into genetics research (here and here for example), wireless spectrum/telecom activity, partnerships with NASA, inroads into Microsoft’s office applications market, huge market share for search and online ads, and tons of high-profile and low-profile acquisitions, it’s becoming tangibly evident just how much power Google has obtained through its ability to track and aggregate an immense amount of information about people’s information seeking behavior.
Google seemingly aims to become a courtly advisor of sorts to politicians and businesses, a company that will be able to shift world politics and trends behind the scenes, and who knows, may ultimately be able to play companies and governments against each other, for better or worse–look at how they are demanding rule changes in the wireless spectrum auction, and how they are claiming Microsoft is committing antitrust violations–and they may learn of the possibly conflicting activities and goals of many of the worlds most powerful companies and businesses through various partnerships and endeavors, information which would be of no small value.
(Not to mention the information they could gain unethically by…well, they already scan our g-mail to post “targeted” ads, so, well, you get the picture–especially as they are pushing for more businesses to take advantage of Google-provided online solutions such as docs/spreadsheets/e-mail. Just sayin’, you know? That’s an awful lot of proprietary information at stake there…)
Google will evolve basically a real-time version of a predictions market like Intrade, except the predictions will be based on actual empirically-observed user behaviors online through search query and click thorugh data.
Very interesting stuff, with this amount of data and information, the strategic value of which is immense–let’s put it this way, has such a continuous stream of so much empirical observation data ever been available 24-7 to any one company/group of researchers in the history of the world?
It’s like a Panopticon with a 24-7 view but with much more rich data gathering tools available and where where users’ aren’t imprisoned and therefore go about their normal behavior in the wild, giving Google an accurate, unbiased view of their online behaviors. I don’t think such a continuous stream of data on human behavior has ever, ever, ever, ever been developed before.
It’s sort of like a 24-7 real time version of the National Geographic genetics/genographic project, but with way more people participating–Google basically gets to see the DNA of people’s online searches, and, to an extent, a peek into the minds of billions of people. Immensely powerful data, and immensely interesting issues are sure to arise.
Now, with their bid for wireless spectrum, link to a genetics reserach company, involvement with NASA, scanning of library books, and who knows how many other diverse projects, with tons of cash to invest in a truly diverse set of cutting edge projects, well, it’s too much for a simple human mind to comprehend–but I’m sure the huge Google AI has some interesting plans in store for humanity.
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